KARACHI: Dubbed as the ‘Autograph Man’ by his fellow students at the Harrow School in London, Yusuf Amanullah has a burning desire to collect memorabilia. He recently took a trip down memory lane by exhibiting his vast range of collectables in an exhibition titled ‘Titans Autographs & Memorabilia’ at a local art gallery.
“Like coins and stamps, autographs and memorabilia are pieces of history people cherish,” said the young collector, who splits his time between the UK and Dubai. “They all have a sentimental value attached to them. These pioneers and legends inspire generation after generation in different ways,” he added.
Showcasing autographed memorabilia of celebrities, both from the past and present, the exhibit housed many interesting items, such as a boxing glove signed by the legendary Muhammad Ali and a guitar autographed by none other than former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash. Explaining how autographs and memorabilia are a great form of investment, he shared how the Muhammad Ali signature has witnessed a sixfold (600 per cent) increase in its value over the last 14 years.
Memorabilia signed by Mike Tyson (L) and Muhammad Ali (R)
With his personal collection including more than a 100 memorabilia and autographed items, Yusuf was only able to exhibit a small section, owing to the logistical difficulty involved in shipping his collection from Dubai to Karachi. One of the visitors at the art gallery asked Yusuf if he terms his collection as a form of art. “The message behind art is to devote [and transfer] emotion. Bearing that in mind, I think it does [fit the bill],” he noted.
On how he developed a penchant for collecting autographs, Amanullah shared that he bagged his first major one when he was just eight-years-old. “One of my tutors met Michael Schumacher and she quickly pulled out a piece of paper from her bag and asked him to sign it,” he stated. His tutor showed the signed paper to him, narrating how she ran into the Formula 1 racer. On finding out how big a fan he was of Schumacher, the tutor gave the signed piece of paper to him.
Awestruck at how he managed to get his icon’s autograph, Amanullah made it a mission to collect signatures of other Formula 1 drivers, and he went on to do so when the circuit came to Abu Dhabi. Although the two signed portraits of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan were the only memorabilia showcasing a local icon, Yusuf hopes to get the autographs of more Pakistani stars in the future. Other items housed at the exhibition included signed portraits and memorabilia of Michael Jordan, Serena Williams, Pele, Mike Tyson, Bruce Springsteen, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Lionel Messi.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2015.