After decades, Ipoh retiree is selling 6,000-item antique collection to ensure they don’t end up as junk

Retiree Ramli Abu Itam has decided to sell his antique collection. ― Picture by Farhan Najib
Retiree Ramli Abu Itam has decided to sell his antique collection. ― Picture by Farhan Najib

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IPOH, April 23 ― After devoting nearly all his life to collecting antiques, retiree Ramli Abu Itam is giving up his collection.

The 65-year-old former Perak Education Department deputy director has decided to sell the collection that has about 6,000 items.

He said it was not an easy decision to make but with age catching up, he wanted to go on a spiritual journey instead.

“I cried for days after deciding to put my collection up for sale,” he said.

Speaking to reporters before the launch of his collection gallery recently, Ramli said by getting new owners for his collection, it would receive the necessary care when he was no longer around.

“I do not want my collections to end up as junk by people who do not appreciate its esthetic value.”

The gallery at Medan Klebang Restu, Chemor was launched by Malaysian famed cartoonist Datuk Mohammad Nor Khalid or more popularly known as Lat.

Ramli said he started collecting antiques when he was a boy.

“I began with a wall clock and a ceramic bowl that belonged to my grandmother,” said the father of four girls.

To date, Ramli has items ranging from wall clocks and ceramics to phone cards, watches, brass, classic vinyl records and bottled Coca-Cola.

Ramli was also bestowed the Malaysia Book of Records in 1998 for having the most number of phone cards at 68,000 pieces.

“Some of my collection are bought online, there are also others that are obtained during my visits to various countries,” he said.

He also has one the earliest produced bottled Coca-Cola in 1894 that he bought from Mississippi, United States.

Ramli said he also went to Greenwich in England to visit a shop that sold antiques called The Junk.

“The shop has items such as telephones, historical books and other items from Malaysia.”

He also travelled to Turkey to get his antique gramophone, ceramics and old lamps.

All of Ramli's collections are arranged in specially-made glass cabinets that are placed at an extended area of his house.

Ramli's collection is also used by students and undergraduates as reference material.

“I have been visited by them as they wanted more information on Dr Mahathir and P. Ramlee.”

Those interested to view Ramli's collection can contact him via his email: [email protected].

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