The auction saw the participation of 1340 bidders Image Credit: Aghaddir Ali/Staff Reporter

Sharjah: Distinguished car number plates generated millions of dirhams during an auction where plate Number 1 fetching Dh18 million in fierce bidding on Saturday evening.

Organisers had a tough time controlling the proceedings in the charged atmosphere. Within minutes after the bidding began, the price of the No 1 plate shot up to Dh18 million from Dh1 million.

Arif Ahmad Al Zarouni, successfully bid for the number plate after a furious contest in the final stages of the auction conducted at Al Jawaher Hall. The Emirati businessman who made the winning bid on plate Number 1 said: “I attended the licence plate auction only to win Number 1. My ambition is always to be number 1. I have no plan to win other numbers.” He said he was determined to purchase the plate at any cost and the plate was for his personal use and has no intention to sell it, the businessman added.

The event held at the Jawaher Hall attracted dozens of licence plate aficionados, most of whom were Emiratis.

Along with No 1, a total of 60 distinguished licence plates were sold, which generated more than Dh50 million. Special numbers included 12, 22, 50, 100, 333, 777, 1000, 2016, 2020 and 99999.

Plate number 12 fetched Dh2,070,000, 22 fetched Dh2,080,000, 50 got Dh1,900,000, 100 and 333 were auctioned for Dh1.5 million each. Several other plates generated hundreds of thousands of dirhams, organisers said.

The bidders were required to submit a guarantee cheque which was refunded in case a number was not acquired by the participant.

Bids began anywhere between Dh3,000 to Dh1000,000, depending on the licence plate. Numbers with recurring digits, such as P333, started at Dh150,000.

“With 1340 bidders, this auction is considered the biggest in UAE in terms of the number of bidders,”  said Abdulla Matar Al Mannai, Executive Director, Emirates Auction. Participant who made the winning bids can register the number plates in their name or to transfer it to another person or an entity after fulfilling procedures of vehicle registration requirements, he added.