From Old Photos Of UAE Leaders To Rare Stamps, This Indian Expat's Extensive Collection Features Nearly 10,000 Pieces

(MENAFN- Khaleej Times)

Published: Sat 4 Feb 2023, 6:00 AM

Collecting stamps started as a hobby for Abdul Hameed Paika, and it turned into a passion during his later years. He is a proud owner of nearly 10,000 pieces of these rare collectibles, including rare old photos of his dear leaders.

“The old photo of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, performing Umrah, and his holographic 3d design is very near to my heart. These two are my prize possessions and are very rare,” said Paika.

Telephone cards

Hailing from Kasargod in Kerala, Paika arrived in the UAE eighteen years ago and was surprised by the calling card system.“The moment I exited the airport, I saw a card. Without focusing much on it, I reached my residence. I found another card with a different photo printed on it and that drew my interest'

Since then, Paika started his telephone and recharge card collection and has over a few thousand different photos.“A few were in the form of puzzles and I had no idea about them. When arranging my cards, I saw butterfly wings when I joined two cards. And then it I joined more cards and saw a proper butterfly Image,” said Paika.

Paika even has the cards of the traditional pay phone booth cards, which were used during the late 1970s and a hole was pierced into the card based on the duration of the trunk call.

Intrigued, Paika wanted to know more about the country's history and events. He started collecting everything he could lay his hands on.

For Paika, the most exciting and challenging was collecting coins. Did you know there are 48 different Dh1 coins that have been released in the UAE? Paika has them all.

“We normally use the emboss of the traditional Arabian jug. But rare Dh1 coins like Dubai Chamber of Commerce building emboss, Global Village, Sharjah International Airport 50th anniversary celebration, and many more are available as collectibles rather than as currency,” said Paika.

Noting the currency notes

When Paika was shopping at a grocery store, he noticed a slight change in Dh5 denomination,“Most of us fail to notice (the changes). When I saw that, I started gaining more information from various sources and started a mission to get all of the released notes,” said Paika.

“Seven different Dh 5 denomination notes were released starting from the Dubai-Qatar currency,” added Paika.

Stamp collection

Paika has a massive stamp collection of the UAE and the Gulf States. His collectibles include rare stamps of each emirate before the formation of the Union and the stamps of important dates and events like Expo 2020 Dubai, Emirates Lunar Moon Mission, the UAE Astronauts, UAE's participation in the Olympics, important landmarks, the spirit of the Union and much more.

RTA and Expo 2020 Dubai card collection

According to Paika, one of the most significant events in the country was the Expo 2020, and he wanted to collect every single card, souvenir, and Expo 2020 moment.“I don't even remember the number of times I have visited the Expo. I have constructed many placards and books of the Expo 2020 memories. I have even clicked in front of the pavilion, printed the photo, and got a photo stamped from that pavilion,” said Paika.

“When the Expo 2020 was announced, Emirates Posts released limited Expo 2020 Dubai stamps, and I am privileged to have received the first edition of that limited stamps,” said Paika.

Paika has even got hold of the latter editions, which he considers to be a prized possession.

“There were many different nol cards and the bus cards in the early days were released by the RTA. Before the nol cards, I collected RTA bus cards got into my collection and I believe I have got every single one,” said Paika.

Sadly, Paika lost his job during the Covid-19 pandemic. He is giving away his prized possessions and planning to return to his hometown for good.


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