Posted by Paul West on April 14, 2015
Begun as an inexpensive advertising trinket, pin badges became known in the early part of the 20th century as giveaways for products and club premiums for kids to prize. Once a common item much like today's logo baseball cap, today some of them are prized as rare collectibles.
Among the most knowledgeable of the pin badge collectors, Mark Lansdown has collected comic character pin badges for over 10 years and can tell you the history of most of his favourite types of pins. Lansdown is a member of Collector's Weekly's Hall of Fame, and has been known to haunt Internet sites in search of rare examples to add to his collection.
Like many children, Lansdown started his collecting habit with comic books. Some Disney pin badges he received as gifts as a child sparked an interest, however, and once he started reading Ted Hake's auction magazine, he had found his new hobby. His self-described "obsessive collecting" began after finding some rare Yellow Kid pin badges at a flea market, and he started collecting full time after that. His collection is now so sizeable that he owns all the common types he could ever want, and now will only hunt for the rarest varieties.
Lansdown has now turned his collecting eye toward the older pins created in the earliest parts of the 20th century. Seen as more decorative by collectors, these intricate pins have designs considered striking or beautiful. Still, the comic characters are the closest to Lansdown's heart. Series such as the Yellow Kid tobacco advertising pins from the 1890s came in large sets of over 100 different pins, so collecting the whole set is one of his favourite challenges.
Pin badge collecting is more popular for political pins, but Mark Lansdown is happy to report that not as many people collect comic pin badges yet. With the relative lack of competition for his hobby, he's able to find rare pins almost every time he searches. The rarest can be Mickey Mouse pins, as the character was used to advertise so many different products. But early Santa Claus pins created by department stores are becoming increasingly popular, especially those more than 50 years old. Lansdown's website, Comic Character Pinbacks, is a fountain of information for any pin badge collector.
If you've got an interest in comic characters, Christmas-related goods, political collectibles, or other pop culture topics, it's likely you'll be interested in pin badges, as well. Like Mark Lansdown, your interest may turn into a collecting hobby once you look at the variety available. For your own custom-made badges, contact Make Badges to see the great variety of badges you can customise to begin your own collection.
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