Beginning with the preservation of a century-old Khmer cooking pot, Moeung Phanny has been collecting and trading antique and vintage items for over a decade. His first experience was buying a collection of vintage items from a family in a remote village in Kampong Trabek district, Prey Veng province.
Despite her passion for vintage items, it wasn’t until 2010 that Phanny was able to really focus on collecting interesting antiques.
The objects he owns range from locally produced objects to foreign objects dating from the French colonial period. With everything from radios, teapots, hats, typewriters, cameras and record players to copper pots and pendulum clocks, Panny has hundreds of items in her cramped Phnom Penh apartment, located near the Dumex market.
The best-known eccentric vintage collector, Ly Pengheng, started his collection over 20 years ago with a classic motorcycle, and went on to establish the Vimean Sokha Exhibition Hall in Phnom Penh, which later moved to Siem Reap and re-opened under the name of Vimean Sokha Museum.
The museum charges 5,000 riels ($1.25) for Cambodian visitors and 20,000 riels for foreigners. There is a fee of 400,000 riels for on-site pre-wedding photography.
Phanny took another option by selling these old items.
With a limited budget, cramped space for continued storage, his desire to create a personal museum turned into a passion for sharing his hard-to-find items with the public. Continually acquiring new items and selling others, its stock is constantly changing. There’s an ebb and flow in his collection – and his personal finances – which means he’s constantly sharing new finds with the public.
“Vintage collectors have different options. Sometimes we sell the items to people who have a connection to them, and they display them in their homes and businesses. If I buy something and keep it at home, it will be hidden from the public. Of course, if I can earn some money, that means I can keep adding new and interesting things to my collection. Vintage items are getting more and more expensive,” Phanny told the Post.
The 52-year-old business professor at the National University of Management and ACLEDA Institute continued, “I want Cambodia’s younger generation to know about these objects that they would never see otherwise. These days, most older people love things they remember from their youth, like the “golden age” of Cambodia. »
Panny said some of her items are still functional, like an old radio that still receives signals from modern stations. Of course, most non-electric items still work, like his typewriters.
He said these items can still be found in provinces across the country. Most of these objects are now rusty and rotten, which is why he also sources parts that were used in colonial times in Europe, such as 60 or 100 year old radios.
“I find a lot of these items thanks to friends and family, as well as several acquaintances who know my passion. I also have a brother in France, who helps me get things from Europe,” said he added.
He said that in general, these items are highly valued items in international markets, or even in major cities in European countries, and he cannot afford them. However, in more remote areas, they are often neglected and only sold when the elderly die. Their children and grandchildren do not know what to do with these objects and sell them in flea markets.
“Now it is more and more difficult to find these items because people are more and more aware of the value of vintage items. In Cambodia, there are still few people who appreciate them, but they are very popular in Thailand and Vietnam.They are interested in old cars, motorcycles,
shoes, hats and so on. We are one step behind them and I have very little capital,” he added.
Phanny said he still manages to collect a lot of pieces, but they usually sell out pretty easily. This meant that his collection was constantly recycled, in a sense. As he buys one thing, he sells another.
Romdoul Village Resort employee Sen Kosal said his boss also likes to decorate with vintage items, both in restaurants and in his own home.
“My boss bought a sewing machine, a coffee grinder and a very old mechanical cash register, among other things,” Kosal said.
Phanny, a former civil servant, added that some items were now almost impossible to find. An example is his Thomas Edison gramophone. The original model was made in the 1800s, although his is a 1911 model.
Phanny said two of his cameras date from 1915 and 1953 and he has hundreds of items. They include large and small objects. He has clocks, coffee grinders and seven or eight large transistor radios.
“There are some local items that are special to me, like a typewriter that dates back to the Lon Nol era. It’s still in use at the ministry, but I’d love to buy it. Another is my unique set of copper scales,” he said.
“I have ten items that I will not sell, including my khvan
cooking pot. Most of the things I collect are still usable, although things like my 1964 electric cash register are not,” he added.
He also has a few old cameras, including one half a meter long and three meters wide.
“My prices depend on the size, material and age of the item. The older it is, the more expensive it is. After all, these things cannot be found in the market,” he said. -he declares.
A collector and regular customer of Phanny, Hor Bunhong, 63, owns several objects from the Longvek period, as well as many newly produced objects that were made according to old models.
“I bought him a Japanese teapot and a cowhide hat that reminded me of the fashion of my youth. When other seniors see me wearing it, they admire my style,” he told The Post.
The former retired gardener said he wanted to preserve these quintessentially Cambodian artifacts so they would not be forgotten. He made replicas of 15th century objects, teapots, old houses, polished bowls and tables.
He is currently building replicas of old houses – such as the pet house, katang house and kreung house – in Kampong Chhnang, so that the younger generation can see how their ancestors lived.
Unlike Bunhong, Phanny does not have the capital to open a museum and does not want to.
“Most of my clients are retired civil servants who buy these items to decorate their homes and show their children what life was like in the past. Some say they remember these things from Chinese and Japanese movies and always wanted to see them in real life. Others buy them to decorate their cafes, shops and living rooms,” Phanny said.
To see Phanny’s latest vintage merchandise, check out her social media page, Bikes and Vintage Clocks Collection.