The CWSF Official Sport... Pin Trading!
Do you have any pins to trade?”
“Sure, what do you have?”
And, so it begins... with a question and a long look over treasured pins attached to lanyards, in bags, on hats or in backpacks. Everyone is looking for specific ones that will complete their collections or begin a new one. Some are trying to find that one pin that is extremely rare from a territory or a province.
“Pin trading is huge there. It’s the national sport of the science fair and by the end of the week people are bartering pretty hard for pins.” Kyle Schole 2008
During the Olympic Games of 1896 in Athens, athletes and Olympic officials exchanged small cardboard disks used as identity badges. These badges were used to visually identify athletes as representing a nation. The first nation to do this was Sweden in 1906, but others soon followed and within several decades it had caught on. Soon many nations started wearing pins designed with the colours of their nation. It became a common occurrence for athletes to exchange pins as a symbol of unity. Over the years more organizations created pins for their team or event and the tradition of using badges to associate participants with their home nations, sport or organization changed to resemble the pin trading that we know today. Pins have under gone a dramatic change in shape, use and style.
Roberta Bondar, first Canadian woman in space, took her 1963 Canada-Wide Science Fair pin into space with her in 1992.
Preparing for pin trading is a good idea. Knowing what to look for, what to look out for and what to avoid is important. When you start pin trading, make sure that you are having fun.
There are many things to look for when collecting pins. They can be hard or soft enameled, die-struck, screen, photo, offset printed, large, small, or even multi pin shaped collections. Some pins are one of kind, dated, or created just for the CWSF event.
Come to CWSF with a plan in mind for your collection. Organize your pins to separate those you want to keep and those you wish to trade so that you don’t end up trading one you want to take home. Once home, many participants have been putting their collection, on a map of Canada to show where each pin is from. Some pins come from cities, science fairs, provinces, territories, governments or many other organizations.
Wherever you go to pin trade, there are always going to be etiquette rules on how to trade. Some rules are based on the venue and others are based on the traders involved. Wearing or displaying in full view is necessary to allow all to see. Refrain from touching others people’s pins without permission just as you would want. Pins should be in good condition so that they are appealing to others. Never undervalue others pins or overvalue yours to get multi pins in a single trade. Know what your pins are worth. Remember, if you are not sure that the trade is fair and the pins are equal, ask for advice from someone who knows. The trade should be fair for both sides. There will always be those that take advantage of a situation. If both parties are happy with the pins they have chosen, hand over one pin at a time to avoid misunderstandings. Make sure the pins have their backs closed or attached. If there is no agreement on trading certain pins, offer a different pin or just thank the other person and politely end the trade. Trading pins is meant to be fun and remember you are under no obligation to trade.
Remember to bring lots of pins to trade with students from across Canada. With five hundred participants and approximately two hundred delegates or volunteers, there is always people to trade with. There will also be a few students from other countries who will be participating in the fair. Some students even bring other tradable items like keychains, pencils, etc. Keep your eyes open in your community to find some neat things to trade.
Over the week of the CWSF pins become a memory, a reminder of a time when you enjoyed new friendships and events that the science fair brings and the bonds that last for years. Good Luck !