According to the Independent, Balwinder Sahani, an Indian-born property developer living in Dubai, won plate number D5 at a government auction on Saturday, October 29. This isn't the first time Sahani has scored a coveted low-number plate at auction, either. The self-proclaimed 'simple man' spent nearly $7 million dollars on plate O9 at an auction last year for his other Rolls-Royce, and picked up a second, unnamed plate at Saturday's auction for a piddling $272 thousand. Sahani considers the money he spends collecting license plates a form of charity and public service. Dubai has no income tax, and the money spent chasing elite license plates goes directly to Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority.
"I believe in giving back," Sahani told the Independent. "This city has given me a lot."
Single digit license plates are highly sought after as status symbols by the rich and powerful in the UAE, and the lower the number the higher the price. Back in 2008, a businessman named Saeed Al Khouri in Abu Dhabi set a record by paying $14 million for plate number 1.
These displays of conspicuous consumption are de rigeur in the Emirates. Earlier this year, a set of gold and diamond encrusted tires certified as "The Most Expensive Tires in the World" by Guinness sold in Dubai for around $600,000 dollars.