Abu Dhabi: A special number plate auction raised Dh100 million for people with special needs and accident victims, organisers said after the auction yesterday.
More than 700 people attended the auction held at the main theatre of the Emirates Palace. It was a festive mood with people cheering as the bids went up.
On the stage where the 41 special car number plates went under the hammer were two brightly decorated sports luxury cars - a red Porsche and a white Ferrari, reflecting the red and white car number plates of series five.
The auction opened with the bidding for number 99599. Starting with Dh5,000, the bidding ended at Dh102,000, the cheapest bid among all the plates.
The auction was supervised by Lieutenant Colonel Mohammad Al Kitbi, Director of Vehicles and Licensing Department and conducted by senior officials from Abu Dhabi Police and the Emirates Auctions Company.
The mood became lively as the bidding started shooting up when the number 55555 was put on the block.
The bidding started with Dh1 million and was finally sold for Dh2 million after four more offers.
The number 5 became the world's most expensive number after it fetched Dh25.2 million. The atmosphere turned highly charged as competition heated up between three bidders.
Finally, Talal Al Khoury, an Abu Dhabi-based businessman's offer got him the number 5 for Dh25.2 million.
Al Khoury also offered highest bids for two more numbers - number 55 for Dh6.5 million and number 45 for Dh5 million.
When asked if number '5' had any meaning to him, his response was in the negative. "The number does not mean anything to me. I will keep it and after my death it will be re-auctioned and probably raise more money that will again be given to charity and humanitarian work," he added.
Another number, 12, became the second most expensive number in the world after fetching Dh8.9 million. The highest bid for this number, which was the last to come under the hammer, was made by Ali Al Falasi, a legal advisor.
Have your say
What do you think of the latest car plate auction in Abu Dhabi? Do you think the bidders paid too much or too little for the number plates? Do you consider the purchases noble or vain? Would you spend that much in a similar auction? Tell us.
Honestly speaking, I think it is too much to spend for a car number plate! But then again, if the money is going for charity and the person can afford that amount of money ... we need to just focus on that!
It is an astronomical price for just a car plate, but when you realise that the money is going purely for charity, I just can't say anything except praising the Abu Dhabi Police for their noble intentions, and also praising the bidders if charity was their intention too.
S. Al Kaabi
I think the bidders are to be commended. Their bids were a manner in which they can provide money for special needs people, money that will be put to good use. The city owes them a 'Thank You'.
It must be very impressive to have a single digit number place. Vanity? Well I don't know. That is surely a small point. What is important is that the proceeds are going to a very good cause.