Nancy Emerson of Oak Point in Middleboro, wife of the late Warren R. Emerson, has put together a display of the more than 150 Lions International trading pins she and her husband collected over his lifetime.
The official group is the International Lions Pin Trading Club and about 20,000 members from all over the world attend conventions in the United States and worldwide. She shows in her display – just a fraction of the 3,000 pins the couple collected – pins from Russia and China, Denmark, and throughout the United States.
“We have not necessarily been to all the countries represented, but we have met people from all of those countries and traded pins with people from those countries.”
Nancy is especially fond of the Moscow pin. “Russia didn’t always have a Lions Club. We had been in the Lions for quite a while before Russia had any Lions Clubs.”
Each club every year designs a pin for their trading club. She pointed out a set that was Warren’s brainchild, the “Glossy Gobblers” turkey set. Each member of their group would have his own pin – they each have a different saying like “eat chicken for Thanksgiving”. People trading would have to go to each table of the members to collect a full set.
There are quite a few sets on display. Nancy is particularly fond of the Pennsylvania quilt patterns. As a quilter herself, Warren asked her if she would like for him to collect the full set and she said she would – so he traded and collected the set just for her.
Lions Club pin trading has a long history in Lions Clubs International. Founder Melvin Jones who began the Lions Clubs in the 1920s designed the first pin – a single lion – in paper, to be pinned in the lapel of Lions members. When Lions Club International came into being, a new pin was designed with two lions facing in opposite directions.
Through the years, pins have been designed and made from a variety of materials from paper to wood, to various metals and finishings. Some of the older pins are true works of art, with bright, shining cloisonné. Today’s pins use a process similar to cloisonné but using plastic instead of glass.
Warren Emerson was well known as an avid pin collector and earned several awards and recognitions.
Nancy said that through the years she and Warren would look forward to the various conventions, attending several during the year, and meet friends they have made along the way through the organization.
The pins remind her of the friends who gave them and she loves to share them.