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On the record

February 28 - March 5, 2024
Gulf Weekly On the record
Gulf Weekly On the record
Gulf Weekly On the record
Gulf Weekly On the record
Gulf Weekly On the record

Bahraini antiques collector Khalid Alhijazi’s love for vinyl records and all things vintage might be reviving a yesteryear musical trend in the kingdom, especially among the younger generation.

According to him, the last six years have witnessed a rise in the island’s 20-something music enthusiasts collecting antique records.

“These young collectors might not neccesarily know all about this vintage form of enjoying music but are thrilled by the aesthetic value of the instrument, systems and records, and want to have them in their room,” the 55-year-old told GulfWeekly.

The Hamad Town resident is arguably the only one on the island with such an extensive collection of old records from the 60s to the 80s, spanning numerous musical genres, including funk, soul, rock, jazz, classical, electronic, hip hop, reggae, disco, R&B, country, new wave and pop, among others.

He also owns a wide selection of Arabic classics such as Dhahi bin Walid and Yosuf Fooni, and Bollywood mega hits.

Khalid, who is operations manager at an automobile company in Bahrain, started collecting vinyls in the 2000s. Not many know, but his first set was originally owned by Sheraton Hotel Bahrain’s popular Club Layali (which is no longer in operation). When the outlet moved to CDs, they sold all the vinyl originals.

“My friend who was a collector had bought the collection from Sheraton. He owned them for many years. Eventually, when he decided to sell them, he approached me. I refused at first because at the time very few people in Bahrain were interested in old vinyls. However, he insisted and convinced me that someday, people would come looking for them. And he was right!

“There was a Russian collector in Saudi who would come to Bahrain every week just to browse through my collection.

“Another gentleman once invited me to his home in Tubli. I was stunned to see an entire room dedicated to his vinyls, more than 3,000 of them, which he had brought with him from his home country. He took them wherever he went and they might have been worth thousands and thousands of dinars.”

While the vintage trend has caught up with Bahrain’s younger population, Khalid continues to have patrons of all age groups.

“I was always interested in antiques. My wife got me a vinyl player and I started to look for shops where I could buy some records,” Jumeirah Gulf of Bahrain Resort and Spa director of food and beverage Raphael Macala told GulfWeekly.

“I decided to try my luck with antiques as other places had a limited selection. I came across Khalid’s collection where I found artists including The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, to name a few, and even some rare LPs.”

In addition to vinyls, there’s a huge market for record players in the kingdom, with enthusiasts spending thousands of dinars on cables, turntables and speakers.

“You can’t put a price on quality,” Khalid explained.

“Similarly, you can buy new records that are easily available in Bahrain but playing an old record offers an organic, live feel, which can’t be matched by a new one,” he explained.

In addition to old vinyls, Khalid’s collection spans a wide range of items that he has put together over the years, from paintings, musical instruments and perfumes to life-sized show pieces, treasure chests and décor pieces, among other things.

“I wanted to furnish my home but wasn’t happy with what was available in the market. This was 20 years ago. I started searching for second-hand solid wood furniture and had an idea to start my own collection of second-hand items,” he added.

That was the beginning of Khalid Antiques, a passion project that has taken on a life of its own in the last two decades.

In the beginning, Khalid used to buy crystal items or accessories or anything that caught his eye. Over time, he started diversifying into other things.

“I’ve purchased 70 per cent of my collection from Bahrain but I also source pieces from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. I don’t always buy from shops. Some of the antiques in my collection were originally owned by people. I’ve been in the market a very long time and have an extensive network of friends who I reach out to or who get in touch with me,” he added.

For details, follow @khalid_antiques on Instagram.

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