The Monetary World of Porsche Ahmet

Do you have a hobby? If the answer is yes, did you ever try to convert it into an investment to make money? Is it possible to make hundreds of thousands of dollars from your stamp collection or to turn your toy car collection into a business?
Even though he did not have this kind of idea in his head, the man who owns the most valuable banknote collection in the U.S. has opened the doors of the first banknote collection museum in the country for fans of this hobby in Florida. The head of this interesting project is Ahmet Sandikci, A.K.A “Porsche Ahmet", who was born in Germany.
Ahmet Sandikci, President of Arcade Currency Palace.

The showroom, which was opened in Palm Harbor, Florida, welcomes its fans as a commercial store which meets purchase demands as well as a museum. Sandikci, who earns 10 million dollars in sales each year, states that sometimes he makes over 100,000 dollars a day. The value of this collection, which is located in the U.S. and serves as both an exhibition and a store, is estimated to be 200 million dollars.

Why is he nicknamed after a car when he's a money collector? After studying engineering in Germany for a while, he specialized in car engines. After graduating from school, he opened an automobile company in 1988 focusing on car sales and purchases, renovation and spare parts. In order to further grow his business he went to the formerly communist Russia.  He marketed the cars he renovated in Germany to rich, now capitalist Russian customers.

He marketed luxury cars to Russia until 1997. When he came to see the American market with a group in 1995, Sandikci got more enthusiastic about his job, for automobile renovation was a much bigger market which received a lot of attention. He did his market research and opened his company in 1997 with a partner. As his wife was American, his first customers were her friends.

His first job was the renovation of a Porsche. His extraordinary craftsmanship brought about his nickname, Porsche Ahmet. Later, he started renovating Ferraris and other speedy sports cars. As very few people did his job in the U.S., he worked countrywide. In 2001, his repair shop proved his success; it was selected as the cleanest work place in the U.S.
Ahmet Sandikci in his money showroom in Florida.

Sadikci has still got a place in the automobile sector in Germany as well as in the U.S. At the moment he is enthusiastic about another subject: the banknotes he collected as a child. His contractor father used to give him the old banknotes he found in demolished houses and Ahmet Sandikci began his hobby by keeping these banknotes over the years. When he went to a store to buy cigarettes during his vacation in Turkey in 2001, he saw some old banknotes attached to its window. He asked whether they were for sale or not. He was surprised when the buffet owner asked for a very low price. He bought the banknotes. Then he found a store in Istanbul which sold old banknotes and bought large numbers of them. He enriched his collection. When he came back to the U.S., he continued his search on the internet. He especially started to collect 500 and 1000 dollar bills. He found the right people and talked to the agencies.

Sandikci says that he paid a lot of money for worthless banknotes in the first days of his enthusiasm.
“I used to think that a valuable banknote is a non-certified and non-marketed banknote and paid serious amounts for them. In time, I started to realize what really mattered. What counts in the money collection business is how intact the money is as well as whether it is non-marketed. The banknote which is put on market is worthless. I used to buy those banknotes for my collection, thinking they were valuable.”            
When he sent his expensive banknotes to Currency Grading and Authentication Inc., an institution which determines the value of banknotes and issues certificates for them, he found out that they had almost no value at all. This injury gave him a new opportunity. He started to sell certified banknotes on the internet so that other collectors wouldn’t experience the same thing. "Thus, I started to make a name for myself. People who are interested in this hobby know me as Porsche Ahmet."

His banknote sales, which started initially as a hobby, soon became a serious source of income. Sandikci states that some days he manages to sell a total of 100-200 thousand dollars worth of banknotes and claims his annual income to be 10 million dollars. 

His idea of turning his paper money collection into a museum caused a wave of excitement in the sector. Paper money has not been not exhibited previously, other than in a few major museums, and this attracted Sandikci’s attention.

“I did some research. People have no other place to view these banknotes except for the museums. I had so many bills and banknotes which people could come and see and which formed a chain of history and values. I worked for two years and made a business plan. My goal was to grow, exhibit, and sell my collection. A sort of service and trade at the same time. This is a revolution in the money collection business and an indication of courage."
Arcade Currency Palace.


Sandikci, who exhibited his collection for visitors in Clearwater before turning it into a museum, has been paid a visit by Florida United Numismatic Association (F.U.N.) director Randy Campbell. Sandikci said that most of the collectors viewed the exhibition with amazement. The collector has recently attended a conference in Orlando, organized by the Florida United Numismatists, as a speaker and was awarded a plaque. Sandikci's next goal is to become a trademark by expanding the showroom into other states in America. The sales revenue of the museum which houses the precious banknotes has been more than expected.          

(March 2006, 19th Issue)
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07