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Rare memorabilia from GCC on sale.

Bahrain: More than 150 items of rare GCC memorabilia have gone under the hammer at an event which organisers hope will help put Bahrain on the international auctioneering map.

Rare notes, a traditional wooden box for storing pearls (bashtaqta) and other pearl-diving paraphernalia were among items up for grabs at the Golden Tulip Hotel.

A 100 riyal Qatar-Dubai note from 1966 fetched the highest bid of BD2,000, while a Saudi note featuring the late King Abdulla sold for BD1,800.

Other lots included Bahrain's first paper currency dating from the 1930s, known as the "two flags".

"There was a King Faisal of Iraq colour prior specimen (an original artwork of a currency), which is a very rare piece," said event co-organiser and collector Mohammed Janahi.

"I even got a call from America for this piece."

The auction was organised by Golden Lion and held under the patronage of Deputy Capital Governor Hasan Al Madani.

"There were 150 items in the auction and most were sold," said Mr Janahi, who is Golden Lion co-owner.

"It was an absolute auction for most pieces, so even pieces which could be worth BD100 would go for BD20 if no one bid higher.

"Other items have a starting price.

"Not all the items were ours, people could come forward and tell us they wanted to put it in the auction.

"We had pieces from Bahrain and across the Gulf and we presented them all at the auction."

Mr Janahi said he hoped such auctions would be organised on a regular basis, making it a hub for such events in the region.

"The idea is that we want to raise awareness of auctioneering and that Bahrain is capable of having world-class auctions," he explained.

"Why don't we use this as a starting point?

"Bahrain is a pioneer in a lot of fields, so we should be a pioneer in auctions.

"This won't happen without support of officials.

"We want to put Bahrain on the auction map - it's tourism.

"When we bring in people from around the Gulf to come in for this event, it's both internal and regional tourism.

"This is the main aim - not whether something is the most or least expensive.

"People can find a place to buy items here in Bahrain instead of having to travel, pay for a ticket and hotel.

"As Bahrainis, we innovate in a lot of things and this is one of the things we're striving for."

He said more than 100 people attended the first auction, more than half of them GCC nationals who travelled to Bahrain especially for the event.

"It was a good auction with nice items," he said.

A second auction is now being planned on September 13 at the same venue from 7pm.

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Geographic Code:7BAHR
Date:Aug 30, 2016
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