World of Money

World of Money

68-year old Anandrao Haribhau Rabade from Thane has a rare obsession: Numismatics or, in simpler terms, the study and collection of coins and paper money. Mr. Rabade has an impressive collection of coins and currency notes. To be precise, he has in his collection, coins and notes from 186 different countries from all time periods.

Mr. Rabade says, "The hobby is a great educator. It has something to teach everyone about foreign cultures, history, economics – and plenty more." And he substantiates this statement by exhibiting a few rare notes and coins that can leave you astounded.   Like the Dollars, Pesos and Rupees circulated by the Japanese Government during World War II – printed in anticipation of conquering and subsequently ruling USA, Philippines and India.

Another incredible fact of history is revealed when Mr. Rabade shows us currencies with denominations as high as 10 lacs, 50 lacs and 1 crore! During World Wars I & II, when inflation was going through the roof, countries such as Yugoslavia, Turkey and Hungary released notes with sky-scraping denominations.  

Mr. Rabade’s romance with world of money began more than 30 years ago, when his father handed him a small collection of British India coins. Today, Mr. Rabade’s sizeable collection includes the world’s widest, largest and smallest paper currency. He also has in his possession the latest polymer based currency that is slowly replacing paper due to its longevity.

"Australia is the first country in the world to fully convert to plastic bank notes. By 1996, all denominations of Australian currency were plastic. New Zealand was the next country to fully convert to polymer notes. Other countries such as Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia etc are gradually converting to polymer based currency", Says Mr. Rabade.

Over the years, he has found many supporters of his hobby. His son, Srihari has contributed substantially to his collection. His friend Mr. Balani, himself a collector of medals and books among other things, has encouraged him tremendously. Mr. Rabade’s wife has been quite accommodating too.

A member of Indian Coin Society, Nagpur, Mr. Rabade declares that such a hobby as his requires a lot of reading and research. Years of studying voluminous reference books such as The Standard Catalogue of World Paper Money have enabled Mr. Rabade to classify and label his collection in a systematic manner. Stocked in low-slip transparent album leaves, each currency file is coded for easier retrieval and storage. Notes have been grouped logically by country, time sequence and denominations.

He has created a file dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi. Then there is a file called "Fancy Numbered" where he files notes with unique and rare serial numbers such as "000001" to "000009" and 111111 etc.

"It’s an expensive hobby. Many notes have been growing dramatically in value in recent years. There are times when I pay 50 to 100 times more than the face value of the currency" reveals Mr. Rabade. Often he goes out of his way to acquire a few rare coins and notes. Like once, almost 25 years ago, he visited a fisherman of Palghar to acquire some rare old coins of the British East India Company.

His insight into the history of currency is overwhelming. Mr. Rabade discloses many bizarre facts related to the world currencies.

Take for instance Panama which uses US dollars as its own paper money – Panama’s currency is known as the Balboa, which is printed only in coins and not in paper bills. The value of the Balboa coins is equal to that of the US dollar, and are used and regarded as such.

Among the various things he reveals about Indian currency, he exposes a faux pas in fifty rupee notes issued by RBI during the 70’s decade. These notes carried the flagpole of the parliament building without the flag!

He shows us an Indonesian Rupiah with a portrait of Ganpati on it – the world’s only country that has printed a Ganpati on its paper money.

Mr. Rabade’s favorite currency countries: Australia, New Zealand, England and Indonesia. Ask him why and he says, "A Numismatist loves Banknotes for their visual appeal. Banknotes are perhaps the finest pieces of printing and graphic design to be found anywhere." True, an incredible amount of work and thought goes into the design of currency, by artists and engravers of exceptional skill.

Mr. Rabade has encouraged and helped many youngsters to become Numismatists like him.   He talks fondly of two young girls, Ms. Akalpita who is a stamp collector and Ms. Prajakta Varekar who collects fountain pens of the world.

Benjamin Franklin once said, "If you want to know the value of money, try to borrow some." Try borrowing some from Mr. Rabade lifetime treasure. Certainly, you will then know the true value of money.  

His Collection includes:

  • A total of over 1500 paper notes and over 3000 coins
  • 1300-year old coins from the King Chola era
  • Indian Coins from Portuguese and British Era
  • Coins of the last sultan of Delhi, King William IV, Queen Victoria (1840)
  • A 1934 American 100 Dollar Bill printed on metal sheet
  • 1935 Greece 1000 deutschmarks note which is thinner than the hair strand
  • World’s smallest note from China – 4 cm width and 9 cm in height
  • World’s widest note – 1910 Russian Rouble – 12 cm in width and 20 cm in height
  • Thailand’s Commemorative 60 Baht (Approx. 10 cm by 10 cm in size

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