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  Most expensive license plate-Abdulla al Mannaie sets world record

[April 30] TEHERAN, Iran--A businessman named Saeed Abdul Ghafour Khouri paid 52.2 dirham ($14.3 million) for the local license plate labeled "1" at an auction at the 7-star Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi, setting the world record for the most expensive license plate.

   "From 1 to 10, these are the most expensive numbers," said Abdulla al Mannaie, managing director of Emirates Auctions.
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   "Ten to 99 are the second category. On the other side, you look to numbers which is like 11, 22, 23 they are expensive because it carry [repeating digits].

  Another plate numbered "5" went for $6.8 million.

  "We are trying to link between car models and number plate, like a Ferrari 599 and the plate 599, as well as date of birth or anniversary," said al Mannaie. "They are looking to the number plate as if it is their identity, their personal identity."

   Plates "5" and "7" sold for nearly 10 times the value of the luxury cars they adorn. "Our job at Emirates Auction is to make an expensive car without a prestigious license plate worth nothing," al Mannaie told ABC News. "Owners will change their car, but they will keep using the same plate for life." He has had the number "383" for more than 30 years. He has since bought a cell phone number to match.   

  The price paid for these plates is much more than the vehicle they adorn, but at least you can keep the plate and put it on the next Ferrari you own.

  The previous record was held by Abu Dhabi plate number 5, bought at auction for $6.8 million by stock broker Talal Khouri last year.

   The oil-rich cities of the Persian Gulf are driven by car culture, with relatively few pedestrian areas or public transport options. Vanity plates are a matter of personal pride and indulgence.

   The cool thing is that in the past five auctions alone $56 million has been raised for charity -- and that is only for 393 plates, which is also a new world record for the most of money money in a plate auction.

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