Gaza money collector hopes to cash in on banknotes

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Palestinian Sharif Kahlout shows off one of his most prized possessions, an album full of old banknotes.

According to 62-year old Kahlout his passion for collecting old things started with collecting stamps, with friends and family helping him build his stockpile.

“I started to collect stamps before the Israeli occupation. My father was in Saudi Arabia and he used to send us letters, and we'd take the stamps. I was in the sixth grade and we had friends, those coming from Saudi Arabia, those coming from Abu Dhabi, and it was something common,” said Kahlout sitting next to his son.

“After the occupation, I started to collect old money and especially the Palestinian pound. And I started to collect the money, then I started to work there (Israel) and I started to ask in the market, you know, where can I go to find some (money) to buy,” he added.

The banknote collector has managed to acquire currency from a number of different countries including Egypt and Syria. But one of his most important notes is the Palestine pound from the time of the British Mandate from 1927, notes like these can be worth hundreds of U.S dollars.

The Palestine pound was a currency that continued to be used in the West Bank until 1950, and in Gaza it was in circulation until the following year.

Now residents in the area use the Israeli shekel.

But Kahlout, who once worked in Israel, hopes to sell some of his rare notes in order to support his family. He wants to change what started out as a hobby into a profession, and he's willing to part with his collection,

“Really to begin with it was a hobby, and then you know to begin with a hobby isn't easy, but you put the work in to develop it, to be more than a hobby. Really, if there is someone who wants to buy the notes, I'll sell them, I'm more than happy to do that,” he said.

Noman Ashour, is a money changer and collector, he says a lot of old currency has passed through his hands,

“Really I've seen a lot of currency in my time, and I like to collect old currency, antique, and old items. So from this I then started buying and selling. And I work in currency exchange and trade,” he said.

But when it comes to turning the old paper money into cash, there are a number of different ways to determine the worth of old currencies, and Kahlout is yet to have his stockpile of notes valued.

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