Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 14 December 2019

Dubai licence plate auction fetches Dh23.5 million

Millionaires entered a bidding war for plate number W12, which eventually sold for Dh4 million

The W12 licence is sold for Dh4 million at an RTA auction on Saturday. Courtesy RTA
The W12 licence is sold for Dh4 million at an RTA auction on Saturday. Courtesy RTA

A licence plate auction in Dubai on Saturday night fetched more than Dh23.47 million when more than 90 VIP plates went under the hammer.

Millionaires entered a bidding war for plate number W12, which eventually sold for Dh4 million.

Plate numbers Z20 and Z222 fetched Dh 2.76 million and Dh1.75 million respectively.

It was the 101st public auction hosted by the Roads and Transport Authority.

The VIP plates had two to five digits in series I to N, P to T and W, X, Y Z.

The emirate, series and number of a plate determine its value. Letters earlier in the alphabet are usually worth more.

Certain letters, like O and W, which is pronounced in Arabic as ‘wow’, carry a prestige of their own.

While Dh4 million may seem like a hefty investment, licence plate numbers have been proven to hold their value. In 2016, Dubai businessman Balwinder Sahani bought plate D5 for Dh33 million at an RTA auction for his Rolls-Royce.

Licence plates are prestigious social signallers in the UAE, where some of the country’s largest social gatherings, from camel racing to Friday night meetings at the local karak shop, all happen behind the wheel. At these events, it is rare to see people set foot outside the car.

When everyone is driving identical white 4x4s with tinted windows, a VIP number plate can distinguish the driver.

So desirable are plates that 799 cases of licence plate theft were reported by Dubai police between 2015 to 2018.

Updated: April 7, 2019 04:39 PM

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