In 1998, two pivotal things occurred in Arvind Sinha’s life — he joined the Lion’s Club and he started collecting lapel pins. As a business consultant, this Mumbaiite travelled extensively all over the world and began stacking up pins from hotels and airports. Besides, as a Lion’s Club member, it was one of the customs to exchange pins. In a few year’s time, he had collected 8,000 pins!
“Lapel pins are a symbol of the times and you can learn a lot through them. They are markers of world history events such as the American Civil War, the history of guns and American Presidents,” elaborates Sinha.
By 2011, Sinha had collected nearly 24,000 pins, and had found mention in the Limca Book of Records. On May 10 this year, he entered the Guinness Book of World Records for his collection of 30,000 pins collected from 80 countries.
“It took around 1.5 years to finish the procedures for a Guinness Book entry as they send auditors to check and shoot videos for records,” adds Sinha, who is also a collector of rare coins, stamps and buttons.
As a collector of lapel pins, Sinha observes that the manufacture of these pins hasn’t seen a dip over the years. “There are 2-3 million that are released every year, so it is thriving. On the downside, there are very few serious lapel pin collectors in India as a handful have access to such pins. It’s also a very expensive hobby; often, I have to foot heavy courier charges,” he explains, admitting that maintaining the lapel pins is a tedious task as metallic pins have to be placed inside a plastic pouch and treated to prevent corrosion.
Sinha has a soft corner for the lapel pins from the American President series, the gun series and the pins in the shape of a horse cart and locomotive (from the USA). Sinha’s family hasn’t been spared of his passion: “My son who is based in London collects pins for me. My wife has also been supportive. It’s a part of my life and a useful hobby for my free time.”
With a mention in the record books has come recognition: “There has also been curiosity about guidelines to enter the book, so, I plan to guide potential record holders from the city about the process involved.”
Since the lapel pin collection is presently in Sinha’s house, office and warehouse, he plans to set up an online museum to display it, to enable universal access. Next up, Sinha plans to collect pins issued by the Indian Army, Navy and NASA, and to expand his collection to include 50,000 pins.