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Hillis

New to patch trading...how do I start?

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Several members of my Lodge and friends from all walks of Boy Scouts have convinced me to take up patch collecting. There was a silent auction at the last OA Banquet, so I bought several patches. You gotta start somewhere. I have a Black Warrior Council Patch, a Hiawatha Council Patch, a Rio Grande Council Patch, a Cherokee Area Council Tennesse Georgia Patch, and three NOAC 1998 patches (one is a Staff patch). I have no idea where to go from here. How do I find out what each patch is worth? How do I find good deals for trades? do people ever trade CSPs for Lodge Flaps? I have CSPs, but I would like to collect Lodge Flaps.

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Welcome to your new hobby! First bit of advice is to pick a "segment" of the hobby and focus on it...CSP's, Lodge flaps, Philmont, etc. You can't do it all (I tried, but my wife objected to the space requirement!). I have focused on the council, lodge and council camp where I have spent 30 years scouting.

 

In the scouting environment, there are a few unwritten rules to observe. Patch trading should generally be "one for one". No money should change hands. Adults do not trade with youth. Seal the deal with a handshake and both parties should go away friends.

 

If you want to know the "worth" of your patches, there are several sources...the OA "Blue Book", and the "Guide to Scouting Collectibles" by George Cuhaj. Also watch ebay for an idea of what things are going for. Older felt or chenille patches and "first flaps" (the first flap issued by an OA lodge)can go for $1000 or more.

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Patch trading is fun. I've made some goods friends locally and all across the country. Scoutldr has some good advice. I'd like to add some of my own opinions and advice, too.

 

At official BSA events such as Jamborees, there is indeed a rule that adults MAY NOT trade with youth. However, informal trading at non-BSA activities is not prohibited. For example, in trading via email and through the mail, one often does not know whether the party on the other side is an adult or a youth. I guess that 80-90% of my trading partners have been adults, but some are Scouts (funny story: once, after making 3 or 4 individual trades with a fellow, I emailed him back to let him know I had recieved his patch, and thinking that we should perhaps introduce ourselves a bit more now that we were good tradding buddies, I told him I was a SM and asked him what he was doing in Scouting. He replied and said he was working on his Arrow of Light! Thinking about this later, I remembered that his envelopes had been addressed in a very feminine script - his mom's.)

 

Also, while most trades are indeed "one for one", not all trades have to be. Many "standard issue" patches are common enough to be traded this manner, but some have been issued in restricted quantities and are rare enough that a 1:1 trade is not fair. It is up to both parties to know the reletive values of their patches and negotiate a fair trade. This may be 2:1, 3:1, 2:3, or anything. I once did an 8:1 for a patch I really, really wanted, and we both went away pleased.

 

Patch collecting goes way beyond flaps and CSPs, but most new collectors start with one or both of these. The best way to get started is to go to your local scout shop and but a handful of your local flaps or CSPs. Do a google search for "BSA patch collecting' and other similar strings and you'll find hundreds of sites. Many of these are owned by individual collectors who will post lists of their "wants" and "dupes" (duplicates, or trading stock). Other sites are bulletin boards and email lists. Some of these you can join as a member. You can propose and negotiate a trade via email (my Pikes Peak for your Chicago Area) and then exchange the patches through the mail. Always thank the other fellow and let him know when his patch arrives.

 

Here are some good places to start

http://home.austin.rr.com/elspanko/patchcamp.html

http://www.simonhome.net/trader.html

 

The International Scouting Collectors Association (ISCA) emphasizes a Code of Ethics in trading. http://scouttrader.org/

 

If you get serious about CSPs, you should get the latest edition of "A Aid to Collecting Selected Council Shoulder Patches, with Valuation Guide". It is updated annually and is THE book when it comes to knowing your CSPs.

 

Once your collection grows, it becomes harder to find someone whose dupes match your needs and you may want to purchase harder to find patches to fill some of the gaps in your collection. This is perfectly ethical and OK. By this time you should have become pretty educated about reletively values. While nearly all of the people you will trade with will be Scouts and Scouters and will obey the Scout Law, not everyone who sells patches on eBay are Scouts. Some eBay sellers ask highly inflated prices - it is truly a buyer beware market.

 

One final word of advice - you should keep a running list of all your trades. What, when, who, etc. Put a check mark when you mail yours and a check mark when you recieve his.

 

Good luck! And HAVE FUN!

 

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Oh, I forgot to answer your question about cross-trading (flaps for CSPs, and vice-versa). Some purists will sneer at such a faux-pas. However, there is no reason not to make an offer. If the other fellow doesn't want to trade, he'll say so. Often, the trade will be something other than 1:1, maybe 2 CSPs for a flap. On Patch-L I've seen some might weird trade offers (patches for copy machines, patches for auto parts...) It's a free market.

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I collect most anything BSA I can get my hands on, myself. Haven't had access to much in the way of CSPs or lodge flaps (only have them for the ones I've been registered in - NCAC and Allohak Council in WV. May be getting a DS one soon, though), occasionally get a community or state strip, though. Mostly I work on the rank and position insignia, currently have a nigh complete collection stretching back to when they stopped making the scouts fold the patches to sew them on (about 1954 or so?). I started my collection by talking to my troop's awards chairman when I was an SPL back in the day and offered to buy out her stock of 1970s and 80s insignia that she had, got pretty much a complete set for about $1/patch. eBay is also a good resource for picking up trading stock if you are just starting out. Even if you buy patches when you're on your own time though, it's still best to observe the rule that no money be exchanged when at a formal trading function.

 

If it's a price guide you're interested in, I have an Excel spreadsheet that I keep that I'd be willing to pass on to give you an idea of the current value of things (compiled it about two to three weeks ago). Send an e-mail if interested.

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I'm not a big patch collector so maybe I'm not the greatest person to comment here. I haven't traded any patches and I don't really see myself doing that anytime soon. Perhaps if I went to Philmont, or NOAC or a jamboree I might bring a few dozen patches to trade.

 

So far, what I have are the patches I accrued as a youth in the 70s. Things like camporee and rank patches, JLT, BSA mile swim, lifeguard, etc. I also have position patches I have held as a scouter and activities I have attended such as Pow Wow, woodbadge, etc. I just consider these patches an accumulation, though a sentimental part of my collection.

 

I have started collecting patches produced from the OA lodge I am a member of. The lodge seems to create tons of different flaps. There's a lodge history set of three flaps, a back patch and a neckerchief. There's a countdown to 2010 flap series. The 2005 national chief was from my lodge and there's a flap commemerating that. The list goes on and I'll continue to by these lodge patches as they become available. This type of collecting isn't too expensive, nor time consuming and I enjoy it.

 

Have fun with it,

SWScouter

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I learned to trade at the National Jamboree. I have learned how to trade and had a blast doing it. But i have a few patches left over from the Jambo if ne1 is willing to trade...let me know if ya wanna.

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Go ahead and send an e-mail to Baptist_Paul@yahoo.co.jp and I'll see if I can't work out a trade with you if you want. I'm getting ready to head out of town for 10 days on Wednesday, but if a trade doesn't get sorted out before I go then we can just mail them when I get back if we both have something the other's interested in.

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