19 February 2008

A $14 Million License Plate???!!!

How Much is, "Too Much Money"?

A license plate bearing simply the number "1" fetched what organizers said was a world record $14 million at a charity auction in Abu Dhabi on 16 February 2008. The price paid by A wealthy Abu Dhabi businessman Saeed Abdel Ghaffar Khouri, 25, beat a record set by one of his relatives in September. The record has been submitted to the Guinness World Records book, the organizers said.

Emirates Auction, which organized the sale, said on its website that it had been expected to set a new world record for the most expensive car license plate in the world. The auction was held in the plush surroundings of the Emirates Palace Hotel on the Abu Dhabi waterfront. Last Saturday, 90 license plates were auctioned off in all, raising a total of $24 million. The previous five such events raised more than $50 million.

"It is not huge compared to my family's fortune," Saeed Khouri said after bidding 52.2 million Dirhams (14.2 million dollars) for an Abu Dhabi license plate "I bought it because it's the best number," said Khouri, whose family made its fortune in real estate. "I bought it because I want to be the best in the world."

Saeed Khouri wouldn't say how many automobiles he owned or which of them might carry the record-breaking single-digit plate.

Nowhere in the world people are willing to bid money for license plates more than in the UAE. The little rich state on the Persian Gulf is currently holding the record of the six most expensive license plates in the world. Number “5” and “7” were just recently auctioned for $6.75 and $2.97 million respectively.

At least the money goes to a worthy charity... Proceeds from the auction will fund construction of a specialized emergency hospital in the seven-member United Arab Emirates.

Maybe these purchases would make a degree of sense if the plates had some kind of message or clever pun, but just a number? A London man named Afzal Kahn bought a plate that reads only “F1” for just under a $1 million, but at least he got a letter :)

Oh the funny thing is one of the reasons why the Egyptian ministry of Interior Affairs is switching to new license plates in Egypt is the fact that people are racing to acquire small number plates?!!! Well maybe they will read the article above and learn to auction small numbers for charity. I am sure they will find enough rich Egyptians to pay at least EGP 1 Million for a plate.

It almost makes me sick to think of how much money there is that world and how little of it is spent on assisting human kind. Sure, millions of dollars are donated, but billions are spent on stupidity.

(Photos courtesy of AFP/Getty Images & Reuters)

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