SHARJAH: Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) has turned out to be a huge platform for writers participating in the event to launch and promote their books.
In this regard, the fair witnessed the launch of Emirates Currencies History compiled and written by Moataz Mohamed Osman.
The book reflects the extensive research conducted by Osman in compiling the history of currencies used in the region before and after the Union. He spent over four years and a substantial sum of money to complete the project.
Talking to The Gulf Today, Osman shared his lifetime’s passion for philately and currency collection relating to the UAE. Along the way, he has earned a number of diplomas and degrees in various fields — from law to engineering — besides membership of the Royal Association for Philatelists-UK and jurist associations of Sharjah-UAE and Cairo-Egypt.
“I have been collecting postage stamps and coins, as well as various paper currencies of the UAE for the last 27 years. Not only have I spent huge sums of money to buy rare currency notes but also travelled a lot to check out their authenticity,” he said.
During the process of his prized collection, he found there was no book in the local market to deal with them.
“It was very strange that we did not have anything in a book format. I was, therefore, motivated to shoulder this national duty to come out with one, for which I began research on the subject. I travelled around the world to check out various museums, libraries, as also private collectors to verify the information collected, besides referring to books, the Internet and other sources,” he said.
He added that his books in Arabic on philately and currencies was very popular, but it was the huge demand from other nationalities for a book detailing the history of currencies of the UAE that actually led him to come out with an English version this year — now doing extremely well at the book fair.
“Compiling these books was a challenge I took head on; it was not an easy task. I had travelled alone to India on a dozen occasions to verify information through various sources, on Indian currencies that were being used in the region till the UAE government launched its own currency in 1973.
“This book covers a huge span of time — right from the Byzantine age to the present — highlighting the metamorphosis of currency development and change in this region, along with their images and historical background,” he added.
Through his extensive research, Osman unravelled many secret codes hidden on currency notes and coins that did the rounds in India during the British rule and later when the Indian government took over, steps mainly taken to maintain a circulation balance in the Arabian Peninsula and the sub-continent.
“During my research, I discovered to my surprise, many intricacies well camouflaged on coins and notes, like differences in background patterns, well-hidden pictures of animals, embossed initialled letters of various Indian states, among others. Very few people were aware of these facts, which now my book deals with in detail,” he added.
Osman, who is also director, operations and security, at the Expo Centre, Sharjah, has previously written History of Stamps-UAE and History of Currencies-UAE, both in Arabic.
He has dedicated his latest book to all those who love the history of the UAE and to collectors of currencies of the UAE, as well as of other countries. Osman was scheduled to be present on Tuesday for the signing of his books for visitors at the SIBF.
The book, published by Tarek Maarek at Al Ajwad Paper Trading Establishment, is available at his stall set up in Hall No.4, where other books from the same author are also on display, all of which are hugely popular with the visitors.