October 31, 2008

What trades for what?

When it comes to swapping patches, badges, pins and other pieces of Girl Guiding and Scouting paraphernalia, have you ever wondered what accounts for an equal sided trade? In other words, what you need to trade in order to ensure that both (or all) parties involved in the swap feel that the trade has been fair and balanced.

As groups go, I’d have to say that the Guiding and Scouting community is not a tight-laced bunch. Most people are happy to swap “like for like” and I’ve rarely heard of any disputes arising over trades that have been worked out in advance. Generally the rule of “one for one” applies to any Guiding related item (from crests to scarves, key chains to postcards), so long as the patch or other item that each person has is of similar value and degree of rarity. However, it never hurts to know what to do if you encounter a trading situation where someone wants to swap for something which you don’t have an equivalent of, or if they’re interested in patches and you’re into merit (proficiency/earned) badges, for example.

The following list is based on my own experience as a trader and on the very helpful advice that my good friend Louise St. Germain gave me, back when I a newbie patch collector, on this matter. Please use this list as a guideline only, and always rely your own judgement when it comes to determining what you feel is fair for a given swap (keep in mind that older and/or rarer items are often viewed by their owners as being worth more and may therefore require that multiple items be traded for one rarer piece). After all, the point of any trade is to feel happy and make new friends, not to feel like you’ve been ripped off or taken advantage of.

  • One (Canadian) Area/Division/District/Provincial patch for one Area/Division/District/Provincial crest, US Council patch or other stitched location specific patch from an international country. (Very large/over-sized A/D/D or Council patches sometimes trade for two smaller ones.)

  • One (Canadian) Area/Division/District/Provincial crest (patch) for two “fun” (camp, cookie, challenge or other non-A/D/D/Council ) patches, two proficiency badges (or one rare/very old badge), or two woven silks (from Canada, the US or overseas).

  • One Guiding or Scouting pin for one pin of an equal value (for example an provincial pin from Ontario for one from B.C., or a Guide enrollment pin for a Pathfinder one), one A/D/D (or US Council patch, etc), or two fun patches or proficiency badges. (Some pins can be quite rare and may garner higher trade values.)

  • One UK or Australian Standard crest for two (or sometimes even three) A/D/D or Council patches, or 3-4 fun patches, proficiency badges or silks.

  • One UK or Australian Standard crest for 1-3 pins (Canadian, American or foreign), depending on the type and rarity of the pin(s).

  • One overseas (woven) patch or pin for one overseas patch or pin or two silks of a similar nature (for example, one patch from a camp in Scotland for one from a camp in New Zealand).

  • One WAGGGS or World Centre (woven) patch or pin for two (woven) location specific patches (A/D/Ds, Councils, etc), 1-2 pins, 3-4 fun patches or 2-4 silks.

  • One WAGGGS or World Centre silk for location specific 1-2 silks or 2-3 fun silks, or one pin.

  • One Canadian Girl Guide uniform scarf/tie for one scarf, 2-4 A/D/D or Council patches, 4-6 fun patches or silks, 3-6+ proficiency badges, or 2-4 pins, depending on how rare the scarf is.

  • Please keep mind that this list is by no means a complete rundown of all the possible trading scenarios you could potentially encounter. It’s merely a sample of some of the more common ones that Canadian and American collectors (in particular) might find themselves in.

    By using these guidelines, I’ve completed many positive trades with collectors and Guiding members from around the world. I’m generally what I’d (humbly) consider to be a laid-back trader, in the sense that I don’t get up-tight or unnecessarily rigid about trading. If someone wants something from my list and they have items up for offer that I’m interested in, I’m more than happy to try and accommodate their needs. One point of interest I’ve found is that different people often feel differently over what a pin can/“should” be traded for. Unless it’s really rare, I don’t think a pin is worth more than one or two A/D/Ds, but that’s just me :)

    Do you agree with these trading guidelines? Do you have a different list that you go by? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic and welcome you to post a comment about this article.