By Joey Aguilar/Staff Reporter
A Qatari currency collector wants to make it to the Guinness Book of World Records as the first man to collect banknotes from different countries with similar serial numbers.
During the launching of his exhibition at Katara Cultural Village, Hassan bin Ali al-Naimi told Gulf Times that his collections had notes with serial numbers 000001, 000002, 000003 and 111111 which he considers as rare and hard to find.
He now has more or less 10,000 banknotes collected from different countries (including the Gulf region) and 100,000 from rare currency with nominated number.
Al-Naimi disclosed that he travelled a lot, went to many banks and exchange companies to look for the banknotes he was collecting.
“I also go to dealers and businessmen. I meet and tell them what I am looking for so they could help me find these rare items,” he said.
However, he admits his passion is costly, given the arduous task of searching and travelling from one place to another. “It takes a lot of time and a lot of money too,” he quipped.
The currency collector also held many exhibitions in different parts of the world: the biggest were in Brazil, London, Paris and Japan. He also organised similar events in Holland and Singapore before holding one in Doha.
“I think I am the only one doing this, a kind of collection with similar serial numbers. No one has done this before and I’d like to be the first one,” he stressed.
Al-Naimi believes that many collectors focus only in getting the usual notes at the local level. He urges them to do it on a wide scale by travelling to many countries.
He started collecting when he was 16 although his parents were not into currency collection. He recounted that he used to tease and hate people who had this hobby “but later on I am one of the biggest collectors”.
“We are not a family of collectors, but now, I am a one-man show. I started it all,” he said. “I don’t know why I became interested in it”.
One possible reason he cited is because of his observation that collectors feel happy of what they do especially when they exert extra effort to achieve their goal.
When they tell him: “See this number? I challenge you if you can get the same number from outside,” then he would go everywhere and look for it. “I struggle a lot to get it.”
He describes currency collecting as “unique and fantastic” hobby.
About his plans, he wants to get as many different, rare things and “fancy numbers” as possible.
About the challenges he encountered in pursuing his passion, he reiterates that currency collection is an expensive hobby.
“There are many dealers, businessmen and collectors who pay a high price to get it. So you have to have a nice amount of money to get it also,” he added.
Meanwhile, HE Sheikh Hassan bin Mohamed bin Ali al-Thani, the vice chairman of the Qatar Museums Authority, inaugurated four art exhibitions on Sunday including Naimi’s “Letters and Money” at Building No 3.
On the same day, Katara has also opened the “History of Qatari Publications & Printing” and Maher Alsamarai’s ceramic exhibitions. It also featured Qatari artist Rashid Mubarak al-Muhanadi’s five paintings which were about the ideas of the Holy Qur’an, letters and Arabic poetry.