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  1. #1

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    6/25: Stuck on You

    Pin Trading: A Special Value, Plus Collecting Tips... discuss it all here...

    DIRECT ARTICLE LINK: MiceAge.com - A different look at Disney...
    "Politics is the profession whereby the inevitable is made to seem a great human achievement" - Quentin Crisp

  2. #2

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    Re: 6/25: Stuck on You

    A couple of insights on Mr. Yee's article, related to my experience as a bookkeeper for a McDonald's franchisee back in the '80s:

    1) Our franchise had enamel pins manufactured to indicate how long employees worked. These had the franchisee and McDonald's logos on them, single color with golden accents, and we ordered them in lots of 100 for about 70 cents each. Yes, Disney has higher costs due to inflation, but their "limited" runs have about 10,000 pins and Disney probably owns the factory. I imagine they could be making 90% margin on those things.

    2) The free pins on the gift cards may well be paid by... lost gift cards. You may remember the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984: the swimming stadium was paid for by McDonald's... or more specifically, each of the ~ 10,000 restaurants was required to make quarterly payments towards the stadium cost. When the final payment came due, the McD corp informed the franchisees that no payment was necessary... their actuarial folks had determined that enough of those 50 cent gift certificates had been lost nationwide to cover the final payment. We're talking millions of dollars, folks!

  3. #3

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    Re: 6/25: Stuck on You

    Great article. I always enjoy seeing articles on pin trading.

    A couple notes.

    1. Pins with Hidden Mickeys on them were never for sale. Actually this statement is not true. After a Hidden Mickey has been available for a bit they will release mystery packs that contain 2 of them for $10. AN example can be seen here.

    Hidden Mickey Mystery Pouch - Fun Icons

    So while it does usually take a few months, they do eventually become available for purchase.

    2. Start on eBay rather than in the parks.
    While you can get some great deals and there are dealers who sell legit bulk pins, most of the time these sets are full of fake pins or "Scrappers". A scrapper can be a pin that was rejected by Disney for bad quality or they could be extras made from lesser materials by the manufactures to make a quick buck. Of course scrapper pins are a huge problem for pin traders and worth an article themselves.

  4. #4

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    Re: 6/25: Stuck on You

    As a long time pin trader who has purchased MANY pins on eBay, I would like to comment on how valuable Kevin’s tips on pin trading are. I especially want to comment on the value of buying pins on eBay, but also throw in a word of caution.

    A majority (yes majority) of the pin lots that you purchase on eBay are counterfeit pins (please note I’m talking about pin lots and not individual pins) I know this because I have purchased them. While 97% of the time counterfeit pins are perfectly tradable in the park, they should be avoided as it is dishonest, they decrease the value of real pins by flooding the market with fakes, and are annoying to other traders who trade away their real pin, with real value, for a fake pin.

    These counterfeit pins, for the most part, are difficult to tell apart from a real pin, unless you have a known real pin right next to it. As a result, many people have no problem trading them at the parks or selling them to others. Heck I bet most of them don’t even realize they are trading or selling counterfeits. Counterfeits are usually poorer quality than the real Disney pins. Some of the problems that I have encountered with fake pins are that they are discolored, the pin posts fall off, or the enamel on the front of the pin just falls out or peels off.

    So how do you avoid fake pin lots? Here are some tips:

    1 – By far, the most counterfeited pins are Cast Lanyard / Hidden Mickey pins. Use caution with lots that are comprised of mostly these types of pins. I want to stress that just because someone is selling a lot of Cast Lanyards, doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily fake, it just means you should examine things more closely.

    2 – Avoid grab bags, mystery lots, or chose your own number lots where you don’t see a picture of the actual pins you are getting. They don’t want to show you the pins because usually they have dozens and dozens of the exact same pins because they are counterfeit. Especially avoid buying these types of lots from people that are not located near a Disney park. Ask yourself, where someone in Ohio, get thousands of Disney pins to sell in lots? It’s not like they are going to the park everyday and are just trying to get rid of some “extra” pins they acquired.

    3 – Counterfeit pins are made in China or Hong Kong. So especially avoid pin lots from there. Sorry to all of you honest pin traders in Hong Kong. That doesn’t mean that U.S. sellers aren’t selling counterfeits, they just get them from Hong Kong originally. The U.S. sellers act as distributers for the Hong Kong factories that make these pins.

