A wealthy Qatari man paid more than a quarter million dollars to buy six unique banknotes of his country on a public auction in London.
The currencies were sold at the Bonhams, a privately owned British auction house and one of the world's oldest and largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The auction attracted scores of collectors and merchants and is said to frequently fascinate antique-loving wealthy Arabs.
The old Qatari riyals sold in the auction were issued on 1966 by the Council For the Currency of Qatar and Dubai.
The auction organized in the luxurious Knightsbridge area in central London, ended by selling a full set of 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 riyals, all for $290,000
The auction’s director John Millensted said the price at which these Gulf currencies were sold is considered to be the highest in the Bonhams’s history ever since the company was established in 1793.
The currencies were presented to the buyer in a blue leather album with an inscription on the cover that reads: ‘Council For the Currency of Qatar & Dubai.’ The notes were lightly mounted on card pages and held in place by a thin strip of masking tape on the back of its right edge.
Millensted said collecting old coins and rare banknotes is becoming a trend in the Arab Region, especially in the Gulf, noting that some collectors come to the U.K. only to participate in these auctions.
Millensted refused to confirm that the buyer is a Qatari Emir, saying that “the company preserves the secrecy and privacy of its customers and cannot reveal their identity.” In this auction more than 596 coins and banknotes were sold, some are extremely old, while others, such as the banknotes of Qatar and Dubai, are somehow modern but rare.