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Baseball pins

Updated on February 18, 2010

Do you collectbaseball trading pins? They are certainly fascinating. There’s such a wide variety of types and styles to choose from. It would seem that once upon a time they were only available to the major league players and coaches; there was also a type of baseball lapel pin which was issued to the press to so that they could get into the games to write their reviews. Now of course with the rise in popularity of pins and with the modern technology available to the pin manufacturing companies; any little league team can have their own custom pins made, and theres a huge pin trading community. Naturally there are may pin manufactures to be found on the Internet where there websites show examples of their wares and give the costs.

Die struck pins

Very similar to the way in which coins and medal are struck, with this type of pin your design is cut into a “die” which is a sort of metal stamp. This Die is hardened and then it is used to stamp or strike your pin design into a sheet of metal perhaps copper or brass. A separate tool is now used to cut the design from the sheet of metal to form the pin. The pin can now be plated with nickel, bronze, silver or gold, whatever you desire, it is then polished.

Printed pins

Printed pins are made by using either printing plates or silk screens to print the design onto a sheet of metal, either brass, copper or maybe stainless steel or aluminium, it’s your choice. Offset or 4 color process printing as its also known is used for detailed colour work with gradations in tone. The sheets of metal are then baked in an oven to harden the inks. Once the sheets of metal have cooled the pins are cut out of the sheet and given a protective coat of epoxy varnish.

Photo Etched pins

The design is applied to the base metal using a photographic technique; in fact your design could be a photo you took. The metal is then etched with an acid solution to remove some of the metal which leaves shallow recessed areas. After washing off the acid the required colors of your choice are applied to the recessed areas of the pin. Photo etched pins are similar in appearance to cloisonné but with a lower quality  at a lower cost.

Soft enamel pins

Soft enamel pins are die struck, which leaves raised and recessed sections of the design the enamel is applied to the recessed areas leaving the raised areas proud. Once the pin design has been stamped and cut from the sheet metal the chosen colours are applied by hand to the required areas and then fired in a kiln to harden them. The finished pins are then polished. These pins have an embossed appearance and feel.

Cloisonne or hard enamel

Cloisonne is a technique which has been in use since the Chinese Ming dynasty. It has been used for centuries to make fine vases and jewellery. Essentially a similar process to soft enamel in that the pin is Die struck but the recessed areas requiring color are filled by hand with a mixture of crushed glass (frit) and water. The pin is then baked in a kiln at 1600 degrees. This high temperature melts the glass which flows into the recessed area and fills it with a smooth hard layer of color. The pin is then polished and the raised metal areas can be plated in the metal of your choice. Cloisonne baseball pins are fine jewellery quality pins.

You can also buy special bags for your baseball trading pins to transport them to swap meets and shows, and there are many other accessories available such as frames for displaying your treasured collection of pins.


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  • mega1 profile image

    mega1 8 years ago

    Really? I've never seen a baseball pin. Now I probably will find them all over the place! To think! there are companies dedicated to manufacturing baseball pins? Wow! Good info - thanks