Thursday, 31 May 2012

31/5: Top Pin Trading Locations in London (6)

This week we get closer to the Olympic Park. In fact just outside, as we spotlight potential pin trading at...

Westfield, Stratford City

For many old hands this location is nothing new - we've had some pin meets here already! But for those new to London or visiting from abroad hopefully there is some useful information included.

Nestling right next to the Olympic Park is Westfield, Stratford City shopping centre. Opened late last year the shopping centre is already very well used, and situated right on top of Stratford underground station and next door to Stratford International station.

Most importantly, Westfield will be the gateway to the Olympic park - with 7 million people likely to travel through it on their way to the games this summer.

7 million people - some of them must be carrying a few pins? I certainly hope so! Without having any certainty yet over what the busiest routes will be from the transport hubs to the park entrance it is hard to suggest any individual spots that will be good for pin trading, but the outside corridors are likely to be very busy, as are the alfresco dining areas which might make for a good trader meeting point after a busy day on the park.

Westfield also has a number of shops occupied by current London 2012 partners. Samsung, Mini and Omega for instance all have prominent locations. John Lewis also has an Olympic store - and a great view of the Olympic park on its top floor. There is a London 2012 official store here too - under the Team GB brand of "Our Greatest Team".

When you add in great shopping, millions of people, the gateway to the Olympic Park, likely sponsor activities and pleasant outdoor locations I think we can guarantee that Westfield, Stratford City will be a genuinely great place to swap some pins this summer!

Monday, 28 May 2012

28/5: Last Stamp Pin Issued

For those of you collecting the pins of the Royal Mail Olympic stamps - good news! The final pin in the series, table tennis, was released today. This pin is from the second set of stamp ons issued back in July 2011.

Table Tennis stamp

The pin/stamp pack is available from the Royal Mail and also from Coin Bazaar.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

27/5: Olympic Torch Relay Pins - Days 10 - 13

Here are the remaining 4 torch relay pins for May as the torch leaves Wales and heads back in to England.

Pin 1927 - Bangor
Pin 1928 - Chester
Pin 1929 - Stoke-on-Trent
Pin 1930 - Bolton

Friday, 25 May 2012

25/5: Coca-Cola Torch Relay Pin - Another Offer from Event Merchandising

Following on from last weeks offer for Olympic Torch Relay pins, I'm pleased to say that Event Merchandising Limited have returned with another offer for London Pins readers. This time for the 12 Coca-Cola torch relay pins - the 7 standard Coca-Cola OTR pins as well as the 5 city celebration pins that are only available at those venues

Remember that these pins are only available on the torch relay and 5 of them only at the city celebrations. So if you're not able to get to all 5 locations, this is one of the easiest ways of picking cup the entire set. Please note that these are 12 separate pins on cards. The offer from Event Merchandising is for the full set of 12 pins, you will not be able to order individual pins.

The price for all the pins will be £122 with free delivery in the UK.

As before, please contact with your order details.

Lastly, for all of you that contacted Steve last week regarding one of the original offers, he has confirmed to me that he will have answered everyone by Monday. Please bear with him as he's with the torch relay at the moment and as you can appreciate, that is taking up a lot of his time. If you haven't heard from him yet - he'll be in touch.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

24/5: Gold Guards and Downing Street

This weeks new retail releases have a distinctly London feel with the mascots in their guards uniforms in gold and the front door of the Prime Minister's residence - 10 Downing Street.

Pin 1066

Pin 1067

Pin 0648

The guards are from an issue size of 10,000, but for some reason only 50 of each are being released initially. I'm not sure if the rest will be released individually, as sets or if they have all been snapped up. All I know for certain is that only 50 are available at the moment.

The 10 Downing Street pin is from an issue size of 10,000.

These will be at you favourite retailers this week.

Also available this week are two more Team GB/Paralympics GB pins to join the one that was issued last week, again from an issue size of 10,000.

