Limited-edition mugs bearing the images of old Kinmen County banknotes have become popular with the county’s residents, who have been lining up to buy them, the kiln producing the mugs said.
Kinmen Official Kiln, which is the nation’s only government-run kiln, last month began producing the mugs bearing the image of an old NT$10 Kinmen banknote.
After they became hugely popular with locals, the kiln began producing mugs bearing images of NT$50 and NT$500 Kinmen banknotes in the hope that they would become popular gift items over the Lunar New Year holiday.
Photo: Wu Cheng-ting, Taipei Times
The Kinmen-only banknotes were used in the county from 1952 to 1989 to integrate the county’s economy with the rest of Taiwan, while mitigating the potential economic risk to Taiwan if Kinmen were to fall into communist hands.
The banknotes were issued by Bank of Taiwan and were identical to standard New Taiwan dollar bills, but bore the statement: “Only for use in the Kinmen area.”
“When Kinmen County Councilor Tsai Shui-yu (蔡水游) brought a mug printed with a US$1 bill on it to the factory I was reminded of wartime Kinmen and had the idea for the mugs,” kiln manager Yang Su-tai (楊肅泰) said.
Yang said that for him, Kinmen’s special currency is more unique than US dollar bills.
“It is symbolic of the front line and the efforts ... to protect the nation’s economy,” he said.
When the bank stopped issuing the bills in 1989, the banknotes slowly began to disappear, he said, adding that the mugs are a way to remember that part of history.
Making the mugs is a three-step process, he said, adding that each step involves firing the clay at very high temperatures.
Founded in 1962, the kiln has been commissioned to make replicas of valuable ceramic pieces for the National Palace Museum.
Yang, who retired on Saturday, said he was happy to see the last product he helped design at the kiln sell so well.
“It has been a long time since porcelain has caused such a stir,” he said.
The mugs can be purchased individually or in sets of three, he said.
“The NT$500 bill mug with Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and the NT$10 bill mug with Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙) are both red. They make for an auspicious gift for the Lunar New Year,” he said.
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