Pin Lingo: Key Terms for Any Pin Trader – Disney Pin Trading 101

Updated 2019: Pin trading, like any hobby, has it’s own “language.”  When you know it, you’ll be able to trade more effectively and make sure you get the pins you want without giving up too much to get it.  These terms are the ones you’ll likely come across the most and will help you out as you learn the ropes.

Scrapper – A pin that was never meant to be released because of its poor quality and lesser craftsmanship.  When production companies make pins, they make them by the thousands and often make extras because of natural defects coming off the production line.  An order let’s say for 50,000 pins might get 5,000 extra just to cover paint mistakes, poor quality cutting, etc.  Those 5,000 are supposed to be trashed or recycled but sometimes they get saved and then sold to large quantity consumers who then pass them off in smaller bunches to consumers (usually through eBay).  Often these come individually wrapped in little plastic bags.

On the left, a fake pin and on the right a genuine one. Notice the differences?
On the left, a fake pin and on the right a genuine one. Notice the differences?

Fakes – A fake or counterfeit pin covers a wide variety of different illegal pins.  A fake can be made to look like a Disney pin or may even be actually produced from the original die of the true pin but is always made of lower quality materials.  It is usually lighter in weight, has paint discoloration or dimples, has rough edges, or even has spelling errors.  Some fakes have incorrect die patterns on the back (Mickey waffles that are turned the wrong way or are supposed to go off of the end and do not for example).  Fakes, like scrappers, are sold to high volume dealers in America who usually bundle them together and sell them again to consumers usually through eBay or directly through mail order.

  • If you’re curious to learn more about fakes and scrappers and what you can do to protect yourself from getting one, read my blog post about 4 things you can do to avoid them.
One of my favorite Jessica pins - the 2013 July 4th pin from Disney Soda Fountain
One of my favorite Jessica pins – the 2013 July 4th pin from Disney Soda Fountain

Limited Edition / Limited Release – A limited edition pin is one that has only so many available.  Also known as LE, if the LE of a pin is 500, then only 500 were made (not including AP and PP which we will get to later).  A limited release pin means it was given out only on a certain day or certain range of days and that no more were made after that.  Sometimes event pins or pins in mystery sets are limited release and once the release is over the pins are retired, but there is not a known quantity of those pins in circulation.

Artist Proof / Production Proof – Before a pin goes out to the public, they produce test runs of those pins in very limited quantities.  From my understanding (and someone please correct me if I’m wrong), it can be as few as 24 pins or even less in the case of a production proof.  An artist proof pin is given to the artist to determine if the pin meets the expectations of its creator and a production proof is to insure the quality of the pin coming off the production line meets Disney standards.  These are stamped with the initials “AP” and “PP” respectively.  Often, Scoop at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom will have some for trade (that’s where I got my first one).  Some cast members in the park also have AP and PP pins on their lanyards.  Going very early into EPCOT, I was able to get a few from cast members at Pin Central.  The size of those stamps varies and is in different places for different stamps.  Some are clearly marked and some are almost hidden.

WDI / MOG / WOD / DSF / DLR / DCA / DCL / WDW – These are initials and/or shorthand representations of places you can buy pins.  You’ll often find eBay auctions or PinPics listings referring to a pin’s origin by using these initials which stand for Walt Disney Imagineering, Mickey’s of Glendale, World of Disney (NY), Disney Soda Fountain (LA), Disneyland Resort, Disney California Adventure, Disney Cruise Lines and of course Walt Disney World.  Disney Soda Fountain is now called Disney’s Studio Store and sometimes can be found by its initials DSS or GSF (for Ghirardelli Soda Fountain) although most eBayers still use the DSF initials.  Other initials include DLP (Disneyland Paris), HKDL (Hong Kong Disneyland), and TDR or TDL for Tokyo Disneyland Resort or Tokyo Disneyland.  TDR is more appropriate since there is also the Disney Sea theme park in Tokyo.  I’m sure I didn’t cover all of them, but these are probably the major ones you’ll encounter.

Fantasy Pins – These refer to pins not authorized by Disney but featuring Disney characters or images that are meant to replicate Disney characters.  You see this a lot of these featuring Jessica Rabbit, but with other characters also.  Fantasy pins sometimes feature nudity or crude sexual innuendos and sometimes are simply unauthorized images.

2018-05-22 - Awesome cast member stained glass LE monthly pins - est value
My special collection of Disneyland Cast Exclusive Stained Glass pins! Took forever to find these

Cast Exclusives – A cast exclusive pin is one that is sold or given to cast members only.  Certain pins were given to cast members when working specific holidays as a gift from the company.  Today cast exclusive pins include pins made and sold specifically for cast members.  Both Disneyland and Walt Disney World have exclusive pin collections made only for their resort.  Walt Disney Imagineering also has pins exclusive to Mickey’s of Glendale and usually is only open to those working for WDI although occasionally they have special events open to groups associated with Disney (like D23).

These are the major terms you’ll come across in the pin trading world.  If you want to add to the list please comment!

If you liked this post, there are others in this series to give you good information about pin trading on my site.  Look for these.

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8 thoughts on “Pin Lingo: Key Terms for Any Pin Trader – Disney Pin Trading 101

  1. i have a pin that i would like some info on – cant seem to find it on the net. its a mickey university pin – is not magnetic – would like to send you a picture of it thanks

    1. Most cast members will not trade their Cast Exclusive pins but you can always ask. They are not allowed to trade or sell their name badges (believe me, I was asked a few times when I was a cast member). And you can never sell your pins, but it’s possible someone might trade. You’d do better to look for it on eBay or go to a pin trading event.

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