If you think you might have a scrapper, you probably already know what one is, but in case you do not: scrappers are overruns or separate, unauthorized runs of Disney pins. These pins should either have been destroyed or never made, and they never reach Disney for distribution. They are instead released to sellers, generally in China where Disney pins are produced, who attempt to sell them directly and cheaply. It is difficult to tell a scrapper pin from an authorized pin because they are made with the same die and often the same materials as the authorized pins. However, they may be made with cheaper materials or have noticeable errors (which is why they were scrapped in the first place). If you want more information on what scrappers are, please go here: www.dizpins.com/pinventor...ppers.htm.
Especially when one is new to Disney pin trading, the idea of scrappers seems very daunting. You cant possibly memorize the looks of the 55,000+ pins on pinpics, or even the hundreds that have known scrappers, and more are put out there all the time. So if you traded for a pin that you didnt look at too closely, or that you thought was fine but now are having doubts, keep these things in mind:
1) Relax! Pin trading is supposed to be fun. It will not be fun if you suspect every pin and you worry about scrappers getting into your collection or your traders. We should definitely be aware and fight to keep scrappers down, but unless you never trade (even with Cast Members - it is just as, if not more difficult for your average cast member to keep on top of scrappers, and some say they have been told to take pins even if they suspect them) and only purchase your pins direct from Disney, it is a very strong possibility that you will pick up a scrapper at some point. Getting a scrapper is not the end of the world, and accepting that they might pop up is better for your sanity and better for your relationships with fellow traders.
2) Open Edition pins are often reissued over and over again, and the year on the back is changed to reflect when it was made, not when it was initially released. If your pin has a different year date on the back than the description on pinpics, it is not necessarily a scrapper.
2) Legitimate Disney pins often have coloring variations that can be noticeable. This happens because of new production runs, manufacturing errors, etc. Pins can also have goofs such as missing enamel or mis-colored sections I have gotten both of these errors direct from Disney. So these differences, while present in scrappers, do not guarantee a scrapper.
3) Finding DLR Cast Lanyard Series pins at WDW and vice versa does not mean they are definitely scrappers. However, you must keep in mind that the pins do migrate, but they are not THAT fast. If you found a NEWLY RELEASED (as in, within the past week) Cast Lanyard pin at a park at which it was NOT released (as in, if you find a DLR CL at WDW on the third day of the month) it is likely to be a scrapper, especially if you saw many of them. Same goes for pins which have not yet been released. This seems to be more of a problem with DLR scrappers going to WDW, and is probably because the DLR 2007 CL pins were compromised very early on, a few new ones are officially released every month, and people at DLR are more likely than those at WDW to know what should and should not be appearing at a given time. If you like and want to collect the CL pins and you want to avoid scrappers as much as possible, I suggest that you go to Disneys website, www.odpt.com, go to DLR and WDW Events and find their Cast Lanyard Series pages. There will be pdf forms you can print out that will tell you what is out there and when it should be released. I would also suggest making a friend at one or both parks who gets the pins of the lanyards themselves and maybe even has made sure, by talking to the CM for example, that the pin was from Disney and not from a trader in the park. Now, do I think this is all strictly necessary to enjoy collecting CL pins? No. Only take these measures if it is important to you to do so, and know that getting scrappers is always a possibility.
4) If you take a look at the pictures of scrappers in the link I posted above, you will see that all of them but one are flat, one-dimensional pins. Pins without extra elements such as pin-on-pin are easier and cheaper to make. While it is correct that any pin could be counterfeited, scrapped or rerun without Disneys permission, it does seem that the more elaborate pins are less likely to be scrappers.
5) Where and when did you get this pin? Much like the CL pins migrating far too quickly between parks, if you are trying to trade for or purchase an LE pin that has recently been released from someone who lives thousands of miles from the site of the release, it may be suspect. Please dont assume, however, that they are. It is possible that they could be recently returned from a vacation to one of the parks, or may have a friend buying for them. While I dont think it should be an automatic red light, it should be a sign to be cautious. Also, that super LE HTF pin that you got off a lanyard? While people have gotten some really valuable pins off of lanyards, that is not something that happens all the time. If you have traders you dont mind losing, by all means, trade for it, knowing you might be out the money for the trader. The pin may well be worth the risk. But be observant. If you are seeing the same rare pin on lanyards all over the park, dont trust it.
6) Pinpics isnt perfect. Just because your pins back information doesnt exactly match the description on Pinpics it isnt automatically a scrapper. Pinpics is run by very hard-working volunteers everyone contributes, but we dont know everything and it is impossible to fact-check all 55,000+ pins for all variations, quirks, etc. Someone may make an entry when a pin is first announced, and then when it comes out if there is something different about it may forget to update the record. If you spot a problem, update it! Choose Add Additional Information and point it out. The mods look at these comments and will judge what to do, and may just add your info to the description of the pin (and then will delete your comment afterwards).
So, youve studied the back of your pin, keeping everything Ive said in mind, and you still dont know. Maybe you dont know the trader you got the pin from and there are some differences from the pinpics description and you want to make sure. This is when it is a good idea to make a post and ask about it. There is a strong chance there will be someone out there who does have a pin that they are sure of that can compare with you, or someone who knows some additional information about the pin who can clarify things for you. Be sure to take a look around in there before you post, because someone may have asked after the same pin before you this way you can get your answer right away.
Okay, so what should you do if you get a scrapper, and how do you do your part to keep scrappers out of the parks?
1) If youre sure you have a scrapper, please dont trade it back into the parks, thinking that the cast members lanyard is some sort of pin trash can. Cast members, as I previously mentioned, do not always know when a pin is a scrapper and it might not get discarded, it might just go out to some other unsuspecting person. Break it and throw it out, use it in a craft project, make a wall of shame collection, just please dont redistribute it.
2) When buying trader pins in bulk, be cautious. Be aware of what the current value of trader pins is. Given the prices of pins in the parks, the average price is a very good deal, and the cheaper the asking price is the more likelihood that the pins came from an unsavory place. We all know how expensive the hobby is, but if nobody bought scrappers then scrappers would stop being made.
3) If you do buy pins and find after you receive them that you are sure they are scrappers, dont just say shame on me. This is fraud. People who knowingly sell scrappers should be reported. If you suspect a seller is doing this, send a message to a mod and they should be able to tell you what can be done.
4) Please dont jump to conclusions when dealing with fellow traders. While you should be cautious and protect yourself to keep from getting taken, this is very much a social hobby and people dont like being outright accused of being dishonest. Trading is about diplomacy, and you wont make any friends if you treat people like they are scam artists. Politely discuss your concerns with fellow traders and give them the benefit of the doubt. If the trader does not want to help rectify the situation the moderators at Dizpins and Pinpics are there to help you fix bad trades if the trades were made through either site.
5) If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Pin prices fluctuate, sometimes by a lot, if you take bidding wars into account. But if that Club 33 event pin has a buy-it-now price of under $10, it is probably not just a good deal.
This is a work in progress. If you have any comments or addendums or corrections please let me know.