The pin trade at Walt Disney World, which began as part of the Millennium Celebration in 1999, has created a subculture of its own. The process is simple, fun and interactive: you simply buy a Disney pin in the park (ranging from $6 to $50) and then trade it with other guests, or even cast members wearing 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 are instant collector’s items. For a list of the top five most wanted Disney pins, take a look below.
Mickey Mouse with dream jewelry
This is probably the rarest and most valuable of all Disney World pins, ever! It was released exclusively at Disney’s pin event, Expedition: PINS! in 2008. The pin features a waving Mickey Mouse adorned with more than 130 jewels. The retail value of the pin is estimated at $1295.00, but you won’t find this one for sale in any Disney store, making its actual price that much higher. Only a total of 3 pins were produced, so if you simply must have one, check eBay often.
The mad hatter’s hat
It’s just a small version of the Mad Hatter’s famous green top hat with the mysterious 10/6 tag, but it’s actually one of the rarest Walt Disney World pins in circulation. There’s no exact edition number available because this little gem was sold exclusively to cast members in 2003. It’s now 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 on 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 full pin awarded to those who completed the Figment Collection framed set, making this small number an exclusive and extremely rare item. It’s not for sale in the park or on Disney World’s online pin ship, so your best bet to snag this one is an online auction.
Donald Duck Wet Paint
Only 1,000 of these limited edition pins were produced and sold at the Magic Kingdom in 2001. The pin shows Donald against a yellow background screaming like one of his nephews, who is tracking wet paint everywhere. The small number of pins made combined with the humorous design have made this one of the most sought after Disney World pins. Although it originally debuted at $6.95 at the Magic Kingdom, it now fetches over $150 at online auctions.
The original Flubber pin was a surprise hit with collectors. Trading this pin was a craze in the park, and it remains one of the most coveted pins around. No one is really sure why the Flubber pin is so popular, especially when ticket sales for the movie were unremarkable. That, of course, matters little to a collector. You can still find the Flubber pin floating around Walt Disney World (500 were produced, after all), but you have to look carefully. It can end up being quite the search. If you can’t find one after exploring Disney World, you can find replicas for sale at the online Disney pin shop. Just keep in mind that the design of the replicas is different than the original – the design of the newer version commemorates 10 years of pin trading.
If the Disney pin swap has taught us anything, it’s that the value of an ounce under $10 can skyrocket. The surest way to find a valuable pin is to buy ones with a lower edition number (see the back of the pins for the exact number created). Then trade carefully and wisely while in the park. Lastly, always be courteous and nice to the cast members you want to trade with – they may have the goods you want, but they are busy people with a lot to do. A friendly demeanor goes a long way and might even get you a great value pin.