How To Trade Disney Pins
Disney pin trading used to be a hobby of mine.
Every day more people start pin trading, it became more popular as Disneyland became more crowded during the Diamond Celebration. Pin Trading can be a lot of fun. It's a great way to make new friends, and it is fun to search for new Hidden Mickeys in the parks.
There is also the downside of Pin Trading. Counterfeit Trading Pins and Pin Sharks.
There are some who say there are fake pins out there and you know this so you shouldn’t complain. Either accept there are fake pins and enjoy yourself or don't trade. I think that is ridiculous. You should be able to participate in any hobby you want without being scammed.
And this is the reason why 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 of Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante all day and traded pins. I started learning early on that pin sharks were an issue. If you’re not familiar with a pin shark, it is somebody who will be unethical 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 don’t have anything I like. I want this specific pin. It’s over there in the store. If you get me that pin, I’ll trade with you." You purchase the pin they wanted, and they give you a fake pin in return.
Some will try to convince you their pin is valuable and make you give them several pins for one of theirs.
Not all of my experiences were bad. I am not trying to scare you, but I would be misleading 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. The parks are inundated with fake pins because people that are trying to save money on pins. If you are buying pins by the bulk on eBay for your vacation chances are they are fake, and there are people out there purchasing real pins and trading them and getting fakes in return. That is not fair to those people.
There was a time when the Cast Members knew more about pin trading and could spot fake pins as well. Now it seems like 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’s going to be costly. If you don't want to spend the money on real pins, then do not trade.
So let's get down to the basics of spotting a fake. This guide here is helpful.
Best ways to spot a fake Disney Trading Pin:
Go to pinpics.com and look for 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. It's fake.
Check the back for misspellings or grammatical errors. For example, the pin may misspell Mickey, or it may say pin 1of 3 instead 1 of 3.
Drop the pin on a table if it makes a thud it's probably fake. A real pin will sound like a coin when dropped.
The characters features may be distorted or wonky.
If the pin looks old are there two small sharp prongs on each side of the post? If not its likely a fake.
How does the pin feel? Does it feel light and plasticky? It's probably fake.
Does the Mickey print on the back of the newer pins have a border? The impression should drop off a border is a sign of a fake.
Are the edges sharp? Do the points if the pin has any on the edges prick your finger? It may be fake.
There are also Facebook groups you can ask in as well. Just take lots of pictures. Same of the 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. So here is what you can do to prevent yourself from getting scammed.
The first thing is if you’re going to 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 take a look. Read the results if they trade or sell in the groups pretty regularly you’ll find them. It's also ok to ask for references. If they scammed anyone or had a bad trade, you should find out pretty quickly.
You just have to go with your gut so when you’re training online. Ask for a close-up of the front and back of the pin. If the seller or trader does not send pictures, then don't trade.
People who are trying to scam you are usually eager and impatient. If they start sending you messages frequently like are you still there or do you still want to trade and it been five minutes since you posted decline the transaction.
Do not mail the pin until you have proof they will send theirs. I never mail a pin until I 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 then mail it. Many people do it this way.
Packaging is crucial. Remind the person your trading with by saying that you ship a pin in a bubble mailer and also wrap the pin in bubble wrap before mailing. I write fragile on the package as well.
Some people will send their pins wrapped in toilet paper. I have seen that several times. I’ve seen people just have put a pin in a regular envelope. Many lousy pin trades are the result of receiving a broken pin. If your trading with someone be sure they know how to pack a pin properly.
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 don't buy anything or 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 upcycle them and some people recycle them. Just don't trade them. My husband and I turned our fakes into Jewelry.
What do you do with your scrappers?