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Flags on pins and cigarette packs: what unusual things children collected in the USSR during the shortage

What children collected in the USSR. Source: Created with the help of AI

The Soviet Union was a country not only of limited rights but also of total shortages of goods. There were no foreign modern appliances on store shelves, no variety of high-quality clothes for every taste, and no many varieties of children's toys.

It is not surprising that Soviet children did not know what to do with themselves, so they looked for entertainment in the most unexpected places. OBOZ.UA tells about one of them, namely collecting.

Coins

Coin collecting in the USSR was one of the most common hobbies that united people of all ages.

Most often, collections included coins from socialist countries, Nazi Germany, and Afghanistan. Money from capitalist countries was rare.

Badges

Badges were one of the most popular types of collectibles. They were given as gifts, bought, and exchanged for each other. There were badges on any topic: from portraits of leaders and heroes to images of animals, flowers, and cartoons.

Flags on pins and cigarette packs: what unusual things children collected in the USSR during the shortage

Postage stamps, postcards and calendars

Collecting small paper products with pictures was also a very common hobby. The most popular was collecting stamps. However, while coins or badges were often simply stored in jars, stamps were usually carefully pasted into special albums, making collecting a real hobby.

Metal models and soldiers

Some children had a whole fleet of small model cars. At the same time, some collected plastic or metal figures of soldiers. They could be bought at shooting ranges or in cooperative kiosks.

Flags on pins and cigarette packs: what unusual things children collected in the USSR during the shortage

Aluminum cans

These were mostly imported beer cans, sometimes lemonade cans, because the USSR did not produce beverages in such packaging.

Cigarette packs

As strange as it may sound, children did collect cigarette packs. They were usually glued to pieces of cardboard or plywood and hung on the wall. And they could even make robots out of the most common packages, for example.

Flags on pins and cigarette packs: what unusual things children collected in the USSR during the shortage

Photographs with Western actors

Beginning in the second half of the eighties, with the spread of VCRs, small black-and-white photographs of popular characters of the time began to appear in the USSR. For example, with Schwarzenegger in the role of Conan the Barbarian, Dutch from Predator, etc. Although the quality of these images was rather poor, these cards were highly valued.

Tin bottle corks, labels, buttons

In general, children could collect any kind of small trash as long as they had something to do.

Folding knives

There were many varieties of folding knives. All of them were of different shapes and colors, so they aroused interest not only among children but also among adults.

Flags on pins and cigarette packs: what unusual things children collected in the USSR during the shortage

Pens

Pens with automatic buttons were especially valued. Also, foreign copies were valued more, but they were still rarely collected

Candy wrappers and inserts

Candy wrappers were not just garbage that was thrown away after eating. They were collected, neatly arranged in albums, and exchanged with friends.

Some brands, such as Turbo chewing gum, had inserts with cartoon characters, cars, animals, etc. that were also of great value to children.

Stickers

The stickers we are used to now, which have their adhesive layer, were rare. Back then, they were made of very thin material, crumpled very easily, and were attached to a damp surface. To keep them flat and carefully, you needed a lot of jewelry-making skills.

Flags on pins and cigarette packs: what unusual things children collected in the USSR during the shortage

Things made by hand

Particularly skillful children collected items for their collections with their own hands. These could be model airplanes, which were extremely valuable. Or, for example, houses made of matches.

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