Q I’d like to know something about a vintage sewing box I found in my mother’s things after she passed. It’s decorated with a panda bear and eucalyptus leaves on the front and flowers inside the hinged lid. There are about 10 Chinese symbols in red marked on the bottom of the box and beside that is says ”People’s Republic of China.” It’s 9 1/2 by 6 inches. How old is it?

A Your mother’s sewing box is not very old. The People’s Republic of China was formed in 1949, when the Communists took over. The country was closed to tourists after that until the mid 1970s, so your mother must have gotten this sewing box after that. Panda bears are a popular decoration on items made for tourists.

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