War Stories in Wallets: Vietnam ID Cards

For collectors seeking unique historical artifacts, identity cards from the Vietnam War era present a fascinating and affordable opportunity. While not everyone can afford the $57,000 paid at Bonhams for Marilyn Monroe’s ID card, used during her tour entertaining troops in Korea, there’s still a wealth of history to be had. This card fetched such a high price despite its image being widely available as a souvenir.

In contrast, US-issued identity photograph cards for South Vietnamese citizens from the Vietnam War (1965-75) offer a more accessible entry point into this niche. Each card, like Monroe’s, features a photograph, fingerprint, signature, and place of issue, typically Saigon. These ID cards are unique to each individual and are currently priced at a very reasonable £10-£20 each. As we approach the 60th anniversary of the conflict’s beginning, interest in these items is likely to grow, making now an excellent time to start or expand a collection.