Dubai Businessman Pays $9 Million for a License Plate

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If you live in the United Arab Emirates, no luxury car is complete without an equally luxurious license plate. A property developer in Dubai recently burned through 33 million dirhams ($9 million) at a government auction in order to secure a coveted plate bearing only the number five. Balwinder Sahni’s extravagant purchase doesn’t even come close to the record price for a license plate in the UAE, set in 2008 at $14 million, as CNN Money reports.

There’s even a website that's similar to eBay,, where people can buy and sell license plate numbers (as well as mobile phone numbers), in addition to the government auctions held several times a year for coveted plates. Sahni owns two single-digit plates (5 and 9) that sit like crowns of government bureaucracy on two of his Rolls-Royces. On the bright side, of all the sellers to donate millions of dollars of money for frivolous purchases to, an urban transportation agency is not the worst recipient. Hopefully, at least some of that money will be used on city infrastructure.

The U.S. also has single-digit plates, though they don't quite fetch as much money as wealthy Dubai magnates are willing to spend. You can buy, sell, and inherit license plate numbers in Delaware, a state that started issuing license plates chronologically—though the plates for "1," "2," and "3," are reserved for the governor, lieutenant governor, and secretary of state. License plate No. 14 sold for $325,000 earlier this year.

[h/t CNN Money]

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