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September 26, 2022

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Two people connecting to the past with collections of coins, coupons

Born in 1986, Zhou Xiaobo has been collecting ancient coins of different shapes and sizes for 20 years.

In addition to exchanging ancient coins with his classmates and neighbors, Zhou liked to go to Jiading Workers’ Club to find collectable coins. He became more interested in ancient coins from understanding their textures and shapes, casting technology and historical background.

When he was a primary school student, Zhou bought a collection album and put his favorite ancient coins in it. Later, he invested more in the collection and even woke up at 4am for early markets in neighboring towns.

He said that each coin represents a period of history, and every time he got a new one, he would think of the humanities of that era.

“No matter in the age of peace and prosperity or during warring periods, ancient coins, as a source of history, have a lot to portray,” Zhou said.

To Zhou, holding each ancient coin seems to connect him with people and things from hundreds of years ago. In addition to its own story, there is also a connection between the collector and the coin.

A new favorite

From the 1950s to the 1980s, various coupons were required to purchase food, cooking oil, cloth, as well as some other daily necessities. Nowadays, although such kinds of coupons have faded out of people’s vision, they have become a new favorite for collectors.

Xie Lei, who lives in Waigang Town, has collected these kinds of coupons since the 1990s. Today, more than 200 food, cloth, oil and other livelihood coupons are part of his collection.

In his eyes, the coupons are the witnesses and epitome of an era, bearing the memories of many people who lived through those particular years.

On Xie’s bookshelf, there are more than 10 albums of food coupons, with a face value ranging from 100g to 10kg. Each food coupon is preserved in plastic packaging.

The designs of the food coupons are unique. If you look carefully, you will find the patterns of food coupons from each area are different. Mountains and rivers, scenic spots, revolutionary sites, personages and buildings show magnificent views of China and also record the development process.

“Today’s young people never experienced that era and do not know about the use of food coupons. At that time, there was a shortage of materials and supplies. People needed all sorts of coupons to buy meat and rice, coal and oil. Don’t underestimate the food coupons, as a small one was necessary to buy almost everything,” Xie said.


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