Dad’s pins may hold more value than expected
By JERRY SAMPSON
Accredited Senior Appraiser
Question: Hello Jerry. I’m sending you this email to get your help. I’m certain that these have no
value, but I don’t know what to do with them. Yard sale them or toss them? I cleaned out Dad’s estate this time last year. We sold the house fast and just took everything and put it in storage. I have a box of about 50 of these pins — all different. I think that just about every man in my family was in some type of club. Some I don’t even know what they are. Any help you can give is much appreciated.
Answer: Whoa, hold on there Sparky. You need to have someone look at these pins. Many pins that were made and used before the 1950s were 10kt gold. They could have scrap value. You don’t want to toss or yard sale solid gold do you?
There was a time that many men, of all walks of life, belonged to clubs like Masons,
Shriners, Odd Fellows, Order of the Moose and a great deal of others. Some of these clubs
could have been religion-based and many like Rotary were charity- business- or good works- based.
Some were borderline creepy and some were very mundane. Basically, it was just a good excuse for men once a week or month to get together to socialize, smoke, drink, play games or actually to make community plans for projects. Then something happened.
Modern life is what happened. Men were no longer able to offer time once or twice a month to attend club meetings, functions or start or finish projects. Life became hectic, so these clubs, like a lot of things, have lessened in memberships or attendance or simply faded away completely. It’s a shame, but it happens, not just to clubs but churches, fairs and festivals, vacation spots, antique shows and on and on.
What was once thought of as fun or entertaining has been eliminated or has been dramatically changed by overwork, overtime and manic TV, phone and computer habits. However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Some clubs still hang on, though many of the heads of members may be white or bald.
Which leads me to say that there might be collectors who will treasure them for the pins they are. Not for the gold or the meaning behind them but because they are are beautiful and historic — especially if there are local connections. Many members, if the club isn’t shuttered up, actively look for older pins to add to collections.
Of your pin photos, I selected two that are Shriners pins. I can’t tell from your photos if they are
marked for solid gold or not. However, I have found that many pins that are gold plated or filled and are interesting range in price from $5 to $20. In the field of a rare club or pin, that value could triple or more. It just all depends on what you have, where and how you sell it.
eBay is a great place to investigate on what’s selling. But look at SOLD and completed auctions, please. Thanks for a great question.