A Man In the UAE Paid Almost $5 Million For a License Plate

Some people just really want to be Number One.

License plate auction
Facebook.com/Emirates Auction

At an auction in the United Arab Emirates this weekend, one wealthy businessman showed just how much much he was willing to pay so everyone could know he's number one. The man was willing to pay 18 million dirhans (roughly $5 million) to nab a license place simply reading "1."

According to Gulf News, businessman Arif Ahmad Al Zarouni won a bidding war for the "1" number plate at last Saturday's Emirates license plate auction. Shortly after the plate went on the auction block, bids for the "1" skyrocketed from a starting bid around $272,200 to Al Zarouni's final $4.9 million sum.

“I attended the license plate auction only to win number one. My ambition is always to be number one. I have no plan to win other numbers,” Al Zarouni said.

A total of more than 60 special plates, such as 777, 100, 1000 and 99999, were offered for bidding, with other plates racking up large sums as well. License plates "12" and "22" each brought in more than $500,000, while "100" and "333" sold for more than $400,000 apiece. All told, the auction reportedly collected more than $13.6 million. Emirates Auctions told Gulf News that the auction is thought to have been the biggest license plate sell-off in the UAE, with 1,340 bidders in total.

This is hardly the first time someone in the Middle East has dropped big money to be number one in the license plate game. In 2008, a 25-year-old dropped a record $14.2 million on a Abu Dhabi "1" plate.

At times like this, we at The Drive are just happy we live in America—a country where license plate bidding is kept at a minimum, thanks to the simple vanity plate ordering processes at our local Departments of Motor Vehicles.

Well, at least for the most part.