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by Pin Trading Diva

One of the most popular hobbies among Disney fans is pin trading. Having grown vastly since it’s official debut in Disney in 1999, people from all over the world participate in sharing pins and growing their collections. While you can trade  with Cast Members and other guests in the park, this addicting hobby isn’t limited to just the parks as you may very well know. Social media plays a big part in trading nowadays too. Tons of groups, manned by Disney fans, have popped up on Instagram and Facebook making pin trading a 24/7 hobby – giving you your Disney fix even when you can’t be in the park.

And with all this buzz, it can be easy to get lost in the pin trading world.  Even I get confused about the different types of pins and where they come from, plus everyone categorizes their pins in a different way.  But that’s why I’m writing this article! I’ve compiled a list of abbreviations and pin trading “lingo” that can help you navigate the ever changing pin trading world, so that you can jump into the fun head first! With this knowledge you can talk to Cast Members and fellow traders with confidence that you , and even your little ones know their stuff about pin trading!

013Keepers VS Traders: We will start off with an easy one. It’s helpful to separate your pins into groups to keep you organized. There are 2 main groups you should have: Keepers and Traders. As the names suggest, Keepers are pins you plan on keeping for your personal collection and Traders are pins you plan on trading with other people. While it’s up to you what you want to trade, making sure you know which pins you like best and which pins you could live without can keep you from giving away one of your valued pins in a trade. This is really helpful for younger traders who just trade blindly for a pin they want and accidentally give away something they wish they didn’t. Parents, helping them sort out a pile of Keepers and Traders can teach them the value of their pins and help them make smarter trades. If you want to categorize your pins electronically, be sure to use PinPics. You can look through almost every pin ever made and keep a list of your Keepers, Traders, and even a list of your Wants! (you will read more about Pinpics later in the article012)

NFS / NFT: These abbreviations identify  your Keepers and Traders to other pin traders out there. It’s important to label your pins, especially if you are trading online, whether or not they are for trade or sale. If you have pins that are Keepers, or  Not For Trade (NFT) or Not For Sale (NFS), labeling them that way will tell other traders that they should not try to go for those pins in a trade / sale with you. This way they won’t even inquire about a pin they don’t have a chance of getting anyway. I find this helpful when I talk to people I want to trade with – so I know those certain pins are off limits to me and I can focus on their Traders instead.

022ISO: Sometimes we know exactly what pins we are looking for to add to our collections. For example I am always looking for Ariel pins, especially the new diamond Hidden Mickey with Ariel on it. These are pins that I am In Search Of or ISO. Everyone is ISO something different, but it’s always a good idea to let the person you are trading with know what they are. That way they can look for your particular ISO’s first when trading with you. It’s just like asking someone what they collect or what they are looking for. You’re just asking what they are ISO.


Places To Get Pins:014

DL  (Disneyland) / DCA (Disney California Adventure) /WDW (Walt Disney World) / DLP (Disneyland Paris) / HKDL (Hong Kong Disneyland) / DCL (Disney Cruise Line): The most popular place to get a Disney pin is in the parks. Every park sells them, most commonly Disneyland (DL) and Walt Disney World (WDW). But you can get a pin all over the world! And yes, even at sea from the Disney Cruise Line (DCL).  You may already know these abbreviations from your Disney trip planning but they work just as well with pin trading too!

DSF (Disney Soda Fountain):  This chocolate shop in Hollywood known as the Disney Soda Fountain store (DSF) sells the infamous Pin Trader Delight. (You will read about that later in the article).

WDI (Walt Disney Imagineering): Some of the more highly sought after pins for trading are found at the company store on the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank, CA. They are known as Walt Disney Imagineering pins or WDI’s due to the location.

Types of Pins:016

HM (Hidden Mickey): The most common type of pin you will trade at the parks is probably a Hidden Mickey or HM. They are smaller sets of pins (each with a silver Mickey head somewhere on the pin) that Disney releases during the year. You can only get these pins by trading for them – you cannot buy them.  They are increasingly popular because anyone can trade for them and well, it’s always fun to complete a set of something right?

023OE (Open Edition): The next level of pins, I guess you could say, is an Open Edition or OE. OE’s are pins sold by Disney and are available to the masses. There is no limit to how many of these pins can be sold and are available to all guests. OE’s cost around $8-12 at the parks depending on the pin and they vary by character, movie, ride, or season.


