Abu Dhabi: An Indian petrol pump attendant in the UAE has amassed a collection of 39 different issues of the Dh1 coin, turning down lucrative offers to sell the collection.
Shaijal Kelettil, an expatriate from Calicut in India’s southern state of Kerala, took nine years since he came to the UAE to collect the coins. He has turned down offers of up to Dh2,000 to sell his collection and said the collection is “priceless to me because of my love for the UAE”.
Kelettil has on occasions even paid Dh50 or so to buy just one Dh1 coin. “I love the ‘I love the UAE’ coin and also the 1990-issue celebrating UAE’s participation in the football World Cup. If I see a coin that is different or special in some way, I ask the bearer to exchange it with me or sell it to me. I love collecting coins and I love the UAE, so that’s why I do it,” said Kelettil, whose job is to fill up cars at a petrol station in Sweihan, Al Ain.
‘Many tried, all failed’
The 39-year-old, who earns Dh2,925 a month, keeps his collection “safe and hidden” at his accommodation, adding to it whenever he can. He also has coins from Saudi Arabia where he worked previously and coins from India, which are kept back home. “Many people on social media have challenged me that they have better collection, but all have failed. I have carefully built my collection with help from my friends and colleagues who know about my passion. I don’t seek out the newer coins as they will be around for a while and therefore easy to find. I keep an eye out for older coins or special issue coins.”
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The father-of-two used to collect stamps also, but has given up on that hobby, focusing now only on coins.