An Alton Towers Pop Badge is actually selling for £23

The “pop badges” available for free with meals at Merlin theme parks have quickly gained a following of collectors – with one currently selling for £23 with 5 bids on eBay.

The sale is for a Nemesis pop badge and Nemesis 21 pin badge (Alton Towers pin badges sell for around £4-£10 on eBay). The pin badge is described as “rare”.

The item was put up for auction with a starting price of £5, but three bidders brought it up to £23 – and there is still three days left.

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This marks an increasing trend for the sale of pop badges. Collectors claim it has ruined the hobby, with the best badges being taken up quickly and sold for large amounts online.

One collector told Airgates that eBay: “encourages some bad behaviour of certain people in parks where people become demanding of staff rather than swap”

“This has lead some parks to try to regulate the pop badges more, however this only resulted in less badges being available and in return further pushed up the prices and value of the badges rather than discourage selling.”

It isn’t the first time that Merlin Pop Badges have been sold online for surprising amounts. Two Christmas badges from Alton Towers are currently on sale for £15 with 18 bids, and a pop badge for attendees of the Annual Pass Brick or Treat event at Legoland is on sale for £6.50 with 9 bids.

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Valued at £7.50

Merlin Pop Badge collecting is a rapidly growing hobby among enthusiasts: with just under 1,400 Facebook users sharing their collections and requesting swaps on a Pop Badge Trading group.

The popularity has even caused reports of fake pop badges being created.