The world's 10 most expensive licence plates

Special or personalised licence plates are a statement of individuality or an investment

The majority of people will not give a second thought to a licence plate number that is typically randomly generated and comes free with their car.

But others would pay millions to acquire special or personalised licence plates and regard them as a statement of individuality or an investment.

Here’s a round-up of the world’s 10 most expensive licence plates, many of which changed hands in the UAE.

1. F1 - Dh167.94m ($45m)

In 2008, car designer Afzal Kahn bought this plate, which was registered in 1904 by Essex County Council in England, for £440,000 ($573,640). He has turned down several multi-million-dollar offers for the plate and is not looking to sell it, “unless there is an absolutely incredible offer”, his website says. It is listed on the number plate supplier website Regtransfers for $45.72 million.

2. MM - Dh89.2m ($18.1m)

Attempting to make its way into the record books as the most expensive sold is the California plate MM, which is on sale for 5,888 ether - currently estimated at Dh89.2m ($18.1m).

This two-character plate is rare not only because it is one of only 35 two-letter plates, but also because the two are the same.

It comes with the added bonus of buying its matching NFT.

3. New York - Dh73.4m ($20m)

The only street-legal 'New York' plate in existence has been with the same family since the 1970s. The unnamed seller posted the plate and the Volvo V70 vehicle attached to which it is attached for sale on luxury classifieds website duPont Registry with a $20m price tag.

Saeed Khoury (right) poses with the most expensive car number-plate after he won it in an auction in Abu Dhabi on February 16, 2008. AFP

4. 1 - Dh52.2m ($14.2m)

In 2008, Abu Dhabi businessman Saeed Khouri paid 50 times the opening Dh1m bid at a charity auction in the emirate. At the time, he said the plate would be for personal use.

5. AA9 - Dh38m ($10.3m)

The AA9 number plate was one of four that were auctioned at the Most Noble Numbers sale in May last year.

The charity auction by Dubai emirate's Roads and Transports Authority was selling rare number plates and mobile numbers to raise money for the 100 Million Meals campaign.

The AA9 plate was sold for Dh38m after some fierce bidding, while three other plates – U31, T38 and E51 – raised Dh6.85m.

6. AA8 - Dh35m ($9.5m)

The AA8 number plate, a new entry to the list, was sold for Dh35m at the Most Noble Numbers auction on Saturday to raise funds for the One Billion Meals campaign.

Indian businessman Balvinder Sahni paid Dh33 million for a licence plate at an auction on Saturday. AFP

7. D5 - Dh33m ($8.9m)

In 2016, Dubai-based Indian businessman Balvinder Sahni paid Dh33m for plate D5 at an RTA auction for one of his Rolls-Royce cars.

8. 5 - Dh25.2m ($6.8m)

Emirati businessman Talal Ali Khouri bought the No 5 plate for Dh25.2m at an auction in Abu Dhabi in 2007. He also bought the No 7 plate at the same auction for Dh11m. News agency Wam reported at the time that both plates were worth almost 10 times the value of the luxury cars they were placed on.

9. O9 - Dh24.5m ($6.8m)

In 2015, Balvinder Sahni successfully bid Dh24.5m for plate O9, and subsequently gave it to a charity that was building a children’s hospital, he told The National in an interview.

10. 7 - Dh13.4m ($3.9m)

In 2016, an unnamed Emirati businessman bought plate No 7 as he wanted to celebrate the seven emirates – and because it is a lucky number.

Updated: April 19, 2022, 10:06 AM
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