Friday, October 07, 2022 | Rabi' al-awwal 10, 1444 H
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The high price of collecting antiques and old coins

A close look into the collection of Salim al Hattali in his shop at South Al Hail in Muscat is like taking a trip down memory lane. The only difference is that you will have an opportunity to interact with the items displayed in some form of order only Salim knows so well.

Salim is one of the well-known antique and coin collectors in the Sultanate. Since he was a child, he was very interested in collecting different items, from coins and trinkets to rare items worthy to be displayed in a museum.

Collecting coins and antiques is a popular hobby around the world with many people spending millions to acquire a specific item that to them is valuable. Most people involved in this hobby include art lovers, archaeologists and people with money to spare. The collected antiques and coins are normally things that were very famous and favoured by people at a certain time and they are no longer made currently. Therefore, these pieces can be considered often rare and precious.

While it started as a hobby in 2005, Salim had a realization that he found his calling. Being a collector of antiques was something he was meant to do and from that awakened state nearly two decades ago, he continued his passion till this day even receiving an Archives and Records Management Certificate from a local newspaper in 2007.

Since his humble beginnings, Salim has expanded his collection. He rallied his friends and family including those outside of the Sultanate to bring whatever interesting coins they can find from their visits to different countries. From specialising in locally produced coins, his collection now boasts antique currencies from all over the world.

After years of collecting antique coins and creating a comprehensive gallery of different items, Salim eventually decided to trade coins online. This move allowed him to network even further creating a relationship with different collectors from around the world. Through his online interactions, he became friends with people with the same interests and thus helping expand his dreams of transacting business as far as he can take it.

In 2019, Salim thought of opening an official business for buying and selling unique coins and antiques. He started slowly but surely taking responsibility not only for the day to day operation of the business but including its marketing.

In 2020, his business got affected badly by the pandemic and he was forced to make a drastic measures to avoid bleeding money. While his physical store had to take a sideline, he didn’t stop the digital marketing as he was keen on gaining his customers’ trust and making good and valuable relationships.

In his business, Salim shared that good capital is necessary to get some of the most valuable antique coins. He pointed however that without the proper cash flow, he was unable to buy Omani currencies that are of high value and first edition. To add to his challenges, Salim shared that many of the antique currencies are also found outside of Oman that buying them from other collectors means paying more.

“Collectors are familiar with the different challenges of antique coin collection. In addition to their high prices, you also have to pay other fees including shipping,” he said.

Other than the old coins and currencies, Salim also ventures on items with historical values. His collection now includes beautiful rugs, jewels, books, phones and even doors.

One of his prized collections is a mush’haf (holy Quran) that is nearly 300 years old with a manuscript produced by the Omani people. He said that he didn’t sell it because finding it took him a long time and it is of great value for him. He also added that he aspires to find some other manuscripts and documents about the sultans of Zanzibar as well as some of their antiques.

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