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Pin trading

Trading Odyssey of the Mind pins is a tradition that goes back more than 30 years. Millions of pins have been traded and thousands of friendships have been made during this time. No one ever thought that pin-trading would become as popular and widespread as it is today. Over the years, Odyssey of the Mind has strived to create an environment where people can trade pins without being disruptive to the competition. To keep pin-trading a positive experience for everyone, it is extremely important that participants abide by these rules:

  1. Respect others. Not everyone at World Finals trades pins, and there are always teams preparing to compete that should not be distracted.
  2. Trade pins in designated pin-trading areas. Do NOT trade pins in any area marked “No Pin Trading.”
  3. Pin-trading is not allowed at the team entrance or spectator entrance to any performance site. It is not allowed in any stairwells, doorways, or entrances to buildings. It is also not allowed in any area where teams compete or where others gather to watch teams compete.
  4. If you are in a designated pin-trading area in a hallway, be sure to allow enough room for people to pass by.
  5. If an Odyssey of the Mind or University Official asks you to stop trading pins or to move from an area, you must honor that person’s request.
  6. Never taunt others by criticizing a trade, any pin someone is trading, or anyone’s collection.
  7. If you trade in a location where pin-trading is not allowed, or tease others about their pins and trades, your pin collection may be confiscated. If your collection is confiscated, you will be able to pick it up the following morning at the Odyssey of the Mind Information booth. Only Odyssey of the Mind officials, your parents, or your coach may confiscate your pin collection.
  8. Do not trade with officials while they are working.
  9. Do not pressure anyone into a trade.
  10. Please show your Odyssey of the Mind Spirit when trading pins. Do not take advantage of youngsters or first-time traders. If only fair trades are made, the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals experience will be all the better for everyone.

Advice for first-time pin traders

  • If you have never traded pins before, observe others before taking part in the process. A pin’s value is based on its appearance, the number available at World Finals, if it is a team pin, and if it is international.
  • The goal of trading pins is to collect the ones you want. Make sure you want the pin you trade for and, once you get it, be happy no matter what anyone else tells you.
  • If someone wants to make a trade with you and tells you that you will be making a great deal, you probably are not being offered an equal trade.
  • Pins are traded up until the time you leave for home.
  • Have something to keep your pin collection in or on. Official World Finals pin towels and pin bags are available at the Odyssey of the Mind souvenir centers. Make sure you write your name somewhere on your collection in case you misplace it. If you happen to misplace it, notify an official at the Odyssey of the Mind Information Booth.

Pin-trading resources

Barbarra Paris of Western Region NCOM manages a website of her personal pin collection at She displays current pins to pins almost 30 years old, and she is happy to answer questions about missing set pieces or even trade for wanted pins.

In addition, Ebay usually has many singles and sets for sale of older pins.

Video resources

Here is a video montage of a competitor at World Finals as he pin trades, observes performances, and walks around campus.

Here is a video from the “Maranda, Where You Live” program detailing the creative experience at the 2015 World Finals.

pin_trading.txt · Last modified: 2015/07/07 06:29 by michaelb