Pin 0614

Pin 0615

Pin 0616

24/5: Top Pin Trading Locations in London (5)

We reach the halfway point in a run down of 10 top locations where pin trading may be going on in London this summer. This week it's the turn of...

Live Sites

Live Sites are a relatively new Olympic phenomenon. These large spaces could be described as the best way to see the Olympics and experience the atmosphere if you don't have a ticket to a sporting event or to the Olympic Park.

Many Games have had them, and they have had different levels of success. In Vancouver there were three downtown live sites - one of which hosted a number of the Sponsor pavilions which at London's Games you can find on the Olympic Park. In Beijing there were a number of sites too - but these were not so well attended. Atlanta carved out the centre of the city to create Centennial Olympic Park - the scene of great celebrations, as well as a tragic incident during those games.

For London 2012 there will be Live Sites stretching across the entire country, with 5 being located in London. The specific sites are in Hyde Park, Potters Fields, Victoria Park, Waltham Forest and Woolwich.

Pin for Hyde Park - One of the London 2012 Live Sites

The two major sites will be in Hyde Park (in Central London) and Victoria Park (close to the Olympic Park). These two will host Major events and concerts as part of the BT London Live 2012 programme.

But what are Live Sites? Well the main draw is Live Olympic and Paralympic Sport! Big Screens will relay the best of the action to spectators who get to experience a great atmopshere in an outside environment with thousands of other people. As well as the sport these sites usually have shops, food and entertainment. At the larger sites (such as Hyde Park and Victoria Park) stages will provide live entertainment too.

In fact Hyde Park is holding special Opening and Closing Ceremony Concerts which will be ticketed only. For the 28 July-11 August access is open to everybody - but you can also buy a guaranteed entry ticket.

Of course most appealingly - the Hyde Park Live Site is the location of one of the Coca-Cola pin trading centres - but more on these in a later post.

For pin collectors this will be a great location to trade pins. There will be plenty of traders about, and plenty of fans who will hopefully be wearing pins, and willing to trade a pin or two. So as always, keep your eyes peeled, enjoy the atmosphere and be ready to trade some pins!

For more details of where all the London 2012 Live Sites can be found then best to check the London 2012 Website for details.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

23/5: Olympic Torch Relay Pins - Days 6 - 9

Here are the next 4 pins in the Olympic Torch Relay set that will be issued over the next few days as the torch heads into Wales.

Pin 1923 - Worcester
Pin 1924 - Cardiff
Pin 1925 - Swansea
Pin 1926 - Aberystwyth

23/5: Coca-Cola Torch Relay City Celebration Pins

Last week, we saw the seven Coca-Cola Olympic Torch Relay pins (click here for the blog entry). At that time, we knew that 5 city celebration event pins would be issued for the 5 Coca-Cola hosted events around the country.

The first of those events is in Cardiff on Friday. Here is the pin that will be available exclusively at that event.

Pin 1668

This pin is limited to 2,012 pieces and should be available at the Coca-Cola party in Cardiff.

23/5: Another Diversity Pin That will be Hard To Find

A while ago, we found about about the Faith pin that, despite being one of the 2,012 retail pins, was completely bought up by a number of organisations before hitting the retailers.

It seems that the same has happened with another pin from the Diversity series.

Pin 1058

The Gender pin was released last September, but it seems to have slipped under the radar. It never reached retailers, and all 2,012 pieces are now sold out. Looks like this is another pin from the retail range that will be hard to find.

Monday, 21 May 2012

21/5: Olympic Torch Relay Pins - Days 4 and 5

Here are the next 2 pins in the Olympic Torch Relay set for days 4 (Tuesday 22nd) and 5 (Wednesday 23rd).

Pin 1921 - Bristol
Pin 1922 - Cheltenham

Looking at the official London 2012 shop this evening, it paperers that the first pin - Land's End is now out of stock. It's possible that more may become available, but at the moment it looks like this pin is not available.

