Trading pins at Walt Disney World, which began as part of the Millennium Celebration in 1999, has created a subculture all its own. The process is simple, fun, and interactive: you simply buy a Disney pin in the park (they range anywhere for $6 to $50) and then trade with other guests, or even with cast members who carry lanyards full of pins. The twist, of course, is that some pins are more valuable than others, depending on the year of issue and the quantity produced. Some are so rare that they’re instant collector’s items. For a list of the five most sought-after Disney pins, have a look below.
Dream Jeweled Mickey Mouse
This is probably the rarest and most valuable of all of the Disney World pins – ever! It was released exclusively at the Disney pins event, Expedition: PINS! in 2008. The pin features a waving Mickey Mouse decked out in over 130 jewels. The retail value of the pin is estimated at $1,295.00, but you won’t find this one for sale in any Disney shops, which makes its actual price much higher. There were only a grand total of 3 pins produced, so if you simply must have one, check eBay often.
The Mad Hatter’s Hat
It’s just a small rendition of the Mad Hatter’s famous green top hat with the mysterious 10/6 tag, but this is actually one of the rarest Walt Disney World pins in circulation. There isn’t an accurate edition number available because this little gem was sold exclusively to cast members in 2003. Now it’s a collector’s item… that is, if you can get your hands on it. We hear there may be one or two still floating around Disney World somewhere. Good luck in your search.
Figment Collection Framed Set
Disney World only produced 75 of these pins, which are part of a 4-pin set commemorating the 2009 Museum of Pin-tiquities event at Epcot. Figment himself appears on this pin against a black background in a circular frame. This was a completer pin awarded to those who completed the Figment Collection framed set, making this little number an exclusive and extremely rare item. It’s not for sale in the park or in Disney World’s online pin ship, so your best bet for snagging this one is an online auction.
Donald Duck Wet Paint
Only 1000 of these limited edition pins were produced and sold in the Magic Kingdom in 2001. The pin features Donald against a yellow backdrop shouting as one of his nephews, who happens to be tracking wet paint everywhere. The small number of manufactured pins combined with the humorous design have made this one of the most sought-after Disney World pins. Though it originally debuted at $6.95 in the Magic Kingdom, it now fetches over $150 at online auctions.
The original Flubber pin was a surprise hit among collectors. Trading for this pin was wild in the park, and it still remains one of the most coveted pins around.No one is really sure why the Flubber pin is so popular, especially when the ticket sales for the film were unremarkable. That, of course, matters little to a collector. You can still find the Flubber pin floating around Walt Disney World (there were 500 produced, after all) but you have to look carefully. It may end up being quite the search. If you’re unable to find one after scouring Disney World, you can find replicas for sale in the online Disney pin shop. Just keep in mind that the replicas’ design is different than the original: the newer version’s design commemorates 10 years of pin trading.
If Disney pin trading has taught us anything, it’s that the value of a once sub-$10 can skyrocket. The surest way find a valuable pin is to purchase those of a lower edition number (check the back of the pins for the precise number created). Then, trade carefully and wisely while at the park. Finally, always be courteous and friendly to cast members with whom you want to trade: they may have the goods you want, but they’re busy people with a lot to do. A friendly demeanor goes a long way, and it could even land you a high value pin.
This article was published by Todd Julian, who is a fan of Walt Disney World and publishes a list of Disney Sweepstakes