World Series Press Pins
World Series "press pins" are issued to members of the sports media covering the games in each city. Baseball collectibles of this type are quite rare.
They are one item the average sports collector will have to do some scouting to find.
Each season, the two teams involved issue small, colorful pins to commemorate their team's appearance in the World Series. The pins aren't available to the general public and therefore, they can be quite hard to locate and very valuable to collectors.
Press pins have been issued since 1911. In the early days, they actually served as the credential for reporters to get into the games. In recent years, credentials were issued in laminated paper but the tradition of issuing press pins to accredited media continued. They are distributed with a media packet prior to the games to all reporters who are granted access to the Series.
The Philadelphia A's were the first to issue pins for the 1911 World Series. The pin was actually more of a medallion (sort of like a war medal), but by 1916, they had changed to just a pin-back lapel version. The pins typically have the date, the word "press" and a design of some sort on the front. They are often colorful, very historic in nature and just interesting to look at.
The first Series medal is worth nearly $20,000! Values remain significant for pins issued through the early 1950s but newer pins can be found for less than $100. Pins issued for teams that WIN the World Series typically have a slightly higher value than those issued for the runner-up. Pins created by popular or historically relevant teams also have a premium value. The 1955 Brooklyn Dodger pin is worth $400-500 while the Yankee version often sells for less than half.
Pins are printed several weeks before the post-season, meaning that some teams create pins but never make the Series. These are called "Phantom" pins. Teams often sold or distributed them to fans as a consolation and although not as popular as the actual press pins for Series contestants, they can carry significant value based on scarcity. While most Series Phantom pins in the 1960s sell for $100-200, the 1964 White Sox and '66 Giants pins are very scarce and carry a value of approximately $1,000 each.
Pins are also issued for All Star games. The first was for the 1938 game in Cincinnati and carries a value of $7-8,000 according to the Standard Catalogue of Sports Memorabilia. The baseball Hall of Fame issues similar pins for the induction ceremony in Cooperstown, NY each year and the NFL issues press pins for Super Bowl games.
While press pins can be expensive, they are an attractive, challenging collectible. One can complete a "set" of 2 pins from a recent series for a reasonable outlay and begin a hobby that is enjoyable and unique.