21/5: Pin Meet 8 - A Short Report

On Saturday, a group of collectors met at the spiritual home of London 2012 pin collecting - The Railway Tavern, thanks to the generosity of Jan and the team at the pub who let us use the facilities free of charge.

Around 18 collectors managed to get there and even though numbers were slightly down on last time, you would never have guessed it by the amount of activity, conversation and trades that were going on. Based on the feedback I have received, I think it's safe to say that everyone thought it was worth attending and a number of people commented on the good trades that they had made.

We were joined once again by two of the team from Coca-Cola. We would like to thank them not only for turning up and talking with us, but also for offering everyone a Coca-Cola torch relay pin and for showing us all 12 of the new torch relay retail pins. The pins certainly caused a stir amongst the collectors there.

Thank you also to Honav for coming along and showing us some of the new retail pins that are coming soon. I personally liked a set of street signs and the map if the UK jigsaw set.

At this meet we were also joined by a film crew making a small film about subjects connected to the Olympics and also a photographer and representative from the marketing department of LOCOG. Both groups covered the entire afternoon and took the opportunity to talk to lots of collectors. Hopefully it will help to promote pin collecting during the Games.

Thank you to everyone who came along and made the day a success, I hope you will all be back for the next one - Saturday 16th June at 12pm in the Stadium Suite at John Lewis, Westfield Stratford City.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

20/5: Olympic Torch Relay Pins - Days 2 and 3

Here are the retail Olympic Torch Pins pins for days 2 (Sunday 20th) and 3 (Monday 21st).

Pin 1919 - Exeter
Pin 1920 - Taunton

The first 14 in the set are available to buy individually from the official London 2012 online store.

Friday, 18 May 2012

18/5: Torch Relay Pins - Offer from Event Merchandising

As the Olympic Torch Relay travels around the country, each evening it stops at a Celebration Venue. At these venues a fully branded and official London 2012 Torch relay shop will be present. These shops are being operated by Event Merchandising Limited and they are the only retailer selling official London 2012 merchandise within these celebration sites. They will have products that are exclusive and only available through that shop such as torch logo key rings, magnets etc.

They will of course, be stocking the Olympic Torch Relay pins and over the course of the relay will have all 75 designs. They are reaching out to the readers of London Pins with a series of offers for anyone who cannot make it to all 70 celebration venues!

Offer 1 : A complete set of individual pins

Order all 75 pins as individual pins (not a framed set) and Event Merchandising are offering the discounted price of £5 per pin.

Not only that, but they hope to send them to you in batches. That way, you will receive a set of pins for several days of the relay before those days occur. That way you will have the pin on the day of the relay. As the torch progresses you will be sent the next set of pins so you will always have them in advance.

This may take them a little while to arrange for the first few pins, but once we get to June they hope to have this delivery worked out.

BUT: These pins will be supplied from Event Merchandising's very limited stock. To ensure you get your order processed, they need to know numbers by 4pm tomorrow (Saturday 19th May) as once the Celebration Venue at Plymouth opens, these pins will go on general sale and may sell out. If you want to take up this offer, act fast.

Offer 2: The framed set

If you like the look of the framed set shown yesterday, they are offering this to readers for 10% off the recommended retail price. This set will not be delivered until the torch relay is complete and must be ordered by 30th June.

Offer 3: Multiples of a single pin

For those of you that are looking for multiple pins for a particular venue, then they can offer to supply them at £6 each, but they require a minimum order of 5 of a particular pin.

Please be aware that Event Merchandising cannot supply odd pins here and there. To be able to offer these deals to readers they need you to commit to a certain level of order. Individual pins will be available at the Celebration Venues and through other retailers if any stock remains at the end of the Torch Relay.

To take up one of these offers, please contact Steve at Event Merchandising via email -

Your items can be delivered free of charge to their London 2012 shop in Jubilee Place, Canary Wharf, or sent directly to you for £1.99 for a single order of pins, £5.99 for the regular batches of the individual pins (one-off, not per batch) or £4.99 for the framed set.

