The University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Chung Collection explores the province’s history with 25,000 artifacts related to the Chinese diaspora’s immigration and settlement.
With highlights such as a “coin sword” made of coins from the era of the Qianlong emperor (1736-96), the collection was recently added to the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) “Canada Memory of the World Register,” which recognizes documents of profound Canadian significance.
“Coin swords are considered to ward off evil, and bring good luck,” reads UBC’s online archive.
Other numismatic-related highlights of the Chung Collection include Chinese head tax certificates and gold pans used by Chinese settlers who came to British Columbia during the gold rush in the mid-19th century.
UNESCO, which also certifies World Heritage Sites, uses its registers to promote obscure collections to a global audience of archivists and librarians.
The Chung Collection’s namesake is Wallace Chung, a retired doctor whose grandfather came from China to Victoria, B.C. He spent 60 years amassing the thousands of items, which are now available for viewing at the UBC on Monday to Friday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. A tour is also offered every Wednesday.