Dubai: An 85-year-old Indian expatriate in Dubai has amassed over 2,000 foreign coins and banknotes since he fell in love with collecting money as a child growing up in Karachi.
Parshotam Mukhi started the hobby when he just 12 and has gone on to collect coins from European nations dating back to the early 1800s, as well as Indian currency issued by the colonial British Raj from as early as the 1860s.
Mukhi, who moved from Indore, India, to Dubai in 1978, now has currency from around 55 countries.
As well as banknotes from Bahrain from the 1960s and the complete denominations of Indian currency used in the early 1900s – including rupee, anna, takka, paisa, dhela, and pai - he also has some of the first currency issued by the UAE and Pakistan.
The collector, who founded perfume and textile shops in Dubai, said he has no plans of stopping and continues to search for special issues.
At his apartment in Dubai Marina, Mukhi showed Gulf News his collection. When asked if he would consider selling his stash, Mukhi said: “I’m a buyer, not a seller. My collection is not for sale.”
Mukhi did not say how much he has spent on collecting the coins and notes or how much his entire collection is worth. He did mention however that he has paid as much as 200 Indian rupees (Dh10) just to buy a single 25 paisa (Rs0.25 or 13 fils).
“Whatever I find that I like, I go to great lengths to collect it. Whatever country I visit, I try to find special currency. I go to the banks, foreign exchanges and other collectors. I’m fond of collecting notes that have the number 786 in the series (a number of special significance locally to some Muslims) and collecting the whole series in a special issue or edition.
“I’m also gifted interesting currency by family, friends and my shops’ customers because they know about my hobby,” he added. “I remember how, when I was a child, whenever I was given some money, I would set some of it aside so it would become collectable later.”
Mukhi moved to India after the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947 and stayed briefly in Mumbai. He then settled in Indore, a city in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, before moving to Dubai.
Mukhi said he travels a lot between Dubai and India.
“The first time I visited Dubai was as a transit passenger in 1966, when I was going from Ghana to India. I remember there were only two shops in Duty Free. When I moved here in the late 1970s, there was no Meena Bazar and there was only one real road in that area. We used to call it Linking Road; it was named after a famous road in Mumbai.”