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7 Ways to Tell if a Disney Pin is Genuine or FAKE

Pin Collecting

One of the most popular activities for guests at any Disney resort is pin trading. The trend was inspired by pin trading activities at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Disney’s vast collection of pins includes special designs featuring attractions, resorts, characters, special events, holidays, and more. Guests can buy many pins directly for their collection, but the fun is in trading them. There are many pins that you can only get by trading with Cast Members because they’re never sold in stores.

The problem with pin trading is that there are a lot of counterfeits out there that look extremely similar to the real thing. Most Disney pins, both real and fake, are manufactured in China. When a factory finishes with a legitimate run of real pins, they often discard the old mold. These same molds are then used in counterfeit production runs to create pins that can look nearly identical to the real thing.

The following qualities will help you determine whether a pin is real or a fake. These elements will ensure that you’re looking at a genuine pin but are not necessarily present on every pin that’s authentic. Just because a pin lacks one of the criteria, it’s not necessarily a fake. Having one or more of these features does mean that your pin is almost surely real.

1. Look for the official Disney Pin Trading logo

Disney Pin LogoDisney Pin Logo

Every official Disney Pin should have a Pin Trading logo on the back. The main part of the logo is a classic Mickey head with a banner across the middle. Inside the banner it will say “Pin Trading,” with the release year beneath it. Newer pins have the Mickey head logo set atop a crest shape, making it look even more official. It should also say “© Disney.”

2. Look for a stick pin closure

Wrong Pin ClosureWrong Pin ClosureTrading pins don't have this closure.

Official Disney trading pins have a stick pin that pokes a hole into an article of clothing and is held on by a rubber Mickey Mouse shaped pin back. If the closure is anything else, it may not be the real McCoy. Please note that if the pin back doesn’t look like Mickey, it doesn’t mean that it’s a fake. The original pin back may have been replaced.

3. Look for prongs on the back

With and Without ProngsWith and Without ProngsThe pin on the left is authentic

Official Disney Pin Trading pins usually feature at least one prong to keep the pin from spinning. Larger pins boast two small prongs while smaller pins usually offer one tiny prong. These prongs, or nubs, are little more than raised bumps so they’re easy to miss, but a nub or two on the back is an excellent indicator that you have a genuine pin.

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There are 15 comments.

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

Thanks for the info very informative

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.

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

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 ;-).

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?

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 :)

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.

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

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.

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'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!!

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 :)

dont buy from ebay lot buyers if you think their rare i will sell you overpriced coins chaimy geenberg chaim7@verizon.net

Dont buy those scammers witk cheap lots on ebay their scammers and fake.

Also dont sell me coins as i tend to pay you less than qouted.

chaim7@verizon.net

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