Meet the Collector: Adam Schneider’s Lapel Pins and Probably the Coolest Denim Jacket You’ll Ever See

If you have been collecting pins since the Soviet Union, consider yourself the O.G. of today’s much-coveted enamel pin scene of cultural references. Part of our Everyone is a Collector series, we introduce Adam Schneider, who has been collecting lapel pins since he was a teenager. He shares with us how it reflects his personal evolution.

Tell us everything about this collection! What attracted you to this? What do you like most about it? Which one is your favorite? 

I was initially attracted to the lapel collection because I wanted souvenirs on vacation and because I like small shiny things. I am not into jewelry but this is the closest thing I can imagine to wearing jewelry. It started when my family went to the Soviet Union in 1989. I came across a pin saying Lenin in Cyrillic and another pin that had a picture of Red Square on it. I thought they were great pins and pinned them on my denim jacket. That’s how it all started. Then I decided to get a pin memento of almost every travel or vacation I took. I haven’t been diligent about collecting from every single place I’ve ever been to in my life but I try to collect pins from most places I go. There are also one or two that aren’t travel related but signify something important in my life.

When did you start your collection? 

On my trip with my family to the Soviet Union in 1989.

What else do you enjoy collecting? 

Old identification cards! I have every ID card that I’ve ever been issued since my freshman year of high school in 1977. I also have a box in my house called Cool Junk- things in my life that are sentimental. From a t-shirt of my high school gymnastics team to just random drawings I made as a kid when I was into making mechanical drawings. It’s filled with random tidbits of life, and mementos. I started that Cool Junk box twenty years ago, and I now have two of them. They survived multiple moves. I also collect photographs. As an active amateur photographer, I particularly like to take landscape photographs. I have about 20,000 of them now.

What inspires you most about having your collection in your home? 

Looking at the pins, and the 1970’s denim jacket they’re pinned to, reminds me of all the amazing places I’ve been to in my life. They bring back lots of good memories of places I’ve seen and reminded me of important past and current pursuits. I also just like wearing the denim jacket that they’re pinned to.

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