What do Yellow Kid, Mickey Mouse, and Dick Tracy have in common? They all appeared on comic pinbacks. These celluloid advertising buttons from the 1890s to the mid-20th century were given away by tobacco companies, newspapers, and the makers of breakfast cereals to drive sales. Today they are collected in their own right.

Some of the most prolific producers of comic pinbacks were Whitehead and Hoag, Bastian Brothers, and the Saint Louis Button Company. In particular, Whitehead and Hoag began manufacturing pinbacks in 1896, cutting its teeth on advertising buttons for the American Tobacco Co. and presidential campaign buttons for both William McKinley and William Jennings Bryan. The company retooled during World War II to make identification buttons for people working in war plants, but by the 1950s the firm was out of gas and sold itself to competitor Bastian.

Naturally, these firms also made comic pinbacks, commissioned by bread companies such as Buster Brown, cereal manufacturers like Kellogg’s, and newspapers such as the Cleveland Plain Dealer, all of whom wanted to get their brands on the shirts, jackets, and caps of impressionable youngsters. Comic characters such as Little Orphan Annie, Barney Google, and Skeezix would proclaim their allegiances to these products, transforming the children who wore these pinbacks into delivery mechanisms for the ads.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Comic Character Pinbacks

Comic Character Pinbacks

Mark Lansdown's excellent collection of over 800 pinbacks representing 200+ comic characters from 100+ strips. Beau… [read review or visit site]

Most watched eBay auctions    

Sub-mariner - Marvel Super Hero Club Pin Back Button - 1966Captain America - Marvel Super Hero Club Pin Back Button - 1966Minecraft Badge Button Pin Party Favors Stocking Stuffers Set Of 6Universal Studios Maggie Simpson Collectors PinPopeye The Sailor Pinback Button 1935 Vintage Original ParamountThe Incredible Hulk Marvel Super Hero Club Pin Back Button - 1966Huge Vintage 1980s Lot Of 40 Marvel & Dc Comics Buttons/pinbacks Batman/supermanDick Tracy Detective Pinback Button W/gun Chest Gould 1930's Vintage OriginalGreen Lantern - Marvel Super Hero Club Pin Back Button - 1966Hawkman - Marvel Super Hero Club Pin Back Button - 1966Vintage Batman Pinback ButtonsRare Vintage Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Official Pin/badge/button Set1890's Yellow Kid/high Admiral Cigarettes Pin/pinback/badge-no. 311947 Flat Top Pinback Kellogg's Pep Cereal Pin Badge Comic Vintage Dick TracyThe Joker & Harley Quinn Rare Enamel Badge Pin Set Batman Btas Pinback1960s Captain Marvel Shazam Club Pinback ButtonAvatar The Last Airbender -bending And Nation Symbols 1 Inch - Pinback Buttons Set Of M&m Collector PinsMixed Vintage Lapel Hat Pin Pinback Tie Tac Lot Disney Mcdonalds Tweety Xmas NewMid Century Brass Shmoo Pin - Old-style Clasp - Gold Tone - Al Capp's Li'l AbnerVintage 1982 Zippy Pinhead Pinback " Nation Of Pinheads " Button Pin BadgeSonic The Stoner Hedgehog Pin/free Pin Dc Comics Button Lot Of 9 Batman Sandman Superman Flash Green ArrowVery Nice Lot Of (15) Vintage Kellogg's Pep Pins From The 1940s This Are Nice40 Pokemon Gym Badges 1 Inch - Pinback Buttons - All The Badges From All Games1950s Vintage Donald Duck Pasqual Tin Tip Tray+50th Anniv.donald Pinback Button Dick Tracy Detective Pinback Button Profile Chest Gould 1930's Vintage Original10 Button Pin Lot Dc Comics Batman Superman Flash Wonder Woman Mad Buffy MoreVintage Batman Pinback Buttons In Original BoxPiracy #6 E.c. Comics 1955 Nice!!!!!Green Hornet Flicker Pin. 1966. 3" DiameterBatman And Robin Pinbacks. Lot Of 3. 7/8" Diameter.1992 Michelle Pfeiffer "catwoman" From Batman Returns Pin/button. HologramVintage Original Old Felix The Cat Pinback Pin EnameledKellogg's "early Bird" Breakfast Club Pinback ButtonBatman Tv Show Logo Button Repro NewJoost Swarte, Pin # Ptt Museum # 1991, MintKellogg Pep Pinbacks - Cartoon Characters - Lot Of 8Simpson Hat Lapel Pin W124Mickey Mouse Pinback Button 1930's Vintage Original Follow My Adventures Cote's1890's Little Pinkies Pepsin Gum Pin Badge The Drum Major Comic Pinback ButtonVintage 1983 Marvel X-men Wolverine Button- Pinback1947 Gravel Gertie Pinback Kellogg's Pep Cereal Pin Badge Old Comic Dick TracyMarvel Comics Amazing Spider-man Black Costume Cloisonne Enamel & Metal Pin 1988Vintage 1984 Marvel Nightcrawler X-men Series A #3 Button- PinbackS399. Vintage: Hanna-barbera's Top Cat "top Kat" Comic Pinback Badges (1960's)Marvel Lot 3 Pins Pin Back Button Ny Comic Con Hulk Marvel Avengers Nycc 2013Marvel Lot 3 Pins Pin Back Button Ny Comic Con Thor Marvel Avengers Nycc 2013X-files Quotes - Set Of 6 1inch Buttons I Want To Believe1980 Woody Woodpecker Pinback ButtonHe Man Masters Of The Universe Button Pin 3" Skeletor Castle Gray SkullDisney Mickey Mouse American Flag Starcollector Lapel ~ Pin/pinback ~