LE (Limited Edition): These types of pins are more limited than OE’s. Only a certain amount of Limited Editions or LE’s are made, it will say what amount on the back of the pin (for example LE of 2000). These pins cost a bit more, $15-25, as they are deemed a bit more valuable. LE’s have a bit more to them compared to OE’s as well. They can be 3d, have moving parts, glitter in the paint, etc.  A lot of LE’s are sold for the season or even just for an event, like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 2015. All LE’s released at the park can be found at the Disney Parks Merchandise Blog. They have a monthly calendar telling you when and where they are to be released so you can know the best times to buy your LE’s. These types of pins can go rather quickly depending on the popularity, (I’ve seen a Surprise Release LE Ariel pin sell out in a manner of hours! Although a week or two is more typical) so grab those pins when you can! They make out to be more valuable in trading with other guests, the lower the LE the better.

LR (Limited Release): The limited release pin or LR pin, is almost exactly the same as an LE pin. They are limited and very sought after – and even cost around the same amount. Instead of releasing these pins in a limited amount though, they are only released for a limited time. Usually LR’s come out once and only once. After they are sold out – that’s it, they do not come out again. This makes them pretty valuable in the eyes of a pin trader. LR’s and LE’s if not bought at the right time are very hard to find unless you can get them in a trade.

026PTD (Pin Trader Delight): PTD’s are a whole separate category of pins according to most pin traders. There are some that ONLY collect PTD’s in fact. Pin Trader Delights are LE pins sold only at the Disney Soda Fountain Store in Hollywood (DSF) accompanying an ice cream sundae. The pin consists of a Disney character with an ice cream sundae. This is the only way to get a PTD and hard core traders literally spend hours at DSF for the chance to get one of these bad boys! There are only 4 types of PTD’s at a time (usually LE of 150-400 each) and once all 4 are sold out they switch to an all new set of 4 and so on. There are more than a hundred different types of PTD’s with characters ranging from Anna and Elsa, to each of the Sugar Rush racers from Wreck it Ralph! A PTD bought from the store in Hollywood costs about $16.50 but due to the exclusivity, they can retail for $50 or more and make a great addition to your group of Traders.

Photo by Danielle Echavarria

Photo by Danielle Echavarria

Fantasy Pins:  Have you ever had an idea for a Disney pin? Well many people do, and having not seen Disney come up with it yet, they decide to make the pin themselves! That’s right, Fantasy Pins are FAN MADE pins that are NOT made by Disney. These pins are not tradable to Cast Members in the parks and are usually traded outside of the parks. While they may be a copyright issue, that doesn’t stop fans! Fantasy pins are often traded and sold online and are very exclusive. Many of these pins are character crossovers like Baymax swimming with Ariel or Carl from Up holding a Death Star balloon from the parks. Most of these pins are LE 200 or less and can cost between $35-$200 depending on the pins. Like PTD’s some pin traders exclusively collect Fantasy Pins and coupled with the low edition size this makes them hard to find for trade or sale.

018Scrappers: Yes you’ve probably heard of the dreaded scrapper  pin. It’s a cheaply made inauthentic version of a real Disney pin and unfortunately it comes about way too often.  Scrappers are usually bad for business when it comes to pin trading. Most pin traders want the real deal so it’s best to check all of your pins before trading to make sure they are authentic. There are many ways to tell if a pin is a scrapper: discoloration, edges to the waffle back, rough edges, etc. A helpful guide for pin traders is PinPics. This website categorizes all Disney pins ever made (they are constantly updating the site) and has a lot of benefits. Along with actually pin trading on the site, you can also search for almost any pin you may have and it will provide you with details of that pin. It can tell you where it was sold, what it should look like (front and back) and the most helpful in this case, is how to tell if it may be a scrapper. My best advice if you don’t know whether or not your pin is a scrapper is to look it up on PinPics. Pixie Dusted Savings has some tips on how to find scrappers as well here.

Ok that was a lot of information to read I know! But once you get used to the lingo it won’t seem like that much at all. These terms are used to simplify your trading experience and I hope that they do just that! Now that you know the language of the pin traders, you can confidently march up to the tables at the park or message someone online knowing you’ve got what it takes to be an exceptional pin trader!

***Disclaimer – We at Tips from the Disney Divas and Devos hope you enjoy reading our articles, and encourage you to share any you feel may be of interest to someone else. We do ask, however, if you choose to share the photographs attached to our articles, you give credit to the photographer. Thank you for your cooperation and sharing our love of Disney!