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Unique collection of a war veteran

Update: 14-06-2024 | 15:04:36

For over half a century of dedicated collection, army veteran Nguyen Tien Binh, residing in My Phuoc ward, Ben Cat city has amassed hundreds of press publications documenting the historic moments of the Vietnamese revolution, not only of which, he also possesses a unique collection of valuable and rare materials on stamps, letters, money, and books.

History timeline on the old news pages

Ready to welcome visitors

Mr. Nguyen Duc Chung, Chairman of the Ben Cat City Veterans Association, said that veteran Nguyen Tien Binh is one of the active members in the Propaganda Team of My Phuoc Ward Veterans. The books, newspapers, and documents collected by Mr. Binh are very valuable, have historical significance, and need to be respected. That is why Mr. Binh's willingness to open the door to welcome visitors to his "museum" is very worthy of applause, thereby helping everyone, especially the youth and students, to better understand the bravery and sacrifices of the previous generation, including their fathers, in the wars to protect the country.

On the first day of June, we, along with the former soldiers of My Phuoc ward, visited the "history museum" right inside the house of veteran Nguyen Tien Binh. The room, about 30m2 on the first floor of his house, is no different from a miniature museum with yellowed newspapers over time, but the images and writings are still clearly visible. Nhan Dan, Quan Doi Nhan Dan, Tia Sang newspapers reported on the important events that Mr. Binh carefully encapsulated and framed in each stage of Vietnam's revolutionary history. Mr. Binh also meticulously wrote annotations for each historical event for easy tracking.

We were very surprised when visiting this room, by the news articles about the Victory of Phuoc Long (January 1975), the Hue - Da Nang Liberation Campaign (March 1975), Xuan Loc (April 1975) and so on. Through these newspaper articles, a glorious part of our nation's history in the fight against foreign invaders and the reunification of our country has been somewhat reproduced.

Mr. Nguyen Tien Binh introduces the newspapers reporting on the important events of the Vietnamese revolution.

Introducing each newspaper page, the veteran, like a historian, recounted the glorious milestones of Vietnam's revolution. Through his storytelling, along with the newspaper pages, we feel like we are in the historical moment when President Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence to give birth to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam on September 2, 1945; or the early days in the liberated South, unifying the country after April 30, 1975.

To have a collection with many rare newspapers, Mr. Binh has devoted a lot of effort and time. He said that his father used to have a habit of reading newspapers, so he often asked his father to reread old newspapers. At that time, young Nguyen Tien Binh was attracted by the current events information on the newspaper pages, so he asked his father to keep them as souvenirs and started the habit of collecting newspaper pages reporting on the historical events of the nation. In September 1978, young man Nguyen Tien Binh temporarily set aside personal happiness and embarked on an international mission in the battlefield of Cambodia. After completing his international duty, this veteran soldier tirelessly strives to study and has a good, stable job, ensuring a stable life.

When life becomes less difficult, he continues to nurture his passion for collecting valuable newspapers. He regularly connects with many people who share the same interest in Ho Chi Minh City to hunt for rare newspapers to enrich his collection. I often interact with people who share the same passion for collecting in Ho Chi Minh City, so I have the opportunity to access many rare books and newspapers. Like me, many people really want to own these newspapers to enrich their collection, but not always money helps collectors get a vintage page, it depends on fate. For collectors, old newspapers not only have material value but also serve as a spiritual child. If they meet the right person, collectors are willing to pass on their spiritual child to someone with the same passion for "nurturing", Mr. Binh confided.

The newspaper pages of the first newspapers in Vietnam in the collection of Nguyen Tien Binh

Passion for historical artifacts

In addition to the media treasure trove, Mr. Binh also has some other special collections, among which the postage stamp collection must be mentioned. To have this collection, he has spent a lot of time, effort, and money to collect. Mr. Binh recalls the time when he was still in school, the stamp collecting movement was booming. At that time, those who had many stamps were considered wealthy. From there, he began to have a passion for collecting postage stamps and cherished them like treasures.

Besides postage stamps, Mr. Binh also owns a unique collection of money from different periods of Vietnam. For Mr. Binh, money is not just a piece of silver paper, but it also contains the history and culture associated with each period of the nation.

In his house, Mr. Binh also has a corner to recreate the old classroom with bamboo walls and thatched roofs. In the old classroom space, the owner displays many valuable artifacts and materials about education during the French colonial period, such as certificates and diplomas printed in French.

Mr. Binh's spacious 3-story house has a prime location with 2 facades in District 3, My Phuoc Ward. However, he only uses the first floor to open a beverage shop, while the other 2 floors are used to display various press publications and valuable historical materials. Sharing with us, the veteran hopes to have more people know about his museum and is ready to open the door to welcome those who share the same passion for visiting, especially the younger generation who wants to explore more about the history of the Vietnamese revolution.

Until now, Mr. Nguyen Tien Binh has collected over 500 pages of newspapers preserving the glorious moments of the nation. Notably, the first newspapers in Vietnam such as Gia Dinh Newspaper (the first newspaper in Vietnamese script published in 1865 in Saigon), Phu Nu Tan Van (first published in 1929 in Saigon), Luc Tinh Tan Van (the first newspaper of the Saigon Press Society), Trung Bac Tan Van (the first newspaper published in Hanoi, from 1915-1941).

In addition, Mr. Binh also has a collection of the first newspapers of today, such as Thanh Nien Newspaper (3-1-1986 with the name Tuần tin Thanh Niên), Communist Magazine (issue 1, published in July 1950), Tuoi Tre, etc. Currently, Mr. Binh is actively searching for the first issue of Song Be Newspaper to complete his collection.

Reported by Nguyen Hau – Translated by Vi Bao

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