Payment can be in cash at the Canary Wharf shop, Visa or Bank Transfer. They will be able to tell you more when you place an order.

Don't forget this offer is just for the Torch Relay London 2012 pins.

I hope to be able to bring you news of the Coca-Cola Torch Relay pins soon and another offer from Event Merchandising next week.

If you plan to go to a Celebration Venue during the relay, make sure to visit the London 2012 shop while you're there.

Thank you to Steve and the team at Event Merchandising for putting these offers together.

18/5: Coca-Cola Olympic Torch Relay Pins

Thanks to the team at Coca-Cola, I'm able to show you some of the pins that will be available during the Olympic Torch Relay. All of these are retail pins that will be available from tomorrow along the Torch Really Route. I understand they will also be available at each day's Celebration Venue.

These seven pins show
  • Wenlock and the torch with the Torch Relay logo and Coca-Cola logo
  • a gold pin with a map of the UK, the torch and composite logos
  • a slider pin which moves between the start and end dates of the Torch Relay
  • 4 Coca-Cola vehicles used on the Torch Relay showcasing Move to the Beat and Future Flames.
The issue sizes are <=10,000 for the mascot pin, <=5,000 for the gold map pin, <=5,000 for the slider and <=2,012 for each vehicle.

On May 25th in Cardiff, along with the pins shown, a city exclusive pin will also be available for sale. In addition, four other key city pins will also be available on the route. More information and visuals of these 5 pins to come in the next week.

In total, there are 12 retail pins in the Coca-Cola Torch Relay range, the 7 shown and the 5 city pins.

18/5: Olympic Torch Relay - Day 1 Pin

Tomorrow sees day 1 of the Olympic Torch Relay and the first 2 pins in the set of 75 that will be issued by London 2012.

Pin 1917 - Land's End
Pin 1918 - Plymouth

These pins will be available tomorrow at the Celebration Venue in Plymouth. The issue size for each pin is 2,012 pieces, but the number available to retailers is significantly less.

18/5: Coca Cola Bottle Set - Updated Info

There have been a number of comments regarding the photograph of the Coca-Cola bottle pin set I posted a few days ago.

To clear up any confusion, this is a set created as a Premia incentives gift by the Coca-Cola bottling subsidiary in the UK to be given away to specific clients and customers. 

It is not being offered for sale to the public and should not be confused with the official Coca-Cola Olympic and Paralympic Games retail pins that will be released for sale in the run up to the Games, including the hugely collectible 'Pin of the Day' single pins, and the Limited Edition framed bottle sets of these Pins.

These will be available from the Coca-Cola Pin Trading Centres and on-line only.

Please don't contact Coca-Cola for one of these sets as they are not being distributed to collectors.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

17/5: Pin Meet This Saturday

A quick reminder to anyone who might like to attend that we have our next pin meet on Saturday 19th May. We're back at the Railway Tavern in Stratford thanks to the very generous support of the owners. We start at 2.30pm and have a good mix of collectors there.

If you've followed the website, blog and forum and have yet to tried some pin trading, then why not come along and see what you think.

As we approach the Games, media interest in pin collecting and trading is increasing and there's a good chance that there will be a small film crew there making a feature on various aspects of the Olympics. There should also be a few members of the press from London and national titles.

No-one is obliged to be filmed or contribute in anyway, so just participate as much as you are comfortable.

I'm pleased to say that Honav plan to be there and with any luck we may have a sponsor dropping by.

I'm looking forward to seeing lots of you there on Saturday and hopefully we will all have a good days trading.

18/5: Torch Relay Pin Set

Here it is in all its glory - the 70-pin framed set celebrating the Olympic Torch Relay. Apologies for the file size, but it lets you see a lot of detail.

