The History of Trading Pins & Their Return to Popularity

The History of Trading Pins & Their Return to Popularity

When we watch the Olympic Games, we focus on sports. However, there is another tradition that takes place at the Olympics that many of us might not be aware of...

When we watch the Olympic Games, we focus on sports. However, there is another tradition that takes place at the Olympics that many of us might not be aware of.

One of the Games’ biggest draws is pin trading. Athletes, officials, and spectators all participate, exchanging, and collecting pins to celebrate their journey. One might wonder where this tradition originated and why trading pins have become such a big deal.

The practice is relevant outside the games as well, especially at youth sports events, and more. Find out more about the history of trading pins and their rise in popularity below.

Where Sports Pins Originated!
The origins of the Olympic trading pins date all the back to the first modern Olympic Games held in 1896. The event took place in Athens, where athletes used cardboard discs as badges in different colors to identify the athletes, judges, and officials.

Then in 1904, the designs of these pins become more ornamental. Trading began at the Olympic village in 1924 in Paris. Athletes and officials swapped pins as a symbol of international friendship. Each nation had its own pin, and the exchanging of pins with other countries became a sign of goodwill.

This sparked the interest of spectators and fans, though Olympic organizers wanted it to remain exclusive, opting to limit the numbers of pins produced. Pin trading among spectators really took off in 1972, thanks to the abundance of pin variations, which were produced for the Summer Olympics in Munich.

Sports Pins' Rise To popularity!
Soon after the Munich Olympics, trading pins became one of the top “spectator sports” in the Olympics. Fans also organized trading events, which led to pin trading becoming an even more significant part of sports.

In 1988 Coca-Cola organized the company’s first official pin trading center at the Olympic Winter Games in Calgary. Corporate sponsors had their own pins since the 1960 games, but this was the first time a corporation stepped into pin trading in a big way.

After the massively successful endeavor, Coca-Cola remained dedicated to the tradition. This is the main force behind pin trading becoming as popular as it is today.

There are even stories of people going to the Olympics to trade pins rather than watch any sport.

Pins aren't exclusive to sports, either. Disney has always offered pins that feature their icons, characters, attractions, and more. Disney has released individual pins, limited-edition designs, light-up, pins, 3D pins, and more.

Pin trading at Disney became incredibly popular in 1999. That's when the Millennium Celebration at Walt Disney World Resort introduced the hobby. Trading pins spread to other parts of the park, including Disneyland in California, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disney, and others. Each location has unique pins and traditions.

These days you will see Disney characters wearing one or more on their person. Managers might also wear lanyards with pins, though Disney doesn't let ride operators have pins for apparent reasons.

Guests can trade Disney pins with any character wearing a lanyard. They must offer an eligible pin or two, and they must abide by established pin trading rules. Either the character or the person initiating it can decline the trade.

Be aware that each location may have different rules, so pay attention to these if you are looking to trade pins.

Other Events!
Youth league baseball has been mostly responsible for the popularity of pin trading. Baseball pins have been a part of the game since the 1920s when a bakery in Rochester, New York, released pinback buttons for their local baseball players.

When Little League Baseball® released its first official baseball trading pins in 1983, the tradition exploded in popularity. Pin trading has even extended outside of sports to academic competitions.

Events such as Odyssey of the Mind and Destination Imagination Pin trading is a massive part of the international finals. Teams design their own pins, so each pin can be as creative as the teams want.

Trading Pins As A Hobby!
Folks enjoy trading pins because of the amount of pins you can get your hands on. People are also drawn to the elusiveness of some pins, as many trading pins are not for sale. You will have to trade one of your own to get another that you like.

Trading pins are also a great way to meet new people. When folks share the same interests, they tend to become lasting friends. Many manufacturers can turn your team’s design into a trading pin. If you want to go this route, you must know what makes a pin appeal to traders and collectors. Pins with moving pieces, blinkers, glitter, crystals, and other features are more likely to gain interest.

Create Your Own Trading Pin!
Creating a custom pin design is fun and easy, especially if you choose a good manufacturer. Here at Lapel Pin Superstore, we can create pins with quality materials, vibrant colors, and do so at a price that won't break your budget.

Let us show you how easy it is to create looking, affordable custom trading pins. Contact Us now to find out more!

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