Black Market Lapel Pins in North Korea

North Korean Lapel Pin

North Koreans have to wear lapel pins with the faces of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. It is common for these lapel pins to have one face or the other, unless you are a high ranking official. High ranking officials have special pins that show both faces, while the average person will have a different pin. Due to their rarity, these pins have grown in popularity amongst the population. People who can afford it are going to the black market to purchase one for themselves. To them, it is an investment that they can use when low on funds. They can trade the pin for drinks, food, board, or other services if they have no cash on hand.

Going to the black market is the only way for the average North Korean to get these lapel pins. While there are a few pins available, this is one that only high ranking officials can have. Military leaders and high ranking executives in office are the only ones to receive this special pin. People who have these pins are high up on the social hierarchy, are trusted and respected. For the average person, having this pin can make them feel as if they, too, have a high rank in the country. It is only one motivation for the increased sale in the black market.

Another motivation is to have an item that one can trade for items or services. Years ago, the item of choice to have instead of money was methamphetamine. After the government began cracking down on the sale and use of methamphetamine, however, it was no longer a viable option. These double portrait pins of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il became the popular alternative soon after the December 2011 death of Kim Jong Il. Only a handful of people could have them and there were not many for sale on the black market.

At first, the price of these pins reached 130 Yuan. Over years of continued circulation, use, and popularity, the price dropped to 40 Yuan. Part of this is also because the sale of these pins is illegal. The reason that people have to go through the black market is the fact that the government does not want the average person to have this pin. This does not do much to hinder the popularity or sale of the pins, though. Citizens continue to use these pins as a way to invest their money in items they can later sell or trade.

Presidential Lapel Pins

The White House

Presidents and Their History Wearing Lapel Pins
The American Flag may have found its birth in the independence of the United States of America but its presence on the lapels of American patriots was established much later. Irrespective of its origin, the American Flag Lapel Pin today is the most common accessory among politicians and citizens wanting to express their patriotism for their nation and their unity against national adversities. On Presidents Day, it can be seen on the lapels of every patriotic citizen.

Flag Pin- Powerful Symbol of American Solidarity and Patriotism
Adorned with the stars and stripes, the American Flag Pin has come to be known as a powerful symbol of patriotism. So much so that when President Barack Obama appeared in a debate against Hilary Clinton in 2008, he was posed with a voter’s question asking why he wasn’t wearing the Flag Pin on his lapel! While Obama smoothly replied that he wanted his beliefs and deeds to reflect his patriotism, he soon started wearing the Lapel Pin daily, clearly having understood its significance and power.

Interesting History of Flag Pin
The stars and stripes of the American Flag first found popularity during the Civil War when the Northerners started flying the Flag as a sign of their pride. This gesture initiated a series of similar events which have resulted in the American Flag becoming the object of utmost reverence in the present times.

Barack Obama isn’t the first President to don the Flag Lapel Pin; the tradition was started much earlier by President Richard Nixon during the cultural wars of 60’s and 70’s. Acting on the advice of his Chief of Staff, Mr. Nixon and his entire staff started wearing the Flag Lapel Pins as a symbol of their patriotism and solidarity. Apparently, Mr. Nixon’s Chief of Staff, H.R. Haldeman, had stolen this idea from the movie, ‘The Candidate’ by Robert Redford.

The Flag Pins were again donned by President George W. Bush and his administrators after the horrific incident of 9/11 as a symbol of their solidarity against terrorism and their commitment towards protecting the nation.
Customized Versions Also Available

When Mitt Romney sported a bigger pin with a Secret Service star logo engraved on the stripes for a debate against Barack Obama during the 2012 Presidential Elections, the customized versions of the Flag Pins started attracting attention and demand. Customized Flag Pins look unique and attractive and carry a special identity of their own.

At Pinsource, we offer all kinds of Flag Lapel Pins and even customize them on demand. On the upcoming Presidents’ Day, wear Flag Pins on your lapels and let your patriotism glow in a subtle and sophisticated manner