By collecting banknotes from various countries and territories, a Chennai resident has earned himself a mention in the Asia Book of Records and India Book of Records. A software engineer by profession, the 34-year-old Annamalai Rajendran now holds the records for "collection of banknotes from the maximum number of nations."
He has a total of 410 currency notes from various nations including 189 member nations of the current UN and 27 Island and Overseas Territories.
Speaking with ANI, Rajendran elaborated on how it has been his passion for a long time. He started the hobby ten years ago in an attempt to create a better work-life balance.
"Soon turned out to be a passion as I get to know more about other countries and their traditions," he said. Most of his collection has been acquired by friends and family while the rarer notes come from numismatic auctions where coins are and currency are sold to the highest bidder.
In his collection, there are some extremely rare specimens belonging to 17th Century to 21st Century. Apart from the current paper-based currency, he also has currency notes made with cloth, fold, polymer, and even cardboard. He possesses the world’s first gold legal tender as well. It comes from Antigua & Barbuda. He also has the world's first glow-in-the-dark coin which was unveiled by the Royal Canadian Mint a few years ago. Among his more olden assortment, he has ancient coins that date back to the Chola Empire in ancient India. He also has rare and old coins from the Roman Empire in the West.
His collection was put in an exhibition by the Asia Book of Records and India Book of Records for the attempted record as well. ANI posted images of some of his currency collection.
The hobby of collecting banknotes is known as Notaphily. Formerly, the record was held in India by Jayesh Kumar of Coimbatore. The 31-year-old engineer had a collection spanning 390 countries with various rare coins and notes. He was then featured in the Limca Book of Records for his collection. He had the one of the world’s first-ever paper currency, a 1638 dated note belonging to the Ming Dynasty in China.
However, both of these record holders have a long way to go if they want the national level record to be a world record. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest collection of banknotes in the world belongs to a Lebanese man called Wissam Ali Youssef. He holds around 12,282 different banknotes spanning hundreds of countries with an estimated value of $294,408.33 (approximately Rs 2,16,26,696).