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  • Emma Keechle

How PINteresting!


Curious about Pin Trading? Let’s delve into its fascinating history.

Pin trading is believed to have originated during the 1896 Athens olympics. According to Custom Comet LLC, a pin fabricator, pins of that time consisted of “round cardboard with ribbons attached. They were a way for the athletes and officials to identify themselves.”


Fast forward to the Mat-Su 2024 Arctic Winter Games, where pin trading has evolved into a cherished activity embraced by athletes, coaches and spectators alike so much so that it’s affectionately dubbed the “21st sport” of the games, fostering connections that transcend language barriers.


Janet Pacey, is a seasoned pin trading enthusiast from YellowKnife, Northwest Territories, Canada. Despite not being a participant in the games, Janet has immersed herself in the art of pin trading since 2004. Reflecting on her journey, she recalls her initial exposure to pin trading at the Arctic Winter Games in Grand Rapids, where she was captivated by the activity.

"To send out pins and to talk to the public and, sort of just be their audience relations sort of capacity and, became wildly addicted to pin trading almost right away," Janet reminisces about her early days as a pin trader during her tenure with CBC North.


For Janet and many others, the thrill in the chase of attempting to collect a complete set of pins from a specific year is unmatched. Beyond the pursuit of pins, it’s the camaraderie and sense of community forged through trading that enriches the experience. Want to embark on your own pin trading journey? Begin by visiting the Palmer Train Depot, also referred to during Arctic Winter Games as “Alaska Airlines Arctic Winter Games Headquarters” where professional collectors await, eager to trade. You can get starter pins at the merch store at the depot. As you navigate the world of pin trading keep these pointers in mind:

Patience is key; don’t be disheartened if you can’t find a specific pin immediately.


Respect ongoing trades and wait for them to conclude before initiating your own.

Don’t be too pushy, you can negotiate, it's part of the fun, but don’t push until someone becomes uncomfortable.


Do your research! Some pins are more rare than others.

Be aware that puzzle pins have more than one part and can be challenging to collect.

With these tips in mind, dive into the world of pin trading and discover the joy of collecting, connecting, and creating lasting memories at the Arctic Winter Games.


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