Every day more people start pin trading. Pin Trading became more popular at Disneyland during the Diamond Celebration. Pin Trading can be a lot of fun. You can make many friends.
Counterfeit Trading Pins and Pin Sharks are the downside of trading Disney Pins. They are out there. A small percentage of Pin Traders say we all know fakes exist and so you shouldn’t complain. Either accept they are fake pins and enjoy yourself or don't trade. That is ridiculous. You should be able to take part in any hobby you want without someone scamming you.
This is the reason I got out of pin trading. The indifference to the fakes by some and the willingness to buy them from others.
Back in the day, many pin traders sat outside Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante all day and traded pins. I learned early on that pin sharks were an issue. If you’re not familiar with a pin shark, it is somebody who deceives you for their gain. For example, you show up with some hidden Mickey’s, and you want a pin from their book, and they say "You have nothing I like. I want this specific pin. Sold in the store. If you get me that pin, I’ll trade with you." You buy the pin they wanted, and they give you a fake pin.
Some pin trading sharks will try to convince you their pin is valuable. They will ask you to give them several pins for one of theirs.
Not all my experiences were bad. I am not trying to scare you, but I would mislead you if I did not make this known to you.
Another issue is counterfeit or scrapper pins. They are blatant fakes or seconds from the factory and are worthless. Disney Parks are full of fake pins because people trying to save money on pins. If you are buying pins by the bulk on eBay for your vacation, chances are they are fake. Traders purchasing real pins and trading them are getting fakes in return. That is not fair to those people.
Cast Members used to know more about pin trading and could spot fake pins. Now half the boards in the parks and the cast member lanyards are full of cheap counterfeit pins.
I always tell people if you want to pin trade it will be costly. If you don't want to spend the money on real pins, do not trade. Here is how to spot a fake. This guide here is helpful.
Best ways to spot a fake Disney Trading Pin:
Go to pinpics.com and find your pin. If it does not look like the picture, it may be fake. For example, the Little Mermaid Pin I got was pink but its lavender on PinPics. No further investigation is necessary the pin is a fake.
Check the back for misspellings or grammatical errors. For example, the pin may misspell Mickey, or may say pin 1of 3 instead 1 of 3.
Drop the pin on a table if there's a thud it's fake. A real pin will sound like a coin when dropped.
The characters features are distorted or wonky with fakes.
Old pins have two small sharp prongs. Missing nubs means it's likely a fake.
There are Facebook groups you can ask in. Just take lots of pictures. Some fake pins are seconds, so they may be tough to spot. Sometimes the pin trading groups on Facebook can be more helpful than asking a Cast Member if your pin is real.
Another way people get scammed is online trades and sales. You can prevent getting scammed.
The first thing is if you will trade or buy pins online and ship through the mail is check out the trader or seller. If you’re in a pin trading group on Facebook, then go to the pin groups and search the person in the search bar. Most PinPic Traders use Facebook to trade too so do a search. Read the results if they trade or sell in the groups you’ll find them. It's also ok to ask for references. If they scammed anyone or had a bad trade, you will know quickly.
Go with your gut so when you’re trading online. Request a close-up of both sides of the pin. If the seller or trader does not send pictures, don't trade.
People trying to scam you are eager and impatient. Red Flags are messages like are you still there or do you still want to trade a few minutes after they contact you. Do not trade with someone who overly eager or aggressive.
Do not mail the pin until they prove they will send theirs. Never mail a pin until you have seen evidence of postage. I always print out a shipping label from PayPal because they provide free tracking. I take a picture of the package with the label secured to it. Wait until the other party sends a picture of a receipt and a tracking number than mail it. Many people do it this way.
Packaging is crucial. Remind the person you're trading with by telling them how you will be shipping. Tell them you ship a pin in a bubble mailer and also wrap the pin in bubble wrap before mailing. I write fragile on the package.
Some people will send their pins wrapped in toilet paper. I have seen that several times. I’ve seen people put a pin in a regular envelope. Many lousy pin trades result from receiving a broken pin. If you're trading be sure the other party knows how to pack a pin.
Pin trading can be a fun and sociable hobby if you take a few precautions. Go with your instincts. If a pin seems fake or a trader or seller is too impatient buy nothing or do not trade with them.
Remember you can always look up a pin on PinPics on your phone while trading in the parks.
If you already have a lot of fakes don't throw them away. Some people up cycle them and some people recycle them. Don't trade them. My husband and I turned our counterfeit pins into Jewelry.
What do you do with your scrappers?
If your children want to try pin trading read my advice on that here.
If you have questions, please ask. Here are some more posts you may find helpful: