The third most expensive license plate in the world has been sold in Abu Dhabi, cementing the United Arab Emirates as a vanity-plate record holder. The license bearing solely the digit “7” was sold for 17 million dirhams ($4.6 million) in a government auction.
In all, 72 specialized plates were sold in the auction for a total of 50 million dirhams ($13 million).
According to the Guinness Book of Records, the most expensive plate with the digit 1 was sold to Emirati businessman Said Khouri in 2008 for 52.2 million dirhams ($14.2 million).
The second most expensive plate “5” was also sold in Abu Dhabi for 25.2 million dirhams, ($6.86 million) during a special number-plate auction organized by the Emirates Auction Company in 2007.
“I think it’s a matter of recognition,” said Muhammad Kashif, owner of the UAE Number Plates Company. “Just having a Ferrari isn’t much these days. People want a nice number to go with the car. It makes them just that much more popular than the other Ferrari drivers.”
Kashif said the trend for personalized and distinctive number plates is so popular in the Emirates those with a flare for the fanciful and a few dollars to spare will settle for something unique, if a little less glamorous.
As number plates in the UAE come by default with five digits, the fewer digits on the plate, the higher the price. A number plate with four digits can cost around 5,000 dirhams, ($1,300) but prices are pushed up for numbers that are memorable, in sequence (4567) or all identical (4444).
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