CARLYLE - Carlyle's Ashish Soobah has earned international recognition for his love of collecting coins and banknotes.
Every year Paper Money Grading (PMG) gives awards to the top sets in the PMG registry. PMG is a free online platform where collectors register and display their PMG-certified notes and compete against other collectors around the world for recognition and prizes.
There are 1,225 collectors with 87,000 notes and over 16,700 sets in the competition.
Three winners are selected for the best U.S. set, three are for the best global set, three are in the best presented set and there is one overall winner, for a total of 10 prizes to be awarded.
Soobah was one of the winners for the world set with his full set from Canada for 1935-2021, including replacement banknotes.
Soobah’s story is of a collector who started from the bottom. He is a well-known collector for his Mauritius and Canadian banknotes.
Everything started when he was young. He always liked to collect antique and old money. Life was hard so he started working at a very young age, and would collect everything that he could find when working, including old coins found when farming.
With the permission of his mother he was allowed to have a small collection of coins. Life was hard so he could not buy or study Mauritius money, so he saved whatever he found. Growing up he spent his time working and concentrating on his aspiration to be a heavy duty mechanic.
Everything changed when Soobah was offered work as a heavy duty mechanic in Canada, arriving at the end of June 2012. He had a weekend off before his first day of work, so he started to check the Canadian dollar that he received for exchanging Mauritius rupees.
He realized there was a $5 bill from 2006-2010 that had the corner missing but was in paper while others were plastic.
Early in 2016, he found a $1 bill from 1973 and a $2 bill from 1986 for sale online.
He bought a few of the bills from the collector and his lost passion kicked in again.
He started buying more and more and by the end of 2016 he already had a good collection of paper money and coins.
The late Mr. Barrie, the owner of a coins and banknotes shop in Regina, started to help Soobah, as he saw how much effort Soobah was putting in this hobby.
He even gifted him a 2010 catalogue so he can learn more about the history of Canadian money and Soobah asked for an autograph on the book page to keep as a souvenir.
In 2017, Soobah moved to Carlyle with his wife Ria after he secured a job as a heavy duty mechanic at Spearing Service. He kept in touch with Mr. Barrie and always visited him when he went to Regina.
Soobah had a hard time, like any new collector, getting accepted in online groups for Canadian money but his perseverance paid off and he was eventually welcomed with open hands.
As he did not know much about Mauritius money and did not find much online, he decided to ask for help with the owner of a private museum of antiques to learn more about the currency. But he was rejected and the answer was, "you are too young, me and my friends laughed at your collection. Take your collection and close it in a drawer and move on.”
Then he realized it’s not going to be easy for him and he is not going to give up so easily. He started to invest more time and money in this hobby, and from July 22-28, 2017, he had his first coins and banknotes show in Carlyle. Two other shows happened in Manor the following year.
The same museum owner who laughed at him now praises Soobah for his collection and asks for help with old Mauritius money evaluations.
Soobah decided to build a full set of currency rated gem 66 for his 1935 to date collection. He knew it was virtually impossible, because some banknotes in grade gem 66 do not exist or there are one or two examples of that grade available, but he made up his mind. Soobah wanted to reach 80-90 per cent complete with gem 66 in his lifetime.
He continued to push his hobby to another level and by the end of 2020 he had a nice set.
He came across the PMG competition while reading in January 2021. Soobah had 10 months to prepare himself.
From early February to late November, Soobah had only one thing in mind, and that was to win.
Soobah started to spend hours reading researching without missing a single day in those 10 months.
He checked who the winners were, how many points they had, which categories they entered and more.
And he realized it was not going to be easy as Canada had won only once in the 11 years for a 1935 to date set.
The competition started in December 2021 and it took a little more than a month to decide the winners. Soobah was notified on Jan. 7.
The set is 60 per cent complete with 116,000 points and includes nearly 200 images and descriptions of early 1935 and 1937 series as well as a beautiful range of notes from 1954 to date. As one takes a deeper look into this collection, they will see this group well into the gem category. That kind of quality is producing scores that funnelled Soobah to the top ranking in the category with a lead of 27,000 points.
Soobah also received a personalized plaque for his outstanding achievement.
PMG featured a set belonging to Soobah in February. PMG wrote Soobah began assembling his set just a year ago. His passion for collecting and commitment to excellence is evident. It`s amazing in such a short time.
"This set is a pleasure to view. Ashish had set the bar high for his fellow competitors, to be sure. Offering an extensive and colourful presentation of the evolution of the Canadian dollar," PMG wrote.
"Thank you Ashish Kumar Soobah, we appreciate your contributions to the PMG registry with this set and so many others."
Soobah thanks his family and friends supported him until now, especially his wife Ria and son Dylan who spent hours helping me with scanning pictures and uploading.
"If you can dream it, you can achieve it," he said.