Click to view a larger image

Counting up the pins, you may notice that there are 75 in the set even though there are 70 days in the relay. There are 2 pins for the first day and I presume 2 for the final day, so somewhere along the route it seems that a few extra pins have sneaked in!

These can be ordered from a number of retailers during the relay itself, and then they will be dispatched once the Games start. Hopefully we'll get some news from the retailers soon.

I hope to have information on the size of the frame soon.

17/5: Top Pin Trading Locations in London (4)

Week 4 in the list of top places to trade pins during London 2012 from our guest blogger. This week it's the turn of...

London's Transport Hubs

They may not be the most glamorous locations, but don't forget these are the places that all our Olympic visitors will use to get to London, and leave afterwards.


Previous Games have spent huge amounts of money on new airports, and usually there has only been one major airport in the city. However, in London we are serviced by no less than 5 separate airports. Heathrow, Gatwick, Stanstead, Luton and London City.

Heathrow is the official Airport of London 2012 (as we all know from their great Purple and Green "Team Heathrow" pin!), and is also the location of one of the London 2012 Official shops (you can also find one of these in the departure section of Stanstead Airport).

In Vancouver, the airport was the location of one of the Coca-Cola pin trading centres, however this will not be the case in London.

The Airports are not somewhere that I would recommend visiting specifically to trade pins. However, at the past three Games this was the location of my first pin trade of the Games!

So if you are flying into the country, make sure you keep a few pins handy ready to trade with volunteers, airport staff, and maybe another passenger.

Also, upon leaving the host city, I've usually taken time to visit the Official shop and managed to add a couple of last minute additions to my pin collection before heading home.

St Pancras Station pin

Train Stations

Probably London's most beautiful station is St Pancras, recently renovated for its role as the end of the Eurostar line, St Pancras has embraced the Games. Huge Olympic rings hang from the ceiling, and of course its the home of the first London 2012 Shop. During the Games it's likely to be buzzing with activity, for as well as welcoming international visitors fresh from the Channel Tunnel, it's also one end of the Olympic Javelin line - which whisks you straight to Stratford International Station in about 6 minutes flat.

It's bound to be a busy route for workers, volunteers and of course spectators. This may well be a good spot to try a bit of pin trading.

London's other stations offer less in terms of Olympic connections, but don't forget that Paddington also has a small official shop too.

Airports and Stations aren't won't be the highlight of your visit to London, but don't rule them out as a place where you might get a good trade or two! As always - be ready and have a few pins handy!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

15/5: 'Blinged' Mascots

Never mind what Jessie J may say, today its all about the bling for Wenlock and Mandeville.

Pin 1070

Pin 1071

Both mascots appear with a sparkly finish in their core poses in both their regular colours and Union flag livery too. The Union Flag versions are from an issue size of 30,000.
The regular colour versions are pins 1068 and 1069.

As well as glittery mascots, the Union Flag version of the logo gets a bluing version today too - pin 0655.

All these pins should be available this week.

Monday, 14 May 2012

14/5: Olympic Torch Relay - A Pin a Day

As we draw closer to the start of the torch relay on Saturday, news today of the set of pins being issued to celebrate each day of the relay.

As the torch travels around the country, a new pin will be available each day. The design is consistent - a gold pin and logo with a pictogram type torchbearer, however the location name and date changes daily.

Overall there will be 70 pins available individually or as one complete set. The individual pins will be sold at each day's Celebration Venue and if any stocks remain after the torch relay, there will be a chance for other retailers to sell them. However, given that the issue size for each pin is 2,012 pieces, I think it is highly likely that a number of the locations will sell out each day. As for the complete sets, I think it's unlikely that there will be any more than 100 made available to collectors. The complete set will contain all 70 pins on a background map of the UK. I'm hopeful that we may see this set at the June pin meet.

So, when you consider that 500 of each pin will be held back for the complete 2,012 pin sets and that 100 may be held back for the torch relay framed set, that means that a little over 1,400 pins will be available at the Celebration Venue each day. For some of the sites or key dates, I think demand will be higher than this.

