An Introduction to Lapel Pins
Lapel pins are not just jewelry; they are a way to show off a wearer's passion, affiliation, hobby or travels. Many people collect and trade lapel pins with a fervor usually reserved for rookie baseball cards. Speaking of baseball, the New York Yankees sells more lapel pins than any other baseball team! Each Olympics typically has a signature pin, and you can get your commemorative lapel pin at Disneyland, the Bronx Zoo or from the New Mexico bureau of tourism. Any interest one might have can literally be worn on your sleeve (or lapel).
Lapel pins gained popularity during mid-century, as people wore pins to show their support for Presidential candidates. One such rare pin showing Abraham Lincoln has been valued for more than $650. At that time, lapel pins that were shipped all over the country were often the first time that people saw what Abraham Lincoln looked like. These political lapel pins evolved into the campaign buttons familiar today.
More than wearable art or political declarations, lapel pins can have very personal significance. When shopping at the local department store, you might notice the employee with the "diamond" star lapel pin, indicating their outstanding level of service to the business. The market to create custom pins for businesses and service clubs is quite large, with hundreds of manufacturers to choose from. Lapel pins are often badges of honor - given to excellent performers, service people and teachers. After 9/11 many Americans wore lapel pins depicting the World Trade Center. Lapel pins are a way of communicating to the world what is important to the wearer. Today, the sale of American flag pins has skyrocketed, reflecting the nation's desire to show their patriotism and support.
Collecting and trading lapel pins is not only an American pastime, as many countries have websites and forums dedicated to the trade of these little metal pins. The Olympics always provides a forum for pin collectors to meet and trade, but with the popularity of the internet you can be sure to find an international collector right from the comfort of your own home.