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Pinback.  A medallic item with some form of attachment, usually a straight pin on the reverse, so the item may be worn. Any small diestruck medallic item with some fastener, intended to be worn, could be considered to be a pinback. However the term pinback is so widely used for the celluloid pin (these are not diestruck thus outside the scope of this encyclopedia) that the term pin more often implies a medallic pin or jewelry pin. Medallic pinbacks can have design on both sides, but are usually uniface, with maybe only the maker’s mark on the side with the pin. The pinback usually has the maker's name on a paper label pasted on the back.

Of great importance in this field is the pinback header – the top component of a badge with one or more suspended parts. The metal pinback header is diestruck, either solid or shell (shell is popular for a lesser weight) and it has the attachment mechanism on the back. The design of the header often supplements the pendant medal, as the skyline of the city where a meeting or convention is held, the subject of the medal. Also, as a later development, the header is required to contain a namecard, showing through part of the header, or occupying the entire header itself.

excerpted with permission from

An Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology

For Artists, Makers, Collectors and Curators


Roger W. Burdette, Editor

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