From the moment he laid eyes on the "I love UAE' Dh1 coin with its unique design, Nihad Hassan knew that it was the beginning of a new passion.
“I was amazed by its shape and design, I had never seen anything like it. It had a heart shape with the UAE map inside it and 'I love UAE' in words. My uncle gave it to me and when I googled it, I found out that it was issued in 2010 in celebration of the I Love UAE national campaign,” said Nihad, a 17-year-old Indian living in Abu Dhabi.
“A unique bond was established when I first saw the coin and that’s when the hunt began and I started collecting more and more,” he said.
Nihad has managed to collect around 32 different Dh1 coins during the past year and is still looking for more to add to his collection.
“Some of the coins are rare and were very hard to get, but my uncle who runs a fruit and vegetable shop in Abu Dhabi managed to find many of them. I got three of them from the supermarket and the rest were collected with the help of my father who works at a governmental authority.
“It wasn’t an easy process as you can wait for so long to find one, it needs patience and desire.”
Nihad said that he learned a lot about the country’s history, culture and attractions through his passion.
“The oldest coin I have is the '35th Anniversary of the National Bank of Dubai' Dh1, which was issued between 1963 and 1998 and shows the bank building. Each coin tells a story about the country and its development. My favourite one is the '75th Anniversary of Sharjah International Airport' Dh1, which has three flying birds,” he said.
For those interested in following suit, however, he warned that coin collecting is a hobby that takes hard work and dedication.
“All the coins are displayed on a canvas board. I feel they are my treasure and I always feel proud when showing them to others – it represents my hard work and my passion,” he said.
“I have also started to collect other currencies and I have some from the US, India, Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, the Philippines and more.”
His collection includes the '27th Chess Olympiad' Dh1 issued in 1986, 'Dubai Police Golden Jubilee' Dh1 and the '60th anniversary of Abu Dhabi Police' Dh1, which was recently added to the collection.
“I want to collect as much as I can and then show them to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, this is what I’m looking forward to do,” said Nihad.
“It’s a journey that will never end as long as there are coins in the world. It’s part of any country's heritage, even if the world stops using them sometime in the future.”
Nihad has asked the public to help him find the Dh1 coin that was issued in 2015 on the seventh anniversary of the accession of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed as Crown Prince of Dubai.
To contact Nihad, send him an email at email@example.com.