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Man with ‘money' hobbies

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Neeraj Jaiswal with his old curency note collection in Hyderabad.
Neeraj Jaiswal with his old curency note collection in Hyderabad.

J.S. Ifthekhar

Hyderabad: It all boils down to money – honey. It sure makes the world go round. To have enough is good and to have more than enough is harmful. This is true of all things, especially money.

But who is not fond of crisp currency notes? Neeraj Jaiswal's love of money, however, is of a different kind. He chases the banknotes not to amass but to preserve as memorabilia.

A notaphilist, Neeraj has a huge collection of paper money and coins of Republic India. The mint makes it first and he tires to make it last.

Range of collection

The range is mindboggling. Currency notes of different denominations - one rupee to 100 rupee – which are no longer in circulation. There is this huge 100 rupee note issued in 1953 carrying the signature of RBI Governor, Iyenger. Most wouldn't have seen it. He also possess a large number of 500 rupee notes with fancy numbers beginning from 1 to 10. What's more these are not creased or shop-soiled notes, but look fresh from the mint.

Mr. Neeraj's collection is unique in that he has banknotes with signatures of almost all RBI Governors – right from C.D. Deshmukh, (1943) to Dr. Bimal Jalan (2003). Some of the currency notes are uncirculated, meaning they haven't changed hands.

A GIS engineer, collecting banknotes is not just a hobby but infatuation for Mr. Neeraj. For the last 12 years he has been collecting them and has spent close to Rs. 5 lakh in laying hands on the rare paper money. He has also a large number of commemorative coins of different denominations from 1976 to 2009. Interestingly, he holds coins minted at Hyderabad, Mumbai, Chennai and Noida. This is in addition to the Nizam and Victorian coinage.

How did he get hooked to this hobby? “During 2000 I went to Italy and acquired Liras. That got me thinking about collecting Indian currency”, says Mr. Neeraj.

Not just this. He is also good at designing jewellery with antique look. His wife, Ritu, enjoys wearing tops and rings crafted by him. Another unique hobby with Mr. Neeraj is blood donation. Hold your breath, so far he has donated blood 32 times.


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