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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 burch@burchcom.com.


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Click Here for Excel Database A

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Click Here for Excel Database B

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Click Here for Excel Database N

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Click Here for Excel Database P

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Click Here for Excel Database X

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Click Here for Excel Database Y1

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Click Here for Excel Database Y2

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Click Here for Excel Database Y4

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Click Here for Excel Database Z1

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Click Here for Complete Excel Database



Click Here or on Pin for a larger view
Click Here for Description and Price (.pdf File)

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Click Here for Description and Price (.pdf File)


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