BlueMountainLLC's guide to Disney Pin Collecting aims to help the new or moderately-experienced pin collector by sharing what we've learned about about collecting strategies, useful resources, reputable sellers and tricks of the trade.
BlueMountainLLC's guide to
Disney Pin Collecting
[Photo: Disney Auctions Patriotic Tinker Bell, Limited Edition of 100 Oversized Pin]
Welcome to our Disney Pin Collecting Guide. While we do not claim to be experts in this field (we've only been collecting since early 2005), since we started we have learned a great deal about collecting strategies, useful resources, reputable sellers and tricks of the trade - and at one point we had one of the largest selections of Limited Edition Disney Pins available on eBay.
Disney Pins - especially "official" Disney pins - offer a unique mixture of characteristics seldom found in other collectibles. They can be used in many different ways - worn as a pin / picece of jewelry, collected and stored in a pin collecting book, framed in a shadow box and displayed like artwork, etc.. They can be collected by every age group - We've found children as young as 3, and adults in their 80s collecting the pins. There seems to be a pin in every price range, and a marketplace - We've seen Disney sell Brand New Pins for as low as $4, to pins selling right here on eBay for over $1,000. Speaking of marketplaces, there appears to be a very large and growing market for Disney Pins, as well as a large following of collectors. As we write this guide, there are over 13,700 auction listings on eBay for Disney pins! The Disney website also has an entire section dedicated to Disney pin collecting with upcoming events, pins and more. Finally, these collectible items are backed by one of the best brands of our time - Disney.
One thing we have found is that the vast majority of the time, the photos you see in the listings do not accurately reflect the true beauty of the pins. All in all, we believe Disney Pin Collecting will be a hobby for generations to come.
[Photo: Disney Auctions LE 100 Mickey Mouse & Friends 4th of July Jumbo Pin]
Types of Disney Pins
There are many different types of Disney Pins, in all different price ranges. Some are available for purchase in Disney stores and online, some are available only (at least initially) via auction from Disney, and still others are only available if you trade with a Disney "Cast Member" (aka park employee) at a Disney Theme Park. Of course most, if not all, eventually make their way onto ebay. Here is a sampling...
- Disney General Release Pins - Usually available at most every park and online, these pins generally list at about $6.95 - $8.95. Decent Quality, small in size.
- Disney Limited Edition Pins - Available most often at the theme parks or hotels, general release limited edition pins most often are associated with holidays and special events. These types of pins are often among the most valuable / highest priced on eBay.
- Disney Theme Park Pins - Each park (and cruise line, too) has their own series of pins. These pins are often a great way for beginner collectors to start their collection. For example, if Mickey is your favorite character, and the Animal Kingdom is your favorite park, there are plenty of Mickey Animal Kingdom pins to collect.
- Disney Cast Lanyard Pins - Cast Lanyard pins are pins which are not released in stores and given directly to Cast Members to trade with park guests. These pins are fairly small in size, but are great fun to collect as getting all the pins in a C.L. series can be quite a challenge. Cast Members will trade for almost any authentic Disney pin, so you can go out and get a bunch of "traders" to use for starting a Cast Lanyard collection. In general, a C.L. pin will have a small logo of Mick Ears on the front, and will be stamped "Cast Lanyard" on the back.
- Disney Auctions Pins - Disney Auctions no longer exists, but they used to auction pins right here on ebay, and they specialized in Limited Edition of 100 pins. These pins are generally larger in size and are of better quality. They are also more expensive. Available only through Disney Auctions, prices generally started at $18 per pin, but were frequetly bidded higher, sometimes into the hundreds o dollars. Several eBay sellers purchase directly from Disney and resell here on eBay.
- Other Disney Pins - There are many other types of Disney pins, including counterfeit pins. Whichever type of pin you're interested in and are collecting, there are wide variations in sizes, quality and price ranges.
Disney Pin Collecting has apparently been around for over 20 years (please read the Disney Pin Collecting Guide by MaleficentCollector ). Since we started (during a trip to Walt Disney World in early 2005), we quickly discovered there are probably millions of pins to select from, in all different qualities, sizes and price ranges. As this hobby can be quite addicting, it is important to have some sort of strategy or theme to your collecting madness. Here are some examples of collecting strategies when many people have found fun and enjoyable;
- Characters; Who is your favorite Disney character? Many collectors focus upon a single character, such as Mickey Mouse, and collect only those pins with their character of choice.
- Movies; Have a favorite Disney movie? Many people enjoy collecting all the pins they can find from a specific movie. Some of the most popular movie collections include Fantasia, Cinderella, Snow White, and Lilo & Stitch.
- Holidays; Many people collect pins with a theme from only one or more holidays. Popular Holiday Collecting themes include Halloween, Memorial Day / 4th of July, and New Year's Pins.
- Origin; It seems each park has their own pin releases and exclusive pin designs. Some people only collect pins from specific origins. There are even pins which are sold exclusively online, on Disney Cruises, to Disney Vacation Club members (more on this below)! Disney also has exclusive pins which you can only obtain by trading with their cast members!
- Edition Size; Disney releases pins in many different edition sizes from "open editions" (no limit to the edition size) to Limited Editions of 100 (which you can normally find offered by DisneyAuctionears right here on eBay) and below. Every now and then, you can even find the truly unique Artist Proof Pins Disney produces before they manufacture the actual regular edition of the pin. BlueMountainLLC, for example, specializes in Disney Auctions Limited Edition of 100 pins and Artist Proof Pins.
- Cost; Many people really enjoy combining one of the above collecting strategies with a cost strategy. For example, a person collecting Mickey Mouse pins may also decide they will not pay more than $20 for a pin. While this approach may exclude many of the Limited Edition of 100 and lower edition size pins, it can be a great challenge, and there are often great treasures to be found here on eBay.