    4 – Counterfeit pins often come from the factory individually wrapped in small plastic bags, usually with a staple through the top of the bag to keep it from falling out. Use caution if the picture shows the pins wrapped this way.

    5 – Look at the seller’s other lots. This is probably the most import thing to do. If they only have a few items, or are selling a variety of different pins then they are more likely to be an honest seller. If they have dozens of pin lots, especially ones with similar pins, then they are more likely to be counterfeit. If someone is selling multiple quantities of the exact same lot, then they are probably counterfeit. Why would someone have 10 copies of the same 20 pins?

    6 - While not counterfeit pins, avoid pins from Sedesma and Pro Pins. They are not Official Disney Pin Trading pins. Sedesma pins are officially licensed pins, but are not metal. They are a hard plastic. Technically the pin trading rules say that pins you trade must be metal, although I have never seen a Sedesma pin refused.

    There’s probably more to say, but I have to go to work. Just keep in mind that it is worth it to spend an extra $1 apiece for real pins then to get the fake pins, which really just hurt the hobby. You feel better about trading a nice pin, versus looking down at the ground as you hand the cast member a pin where Pluto is looking a tad bit brown, instead of the yellow he’s supposed to be.

    Hope this helps!

    Happy Pin Trading!

    Sychros

  5. #5

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    Re: 6/25: Stuck on You

    *smacks forehead*

    I should have realized the counterfeit possibility... how else could pins be only a dollar or two each?
    Kevin Yee
    MiceAge Columnist

    I am the author of several Disney books:
    Jason's Disneyland Almanac - a daily history of Disneyland
    Walt Disney World Hidden History - tributes, homages, and ride remnants at WDW
    Your Day at the Magic Kingdom
    Mouse Trap
    Tokyo Disney Made Easy
    101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland
    Magic Quizdom (The Disneyland Trivia Book)

    “The press [should be] a watchdog. Not an attack dog. Not a lapdog. A watchdog. Now, a watchdog can't be right all the time. He doesn't bark only when he sees or smells something that's dangerous. A good watchdog barks at things that are suspicious.” – Dan Rather

  6. #6

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    Re: 6/25: Stuck on You

    Hey there,

    I have a few questions about the gift cards:
    1. Can we purchase them with a credit card?
    2. Can we use the gift card to pay for hotel bill?

    We are planning to go down to WDW next month, if this work, them we can buy a bunch of gift card, enough to pay for the hotel stay/ tickets/ DDP .... that's a lot of free pins!!

  7. #7

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    Re: 6/25: Stuck on You

    It happens to the best of us Kevin. Sychros has some great advice there and there are lots of places on the web to get more info on fake pins. After I get home from work this evening I will get some pictures of some fakes I got so that everyone can see them.

    You may want to try some of the Disney outlet stores in the Orlando area. They often have cheap legit pins for purchase that you can trade with a smile knowing it is real.

    Oh and a final note, Mueseum of Pintiquites is this weekend. It is the annual pin event in WDW and there are a lot of traders there.

  8. #8

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    Re: 6/25: Stuck on You

    credit card: yes. we used our disney visa (which gives us a further 1% back in disney dollars whenever we want it)

    hotel: didn't ask. I'd call the hotel to ask in your shoes. But I'd be shocked if they said no.
    Kevin Yee
    MiceAge Columnist

    I am the author of several Disney books:
    Jason's Disneyland Almanac - a daily history of Disneyland
    Walt Disney World Hidden History - tributes, homages, and ride remnants at WDW
    Your Day at the Magic Kingdom
    Mouse Trap
    Tokyo Disney Made Easy
    101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland
    Magic Quizdom (The Disneyland Trivia Book)

    “The press [should be] a watchdog. Not an attack dog. Not a lapdog. A watchdog. Now, a watchdog can't be right all the time. He doesn't bark only when he sees or smells something that's dangerous. A good watchdog barks at things that are suspicious.” – Dan Rather

  9. #9

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    Re: 6/25: Stuck on You

    The same tink pin Kevin showed was given to my children by CMs at the Disney store at the airport. They were hanging out with the kids and they gave them the pins.
    Check out my blog - Coreplex: Rambling from inside the Grid


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    Quote Originally Posted by sleepyjeff View Post
    Disneyland was meant to be sipped not chug-a-lugged

  10. #10

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    Re: 6/25: Stuck on You

    To piggyback on Kevin's notes about Disney Gift Cards, at Disneyland, you can use your Birthday Fun Card to buy tickets at Disneyland. Not sure if this is true at Walt Disney World. Unfortunately, you can't use your DL Birthday Fun Card at WDW. And I am not sure if this is the case at Walt Disney World.

