Emirati Abdullah Al Mehri from Abu Dhabi bidding for car plate Number 1. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Plate number 1 has fetched a whopping Dh31 million at the Vanity Number Plate Auction held on Saturday in Abu Dhabi, a bid six times the reserve price.

Speaking to Gulf News, 32-year-old Emirati Abdullah Al Mehri from Abu Dhabi said: “I’m so excited that I won plate number 1, it feels amazing and I was willing to pay any amount to get the plate number. I often come to auctions like that and fetch the most unique numbers at the highest bids.”

 Amid loud cheers from enthusiastic Emirati and expat bidders who were waiting anxiously for the unique numbers to appear on the screen.

Plate number 7 was auctioned at a staggering Dh13,400,000 to Abu Mohammad, an Emirati businessman who participated for the first time in a number plate auction. “I chose the plate number seven because it represents the seven emirates of the UAE.”
Abu Mohammad also fetched plate number 11 at Dh6,150,000.

The Vanity Number Plate Auction featured 50 exclusive and unique vanity number plates (category 50). Today’s number plate auction fetched more than Dh99 million. Plate number 11 had the most bids, recording more than 25 bids, until it was sold for Dh6,150,000.

The most popular numbers were 10, 11,111, 22, 66, 999 and 750 people had registered for the auction. The event was held in cooperation with Abu Dhabi Police.

In 2008, another Emirati businessman, Saeed Al Khoury, paid Dh52.2 million for a Number 1 license plate in Abu Dhabi, which so far holds the record for the costliest number plate in the UAE.

Several Emirati women who were bidding at the auction said it was a very interesting experience. “It is my first time at an auction, I’m very stressed, it’s a very tense environment. I was looking forward to bid for some plates today, but the bidders are just shouting out crazy unbelievable amounts! I was actually looking into buying plate numbers 999, 1111, 1100 and 10101 and then selling them at higher prices. I was keen on paying up to Dh500,000,” said 26-year-old Emirati banker Wadha Al Qaydi.
Yasser Khamis, a 46-year-old businessman, said: “I am so glad I fetched the plate number 2016 for Dh130,000 and the plate number 1515 for Dh210,000. I don’t mind paying that much.”

Khaled Ghanem, 28, who works with a government department came from Ras Al Khaimah for the auction. “I drove all the way to be present in today’s auction. I just love doing it. It gives me that rush of adrenaline. I have a great feeling about today’s auction because it is packed with people,” he said.

Asma Samir is a journalist based in Abu Dhabi