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Lapel Pin

Lapel Pin.  A small medallic item for wearing in the lapel buttonhole of a garment. Lapel pins are often miniatures of larger medallic items, or are emblems, many of which are of unusual shape and enameled to provide color to increase their visibility and identity from a distance. Even though they are small – most range in size form 1/4 to 3/4-inch – all are intended to be worn.

            Lapel pins require a bolt to be affixed to the back of the uniface pin to pass through the buttonhole. These can be either a threaded bold with a screw-back attachment or a plain bolt with a clutch-back device. Most every medalmaker can produce lapel pins because of their ease of manufacture.

            Recipients of orders and decorations are often bestowed lapel badges of similar design, for occasional wear, as the FULL MEDAL would be required for formal occasions or official ceremonies. Likewise military service or campaign lapel pins are bestowed along with the full medal. These are small enameled lapel bars the same colors as the ribbon that is designated for the medal, these can be worn on civilian dress.

The entry for brooch illustrates the Vail Medal with a brooch for women and a lapel pin for men; one of these accompanies each medal when awarded.

The Soviet Union raised the lapel pin to a level of popularity unrivaled anywhere else in the world. Every worker, it seems, has been awarded one of more of these small medallic items, call znachki. Russian pins are mostly light-weight alloy – usually aluminum – and customarily in color (paint or enamel). There are collectors of these in Russia and elsewhere.

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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