Retired Indian expat to return home with rare 'priceless' Dh1 note
'This generation has never seen or heard about the Dh1 currency note'
When 58-year-old Indian expatriate Thomas George packs his bags to return home to India by month-end, he takes with him a rare piece of UAE history: a Dh1 currency note.
Sounding nostalgic, George recalled: "In 1992, my uncle Matti gave me the Dh1 banknote. My uncle was in Abu Dhabi since the 1970s. In 1993, he passed away in a road accident. The priceless banknote reminds me of him. This generation has never seen or heard about the Dh1 currency note."
George has a collection of old currency notes from over 20 countries - all kept in an album named 'Sweet Memories'.
"I have spent 32 years overseas. My journey started in 1988 with a job in Iraq and in 1991, I came to Abu Dhabi. I have seen this city transform into a world-class one," George said from his accommodation in Mussafah. Now, the Indian expat is set to return home after his retirement from his job.
"My father Varkey Thomas was a manager of a public sector bank in Kerala. He used to get rare stamps and currencies," pointed out George. "As a child, I used to collect currencies and stamps. It turned into a hobby, which I became passionate about."
Over the years, his collection has swelled with contributions from several people.
George has banknotes of 1 Saudi riyal, half Kuwaiti dinar, Scottish pound sterling, Philippine peso, Italian Lire Mille, Spanish Peseta, other denominations from Oman, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, Jordan, Iran, Nepal, South Korea, Malaysia, the Netherlands and many more. He has a collection of coins too. His job with a heavy lift engineering company took him to countries in the region as well as China and Europe. He has a bunch of flight boarding passes and a handwritten passport issued to him in 1982.
"I have a bigger collection back home," remarked George, who hails from Kuttanad region in the Indian state of Kerala. His wife Susy teaches at a college there, and daughter Amanda and son Ken are studying in India.
"I will frame all the currency notes. I have the first drawings made by my children when they were toddlers. It will be fascinating to show all this to them," he said.
'Blessed to have seen Sheikh Zayed'
George feels blessed to have caught glimpse of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the architect of modern day UAE.
"In 1996, I saw the ruler near the Volcano Fountain in the Corniche ahead of National Day. Sheikh Zayed used to interact with commoners. Seeing him in person is the most cherished moment of my life. I will go back with many beautiful memories."
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