When it comes to buying exceptional or rare car registration plates, UAE residents are among the biggest spenders in the world.
The country holds the world record for the most expensive number plate ever auctioned – Plate No. 1 was auctioned for a staggering Dh52.5 million in Abu Dhabi in February 2008, as part of Emirates Auctions’ charity drive.
That day saw 90 number plates sold in a series of auctions to raise Dh88.15 million ($24m) for accident victims.
The craze with golden number plates isn’t over by any stretch of imagination.
“Open auctions are extremely popular as they offer individuals a chance to attend in person and engage in bidding for snatching the distinguished plates they fancy. Moreover, open auctions are hugely competitive often marked by intense bidding in a transparent manner,” says Sultan Al Marzooki, Director of Vehicles Licensing at Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority’s (RTA) Licensing Agency.
There are several premium number plates available for sale in Dubai right now, which are nowhere near the record levels but are exceptional enough.
The price of some of these plates is close to half-a-million dirhams – an amount that can buy you a one-bedroom or studio apartment in the emirate’s more affordable communities.
Even as Dubai’s RTA is all set to hold its 90th Number Plates Auction this Saturday (March 19), data from 2020 Special Number Trading, an online site for selling plate numbers in the UAE, reveals the plate number L 171 as being priced at Dh420,000.
For a similar price, you can own a one-bedroom apartment in International City or a studio in Jumeriah Village Circle (JVC), and still have some money to furnish the flat.
You can also negotiate a studio in Discovery apartment in the same price range.
“Staging the 90th open auction is intended to fulfil the needs of a broad spectrum of community members, especially those fond of obtaining flashy number plates. The forthcoming auction, the first-of-its-kind this year, will offer 2-, 3-, 4- and 5-digit plates,” said Sultan Al Marzooki, Director of Vehicles Licensing at RTA Licensing Agency.
The second most expensive number plate on the market is O 103, priced at Dh380,000 – again an amount that can make you the landlord of a studio apartment in an upcoming community like JVC.
These amounts, however, don’t seem exorbitant when we compare them with the world records that the country has set.
According to the UK’s Regtransfer website, which monitors the amount of money being spent on car registrations across the world, UAE residents holds all the Top 5 records when it comes to car registration plates.
Apart from being the world record-holder for the most expensive number plate, the UAE also holds the world record for the second most expensive plate (Dh25.2m), the third most expensive (Dh16.5m), the fourth most expensive plate (Dh11.4m) and also the fifth most expensive number plate ever auctioned (Dh10m), squaring off the records.
The RTA auction on Saturday will offer numbers appealing to the public covering codes H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q and R; which makes it capable of satisfying the needs and wishes of number plate enthusiasts, the RTA says.
For those planning to participate in the RTA auction, online registrations are now on, and the process requires depositing a refundable security cheque of Dh25,000.