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    

Rare Antique Felix The Cat Cloth On Metal Pinback W/ Paper Ears, NrVintage 1934 Century Of Progress Buck Rogers PinbackKellogg's Pep Vintage Ww2 Military Insignia Pinback Button Badge Beanie Pin Lot Vintage 1930's Dick Tracy Secret Service Patrol Lieutenany BadgeSdcc 2015 Exclusive Disney Marvel Spider-man Spider-verse Skottie Young Pin Set!M738. Vintage: Tin Litho Hoppy The Marvel Bunny Pinback (1940s) Captain Marvel [Venom Marvel Comics Enamel Metal Pin Button Badge Vintage Retro Spiderman 90'sAlf Batman Barbie Mickey Mouse Etc. Comic Cartoon Pinback Button Lot (33)Set Of 3 Nice Tracy Detective Pin Back ButtonsPopeye The Sailorman 1933-1938,1938-1940, And 1941-19431940's Captain Marvel Jr Vintage Fawcett Premium Pinback Button Lapel Pin Toy60 Vintage Pins Pin Backs Kelloggs, Superman, Flattop, Navy Bombing Squadron, M910 Vintage: Creepy Magazine Fan Club Pinback Badge Button By Warren (1968) [Antique Celluloid Pinback Button Kelloggs Toasted Corn Flakes Cereal Baby W/boxSafety School Patrol Smokey The Bear Metal Badge Lot5 Ww2 Kelloggs Pep PinbacksTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Collector's Pin No. 4 Michelangelo Thumbs Up MocWoody Woodpecker Official Pin Collector Universal Studios Hollywood C.2005 NewOriginal C1940s D. C. Comics Superman Pinback Button Kellogg's Pep Punisher Marvel Comics Pin Button Badge Vintage Retro Spiderman Hulk X-menMarvel Comics Hulk She Green Rare Collector Pin1930's Popeye Celluloid #'d Pin, With New York Evening Journal-171932Ten Superman Dc Comics Mr. Mxyzptlk Say It Backwards Promo Pins /pinback Buttons Russia Soviet Urss Badge Pin Wolf НУ, ПОГОДИ Nu, Pogodi Well, WaitMarvel Collector Pin Set ( New Sealed )Pep Cereal Late 1940's Lithographed Superman Pinback In Excellent Condition Dc Button Set Of 6 1inch Robin Superman Batman Wonder Woman Flash Green Lantern Crocodile Gena Russia Soviet Urss Accordion Tale Badge Pin Wonder Woman Lapel Pin Dc ComicsVtg Tv Show Comic Political Pinback Button Pin Archie Bunker President 1972 AdvMarvel Comics Women Of Power Spider Woman Marvel Collector Corps Exclusive PinMickey Mouse Sixty Years Walt Disney Disneyland Collectible Pin Pinback Button Dc Comics Legion Of Collectors Dc Tv Exclusive Atom PinCute New Aph 12 Countries Logo Face Badge Pin Back Set Collection Axis Powers