At the moment, I have no details on whether the pins can be purchased along the route each day. I hope to get some more details on the plans for each day's Celebration Venue retail outlets soon, so keep watching.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

13/5: Olympic Torch Relay Logo Pins

Some of you may have spotted the two Olympic Torch Relay logo pins that have been listed on eBay and appeared at a retailer. These pins will be officially released this week to coincide with the start of the torch relay in the UK.

Pin 1130

Pin 1131

They should be available from your favourite retailer some time this week. The issue sizes are 100,000 and 50,000 respectively.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

10/5: Top Pin Trading Locations in London (3)

It's week 3 of our countdown of the top places to trade pins during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and this week we are moving our focus to...

London's Tourist Ares

Last week we talked about how London's streets will be a great place to trade pins - nowhere will this be more evident than at places like Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden, Leicester Square and the South Bank. These are great places to visit if you are accompanied in London with friends or family. If your companions are not into pin trading, then they can enjoy some of the shopping, cultural or tourist attractions, while you take the time to trade some pins.

Let's take a closer look at these four specific locations in turn:

Trafalgar Square:

Always the first place people gather in London to celebrate national events, Trafalgar Square will surely be buzzing during the Olympics and therefore a great place to swap some pins. It's slap bang in the middle of the action as well, being a stones throw from Horse Guard's Parade and the Mall where the beach volleyball, cycling road races and marathons will be taking place. If you want to take in some culture, the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery are located at the north end of the square. It's also here that you will find the London 2012 Countdown Clock - of course during the Olympics the digits will still be ticking down to the start of the Paralympics.

Leicester Square:

The home of London cinema, this is where world premieres regularly take place. It's always buzzing with plenty of street food, cafes and touristy shops. It's also one of the best places to go to grab last minute tickets to London shows. There are sure to be plenty of Olympic tourists around - might be a good place to swap a pin or two.

London's Chinatown is in the heart of the Leicester Square area

Covent Garden:

Right next door to Leicester Square this is the heart of London's famous theatreland. The streets running off the main square are home to many of London's theatres - perhaps a good chance to get some culture in alongside all the sport? The Old Apple Market has some great little shops, and the whole vibe of the place will lend itself well to pin trading. There are lots of outdoor cafes to soak up the London sun(?!), and usually street theatre to enjoy. Expect plenty of people wearing pins, keep your eyes peeled and you may do some good swapping here.

The South Bank:

Stretching from Waterloo Station all the way along to Tower Bridge on the South side of the River Thames is "The South Bank". This stretch of London is home to London's National Theatre and Cinema, the London Aquarium, the London Eye and further downstream the Tate Modern Art Gallery, Shakespeare's Globe and HMS Belfast. Pin trading or not, this is a great place to visit either on your own, or with family and friends. There are sure to be plenty of people thronging this wide pedestrian route alongside the river taking in the attractions, street theatre, food and drink and the general atmosphere of being in London - the Olympic City. There are no specific locations that can be recommended, but for sure pin trading will happen here - just keep a good look-out!

As with every previous Games, there is no knowing exactly where pin trading will take off - but some of the locations are bound to end up being good spots; and even if they aren't perfect pin positions, they are all places that are worth a visit if you are new to London.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

9/5: New McDonalds and Coca-Cola Sets

Thanks to a couple of readers, here are two sets from McDonalds and one from Coca-Cola featuring London 2012.

The first McDonalds set looks like 4 oversized pins spelling '2 0 1 2' and featuring ironing London images in the McDonalds brand colours. It looks like it comes in a branded box too.

The next set from McDonalds is a set of 19 pins, one for each summer and winter games that McDonalds has been a partner of the Olympics since 1976. There is a noticeable gap for Moscow 1980 when many countries boycotted the Games. The 19th pin in the set is the one for London 2012

The set from Coca-Cola is a traditional Coke bottle jigsaw set comprising of what looks like 8 pins. The Coca Cola/London 2012 composite logo is widely used in the set.

