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Pin trading can be a lot of fun

Pin trading has quickly developed from a fad into an enduring hobby for kids and adults of all ages. From major pin trading events that draw traders from around the globe to individual trades with cast members, the entire hobby can seem intimidating and expensive to newcomers. Fortunately, following a few simple tips can help you get started without breaking the bank.

1. Buy “grab bag” starters

Image (c) Disney

If you want to get into pin trading, avoid the racks and racks of individual pins that you will find all over Disney property. Instead, make a beeline for the “grab bag” sets. These mystery collections don’t allow you to see what you are getting before you buy, but that doesn’t matter. The point at this stage is to have something to trade. Open them up, keep any that really speak to you, and put the rest on a lanyard to begin trading.

You have a choice here, depending on your personal ethics and what you hope to accomplish from pin trading. The cheapest way to get started is to buy a big grab bag from a private collector online. The problem is that you run something of a risk of getting “scrappers,” or counterfeit pins. They are perfectly tradable with people who don’t know the difference, but serious collectors will refuse them, and they put other traders at risk for trading a valuable pin for something ultimately worthless. Of course, not all online pin sellers are unscrupulous. If you want to go this route, try to buy from someone with good feedback from other buyers.

If you want to avoid any possibility of scrappers, purchase mystery packs at the parks, directly through Disney online, or from one of the myriad official outlets. They are still a great value when compared to individual pins.

2. Trade for what you like

Especially when you are first starting out, trade for what you like without worrying about price points. It’s possible that you will end up with a scrapper, but the odds are lower if you trade with cast members and long-time traders. In addition, cast members are always willing to undo the trade if a pin you just traded for is not to your liking. Check out the back and edges to see if they look okay, but don’t get overly concerned about possible scrappers. Focus on finding the pins that speak to you in some way.

3. Only buy individuals that you actually want

Individual pins are not terribly expensive, but the costs can add up quickly. Speculative pin futures can be just as confusing as oil futures, so don’t try to stay ahead of the market. Buy only those individual pins that you legitimately want to own, even if they are marked Limited Edition or Passholder or are event-specific. You can always trade them later for something you like more, but trying to invest in the possible future value will only bring aggravation and a busted budget.

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