I don't collect pins, I don't collect pins... I don't know what possessed Lynn Isenbarger to issue her challenge to guest-blog about things we didn't collect, but this one clearly rang a bell. I really did scrounge up every enamel pin in the house, even the ones that barely qualified (or flat didn't, like the brass unicorn), and sat staring at a 45-year story. I promised I'd post on these some day. Little did I know additions were right around the corner!
"Don't collect" is here used to refer to those collections that we usually don't desire -- can tell ourselves that we don't want -- but somehow, behind our backs and despite our best intentions, they sneak in...
My collection begins with my old felt hat. Above are my oldest pins, dating back to college, which is when I solidified the habit of wearing a broad brim hat. (It originally was a sunshade for us health-nut sun-sensitive Bensemas.) This group of equines and one fish probably consolidated around 1978 to 1982. I'd had a horse from 1975 to 1979. I may have gotten the pins at the Denver Stock Show. It's equally possible I got them in local jewelry shops or flea markets or even garage sales, somewhere in Boulder or Fort Collins. Nogales, Mexico (south of Tucson), even, is a possibility. After all this time, I'm just not sure.
They are surprisingly small. This one clearly was intended to portray my white Running Mare.
This one is kind of a linch-pin. It's solid brass and certainly not enameled, yet it belongs here more than most, being my favorite and thus the core of the collection. For most of its life it was very dull with reddish edges, and only for this photo-shoot did I polish it up, making him look like gold and showing detail lost for decades. There is no name on the back, no way to know who was the astoundingly gifted artist. The unicorn is about 1 1/4 inches high.
The Coelacanth [SEE-la-kanth] came in around 1981. This is the only pin in my collection with the least little bit of politics about him, and I wore him with great glee to church. He is a named artist original --unfortunately I can't recall who, Bill somebody! --and was rather expensive. I just love the rippling blue over the golden scales.
Eleanor Clymer's book for teens, Search for a Living Fossil, the story of finding the first coelacanth, deeply influenced me - I read it when I was 12 or so. Looking back, marine adventure as well as love of science were thus rooted in me for life. Y'wonder, sometimes, whether I have this fish to blame for marrying a meteorologist and going canoeing all the time!!
The two Carousel pins in my collection date from the early 1990s. I had carousel fever from about 1988 to 1993 (well I still have it!) but these pins entered then. Below is a Philadelphia Toboggan Company outside row stander. You can see the letters PTC in front of the pole.
This is the place for one of my very few jewelry pins, the Australian flag and its opal. Without doubt this one came from our honeymoon in Australia, 3 weeks after the wedding, in 1988.
Now we come to the middle layers of my collection. This strata contains everything from a Penn State shield (left) to a radio station trinket (WPSU). The Rails-to-Trails pin is a charity contribution oddbit while the Navy League one came home with my husband after a tour on a carrier (I think). Likewise the SDD (Synthetic Dual-Doppler) is the souvenir of a meteorological field experiment. The two American Birding Association ones are also courtesy of my husband, an avid birdwatcher. Dates of acquisition here range from c. 1990 to c. 2005.
Before I move on to the lowest, and most recent, layer, I see I've skipped the two US Postal Service stamps and the Hartland. The stamp horses are two of the issue of 4 breeds that came out in 1985. The other breeds were Appaloosa and Quarter Horse. Why didn't I get all four? Because they didn't grab me, that's why. If they'd been in the form of the horse, instead of squares, I might've felt differently.
Likewise this undoubtedly rare Hartland pin must be desirable by somebody, but I never even took it out of its bag. The words say 'Wave The Banner 2002 Collector Club."
The lowest layer contains some surprises and brings us up to date. However, I honestly do not know when this AHSA pin joined the collection. Belleville Flea Market? which would put it 1988 to 1995...? I only know I loved the logo of a winged horse.
We have made it to 2019. This fabulous dragon really is an enamel pin, although he is about 2 inches in diameter and flat on the back. He's a broach or cloak-pin, very appropriate. This is a souvenir of a book-signing by Christopher Paolini, author of the Eragon dragon series. I have my dear friend Gretchen to thank for this one -- she just happened to be working at that bookstore!
Here, of course, is what inspired this whole post in the beginning, my two Sarah Minkiewicz unicorns, 2021. Either I'm slightly richer or the quality of pins has gotten so high as to be irresistible. As with much Mink merchandise, one has to be in the right place at the right time. There is an element of luck to obtaining it.
You would think this story would be over. I have far more pins than I knew. They represent my whole adult life and I can't be affording these lovely things when there are so many horses and pieces of tack and movies and books and charities etc out there. I don't wear jewelry. I don't collect jewelry, I make my own. I haven't used pins for thirty years and I have no intention of poking holes in my hat.
So what happens? A friend gave me this:
I don't collect pins....