Update from Pin Master Advisory Board

This is an exciting time to be a Hard Rock pin collector, thanks to our new partnership with the team at hobbyDB! Ten months have passed since the pin catalog moved to hobbyDB. Like many of you, we have been working to better understand the new platform and what we can do with it. The new site has many more capabilities and much more flexibility, with enhancements being added every month.

This is our new-and-improved pin collector clubhouse for years to come. In time, we will be able to use hobbyDB for all aspects of trading, buying, selling, and organizing our collections. Many of these abilities are already in place. The best change is that because hobbyDB has treated Hard Rock pin collectors as a priority and as partners from day one, we all can influence how our clubhouse looks and functions.

Read on for a summary of what has happened so far this year, what is coming soon, and how you can get more involved if you like!


Improvements to Pin Catalog Management

Like the old catalog, the new one has opportunities for improvement. The hobbyDB team is doing its part (and then some!) by consistently enhancing the site. We need to do our part as well, especially on the subject of publishing. After a dropoff in the first several months of the catalog transition, publishing has returned to a healthy level. That is encouraging, but we see potential for much more.

Our #1 goal at the moment, to add the greatest value to everyone’s use of the catalog, is to ensure that more pins are published sooner. To that end, we have launched several major changes to how the pin catalog is managed. While these will take time to take full effect, work is underway.

The roles involved in Hard Rock pin catalog publishing are now as follows:


Pin Contributor

  • New as of November
  • Can add pins to catalog
  • 23 people assigned to this new role yesterday


You are invited to be a Contributor! If interested, please go to this help page, watch the two videos there, then complete the form at the bottom


Pin Master Apprentice (PMA)

  • New as of September
  • Entry-level Pin Master role; same duties as PM
  • Partners with an experienced mentor
  • Moves to PM after demonstrating ability
  • Going forward, candidates to be identified from pool of Contributors


Pin Master (PM)

  • Primary publisher and editor for each Hard Rock location
  • New (work in progress): Ensures that new pins are published within two weeks of release
  • Receives automatic emails when others submit pins for assigned location
  • Responsible for editing to ensure that listings follow catalog standards
  • Goal (work in progress): All locations (nearly 350!) — open, closed or never opened — will have an assigned PM
  • New: You can contact PMs with catalog questions. From a pin listing, click on the releasing location under Related Subjects, then scroll down and click on the Curator’s avatar to go to that person’s Showcase, then click on the Contact link under the Curator’s name


Pin Master Advisory Board (PMAB)

  • Pin Master leadership team, formerly an advisory panel on old site
  • Responsible for improving catalog user experience, primarily by making PM personnel decisions, setting entry standards and partnering with hobbyDB to prioritize user feedback


More About PMAB

We aim to be more communicative, transparent and accountable to you going forward. This is more important now because the catalog transition to a dynamic third-party website has caused our role to change. We are now more deeply involved in shaping the catalog user experience for Hard Rock pins, and we take that responsibility seriously.

Current board members all are longtime Hard Rock pin collectors, plus hobbyDB CEO Christian Braun:

Our doors are always open to your feedback. Look for more communication from us going forward and you can contact us via our Showcases listed above.


Other Pin Catalog Changes

Verified by Pin Master

New this week: Pin Masters can now look at their pin listings and publicly confirm that each one is accurate and complete. This process adds the verification date, the Pin Master’s user ID and a link to his or her Showcase, where he or she can be contacted.

Separation of Pins and Buttons

Based on collector feedback, in the next two weeks hobbyDB will separate buttons and pins. Buttons will have their own product type, similar to glassware and magnets.

Price Guide

Unlike the old catalog, listings on hobbyDB can be useful as price guides. The site automatically records prices for all sales that occur on hobbyDB. The site also has the ability to display prices archived on eBay, and it will soon have that ability for other sales channels. Here is a good example:
For prices other than hobbyDB sales to display, someone needs to briefly match the price with the database entry. We have a tool that preselects these, so the only thing needed from a human is a quick visual check. Currently, we are a few thousand price points behind, and eBay deletes the photos after some time.

If you are interested in helping with assigning prices,
please contact hobbyDB

Showcase Enhancements

Your Showcase just keeps getting better and better! Work in progress includes new tabs for items for sale and trade, ability to select your default tab, and personalized lists. For example, Carmen Santos, Pin Master for HRC San Juan, Puerto Rico, could create her “Top 10 Puerto Rican HRC Collectibles” or her “Top 10 Favorite Pins of All Time.”

Search Enhancements

The #1 remaining need, based on your feedback, is the ability to search by year. Example: Show all Boston pins from 2008. Another top request is for search to pick up the text of the long description. These are priorities and will be implemented in Q1.