This is a set created as a Premia incentives gift by the Coca-Cola bottling subsidiary in the UK to be given away to specific clients and customers. 

It is not being offered for sale to the public and should not be confused with the official Coca-Cola Olympic and Paralympic Games retail pins that will be released for sale in the run up to the Games, including the hugely collectible 'Pin of the Day' single pins, and the Limited Edition framed bottle sets of these Pins.

These will be available from the Coca-Cola Pin Trading Centres and on-line only.

Please don't contact Coca-Cola for one of these sets as they are not being distributed to collectors.

9/5: Pin Traders Pack

There is a new pin product available at the London 2012 shop at St Pancras - the Pin Trader's Pack. This is a sealed pack which contains 5 pins from a range of 30 designs all for £15. The label on the back of the pack explains the concept of pin trading and promises at one 'extremely rare' pin, either

  • countdown
  • mini white logo
  • silver mascot

Front of pack

Rear of pack

I've heard of one collector who did get a very good set of pins, I on the other hand would consider that I did 'ok' - a few traders for Games time. I suppose though, that is the point of the pack, and at least the pins are essentially half price.

The picture on the front of the pack shows the media centre pin mention there a few weeks ago and also a 10 Downing Street pin which I don't think we've seen from Honav yet. Therefore I wouldn't read too much into the images on the front of the pack.

I don't know if the packs are available at any other locations. If you see them, please leave a comment to inform others.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

8/5: Launch Puzzle Set have released the first in what will be a set of 6 pins to celebrate London, Sochi, Rio and Pyeongchang and the potential host city for 2020.

Pin INS0005

Five of the pins each represent one of the host cities and show the name of the city as well as a representative image - a red bus for London as an example. The pins form a circle with the teddy as the sixth piece of the puzzle. The pins are manufactured by Honav and contain a backstop of INS0005.

The pins are each limited to 800 pieces and issued on  a backing card which shows what the complete puzzle looks like.

Backing card

As part of the launch of this pin and Honav have joined forces to present their 'My Favourite Pin Story' competition. Simply by entering the story behind your favourite pin and what it means to you, you have the chance to win a range of London 2012 retail pins and the puzzle set too.

Friday, 4 May 2012

4/5: London Pins Goes Mobile

I've been playing around with ideas for a mobile or light version of the catalogue. I've looked at creating an iPhone app, but I never seem to have the time to learn the tools enough to do it.

I've come up with a good alternative though I think - a web app. For those that do not know what these are, think of them as a normal website but scaled and formatted for a mobile device and then added as an icon to your phone so that it looks and functions like a normal app, but is in fact accessing a website.

The downside is that the app requires access to the internet to work, so you won't have the pin catalogue in your pocket as such - you can't use it on the underground to check as your trading!

It will allow you to access the catalogue which I've divided it up in line with the main version, so you should find it relatively easy to navigate. You can list the pins in the same categories as on the main site and then click on any pin to see a larger image and details of the backstamp.

You can also check the news blog, see details and maps of upcoming pin meets, send me an email and run the full site when you need to.

I will endeavour to keep the mobile catalogue as up to date as the website one and plan to update them both at the same time.

To install it on an iPhone, do this...
  1. On your phone, launch a web browser as usual and type in
  2. When the site launches, you should see the screen above,
  3. Tap on the middle icon on the bottom bar (the one that looks like an arrow coming out of a box)
  4. Tap 'Add to Home Screen'
  5. In the text entry box, type in London Pins and tap 'Add' in the top right corner
  6. The London Pins icon should now appear on your homepage and when you tap the new icon, you should launch London Pins without any browser bars, so it looks like a real iPhone app.
  7. When you click the new icon, you may see a 'splash' screen with the London Pins logo or a blank white screen (I can't tell why it's not consistent) - this just means the phone is launching the app, please be patient.
Sorry I haven't got instructions for an Android phone, but you can still access the mobile URL as above and then add a bookmark. You will still get the same functionality but without the icon.

