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British 'Abu Dhabi' number plate could sell for £400,000
An auction to sell a British number plate that spells out “Abu Dhabi” has sparked a ferocious bidding war in the UAE The car licence plate, AB11 DHB, was bought for just £400 from the UK's Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, but is expected to raise up to 1000 times that much when bidding ends later this month.
M.I.Khan, the CEO of Dubai-based company MIK Legal Consulting, which is organising the sale, said that there were seven bidders, two of whom were “very prominent businessmen”, and that bidding was now into six figures.
“How much it could reach is beyond me – if the bidders push, the sky is the limit,” he told Telegraph Expat. “We hope to achieve around £350,000-400,000, which would be a UK record, and by Abu Dhabi standards it is a cheap buy.”
Expensive cars and accessories are a status symbol among wealthy emiratis, with 37 of the world's 50 most expensive number plates believed to have been bought by buyers from Abu Dhabi alone.
Mr Khan said that the interest in the British plate could be partially attributed to the fact that many UAE nationals spend "months of the year in the UK, due to the summer heat in the UAE”, often shipping their families and supercars over with them.
Two of the current bidders are said to have strong links to Britain, while it is rumoured that one or more could be intending to gift the plate to Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the owner of Manchester City Football Club – though Mr Khan said he could not confirm this.
The original buyer of the plate was apparently an Abu Dhabi-based individual who works in the motor industry, and who realised it would be in high demand among affluent car enthusiasts.
His business acumen has inspired others to seek out similar investments, with British expat James Didcott, who lives in Dubai, buying the plate AB11 DAB for £405 after reading reports of the auction.
"I found AB11 DAB for sale and phoned my dad in the UK and got him to buy it for me,” he told the UAE newspaper 7days.
“I’m not sure if perhaps I got a little bit too caught up in the excitement but I’ve always been interested in cars and UK licence plates, as has my dad.”