The warm sunlight was streaming in through the veranda of a corrugated tin house. An elderly man sat on a chair in the veranda, basking in the sunlight on the crispy winter morning.
This man stood out amongst the rest because of his distinctive hobby, which earned him the nickname ‘coin collector’ in Porora area of Manikganj. His name is Liakat Ali Khan.
Other than a collection of coins and bank notes of different countries, Liakat also has a collection of government approved lottery tickets of Bangladesh since 1975.
The now 68 year old Ali began his coin collecting expedition at about 10 years of age. Ali had not received a primary school education, and as a child he worked at his father’s teashop. One day on his way home from work, Ali found a silver coin of the British era. Thinking it was extremely valuable, he took the coin to a jeweller, who suggested Ali to gather more coins and return with them later.
Eager to find more, Ali soon developed a habit of asking both known and unknown people for rare coins to expand his collection. Thus began Ali’s passion of coin collecting.
Unfortunately in 1972, coins collected for seven years were stolen from Ali who kept them in his father’s teashop. Yet, Ali did not fall into despair and, instead began a fresh collection.
‘I have come across many different coins by roaming different parts of the country. Currently, I have over 3,000 coins from 180 countries,’ said Ali. From 1975 onwards, Ali also began collecting currency notes and now has notes from over 100 countries.
‘It was not easy to begin the collection at first as it was expensive. My family discouraged me, while locals criticised my passion. But I did not back down and ultimately they started encouraging me, and a few even took up the same hobby.’
Liakat Ali hopes to build a gallery in his house for visitors who want to see his coin collection on display.