Balwinder Sahni, a Dubai-based property developer, dropped a record $9 million on a highly sought-after number “5” license plate at a government auction.
According to reports, Sahni previously paid almost $7 million for a number “9” plate just last year at a similar auction. Both license plates will adorn his Rolls-Royces.
Sahni is not alone in his goal for extravagantly priced license plates that run in the millions of dollars, though. In the United Arab Emirates, it is not uncommon to have the ‘high-rollers’ dealing out lavish amounts for license plates bearing a lone digit – in fact, one even might say it is an important possession. Despite so, Sahni insists he is “a simple man”.
Sahni’s $9 million purchase is nowhere near the 2008 record of $14 million number “1” license plate, paid by an Abu Dhabi businessman at a charity auction. Sahni sees his purchase as a form of contribution in a country that does not have income tax. “This city has given me a lot,” he said in a statement to CNN. “I believe in giving back.”
Given the demand for unique license plates like so, a secondary market as emerged across various websites, where one had reportedly sold a two-digit license plate for a record $735,000.
The website’s co-founder Abdulkerim Arsanov told CNN that the extravagance of number plates have even exceeded that of cars.
“Number plates have become more luxurious than the cars themselves,” Arsanov told CNN.