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Dubai family bags third Limca record with currency collection

Family collects currencies with serial numbers denoting national or independence day of 122 countries

Image Credit: XPRESS/Abdel-Krim Kallouche
Record collector: Mahesh K. Shah with his book of currencies and the fresh certificate from Limca Book of Records Xpress/Abdel-Krim Kallouche

DUBAI A Dubai-based family has collected their third record from Limca, India’s version of the Guinness World Records.

Aided by his wife and two grown-up children, 71-year-old Mahesh K. Shah has recently put together a unique collection of Indian currencies with serial numbers that correspond to the national or independence day of 122 countries (For example: UAE-021271, US-040776).

The patriarch, a retired plumbing engineering consultant who has devoted his time collecting items for the book, showed XPRESS a certificate signed by Limca Book of Records Editor Vijaya Ghose bearing his family’s fresh record. Limca noted the work of Shah, his 69-year-old wife Rama, 40-year-old son Umesh and 33-year-old daughter Vaishali for setting a record for 2013 with their unique collection of 122 Indian banknotes (Rs10) with serial numbers matching the independence/national day of 122 countries as of June 30, 2012, in the dd/mm/yy format. “It’s been my passion to collect, and my family has supported me all the way,” said Shah, who hails from Gujarat. It took the Shahs 15 months to put the unique collection together.

“We rang up friends, people we knew — perhaps 1,000 of them — to get ahold of what we wanted. We even bought some of the currencies at a premium to be able to put this thing together,” he said.

Shah retired five years ago, but still remembers the day he arrived in Dubai on May 5, 1969, to work as an engineering contractor.

He still occasionally goes home to India on special occasions, but Shah has opted to stay in the UAE, where both his unmarried children also work. In 2005, the Shahs earned the distinction of collecting newspapers of 102 countries in 46 languages of a particular country’s independence or national day published in 2004.

“We’d like to spread the message of global transformation,” explained Shah about his family’s unique passion, without elaborating.

The collection was exhibited on January 9, 2005, at the NKT College Hall in Thane, Maharashtra.

“We’re happy to do something for which we will be remembered,” said Shah.

So, what does Shah and his family get out of it? “It’s great fun,” said his daughter Vaishali, a Dubai-based IT professional. “It’s our family’s creative pursuit… it keeps us pre-occupied. We did a lot of research, corresponded with lots of people. It’s a challenge to think of something nobody has thought of before and actually doing it.”

In 2003, the family got their first Limca record for an exceptional Rakhi (a wrist-band that signifies love and protection given by Indian girls to their brothers or to men whom they consider brothers). At 448kg, and with a dimension of 15 feet x 15 feet, it was the world’s biggest and heaviest Rakhi.

Shah said he created the gigantic band to spread the message of secularism around the world.


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