- The sky's the limit; The above collecting strategies are only some of the most popular of which we have heard. Other strategies we've heard of include military, love, sports, cars, laughter, anger, heroes, villians and more. With so many pins out there, you're bound to have fun and have more than enough of a selection to choose from no matter what you may pursue.
[Photos (Left to Right): Disney Auctions (D.A.) Elisabete Gomes LE 100 Sleeping Beauty Pin, D.A. LE 100 Morphing Ariel Spinner Pin.]
As you explore pin collecting in more detail, you might be amazed at how many resources are available to you. One of the best resources (obviously) is eBay. Here are some great ways to find the pins you're looking for on eBay:
- Disney Pin Category Search: Ebay has created an entire category (with close to 20,000 listings!) with many subcategories for Disney pins. The main disney category can be currently found by performing the following category drill-down: Home> Collectibles> Disneyana> Contemporary> Pins,Buttons. Or.. click the following link for the Disney Pins Category.
- Closed Item Search; If you'd like to know what the item you're looking for recently sold for, be sure to do a completed item search. This option is available in the advanced search settings. This type of search also can help you find a pin which you may not be able to find in the active listings. If there's a pin you're looking for which you can't find in the active listings, try the completed listings. If you find a completed transaction of the pin you're looking for, ask the seller if they have any more. You'd be surprised how helpful most ebay sellers are.
- eBay Stores Search; If you can't find what you're looking for in the "active" listings on ebay, be sure to do an ebay stores search. While there may be 20,000 pins in the "active" listings, there are actually far more listed for sale by ebay stores sellers!
- Want It Now; When all seems to be lost, you can always make a post to ebay's Want It Now - Disney Pins section. Many sellers check the W-I-N boards very often, so it is at least worth a try.
There are some other resources which we've found quite useful. Be sure to visit the Pinpics website (I can't post the url because ebay will likely remove it, but you now have the name of the site). Pinpics is an online database covering almost all disney pins and generally includes a photo of the pin, the original retail price, the release date, the edition size, a description, and other great information. Another site, Dizpins, is a great resource for all different types of Disney Pins information, including message boards, news and more. You'd be amazed at how much information is available on the internet about Disney Pin Collecting. Equally amazing is how friendly and helpful the moderators are on the Dizpins message boards.
[Photos: Disney Auctions Set of 6 LE 100 Hinged Door Pins from 2005.]
While the vast majority of sellers on eBay are very reliable, you can have a thousand positive experiences, but the one bad experience is the one you'll always remember. There are counterfeit pins out there, and there are cheaper knockoffs as well. But an educated, prudent buyer can easily stay away from these circumstances. First, start with performing a bit of research on the pin. If you are not buying it directly from Disney or a seller you trust, for example, research the pin on pinpics. That way, you know exactly what the pin should look like. A few additional tips: 1) Always check the seller's feedback. 2) always read the entire listing, and 3) Contact the seller should you have any questions.
If you're interested in buying directly from Disney, you can always go directly to the Disney website. There are also many reputable sellers right here on ebay. Here are a few with great feedback ratings and who usually have a large selection of pins available:
Name Specialty Feedback Rating / % Positive
- Blue Mountain Online-- Disney Auctions LE 100 & Artist Proof Pins -- 1,350+ / 100%
- goofydon -- Limited Ed. Authentic Disney Pins & "Fantasy" Pins -- 3500+ / 100%
- Cat's Disney Collectible's -- LE & Cast Lanyard Pins -- 980+ / 99.9%
- Arts Disney Pins Collectibles -- LE & Cast Lanyard Pins -- 535+ / 100%
- Pins Pins and More Pins -- Cast Lanyard & LE Pins -- 2,370+ / 99.7%
- Collectible Memories -- Pins from the Disneyland Park -- 4,800+ / 99.4%
[Photos: of Disney Auctions Artist Proof Pins from 2005.]
Tricks of the Trade
E-mail Notifications; One of the "tricks" I often use is eBay's e-mail notification search function. If you're looking for a pin, type in as specific a search set of keywords as possible (and remember to narrow your search to the Disney Pins category) and hit search. For example, "Mickey Club 50th A/P", if your looking for the Artist's Proof of the Mickey Mouse Club 50th Anniversary pin. Then click "add to favorite searches". You'll then have the option to receive an e-mail notification whenever new listings match your search criteria. This has been a great tool which has helped us to aquire Limited Edition of 100 pins for under $10!!
Best Offer; Many stores sellers have listings where you can make a best offer. Please be careful, though. If your best offer is rejected, you will not be able to make another offer on that item for at least 48 hours. So... if you do make an offer, make sure it has a realistic shot at being accepted. Most best offers which are within 20% of the list price are accepted. Once you get beyond a 20% discount, it is rare that Best Offers are accepted.
Disney Sold Out? Check eBay Stores Sellers! More often than not, Disney will sell out of pins, but you'll be able to find them on ebay - brand new, never opened and still in original packaging and on the original card.
[Photo of Disney Auctions 2005 Set of 6 LE 100 Mickey's Christmas Train pins]
[Photo: Disney Auctions Group Jumbo LE 100 Pins from 2005.]
We hope you found this guide to Disney Pin Collecting Helpful. If you did, please leave us a positive review. We're working hard to ensure this guide is helpful, and will be constantly providing updates.
If you get a chance, please visit our eBay store, Blue Mountain Online, where we specialize in Disney Auctions Limited Edition of 100 pins and sets, Artist Proof Pins, and other rare Disney Collectibles. Happy Collecting!