There are a few limitations...

  • The size of the screen means that it's not always possible to see the complete description of the pin when viewing a list. Click on the picture however and all should be revealed.
  • Sometimes when you click a picture, rather than open the details page within the web app, the phone launches a new Safari browser and displays the details there. This seems random and may have something to do with buffering. It seems the more you use the app, the less of a problem this becomes.
  • It's not the quickest response in the world, but it's easier than trying to view the catalogue from the main site on a phone. I hope you think it's a good (and free) compromise.
Please try it out and let me know if you find any problems. I'll try and help out where I can.
If you think of anything that would make it better, let me know, I can't promise to do it, but I may be able to try.

Thanks to Robert for planting the seeds of an idea and for keeping this on my agenda. Thanks too to those that tested the early prototype - I hope you think it's progressed.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

3/5: Top Pin Trading Locations in London (2)

Our guest blogger presents their second idea for a top pin trading location during the Games.

London Streets

The streets of an Olympic City come alive during the Olympic Games. We hear it all the time - but there really is nothing like theOlympics. And nowhere is this more apparent than out on the streets. Of course, not every London street is a perfect pin trading position, but hopefully by the end of this column, you will see why it's worth keeping your eyes open while wandering around the city this summer!

To start with, the streets will look good! Olympic banners and decorations help create the stage for a carnival atmosphere. Inaddition to the usual collection of locals and tourists that you will always find in London during the summer, the number of peopleout and about will be swelled by the addition of some new and unique visitors.

To start with Olympic and Paralympic Volunteers will be out in force! Always distinctively uniformed (in London it will be a purple and red combination!), these helpful souls have given up their time to be part of the Olympic experience. It will be hard to not to spot teams of these usually friendly folks wandering the streets.

Joining them will be the uniformed Olympic Broadcast teams. These are the people who are responsible for beaming the Olympics all around the world. They come from all over the planet, and are usually freelance cameraman, soundmen and producers who are familiar with a particular sport.

Then there are the media and press teams who usually wear their "Team" t-shirts or jackets. The larger Broacasters like NBC and the BBC will be particularly noticeable with their larger numbers. You will see these guys walking the streets or riding public transport clutching massive cameras, tripods, notepads or even sound booms trying to get to their next interview or photo spot.

There are the sponsors - normally these come in the form of invited guests all wearing branded outfits and following their leaderwho is holding up a tall plastic sign with the sponsor's name on it so that their group don't get lost.
As the Games wear on, the athletes will begin to become more noticeable as many of the events begin to finish. But, for every 1athlete there are always another 3 coaches, administrators, and physios also branded in team uniform. These guys will be wandering around doing the same thing as everybody else - enjoying the atmosphere, soaking up the city and having their moment in the spotlight.
Finally the Olympic fans - hopefully from all over the world - will be in London. The dutch are usually out in force dressed inOrange, the Americans, Aussie and Canadians always bring good numbers. And many of the other European nations will be dressed innational colours, waving their flags and supporting their favourites.
So from a pin point of view where does this leave us? Well many of these different groups of people will be wearing pins! Pins they'vebought from the shops, pins they have traded at the venue they've been spectating or working at, and maybe most excitingly of allpins that belong to their group! Maybe a volunteer pin, a Broadcaster pin or a Sponsor pin!
I would say 'keep your eyes out' for these different groups - but there is no need, it will be impossible to miss them! What I can say is keep your eyes open for any pins these folks will be wearing, and make sure you have some pins on you at all times just in case a good swap presents itself. There is no telling which streets will be best for picking up pins, but you can be sure that as the Games progress people will get a feel for where the best places are for a good trade.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

3/5: New Around the Rings Article

My latest London Pins article for Around the Rings is published today. This time I've taken a look at the way London has been represented on the retail pins.

Click here to read the article.