Coining a Journey Into History
For Abdullah Al Mutairi, his burgeoning collection of old coins and rare stamps are treasured assets that have only grown in value with the passing of time.
The noted historian and researcher of Islamic history spoke to Dubai Post, saying: ‘It is a memory in many ways. The images, the feel, its valuation, all of which create an identity for its country and are indicative of its political and socio-economic status at the time.’
Al Mutairi’s assortment of stamps dates back to the establishment of the UAE Post in 1909, with similar postage lineages from the Gulf also in his collection.
He reveals that in 1973, the UAE had issued 13 stamps, carrying pictures of the President, the country’s official seal, its geographic map, in addition to seven stamps representing landmarks across all emirates.
His pride and joy, though, is his collection of Gulf currencies.
The UAE dirham was minted on May 19, 1973, two years after establishment of the union. Paper currency was printed in 1978.
The historian reveals during the olden days, the UAE had adopted international currencies for trade, including the Austrian-Hungarian mint and the Indian Rupee.
He continues: ‘In 1966, we finally switched to Gulf currencies, using the Bahraini dinar in Dubai, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.’
In the same year, the governments of Qatar and Dubai issued their own legal tender, even as Abu Dhabi continued to use the Bahraini dinar.
The UAE Dh1 coin used the image of the ‘Dalla’ or the traditional teapot, representing Arabian hospitality.
The use of oilrigs indicated the strength of the economic state. Later, the mint also introduced the ‘gazelle’, the ‘palm’ and the ‘dhow’.
Al Mutairi admits he also holds over 1,200 books (first editions), along with periodicals and journals printed in the region – none of which are on sale.
He says: ‘I am working on increasing my collection through auctions.’