I collected pins for a very brief time in my early teens. They were surprisingly easy to collect and I ended up with quite a few in a short period of time. I pinned them on the blue corduroy curtains in the bedroom I shared with my sister. True to form my interest just fizzled out one day and they ended up forgotten in a box in the closet.
Some people’s interest in collecting pins quickly grows to become a passion. Just ask the 100+ members of the Winnipeg Pin Collectors Club. Yes there is a Winnipeg Pin Collectors Club and it’s celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. All our major sports teams have corporate memberships and there are members as far afield as the US, Germany, Belgium, Denmark and the UK.
Many members collect curling pins as they find the social atmosphere of the Brier a big draw. We’ve all seen pictures of curling fans in funny outfits with vests full of glittering pins, but underneath the vibrant social scene, pin collecting at the Brier is serious business.
Current Pin Collectors Club president Ron Boily only collects CFL and Hard Rock Café pins. He was in charge of the pin trading booth at the Pan Am Games back in ’99. Unfortunately, those commemorative Pan Am games pins that are collecting dust on dressers and in shoe boxes around the city aren’t worth much. Pin collecting is just plain fun and the conversations you may have had while trading those pins back in ’99 are priceless.
Even if you’re not a pinhead, the unofficial term for a pin collector, you’re probably going to think our Canada Summer Games pins are cute.
“Their pins are the best quality you can find and they’re hand painted so no pin is alike,” said Boily.
The Pin People will be producing 150,000 of the steel based pins with gold or nickel plating. There will be 60 to 75 different designs for Canada Games 2017 pins available by the start of the Games on July 28. These and other pins will be available on canadagamesgear.ca.
As to be expected, many feature the number 50 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Canada Games. Chances are there will be quite a few with orange and red designs representing “the hottest summer in half a century”.
“150” could well show up on a few to mark Canada’s sesquicentennial. As it’s running concurrently with the Games, we might see a hybrid pin with both numbers prominently displayed.
Pins can be given as a thank you or an introduction. In fact a lot of things will be said with a pin during the games. “Nice race,” or “That was a fun night at the festival.” The competing athletes will all receive pins but theirs will be unique.
Could there be Team Manitoba pins that fit together like a puzzle to make a bigger picture like the beautiful Team Nunavut pins from the 2015 Canada Games in Prince George?
The Pin Centre tent will be set up in Festival Village at the Forks during the games and you can buy your pins there.
The area around the Pin Centre tent will be “pin trading central” where pin collectors display their wares. Because pin trading is so popular, people from all over Canada will be converging on Winnipeg to trade pins at the Canada Games.
Members of the Winnipeg Pin Collectors club will be on hand to answer questions and facilitate trading.
There are pin collecting clubs in Calgary, Vancouver and Quebec and a lot of their members will be trying to complete their collections.
If someone has been collecting all the pins from one series of pins from the 2010 Olympics held in Vancouver and they’re missing just one, they’ll be bound and determined to track down that pin. If they find someone who has the coveted pin, the negotiations begin. Is the other person willing to let it go and what can they trade for it?
Some pins are really in demand. Anyone with a 1927 gold heart Brier pin can pretty well name a price as only 12 were made and they’re worth thousands of dollars.
Sponsor pins will be highly sought after. The Canada Games has many official sponsors like the Dairy Farmers Association of Canada, Sport Chek, National Leasing and Great West Life to name a few. Some of them will be having their own Canada Games pins designed and produced. These pins aren’t for sale but are given away, usually to business associates or employees. Serious pin collectors enjoy the thrill of collecting them as they’re harder to find and they’re very collectible.
You don’t need to speak English to trade as it can be done with hand signals. Boily fondly remembers using gestures to trade pins at the Pan Am Games.
“Its all about meeting people and not always about the value of the pins,” he said. “Friendships and conversations are just as important.”
Visitors from other provinces and countries will be eager to trade with you so they can own a Manitoba pin and the pin you’ll end up with is anybody’s guess – that’s the thrill of trading pins.