Thank you for this great article. I appreciated hearing that it's ok just to get pins because they make you happy. I'm not a SERIOUS collector, but was curious about real vs fake so l won't get caught by a less...honest seller, when I'm supporting my habit! I love your description of the pins as "little paintings" as I've described them that way too! Thanks again!

It seems, as some others have mentioned, that the guidelines in the article are only really valid in more recent pins.
I have a few pins from the early 2000's (2002-2006) that these guidelines would call them fake even though they were purchased directly from the park.

ie: The number of prongs, the logo, etc.
The logo has definitely changed over the years.

In reply to by Angelique (not verified)

I got two pins from the Wilderness Back Trail Adventure. It has the Mickey plug and the Mickey Symbol and banner with the year 2014 under it. Even though we did the Segway tour at Fort Wilderness in May 2015. There is even a serial number on it and the copyright symbol. My Mom gave me hers. The Segway tour was very fun.

Those are great ideas for what to do with the scrap pins. I was a merchandise cast member and as for advice for getting rare or unique pins, trade early. I had a number of rare pins on my lanyard while working there and they were the first to be traded. I remember when I was working at the Green Thumb Emporium in the Land I got a pin that was made for the opening of Seven Dwarves Mine Train and one I had never seen before. Not 10 minutes later a tween girl asked to see my pins and she screamed "THAT ONE" so loud it scared me, and I couldn't say no to such enthusiasm!

I am not an avid pin trader now, but it was very fun to do as a cast member and the fastpass and ticket book pins are a favorite of mine, and I love you mentioning ways to create great things to do with fake ones. Just because they aren't genuine doesn't mean that they can't still be special :)

This is a true. I was a merchandise cast member last year and that was one of the ways we would test to see if they were real, as well as all the ways listed above. While a few genuine Disney pins may be magnetic, the majority aren't so if you have a few magnetic ones check for weight, coloring, copyright, and weight and metal used. Hope this helps :)

hey, I'm a intermediate pin trader, trading since 2009 and i just got back from my trip to Disney in florida and I was talking to a cast member from the pin traders tent in downtown Disney who seems to really know his stuff. he told me that if the pin is magnetic then its a fake. official Disney pins arn't magnetic he said. now im a little worried about some of my pins cause I tested them and four of them are magnetic. is this true they are fake?

I've been trading for 5 years and I've amassed a rather large collection (thanks to a local pin trader who sold me his entire 600+ pin collection for an absolute steal). We started collecting during the Pin Trading 10th anniversary and in those 5 years with all of the scrappers that have flooded the market, Disney has really stopped investing in this program. It's still a fun way to meet and interact with cast members, but now I accept that I'm probably not going to come home with any REALLY great new finds. Scrapper or no, if the pin is cute and is in reasonably good shape, I'm happy to give it a home in my permanent collection. So many of these things are produced, I imagine that they'll eventually go the way of beanie babies. If it's not fun or if the pins don't mean something special to you, I don't see much of a point in collecting and trading. I own pins because it makes me smile when I look at them (they're like little miniature paintings) and because I like to use them as a vehicle to meet people and engage with them in a way that I otherwise wouldn't have the opportunity to.

As for the scrappers that are in really bad shape, I like to used them for Disney-inspired crafts. One of my pins (a Mickey Mouse golfer) was missing the paint on his one shoe, so I filled in the missing space and carefully matched the paint to his other shoe. Now he hitches a ride on my golf bag :). He looks great and I'm not concerned about him falling off because he cost me a little bit of nothing. Scrappers are also great for adorning scrapbook pages or for making a DIY castle-shaped matted photo frames filled with pins--you know, the ones that they sell in the shops for around $1200!!

Pin number 2 is an official Disney pin- it's from their Earth Day celebration many years ago. It is made exactly like the other pins they hand out for visiting character restaurants.

I totally agree with the comment that these "tips" only apply to recent pins. I started collecting in 1999 - the store pins - in preparation for the beginning of the Y2K celebration of pin trading that Disney was launching. I have thousands of pins. I had a cast member on my trip in January try to tell me it wasn't a legal pin trading pin because it didn't have all of these tips. Well - I promptly went to have a discussion with guest services. The newer cast members don't understand and they follow these current guidelines. The original pins when pin trading started and made hundreds of thousands of dollars for the company don't have this. But they are still REAL pins.

Just starting to get into Disney Pin trading collecting so this has been very valuable.

The problem with this article is that it is only good for RECENT pins... for any pins older then maybe like 2012 (or even more recent) all of these are not true. I am a former trader, and a former cast member. I also have a pin collection of older pins that are limited edition, cast exclusives, overseas pins that are GENUINE and most of them DO NOT meet this criteria. So while this may work for recent pins, any of the more hard to find, older pins - it's not relevant. BEST way to know if it is a true Disney pin or not? Check to make sure it has the copy right on it or not. Disney cast members CAN NOT trade it if it's not a pin with a copyright disney... if it's not something they would trade - it's not a true Disney pin. Also - the second one is a BUTTON not a pin - buttons aren't tradeable ;-).

Enormity doesn't mean what you think it means. :)

A few additional things to look for-- the Mickey head icon imprinted on the back will continue off the edge in an authentic pin whereas a fake will appear to be closed off where the whole icon doesn't fit . Simply put-- is the head open or closed -- open = real ; closed = fake.
Also, rub your fingers along the edge -- do you feel any "burrs", rough edges , like they missed getting filed down smooth if so -- fake.
The coloring is tricky- I have had pins I would have sworn they were not fakes, but when I compared to uncirculated pins in the store, it was obvious what I was holding in my hand was a fake. My granddaughter didn't care-- it was a favorite character! Also fakes tend to be slightly larger than authentic -- you would think it would be the other way around. But unless you have a real one to compare it to, you may not even notice.

I went nuts one Christmas while trying to find the largest stuffed Goofy on eBay for my granddaughter for Christmas - cause that was all she asked Santa for. I had never shopped on eBay and before I knew it, I had spent $2000 on pins !!! I was soooo proud of my collection, until I started learning how to spot the fakes. Now we are very careful to not trade those but they still make GREAT gifts for my grandkids to give their classmates when they return from a trip, so they certainly do not go to waste.

Thanks for the info very informative

The serial thing is something new. The precious pins (Hidden Mickey) doesn't have serial number on them.

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