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June 15, 2018

A Brief Look at the History of the Trading Pin

June 15, 2018
Have you ever wondered where the tradition of trading and collecting trading pins began? Here's a brief look at the history of the trading pin.

Collectible trading pins have been around for over one hundred years and continue to be popular among sports fans, players, and collectors, alike. But, there's more to trading pins than simple trinkets that attract the eye. Trading pins as a pastime is just as much about tradition as it is about supporting your favorite team or sports players.

Knowing the history of the trading pin will only make you a more popular person to trade with. Not to mention that you'll feel a sense of connection to those that started the tradition and have a shot at becoming a part of history yourself.

If you've always wondered about the history of the trading pin, then you're in the right place. In this article we're discussing how it all began and why collecting baseball trading pins should be a priority for your team. Keep reading to learn more.

The History of the Trading Pin

Once you know all about the history of the trading pin, you can share your knowledge with other pin traders to help keep the tradition alive. The history is what makes it all so fun and exciting in the first place. And, regardless of your affiliation to the pastime, you'll be better equipped to find pins for yourself and your friends or family that make an impact on your collections.

In today's day and age, it's actually difficult to find a reason NOT to collect trading pins. Many sports teams from youth leagues to professional enterprises engage in creating, designing, and trading pins as a way to promote team spirit among players and fans. Some people trade pins solely as a hobby, even if they don't usually participate in the events for which the trading pins are made.


Many baseball pin traders have probably heard the story about how trading pins got their start. For baseball, in particular, it began in the 1920s in Rochester, New York when a local bakery began distributing pinback buttons featuring local baseball players. The bakery offered the pins in four-packs for collection or trade.

But, the real origin of the trading pin itself began at the end of the 19th century in Athens, Greece. It was the first Olympic games where athletes, judges, and officials all wore different cardboard discs with multiple colors to identify themselves. Wearing, distributing, and trading such type pins eventually evolved into the custom that we know today.


When the first Olympic Village opened in Paris in 1924, trading pins grew in popularity because athletes had more frequent contact with each other and officials. Each country featured its own pin. It was not long after that spectators took an interest in trading pins and collections which eventually urged Olympic organizers to limit the number of pins produced in order to maintain exclusivity.

By now, it was 1948 and pin trading and collecting was becoming a popular hobby. Sports fans began organizing their own trading events and the tradition took off with great enthusiasm.


In 1988, Coca-Cola saw an opportunity to get in on the fun and set up an official pin trading center at the Olympic Winter Games in Calgary. This was the first time a corporation became involved with pin trading and it was a great success. Some people arrived at the Games just for the pin trading rather than to watch any sports.

Ever since Coca-Cola's promotion and dedication to pin trading started, it has become known as the number one spectator sport at the Olympic Games. There are now thousands of designs and millions of pins and collectors found throughout the world.


Disneyland parks have always carried pins for their guests to purchase and collect. But, it wasn't until the Millennium Celebration in 1999 when pin trading was introduced at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. The Disneyland Resort in California soon followed.

Now pin trading is popular at Disneyland Parks worldwide. This was the first time in history that a corporation unaffiliated with sports became involved with the tradition of trading pins and it has been a great success. Each branch of Disney, including Disney Cruise Lines, has their own pins and trading traditions.

Why Do People Collect and Trade Pins

Many pin traders, known as pinheads, started their collections by finding trading pins that they really love. These can be pins that are colorful and made with soft enamel to photo-etched pins that depict their favorite sports players. They started trading as a way to broaden their collections as well as make new friends.

Whether you enjoy sports as a player or a fan, or you're just intrigued by the many different types and styles of pins, it's a good reason to collect and trade. You'll not only have fun, but you'll also have something to brag about when your collection takes off.

Make a game of it in itself and see how many pins you can collect in a given year or season. Think of your friends when you're trading so that you'll have something to share with them when you find a pin that they've been looking for. Best of all, create a tradition in your family that's sure to last for generations.

Trading Sports Pins

The tradition of collecting pins is a pastime for many that enjoy sports and other events like scholarly competitions. Some pins even hold significant value depending on how old they are and how many are in circulation. If you're lucky, you may find rare pins that not only add value to your collection but also motivates other pinheads to trade with you.

Trading sports pins is all about camaraderie on and off the playing the field. Whether you're a player or a fan, trading pins is a great way to make lasting friendships. You may even build your own network of pinheads to trade with on a regular basis so that your collection remains diverse and up to date at all times.

If you want to be a part of the history of the trading pin and start your own collection, feel free to contact us! We've been manufacturing and distributing baseball trading pins since 2003 and we look forward to helping you get involved with this timeless tradition.

Looking to make your own custom trading pin? We can help,. Fill out our online form to begin!


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