Lapel pins are frequently used as symbols of achievement and belonging in different organizations. Fraternities and sororities use lapel pins as the primary symbol for their organizations. Members wear the pins to meetings and special events to show their belonging to the organization. Lapel pins from the organization are often collected by members and non-members alike.
Businesses also use lapel pins to designate achievement and membership. Lapel pins are a common element of employee recognition programs, and they are presented to individuals as a symbol of an accomplishment. Like fraternity and sorority pins, these lapel pins instill a sense of belonging to an elite group of performers at the organization. Businesses also award lapel pins to employees more frequently to boost employee morale, productivity and employee engagement.
The Soviet Union had great production of these. Besides pins showing political figures and as souvenirs for tourist spots, there were pins for various sports, cultural, and political gatherings and for technical achievements of the Soviet Union. The pins had countercultural meanings as well; for example, the pin featuring the robot spacecraft Kosmos 186 (which approached and docked with Kosmos 188) had a sexual connotation.
In recent years, pin collecting has also become a popular hobby. Demand for pin designs based on popular cartoon characters and themes such as Disney, Betty Boop, and Hard Rock Cafe has surged and led to the creation of pin trading events and other social activities. Disney pin trading is a prime example of this.
In September 2011, "Police & Military Tie Tac Service" sold one single lapel pin badge for £112; making it the most expensive lapel pin ever sold.
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