Collecting Chinese Phone Cards

Ben Ruhe
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Have enough kite pins, patches, caps, and festival tee-shirts to last a lifetime? Well, China has other kite collectibles well worth considering.

New Year’s woodblock prints with kite motif are inexpensive and often beautiful. They are a 300-year-old tradition. Kite postage stamps are another option as are low denomination coins with a kite theme. Mass-produced but quite elegant and inexpensive miniature kites are a fourth. Inexpensive and unusual are traditional paper cutouts of kites and people flying them.

But the best by far from the standpoint of price, availability, durability, and esthetic impact are used telephone cards. Cell phones being a huge business in populous China, the choice of phone cards is quite large. Because they are printed on plastic, images are sharp and colors gorgeous. Dozens, even hundreds of the phone cards showing kites or kites being flown are readily available at specialty shops in large Chinese cities-----shops that sell postage stamps to collectors, and so forth. Many phone cards have a different image on each side: two kites for the price of one, in short.

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