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Tue 12 Feb 2008 05:41 PM

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Car plate '1' could fetch $20mn

Abu Dhabi auction expected to smash record for most expensive car number plate in the world.

The number '1' car licence could fetch as much as $20 million when it goes under the hammer at auction in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

Bidding for the Abu Dhabi plate is expect to be fierce, and many are predicting the auction will smash the record for the most expensive plate in the world.

Abu Dhabi businessman Talal Khouri holds the current record after paying 25.2 million dirhams ($6.86 million) for the number '5' licence plate in May last year. He also paid 11 million dirhams for the number '7' plate.

Khouri has said he will also take part in Saturday's auction and is willing to splash out $15-$20 million to get his hands on the coveted number '1' plate, according to broadcaster CNN.

If, as expected, the auction sets a new record, the UAE will hold the seven most expensive plates in the world.

The Emirates' extravagant spending has focused worldwide media attention on the UAE capital, and the auction organisers said on Tuesday they were expecting double the usual number of attendees.

“The expectations for plate ‘1’ are sky high,” Abdulla Matar Al Mannaei, managing director of Emirates Auction, said in a statement.

“It’s the one-and-only plate number '1', and we are confident that we will set a new record."

He said Emirates Auction had registered with Guinness World Records and would supply the required material to issue the certificate if the record was broken.

Along with the number ‘1’ plate, a total of 90 license plates will be on offer at the auction, including numbers 96, 100, 212, 1111, 2001 and 31313.

Emirates Auction said the last five auctions had raised a total $56 million from 393 plates.

The auction is being organised on behalf of the General Directorate of Abu Dhabi Police. All the proceeds will go towards the support of special needs projects and victims of road accidents.

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