Interest - and price - rises for commemorative publications
How much would a set of National Day newspapers for the past 60 years be worth? On Taobao.com, the mainland's most popular online shopping website, one set of People's Daily October 1 editions from 1949 to last year is selling for 60,000 yuan (HK$68,100).
Collectors and history buffs are in hot pursuit of commemorative newspapers. A shop owner who sells newspapers and magazines in Beijing said some customers had already booked copies of many newspapers on the day of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the People's Republic of China.
Another online shop on Taobao is selling a set of government newspapers from 31 provinces, regions and municipalities for this year's National Day for 300 yuan, but nobody has bought it so far.
'You can make up to 200,000 yuan a year in profit from investing in newspaper collections,' said the owner of a book-collection shop in Panjiayuan Antiques Market who identified himself only by the surname Duan. He said he had collected newspapers for more than 10 years. 'Newspaper collection has not been popular until recent years ... and the content of the newspaper is one of the keys to measuring its value.
'The value of the newspapers on days when they reported great events has increased a lot in the past two years. In the past year, a copy of a newspaper that reported previous important events has increased in value several times. A copy of a newspaper from National Day, 1949, was worth about 1,000 yuan in 2007, but now it is 4,000 to 5,000 yuan.'
Old newspapers have value not only because they are the records containing history and economic data but because they are relics themselves. Across the mainland, only stamps are collected by more people.
Peng Yuanjun, a senior member of the Books and Newspapers Collection Commission of the China Association of Collectors, said collectors should choose mainly three types: the opening issue, a special edition, and old papers, especially from the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) and the democratic era after imperial China but before 1949.