Pro tip: Some search tools are not yet well-known. For example, if you want to see pins from the original London Cafe and exclude the new location at London Piccadilly Circus, one way to do that is by entering the following into the search box:

Hard Rock Cafe London -Piccadilly (note no space between minus sign and Piccadilly)

A Better Way to Trade

The hobbyDB team has heard you loudly and clearly that we need a more intuitive and efficient way to use the site for trading. The team is eager to hear any ideas you have about what that should look like.


Other Hard Rock News

In addition to pins in the database, you may have noticed the publishing of magnets, glassware, bears and other Hard Rock collectibles. It is not the usual responsibility of the Pin Masters to oversee these items. To better leverage expertise in the community, hobbyDB has assigned some curators for Hard Rock categories other than pins:

– Bears: Chris Fairbairn (parboychris) and Stephanie Bridges (smarshall530)
– Buttons: See above; work in progress
– Magnets: Carmen Fazio (hrc4faz)
– T-Shirts: Work in progress; let us know if interested
– Glassware: 5 new Shotmasters; read about them here – they even got their own badges  –


Lou Nuccio (HRC-WORLDWIDE) has been named editor of this specialized site built by hobbyDB, www.HRCcollector.com (this site), which includes a database and marketplace for all hobbyDB items related to Hard Rock Cafe.

That’s all we have for now. Lots of exciting improvements! If you want to get more involved, whether by becoming a Contributor, adding prices, or expanding your use of hobbyDB for your collection, please let us or the hobbyDB team know how we can help.


Please share your opinion in the Comment Section below!

5 thoughts on “Update from Pin Master Advisory Board

  1. I have had trouble with the search engine when I’m looking for a specific series or pin. for example, I’m interested in the hurricane series pins, and when I try and do the search it does NOT list ALL of the pins. I know in my locker I have almost ALL of them. I know when the hard rock ran the data base it was easy and smooth. I hope HobbyDB can do the same. Within the hard rock data base search you could put the year, location and type and find what you where looking for.

    1. Hi Marc, if you go to the page for the Hurricane Pin Series you should be able to find all of them (we have all the data from the old database and then many more new ones added). You can search for location and series (not yet for Year but that is coming soon). Let us know if you need any more help!

  2. Some of the information from the old database did not move to the new database, which is common in updating and or converting database systems to another system. As a QI person I have experienced this a lot.

    My concern is around searching and editing in general. There seem no consistent rules around girl or woman; thus, it makes it hard to search and find a pin unless you go to the city and scroll through each item to find what you are looking for. This applies to other items as well. For example, Anny VS Anniversary VS Anni. Or, blue guitar VS teal guitar or even Fender VS Gibson VS Guitar. This all makes it hard to find the right pin. I wish we could clean up the database and delete words like Anni or Anny because it has created more than one database entry for the same pin or item and create some consistent word dictionary. Is there a plan to assist in this or have someone edit old entries and update them?

    You are all doing a great job and I love this new partnership.


    1. Hi, Alicia! Thank you for being excited about the new partnership with hobbyDB. I am too!

      You are right on the money with your concerns about search. Our grass-roots database developed a major case of the inconsistencies in the 15 years in which it had no central editors or standards setters. Those needs are why the Pin Master Advisory Board was founded a few years ago, and they are a big part of the role that we continue to fill.

      As mentioned in the update, our #1 priority for now is more timely publishing of new pins. Editing the existing database to facilitate search is also important. I would describe the editing as a tall mountain that the Pin Master Team is climbing every day.

      The guitar and girl examples you gave have a high degree of difficulty and do not have a specific timeline. One thing that will help there, and which we need to see in action to fully understand how it will change our priorities, is what hobbyDB calls advanced search. This is coming in Q1 2020 and will include search picking up the text of the long description in each listing. This will not solve everything you described, but it should be a big step forward in reducing the number of incomplete searches.

      I’m also pleased to report that, as a direct result of your feedback, you now should no longer be able to find “Anniv,” “Anny” or “Anni” in the titles of anniversary pins. Please let me know if you find any exceptions to this.

      Thanks! Paul (on behalf of PMAB)

      1. Thanks for the response Paul. I appreciate you taking it upon yourself to use my suggestion and make a change. That is awesome.

        I have another suggestion, actually I have a few but will keep to this one. I wonder if the word, ‘guitar’ could be added to the title of any specifically named guitar or bass; e.g., Fender, Gibson, Mark King, Stratocaster. I believe this will cut down on searches and or duplicates as well.

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