Avid antique collector finds immeasurable value in every piece

13 Jan 2024 06:00pm
Zai Am showing his antique collection. Photo by Bernama
Zai Am showing his antique collection. Photo by Bernama

KUALA KANGSAR - Despite being tempted by lucrative offers amounting to millions of ringgit to let go of the 10,000 items he has gathered over the last 35 years, Zainal Amri Ramli, an avid antique collector, has never let money blind him, valuing the satisfaction derived from his collection above all else.

The 62-year-old electrician, fondly referred to as Zai Am, is so devoted to his collection of antiques that he has created a special space in his home to carefully store the extensive collection he has amassed.

His eclectic collection spans a fascinating array of antiques, ranging from wall clocks, ancient Malay war weapons, and intricately crafted pottery to essential kitchen tools, rare train parts, classic guitars, and a fleet of vehicles featuring bicycles, motorcycles and vintage cars.

"Certain items, like guitars from the 1950s to the 1990s featuring brands such as Ibanez, Elk, Fender, Kramer and Hofner are sentimentally valuable to me. Vintage cars like the Austin Baby 850, Morris Minor, Wolseley Hornet, and Sunbeam Rapier, hold memories that money can’t buy.

"These antiques have their own sentimental value that can be tough for us to understand since everyone holds different views and opinions,” he told Bernama when met at his home in Kampung Kota Lama Kiri here.

Zai Am showing his antique collection. Photo by Bernama
Zai Am showing his antique collection. Photo by Bernama

Nonetheless, Zai Am said that he is open to selling the items should someone truly desire to own them, taking into account factors like current demand and market value.

Related Articles:

According to him, the most expensive item he ever sold was a Lambretta motorcycle in the early 2000s, earning RM10,000 from one of its devoted fans.

Sharing about his hobby, the Kota Lama Kiri native said he has spent hundreds of thousands to acquire and preserve his priceless collection.

The father of seven said he never regarded it as a waste of money; instead, he took pride in having vintage items that spanned tens to hundreds of years, treasures that are hard to find in this modern era.

"There are some friends who say what I’m doing is just wasting money. I just let it slide, as I believe that everyone has their own preferences and things they’re passionate about,” he said.

Asked about the methods he employs in the hunt for antiques, Zai Am said most of them are sourced through information exchanged with friends and fellow antique collectors.

"Being an electrician really helps in my quest for these vintage items. Sometimes, when I’m called to fix electrical problems at my client’s home, I stumble upon vintage items tucked away in their storage.

"Some of these collectibles are bought, while others are given to me by the homeowners,” he added.

Zai Am also extended his gratitude to his wife and seven children, acknowledging their unwavering support and understanding of his passion.

"My children also share the same interest. I’ve told them to take good care of the items because these are treasures that hold considerable value and are hard to replace,” he said. - BERNAMA