Collecting pieces of history

Aziz Idris

There are many reasons for people to become collectors. For Alinayati binti Haji Perudin, 32, who is an up-and-coming young collector, it was her appreciation for the history that came with it. She collects old paper money, old coins and international money. She also collects rare commemorative pieces celebrating past royal events.

Hailing from a family of collectors, she is the youngest sibling of eight. She recalled how in 1994 when her father, Haji Perudin bin Haji Mohd Idris, gave her BND1 while she was leaving for school. She noticed it was not an ordinary note. “My father told me it was old money (previous series). It became something of a sentimental value when I realised that the note would no longer be circulating when I grow up.

“I am a collector; I do not sell my collection. I appreciate things that are related to Brunei history. I believe in keeping these items to pass to future generations.”

Among other precious items that she holds dearly is an old Philippine peso coin. She traded with a schoolmate with two packets of crackers; and Kue (old Chinese coin) handed down by her father.

She said collectors are now adopting new ways to find rare items on the Internet.

Alinayati binti Haji Perudin stands next to her cabinet full of memorabilias. PHOTO: AZIZ IDRIS

“Many have started blogging to reach out to the local community.” However, Alinayati warned that there are pros and cons of the web. She advises newcomers not to easily trust unknown strangers.

“Get advice from fellow collectors first,” she said.

“Regardless of whether you’re collecting model trains, baseball cards, fine art or antiques; knowing everything you can about the particular subject is crucial.

“The Internet can be a great platform for people to get information about their favourite hobby.”

Through social media, she befriended a fellow collector, Haji Mohd Rozan bin Dato Paduka Haji Mohamed Yunos .

“I remember back in the days, I referred a lot from his blog. Haji Mohd Rozan shared a lot of tips and we exchanged stories of our collections,” she recalled.

For many collectors, they share a common dilemma – space. Alinayati had to purchase several display cabinets for her rare collectible items. “I organise based on categories, for example past royal events, or numismatic section (money album) or philatelic section (stamps and first day covers).”

Another tip to keep your collectible in mint condition is to clean it with proper cleaning equipment. If you have a silverware collection, you need a proper chemical cleaner for silverware.

For those who are starting out on numismatic related collecting, Alinayati’s advice is to start with keeping small face value money.

There are many ways to collect money; for example a note with a special serial number (your birthdate, your family licence plate, low numbers).

From coronation ceremony to weddings, royal birthdays to Istana Hari Raya open houses, no item is too big or too small for Alinayati to add to her Brunei royal memorabilia collections. Among them are rare items which date back from the 19th and 20th Centuries.

Two cabinets in her room are full with rare items dating back as early as the 19th Century.

“Certainly, these items are only produced in limited numbers. It also relates to different periods of our history. It makes me appreciate it even more,” she said.