“Tell me what you collect, tell me how you collect, and I will tell you who you are.” — Jean Willy Mestach
People have various passions, from video games to golf, and collecting items is a hobby that many may consider as hoarding but to the collector there is nothing more valuable than his or her collection. We stumbled upon Agha Qasim Raza, an entrepreneur and agriculturist, who comes across as just another businessman in Lahore. However, only upon walking into his house does one really get a sense of who this man really is.
As the doors open into the foyer of the Agha Residence, the very first thing to catch one’s eye is a massive display of model cars and airplanes. Most people might not look at it again but this display has treasures that Raza has been collecting for years. “My mother always said I was a boy of simple taste,” he chuckles, “if you want to make him happy just buy him a car.”
Raza fell in love with model cars at the age of three when his mother presented him with his very first model upon her return from Tehran. “It just became a hobby from there on forward,” continues Raza, “every birthday and every chance I got I started buying cars.”
Sitting in his display are some very old models including a maroon Morris Minor, Mercedes SLK and Buggatti designs. “I love everything old, from furniture to car models; this modernity is not for me.”
Raza’s son Agha Haider talks about his father’s love for his collection, “When I was a child I was always fascinated by my fathers’ toys that we could only see and not touch.” There on forward Raza’s children understood that they might not be able to touch his precious cars but they could most certainly add to the collection. “Everytime we are abroad we pick up a model car or airplane,” says Agha Haider.
Raza’s collection does not stop at cars but also includes airplanes, tractors, helicopters and sailboats. “I do not think I am a serious collector but I buy what I like and what I can afford,” says Raza. “I would call myself an average collector.”
His obsession with planes began when he started working for The Boeing Company in 1981. The very first plane model that Raza received was Boeing 757 which was presented to employees on special occasions, “I had to buy mine for $8 from another employee,” says Raza, “My interest in planes grew when I started flying on my own also and therefore started to collect planes.”
What rests delicately on the display shelf is a Texaco collector’s item plane which is now worth $4,000. This rare model is so high in value because each model has a number imprinted and therefore there cannot be any duplication.
With over 250 items in his collection, Agha Qasim Raza continues to collect items he is most passionate about. Whilst men can usually be found in clothing or electronics shops, Raza can be found happy in a toy store. “Even though I was born in the wrong era and I should have been born 100 years ago, but still the next item on my list is a Radio Controlled Helicopter!”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 6th, 2012.
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