Chairman Mao memorabilia and so-called "red collections" are soaring in value in the run-up to the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

"Red collections" include historic objects like the Little Red Book (containing famous Mao quotations), Mao badges, memorabilia, statuettes and posters reflecting the growth of the People's Republic from 1949 to 1979.

Porcelain Mao statuettes are among the revolution-era relics that have reportedly risen in value. A 30 centimeter statuette can now fetch 30,000 yuan ($4,400) compared to only 15,000 ($2,200) yuan - half the price - this time last year.

Because of the destruction wrought by the 1976 Tangshan earthquake, rarer Tangshan porcelain statuettes are going for the highest prices.

Other items to gain value include Mao-style porcelain table tiles. Prices are said to have risen by 50%.

"A red collection represents a period of history and also tells a story," said Ji Yuncheng, director of the China Association of Collectors.

"In addition, [these items] possess artistic, social and investment values."

Wang Huabin, a 30-year old clerk from Huaxia Bank who has been collecting relics for 10 years, says that a there is also a growing demand for Chairman Mao badges.

"Mao badges are in good supply and the prices are comparatively low; suitable for beginning collectors," Mr Huabin told the Global Times.

Prices for badges vary. A common red and gold tin badge may cost 10 yuan ($1.46), but a rare porcelain one in excellent condition might cost as much as 1,000 yuan ($146).

Elsewhere, mint condition copies of 'Quotations from Chairman Mao' - better known in the West as 'the Little Red Book' - featuring excerpts from Mao's speeches and publications are being valued at 20,000 yuan ($2,930).

Due to their rarity, prices for copies of the book are continuing to rise. Publication of it ceased in 1976. 

Other red collections, besides Mao-related objects, are also seeing a resurgence.

A 1950 movie poster for 'China After Liberation', made by China's Central Film Bureau and Soviet Film Studio, sold for 30,000 yuan ($4,400) at a red collection expo held in Dezhou, in the Shandong Province.

Red collecting was less popular ten years ago, during the Republic's 50th Anniversary. However a 2004 State Council initiative, 'A 10-year Plan to Develop Red Tourism,' has apparently sparked an increase in popularity.  ____________________________________________________________

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