When the nation celebrating its 70th Independence Day on Sunday, Malik Tahir Sulemen has open the door of his house in Dhabian locality adjacent to Taxila Museum to public especially school children, tourists, art lovers as well as professional and immature philatelists (stamp collectors) and numismatists (coin and banknote collectors) to show his treasure of all currency notes and coins issued since 1947 to show his passion of patriotism and love to country.
People gathered to see his largest private collection of coins and notes issued each and every one issued from George VI King Emporer and Rs 500 rupees notes issued in year 1955 and disbanded in 1965 on the pretext as this high domination notes was became tool of money laundering an, corruption. And special currency note issued in 1997 in connection to 50 th independence day celebrations.
Mr Suleman started collecting coins when he was 10. He hasn’t stopped since. “I collect coins because the hobby informs me about history, inflation, government, political regimes, economies and religion,” he revealed. “You can learn about how civilizations begin, expand, become empires and decline . . . It’s been the hobby of a lifetime.” He added. “ I have passionate love with my country and to prove my love with my own way I have started collecting currency notes and coins and toady he has all notes and coins issued by government”, he said with a fair degree of pride.
Talking to this reporter he said that coins are like “history in your hands. Coins in ancient times were like a newspaper, telling about who was in power, and whether the ruler was peaceful or a warmonger based on the design symbolism. For example, arrows (on coins) indicated war, while olive branches were a sign of a desire for peace.” He further added that every coin ever stamped has a fascinating story to tell about people, places and events. He said that collecting coins, currency notes and displaying them in special coin-holder books can be a very informative and educational hobby. One can learn a lot about significant places, historical events, wildlife, sports activities, culture, traditions and famous people of a country by looking at its stamps. He added that after a close inspection of a banknote, seeing all the richness of information a currency banknote provides. “I think its really worth to collect old notes and coins as it feels great to have a proof of country’s history in my hand rather than reading in history text books or seeing in the movie”. He said that from the 15th century onwards, coin collecting became a hobby of kings and nobles, who employed agents to scour Europe and Asia for coins of beauty. Numismatic research was actively encouraged by aristocratic families and a major trade in coins began, fuelled by waves of excavations of ancient sites but I have own motivation and aim- showing my love to country.
Revealing the interesting history of Pakistani notes, he said that initially, Indian coins and currency notes were used by Pakistan, simply over-stamped with “Government of Pakistan. These notes have image of George VI King Emporer on front side and printed by Reserve Bank of India. Examples of these notes are given below. He said that when Pakistan came in to existence on 14 August 1947, it had no currency notes or coins of its own, nor a central bank or mint to print paper currency or mint coins. In order to cope up with the requirement of the new country, the Governor General of undivided India issued the Pakistan (Monetary System and Reserve Bank) Order, 1947 on 13 August 1947, the day before partition. He said that under this order, the Reserve Bank of India was to act as the common currency authority for India and Pakistan until 30 September 1948, allowing a cushion period of almost a year for the newly born state to issue its own currency. As an interim arrangement, the currency notes and coins issued by the Reserve Bank of India and the Government of India were to be the legal tender in Pakistan. He said that it was year 1955 that currency notes with the picture of Father of the nation Quaid e Azam was starts printing. He said that notes issued pre-1971 was in Urdu, Bengali and English but after separation of Bengladesh, Pakistani Rupee has only Urdu and English text.
Abdul Nasir, curator Taxila Museum while talking to this reporter has said that coins of a country can teach us many things about its history, politics, and society. An educationist Prof Asif Mehmood Malik, while viewing the currency and coin-holder books of Suleman said that paper money teaches you arts, geography, history, foreign languages even politics. He added that once you assemble, diversify and maintain your world currency banknote collection, you kind of become a stockholder of the entire world’s economy.
AG Lone, a senior archaeologist at Federal department of archaeology and Museums after viewing the rich coins and currency notes treasurer has termed it a great asset and a unique way of showing love and passion to the country. He said that he has all the notes and coins issued since 1947 to date which is a laudable contribution to preserve the economic development of country. Speaking about collections of notes and coins, he said collecting rare coins is a hobby that has been shared by kings, famous actors, writers, sports heroes and people from all walks of life since the time of King Midas 2700 years ago. He said that coin collecting is one of the oldest hobbies on record. Emperor Augustus liked to give old coins to his friends and many coins of the late Roman period were based on coin designs from years before, which suggests that coins were stored as a matter of policy. Byzantine coin designs were similarly full of visual references to coins circulated centuries earlier. He said that Italian poet and thinker Petrarch collected coins on his travels, while at least two United States Presidents, Thomas Jefferson and John Quincy Adams, had a keen personal and professional interest in coin collecting. Adams, who served as President from 1825 to 1829, not only collected but studied coins and used his knowledge to help guide the development of early American currency.
“Only in late 1950’s paper money collecting became more of a global phenomenon. By 1920’s paper money began to be issued by significantly more countries around the world and in early 1960’s practically the whole world was using paper money for buy or sell transactions between people, businesses etc”. Said Ejaz Ahmed a reputed numismatist of Islamabad.
“It is very interesting and unique collection which is even not available in any museum of the entire region as it go through us with the rich history of the country”, Said Qurat Ul Ain, a third year student at local college. She said that Although I am student of graduation but even I do not read or taught in school that the currency notes with Quaid e Azam picture was starts publishing in 1955- even 8 years after independence.
Noman Ilyas, a stundet of II nd year at local college while viewing the collection has said that “I have not seen or know about commentary coins and I have glad to see the four different coins issued to mark special occasion”. He said that I have learnt first time I come to know that Pakistan has started printing his own currency notes in 1948 and with pictures of Quaid in 1955 while our first secretary finance was a British Sir Victor”. He said that this is blessing for students and youth that Mr Suleman has arranged this exhibition to get through the history of country for which mostly youth are ignorant.
“This is mini museum which preserve hundreds of coins and currency notes which open a window to past to the youth which know little about own history” said Eman Shahid, an intermediate class student of local college. “ I glad to see the first coin issue by Pakistani mint and currency notes with three different languages ie Urdu, Bengali and English which was in use”.
It may be mention here that in this day and age where every second day a new tool of communication dazzles the whole world, people like Mr Suleman may remain unsung hero.