Vanity License Plate Sold at Auction for World Record $15 Million in Dubai

Vanity License Plate Sold at Auction for World Record $15 Million in Dubai

A wealthy anonymous bidder paid 55 million Emirati dirhams, roughly $21 million, for a licence plate at an auction in Dubai. The world record amount was spent for Dubai’s “P 7” licence plate, breaking the previous record by over $US750,000 (a little over $1 million in Aussie terms). Absurdly low licence plate numbers have long been considered a status symbol in the United Arab Emirates and have been auctioned off to the Gulf state’s ultra-wealthy.

According to Bloomberg, the “P 7” licence plate was sold at an auction organised by Emirati Auctions, a UAE auction house specializing in vehicles and licence plates. The auction’s proceeds were donated to the 1 Billion Meals Endowment, a global food aid fund. The endowment fund was established by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Ruler of Dubai and the UAE’s Vice President and Prime Minister.

Low licence plate numbers will open doors for their owners in the United Arab Emirates. Balvinder Singh Sahni, local businessman, claimed to Bloomberg that he was refused entry to the Burj Al Arab luxury hotel in 2006 because his car licence plate had too many numbers. According to Sahni, he was told that he needed either a two-digit licence plate or a hotel reservation to get in. In 2016, Sahni purchased the “D 5” licence plate for 33 million dirhams, around $12 million. He told Bloomberg, “It was always my dream to have a single-digit number. When I got the chance, and they told me this money all goes to charity, I went all in.”

The previous record was set in 2008 when businessman Saeed Abdul Ghaffar Khouri paid 52.2 million Emirati dirhams, $20 million, for the “1” licence plate in Abu Dhabi. Licence plates bought at auction in the UAE can be transferred to any vehicle registered in the country. While high-value plate sales happen in some U.S. states, they haven’t risen into the eye-watering eight-figure range like in the UAE.

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