Hooked on Hard Rock pins!

I’m at the Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast again, this time to meet avid Hard Rock pin collectors at their first pin collectors’ meet-up here.

The destination pin for Hard Rock Hotel Desru Coast
joins the prestigious collectibles from a worldwide map
of Hard Rock locations around the globe!
I pass the Rock Shop, stocked with signature merchandise, and it strikes me that Desaru Coast in Johor has joined a worldwide community of Hard Rock destinations of cafés, hotels and casinos because now there are Hard Rock pin designs that are unique to Desaru Coast!

Each Hard Rock location has its own destination pins and I cannot help feeling a sense of pride that the pins unique to Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast joins the prestigious collectibles from a worldwide map of locations where a Hard Rock property is established.

After the first Hard Rock Café was opened in London in 1971, the first Hard Rock Café pins were released and sold in 1985.

Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast general
manager, Clinton Lovell [Left] with VIP
Pin Collectors [L to R] Isabela Kelaart-
Courtney, Patrick Cheah and Azri Abdullah
Since then, a wide range of Hard Rock pins are available in each Hard Rock location with special varieties of pins often created to commemorate landmarks, occasions or events that are unique to each destination.

I arrive at the Constant Grind, the coffee lounge in Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast where the Hard Rock pin collectors are setting up the display of their priceless collections.

Our gracious host, Marketing & Communications Director, Grace Chiam, introduces me to the three VIP Pin Collectors – Patrick Cheah, Azri Abdullah and Isabela Kelaart-Courtney – who are deeply absorbed with arranging their collections to the best advantage.

Other displays being set up are by local collectors, Durai Rajah and his wife, Sarojini, from Bandar Dato’ Onn in Johor Baru, some Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast “Rockstar Band Members” as well as a team of collectors from Hard Rock Hotel Singapore.

The number of pins in each display and how each series of pins are attractively showcased, gives me a clear idea of the passion and commitment of each collector.

I then learn about the Hard Rock Pin Catalog, an online portal that contains more than 84,000 pins from the world over.

A precious pin from the Freddie series
And this catalog is maintained by Pin Masters, a volunteer group of collectors who are overseen by the Pin Master Advisory Board.

Hard Rock pin collection is more than a hobby as Hard Rock Pin Festivals take place at different Hard Rock destinations throughout the year and very often, funds raised from these fests are donated by the host Hard Rock destination, to a charity of their choice.

The event here is not quite a Pin Festival but a gathering that aims to bring together collectors to showcase their collections and have fun trading/exchanging pins.

Like a Pin Fest, a Pin Master – a volunteer curator of pins who is assigned a Hard Rock location – is also present.

I’m introduced to Pin Master, Patrick Cheah, who is assigned locations that include Hard Rock Café Penang, Hard Rock Café Kuala Lumpur, Hard Rock Café Kota Kinabalu, Hard Rock Hotel Penang and Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast.

Patrick, who is clearly passionate about his pin collection, happily announces that while this is just a preliminary gathering, the official first Pin Fest here is being planned for November 2019.

Patrick Cheah presenting his Hello Kitty pins to Grace Chiam
Patrick, who’s based in Penang, tells me that his collection started with Hard Rock caps and T-shirts since 1991.

He points to his first Hard Rock pin, a design from Hard Rock Café Kuala Lumpur, which he received as a gift in 2014 and declares: “This pin started everything!”

He explained how collectors come to pin gatherings such as this to showcase their collections and to expand their collections by trading their pins with other collectors.

There is no cash involved but a mutual transaction where the collectors both agreed upon (barter) trading which pin/s for which particular pin/s they each desired from each other’s collections.

Durai Rajah [Centre] and his wife,
Sarojini [Right] with their pin
collection at the event
Usually, the pins that collectors are willing to part with, are kept in their pin bags while the pins that collectors only wish to showcase are securely framed up for display.

Patrick opens his pin bag to a section that displays a row of eight Hard Rock pins in the Hello Kitty series of pins and graciously announces that he will present them to Grace Chiam, to add to her collection!

We clap and cheer as this pleasantly surprised Grace, whose reaction is just jaw-dropping joy!

Like Patrick, collectors Durai Rajah and Sarojini also started their pin collection in 2014.

He said his wife enjoy travelling and she helps in expanding their collection. Pointing to the “Guitar” series, Durai Rajah tells me that these are his favourites!

As for Azri Abdullah, his love affair with Hard Rock merchandise started in 1997 while he was studying in the US.

Azri’s hobby in collectibles include action figures and Liverpool FC jerseys but his Hard Rock collection also started with T-shirts before he got hooked on Hard Rock pins.

Azri Abdullah [Right] exchanging a pin with K K Lew
It’s been 22 years and Azri is still passionate about his pin collection, as we can see from his neatly framed, complete collections of various series of attractive pins from all over the world!

In fact, his house in Bandar Baru UDA, Johor Baru, is a veritable shrine for Hard Rock pins because even the walls along the staircase are adorned by his framed-up pin collections!

The youngest VIP pin collector at the event, 11-year old Isabella Kelaart-Courtney, was just five when she noticed the lanyards decorated with Hard Rock pins while she and her parents were in a Hard Rock Café in Dubai.

She asked her papa if she could have one and received her first lanyard decorated with four Hard Rock pins – an Arab Skull, a Skull with Headphones, Dubai Core Pin and a Guitar Pin.

Patrick Cheah traded his pin from
Hard Rock Florence with Florence Liew!
Since she became a Hard Rock VIP in September 2014, she traded her first pin in November 2014 while they were in Oslo.

With her parents, she has visited 54 different Hard Rock cafés and hotels, and her collection stands at over 3,500 pins and still counting…

Meanwhile, the pin collection on display by the team from Hard Rock Hotel Singapore is made up of the collections of eight individual “Rockstar Band Members”.

Hotel Manager, Liza Tan, tells me that her collection kicked off in Macau while she was heading the Hard Rock Hotel there.

This interest in Hard Rock pin collection has created a community of collectors and Pin Masters who share the same passion and enthusiasm in expanding their pin collections.

The excitement and noise level in the room gradually increases as I observe how collectors who spotted a pin they desire from another’s collection, will strike up a deal to trade one of their own to get the desired pin.

The encouraging response to this gathering at Desaru Coast is a sure sign that there are many Hard Rock pin collectors out there who are just waiting to showcase their collections.

Avid Hard Rock pin collectors making their deals to
to trade for their desired pins at the event
With so many international Hard Rock locations, pin collectors often plan to travel across the globe in their quest to collect pins from each destination to add to their collections.

They search for rare and limited edition pins and I’m told that some of the most sought-after pins are from Hard Rock locations in South East Asia!

From the stories of these pin collectors, I learnt that their collections started from just one pin. So it’s never too late to start collecting your own pins.

Just visit the Rock Shop to check out the pins unique to Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast.

Who knows? It may be the start of a journey that will be much more than just a hobby.

Pin Fests are not just for avid collectors but are open to all, so mark your calendar to join the first Pin Fest, happening soon at Hard Rock Desaru Coast.

Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast is located at Jalan Pantai 3, Desaru Coast, 81930 Bandar Penawar, Johor.  Tel: +607 838 8888

For info on more events and promotions, visit website: www.hardrockhoteldesaru.com

1 comment:

  1. Does anyone know where I could find a Hard Rock Cafe guitar black/gold pin called "Bye Bye Birdie" named for the musical and movie?