Lawyer turns collector of priceless old currencies

Kendrapara : While scrapped currency notes are nothing but pieces of paper for one and all, it is priceless treasure for a 50-year-old collector in Kendrapara Town of Odisha.

Mohammad Mustaque, a legal practitioner, has converted his house into a miniature museum of notes.

He has preserved currencies right from Rs 1000 denomination, demonetised in 1978 by the then Prime Minister Morarji Desai, to scrapped and out-of-circulation ones in pre and post-Independence era.

The lawyer by profession, living in Badahaat locality here, might have exhausted his resources in his thirst.

However, he feels proud of his vast repertoire of antique collections, which includes currency notes and coins.

“Along with legal practice, collecting antiquities is part of my life….Researchers from across the state visit my private museum. I feel my labour is worth it,” he said.

“When high-value notes ceased to be legal tender post-November 8 night, I glimpsed through my note collections.

I was delighted to find a Rs 1,000 note that had been demonetised by Morarji Desai-led Janata government in 1978,” he said.

“The government then had scrapped Rs 1,000, Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000 notes. I managed to collect a Rs 1,000 note in 1983. A Marwari trader had donated the same to me. Later on I could locate Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000 demonetised notes of that era, but could not collect the same as people demanded an equal sum for exchange of their scrapped notes,” he recalled.

The intrepid numismatist has amassed currencies from over 70 countries.