|The database for all of the pins and
medals was completed on November 19, 2013.
|My involvement with ballooning began
in 1980 and for the next 20 years it formed a large part of my activities.
Although I still maintain an active interest in the sport, I stopped flying
balloons in 1998. During this 18 year period I collected hundreds of pins
from fellow balloonists, at events and from serious traders. I have decided
to sell the entire collection, including a few extremely rare pins and
medals from the Paris Mint that depict balloons. In total, there are approximately
2340 pins. There are some duplicates, so the total number of actual unique
pins is about 2300.
|These pins date from 1973 to about
1995, with the vast majority from 1980 through 1992. If you are a relative
newcomer to balloon pin collecting, this represents a rare opportunity
to enhance your collection with scarce and extremely rare pins. The majority
of these pins are Cloisonné or painted enamel with epoxy coating.
The rest are etched with painted enamel, plus a few die cut or cast mono
metal pins. All come with butterfly or tie-tac backs. A few have
safety pin clasp backs. In the expanded images a number of pins look tarnished,
but this is actually a trick of the light when I took the photos. All of
these pins are in very fine or excellent condition. Only a very few have
some damage such as a broken pin backside.
|Originally the pins were displayed
on black velvet in 12 x 16 inch frames. What I have done is discard the
frame and then photograph the pins as a panel. Each panel has a letter:
A,B,C, etc. Each of these panels contains between 55 and 110 pins. The
Y series has 4 panels and the Z series has 3 panels, because these were
pins I hadn't yet framed. Accompanying each panel is a database for that
panel. The database contains information about the pin and/or the balloon,
including year of manufacture, registration, type of finish, availability,
estimated value and the country of origin, etc. No doubt there are mistakes
in the various databases, but I have done my best to be as accurate as
possible. Please feel free to send me any corrections. Simply click on
each panel to get an expanded view. The new JPEG will open in a new window.
Databases are presented as Microsoft Excel files. Information about the
medals is presented in .pdf format.
|Although I personally collected each
of these pins, it is possible that a few counterfeits or unauthorized knock-offs
got through. I flew the Minolta corporate balloon from 1986 to 1992 and
I personally had all of the official pins made. However, counterfeits began
to appear by 1987. Some of these are included here (with mention of the
fact they are unauthorized). The Disney and Forbes Collection pins are
also popular targets for counterfeiters. All of my Forbes pins are authentic
and original, or authorized 2nd and 3rd editions. I had the great pleasure
of knowing Malcolm Forbes who personally gave me these pins. You will also
note that there are a few pins here and there that are not balloons. I
included them here because they are associated with the balloon sponsor,
such as Minolta and Apple Computers. Pins such as the Apple "Lisa" product
launch are also extremely valuable and sought after by collectors.
A few military pins are also included, such as air force wings that were
obtained from balloonists who are veterans.
|Earlier I mentioned condition. All
of my pins are in very fine or excellent condition with just a few exceptions.
However, you will notice that many pins that feature an epoxy coating appear
to be yellow. This is a condition called Polyamide/Amine Blush, or
Surface Enrichment. It occurs when the proper cure cycle of catalyzed epoxies
is interrupted or slowed. The “lighter” polyamide - or amine hardener -
separates from the epoxy and floats to the surface where it oxidizes and
turns yellow or brownish in color. This, by no means detracts from
the value of the pin. If anything, it serves as proof that the pin is old
and most probably authentic. Remember that most date from 1980 to 1992,
making them 20-30 years old. The polyamide/amine blush condition can be
confirmed by rubbing the surface lightly with a clean rag soaked in a chemical
called MEK or Reducer R7K54. The yellow appearance will be removed, but
might later return. Reducer R7K54 is available from Sherwin Williams. I
purposely did not apply this chemical to my pins since I would not want
someone to later say I had purposely doctored the appearance. Bear in mind
that the vast majority of these pins were (and still are) manufactured
in Taiwan and China. Three decades ago the makers were probably unaware
that a number of factors such as improper temperature, drying time, etc.
might result in this yellow discoloration many years later.
|A few other items are included in my
collection. There are seven different pure bronze medals from the Paris
Mint that were issued to commemorate the Bicentennial of Manned Flight,
homage to the inventors of the balloon - the Montgolfier brothers, a medal
marking the achievement of the 1978 flight of the Double Eagle II across
the Atlantic, and one medal from 1958 celebrating the life of Jules Verne
that depicts a balloon on one side. Also from the Paris Mint is a 10 franc
coin minted in 1983 to mark the bicentennial of ballooning. Another extremely
rare item is a 1933 embossed tin pin from the town of Annonay, France (the
cradle of ballooning) to mark the 150th anniversary of the invention of
the balloon. Lastly, there is a very rare Sterling Silver 1973 original
pin celebrating the second Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. This pin also commemorates
the first World Hot Air Balloon Championship that was held simultaneously.
|And finally, there is the subject of
price. Ideally I would like to liquidate the entire collection, including
the bronze medals, etc. for one lump sum total price. This, of course,
will reflect a significant reduction in the overall estimated prices of
individual pins. If you are a seasoned collector, this collection is bound
to fill in many holes. Leftover duplicates can then be sold or traded at
a profit. If you are interested, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.