Collecting pin badges is cool, actually July 17, 2022 on brett.icu

Hello again everyone, I hope you are all doing well over the summer. The temperature is extremely hot and so I can’t do much while I am spending time inside staying away from the heat. I am going to be trying to write more about things that aren’t technology, as it gets my mind off work and it calms me, It’s like therapy I guess?

When I was a kid in 2009, I used to collect a lot of pin badges that I’d find at stores, holidays or charity stores. When I was still in primary school, I would put most of my badges to the edges of my school bag. I slowly lost this hobby as I grew older, as I started having a special interest in computers instead. All of those badges I used to have are probably long gone now as I have no idea where that school bag went…

The majority of the pin badges I owned as a child were RSPB pin badges1. In my country, the UK, these badges are quite popular with collectors and there’s a niche community behind collecting them. During the seasons, the RSPB sites change their badges to only distribute birds active during that season. I often see big packs of them selling up to the three figures online on websites like eBay. Some RSPB badges are quite rare, some have a limited amount in circulation, some only have one or two ever made! RSPB keep a list of every badge they made on a website for you to check them all out, it even contains ones that weren’t released2.

By looking at their doc, we can see there are currently ‘over 350’ badges and NO I am not going to be bothered to count every individual badge! But, I am very surprised there is a LOT more than I thought there was. Four badges (Golden Eagle 1, Hobby 1, Kestrel 1, and White-Tailed Eagle 1) are marked as Proof Only and are proof design badges that never got released, where only one or two of them exist. Every proof-only badge was auctioned and sold to a private collection and I can’t find any record anywhere for what they sold for online. I checked eBay and two Great Bustard badges sold individually for over £100 each, just for that singular badge.

So, do I own any RSPB badges today? No, they’re all lost and I haven’t thought of getting any.

During the summer, I have had a resurgence in collecting badges again. During an Armed Forces parade I visited, I was given a goodie bag with some Royal Air Force Association pin badges. These badges were just different types of aircraft, some in different orientations. After the parade, I searched for the badges online and it appears there are over 30 different ones that I could find. Most badges are alike, however there are three different types of RAFA aircraft badges I could categorise:

Some aircrafts have badges that appear in multiple categories, for example the Supermarine Spitfire has a top facing badge, a sideways right facing badge, a metallic bronze, and a metallic silver badge. Some aircraft are exclusive to their category completely, for example, the Red Arrows badge only has a Category 2 badge. There are also some misc. badges that they have made, for instance badges on teddy bears.

So why am I explaining all of this? Because I bought every single one I could find!

My RAFA badge collection on a fabric wall hanger, sorted in rows of eight with 32 different badges in this picture. More of them are off camera. The first row contains Category 1 badges, the second and third rows Category 2 badges, and the Fourth Category 3. The last of the third row has a category 3 badge.

These are not all of my badges, there is a Silver Spitfire badge that hasn’t arrived to me yet, the teddies and Wings logo badges are also not on camera, but I own all of those too! I also bought a hanger to put them all in, but I am looking to get more of them If I find any that have skipped my eyes. I also have bought some other RAF themed badges.

If you’re the average reader of this site, you’re probably into technology. So you might be thinking, how you could get a badge collection that fits your interests? Well my answer is you don’t always have to collect badges on brand or manufacture, you can collect many based on a topic, or an interest. Buy badges from nonprofits who support FOSS, or buy badges for Linux, cryptocurrency, privacy, security or whatever else. Here are some noteworthy badge collections I found online:

In 2011, Google attended the Mobile World Congress with a gamified event on their stand. Every staff member had their own Android themed pin badge to give away if you met one of them. Meeting all of them got you all 86, one which included a Golden android for those who got them all. They are EXTREMELY RARE. If you want pictures of them all, this news article shows you pictures of all of them. Also, in 2015, they did it again, but this time with a whopping 126 badges. You can find them all here as well.

I found a Japanese exclusive Adobe Photoshop 20th anniversary pin badge set, and I can’t find anything about it online. Here is an archive of the listing.

There’s some vintage NSA/GCHQ/(insert intelligence agency here) badges for sale on eBay if you’re into that.

That being said, I hope this little tribute post about a hobby of mine is a fun read, I am hoping to get back into it, and I took a lot of inspiration from some other posts I saw online when I was thinking of how to write about this. So, thank you for reading! I hope to see you all again soon.

Blog Posts about badges I found online:


  1. For the people who don’t know: RSPB is a charity in the UK that preserves wildlife, primarily birds. The RSPB distribute pin badges of birds and other various animals as part of their fundraising. ↩︎

  2. Find it at: https://www.rspb.org.uk/globalassets/images/get-involved/fundraising/rspb-all-uk-pin-badge-visual-designs-landscape-external-only.pdf ↩︎


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