1. Collect what you want
Even if you're aware of what a pin is worth, don't just collect the pins that are worth the most money. Collect because you like the pin, regardless of monetary value. A true collection is one that has character, and there's no character in a collection that is created simply because it's worth the most. Pins have stories, and you do too â€“ and there's no price tag on that.
It may also be good to have an idea about what particular aspects of a pin and it's worth (retail or not) in order to help you know what to look for in comparable trades. You'll want to keep an eye out for things like a pin's origin, how many were made, date of issue, etc, in addition to value. Searching the internet, completed listings on eBay, or asking other collectors is a good way to do this. However, keep something in mind while you research â€“ even though the market value of a pin may be a specified amount, when trading, the pin is only worth as much as you and the person you are dealing with likes it.
3. Don't discard your pins, no matter how much you dislike it...
If you come across one that you're tired of, or if you are able to get an extra pin, don't throw it away. Keep it and create a 'traders' selection of pins.
4. ... unless it's a 'fake'
If you come across the info and realize that one of the pins you have is 'fake' and you don't want it anymore, don't pass it on to other unsuspecting pin collectors without offering up the information that you have. Some pin collectors don't care, and will still collect the pin for the novelty, others will be grateful for the information you've provided and you'll earn a reputation as a collector that should be dealt with when they get the chance. If you can't find anyone that would like it and you don't want to keep it, give or throw it away.
5. Invest in storage
Got pins? Great! If you amass quite the collection, you may want to think about investing in pin storage. There are all sorts of storage solutions for pins. You can use something as simple as an old scarf or towel, but some of the more popular options are the pin bag and pin album. That's because they are larger options (for storing more pins), easy to carry, and easy to display. Other ways to display wear and display pins include using scarves, vests, lanyards or towels.
6. Be proud!
If you're going to a place where there is potential for pin trading (for example, an Olympic event, Disneyland/Disney World, a convention, or pin trading event), wear your pins! At most events, the general rule of thumb is that if you wear one pin, you are a collector â€“ two or more pins shows that you are willing/looking to trade. Also, if you're wearing several pins, it usually means that those are the ones available for trade. If you are looking to trade, don't wear ones that you want to keep, or set them apart from the ones you are willing to part with.
7. Know what pins you have
Make sure that of the pins you have, you know which ones you want to keep and which ones you want to trade. In fact, I recommend keeping them separately so that you don't get them mixed up or miss something when you attempt to pull out the ones that you want to trade. That way, you'll never be pressured to trade a pin you don't want to, and you won't get the hopes up of a fellow pin collector.
8. Be social!
Get involved! Pass on your knowledge and learn more about your hobby. Join pin clubs, sign up for newsletter, attend pin swaps. Many pin collectors collect more than one type of pin. Some examples of popular pins that people collect are Olympic pins, Disney pins, Corporate pins (pins of company logos), or Flying/Aviation pins. Still others collect pins from a certain organization or group! Tell pin collectors that you meet what type of pins you collect â€“ you never know what stories you'll hear or treasures you'll find!
9. Don't rush it
When trading, practice patience and don't let anyone rush you into making a decision (and vice versa! Give your fellow trader time and space to make their choice). If need be, bring a friend or family member along to help you make decisions. Above all, make sure that the trade seems fair to you and that you will be happy with the trade. Your fellow trader will do the same.
10. Enjoy yourself!
Be polite! It helps makes trades smoother. Try not to interrupt other trades, or beg. If someone's interrupting a deal you are making, simply let the person know that you'll be with them in a moment. Above all, make friends, and have fun!