1910 Wheatie Penny!

I’m back from China! And boy do I have a lot to talk about – new clothing purchases, thoughts and feelings – so I think you’ll be hearing from me quite a bit in the next couple weeks. But first I wanted to just write a quick post about something that made me really happy yesterday – I went through my change jar and found a 1910 wheat penny! I wanted to go through my change and divide into nickels/dimes which I can use for parking meters and pennies, which I’m going to take to Coinstar and turn into an Amazon gift card (did you know if you turn your coins into a gift card there’s no fee? If you turn them into cash it’s about 10%). I omitted quarters because I have no quarters. Such is the life of someone who pays for laundry with quarters, it’s a real hassle. Stores won’t even give you quarters for cash because everyone in LA is short on quarters and I bank with USAA, which is purely online with no real-life locations. Sigh.

 

Anyhow, I was going through my coins and looking at the dates to see how old some of my coins were and keeping an eye out for wheat pennies – they were minted from 1909 to 1958. And I found two almost right at the outer corners of that realm! I also found a Canadian penny from 1939. How cool!

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How did this get in with my change? I guess it’s had quite a while to migrate south.

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Here’s the typical wheat penny back.

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My 1958 coin, last year of the wheat penny.

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And my 1910 penny! The second year of the Lincoln (and wheat) penny.

I’m not a coin or money collector – though I’ve always enjoyed collecting coins from countries I’ve traveled to and I have an awesome $10 Confederate bill that my mom bought for me at Gettysburg – and I don’t care about the values of them and all that. But there is something absolutely thrilling to me about holding something in my hand that’s a century old. Older than my great-grandmother, older than women’s suffrage in the United States, minted two years before the sinking of the Titanic. The fact that it has been in circulation for 102 years and somehow was given to me and landed in my change jar is absolutely fascinating. If you have a big jar of change, go pilfer through and just check the backs for wheat pennies and maybe you’ll find one. They’re a little piece of history, inconspicuously still in use right under our noses.

Hello from China!

I wanted to say a quick hi from Shanghai! I’m having a fantastic trip. It’s funny though, I was planning on tweaking a “break” from vintage while on my trip, as I didn’t want to bring any of my nice clothes and get them dirty and wrinkly. But boy oh boy am I sick of t-shirts, my one pair of modern-cut Target jeans, and no pin curl set. I’ve still been doing my makeup and I did bring one dress (we flew for free in business class because my aunt is a flight attendant, so I had to dress up) and I’ve been wearing it. I think if I get to go on another trip like this I’ll go to Forever 21 or something and buy some vintage-looking clothes that I don’t need to worry about getting dirty. Going a couple weeks without feeling cute is a bummer! I’m on my aunt’s iPad so I don’t have a lot of pictures but I’ll share a few with you.

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p ¬†image image Also, I got some custom-made vintage repro (I brought in pictures to a tailor) and I’m picking up some of the pieces tomorrow. Fingers crossed!!! Here are some of the photos I brought in. I got two pairs of pants, two blouses, and two dresses. imageimageimage

CHINA!

Big news, everyone – I’m going to China! I’ll be gone for almost 3 weeks! So please don’t think I’ve just forgotten my blog and my lovely readers. I’m going to Beijing, Xi’An, Chengdu, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Macau.

I won’t be bringing any vintage clothes on my trip because I like to travel cheap and dirty – I’m actually having to dig into my very small collection of non-vintage clothes I have but don’t ever wear anymore! But I do have one vintage goal in China – I want to buy a custom-made qipao (cheongsam). These gorgeous silk dresses were popular in the 30s and 40s but are still worn for some formal occasions. The qipao goes back to the 1600s in a baggy form (brought in by the Manchus and forced upon the Han Chinese, actually) but the qipao as we now know it was designed in the 20s as a fashion statement. They faded in popularity in the 50s as a result of the Communist revolution and a need for more practical work clothes. Some airlines and luxury restaurants require qipao as their uniform but mostly they’re worn on rare occasions. Qipao are close-fitting and the way to go is to get one custom-made, with multiple fittings. And then I will wear it all the time, formality be darned.

So in honor of my China trip, here are some photos and paintings of gorgeous vintage Chinese women!

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In this advertisement from the 30s you can see the typical high collar, short sleeves, and long length of the qipao.

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In the Mood for Love features tons of gorgeous 60’s qipaos.

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The Flowers of War has really, really gorgeous qipaos and fantastic 40s fashion but I would not watch it just for that reason (it’s a really devastating movie about the rape of Nanking. Important stuff, but terrifying and sad).

I’ll see you in three weeks and hopefully I’ll have a beautiful custom-made vintage-style qipao of my own to show you!