    I have been told two different things about expiration dates on the DL Birthday Fun Card. I been told by at least two CMs from Disneyland Guest Services that the card expires in 12 months after your birthday. However, I also been told that the Birthday Fun Card doesn't expire by Disney Gift Card Services and by one CM from Disneyland. Also, I can't find anything at disneyparks.com/birthdayfuncard or on the back of the card to support the presence of a expiration date. Not sure which is true. Either way, normal Disney Gift Cards don't have a expiration date.

  11. #11

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    Re: 6/25: Stuck on You

    Also, I was suprised to find the color code pin price system at my recent visit at Disneyland. It was a bit confusing, but I still bought pins that I would normally buy. However, I guess it makes it easier to label the pin price by color rather than outright on there.

    I guess the same thing about the gift card goes for the birthday fun card in terms of spending. It really does encourge spending, especially since it is a "free gift". If I didn't control myself last visit, I am pretty sure I would have spent all of my Birthday Fun Card.

  12. #12

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    Re: 6/25: Stuck on You

    Do they sell these Gift Cards at the airport store? or the resort gift shop?

  13. #13

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    Re: 6/25: Stuck on You

    As a cast member at Disneyland, I do as well keep some "pocket pins" on me. I love giving one away to a guest who makes my day especially if they are new to pin trading. I use them in case I trade in error a counterfeit one and don't have time to go back stage and try to get a manager to give me another, or if a guest is collecting something special and I know I have one in my pocket that will help (and the guest has spent some time with me and is nice), I love making their day and helping them out.

  14. #14

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    Re: 6/25: Stuck on You

    I used to carry a pocket pin with me all the time as a guest to the DLR. Now, I just don't enter the park without my lanyard. I doubt it gets quite as hot here as it would in Florida. And I also have to thank people like the CM who posted above me. I've actually received quite a few pins from CMs that have done this, and it really makes the visit special, and makes me feel like I've acquired something.

    I'm not a fan of the new color coding pricing however. I've found myself looking at pins, look at the back to find a color and thinking "Screw it, I don't have time to find a price" and put the pin back on the shelf. If the marketing scheme works as Kevin says it does, I think it's a double bladed sword in that aspect. I've undoubtedly not bought dozens of pins since they put in the new color coded bologna, because I think it's too much of a strain on the customer. I mean, these signs are not large, and are usually difficult to find. Not worth my time.

    The notes above on counterfeits are also very helpful, and is great advice if you really looking for something to cherish. But, for most people out there, I doubt cheap pins, counterfeit or not, are going to ruin the experience for guests. I've received more counterfeits trading in the parks than I have online, and I usually check all the pins that I received throughout the day to make sure. Either way, counterfeit pins are still part of my collection, and I know they are there, but it just doesn't matter. I enjoy the character that is on the pin, and the pin is of a character that I like, so I've got nothing to complain about. I only paid $1-$2 for a pin anyways! I can see how this can be disrupting to Disney and it's profit, but that's just how these things go. I'm sure there were counterfeit Pogs when those were popular too.

  15. #15

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    Re: 6/25: Stuck on You

    I will echo the color scheme thing. In WDW this week I looked at a pin rack just out of curiousity.. saw the color thing.. thought simple enough.. but then couldn't find the chart with the prices. I wasn't willing to go hunting for it (it wasn't at the top, or edges of the display I was looking at..) so I walked away.
    Check out my blog - Coreplex: Rambling from inside the Grid


    Am I evil? yes, I am
    Am I evil? I am man, yes, I am

    Quote Originally Posted by sleepyjeff View Post
    Disneyland was meant to be sipped not chug-a-lugged

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