An online auction for special license plate numbers in Qatar has netted a whopping QR16.7 million (US$4.6 million) this week.
The three-day auction closed after 2am this morning, four hours later than planned as bidding heated up.
The Ministry of Interior (MOI) hosted the event via its government app Metrash 2, and it was open to anyone with a Qatar ID.
Two of the 25 plates sold for more than QR2 million each: 322223 (QR2,010,000); and the most expensive one, 311113 (QR2,304,000).
Four others sold for more than QR1 million each:
- 313131 (QR1,584,000);
- 322222 (QR1,544,000);
- 366666 (QR1,410,000); and
- 355555 (QR1,308,000)
Anyone who made a bid was required to submit a deposit of QR20,000 ($5,500). Bids started at QR100,000 ($27,500) and the least expensive plate, 363633, went for QR190,000.
If the successful bidders don’t pay for their purchase within two days, they lose the license plate number and their deposit.
Spending appeared to be on par with a private license plate auction at Katara Cultural Village earlier this year, which netted more than QR15 million.
This suggests that despite some criticism of the event, vanity plates are still quite popular among a circle of buyers.
Speaking to Al Sharq, one man said he appreciated the government stepping in to regulate the market in this regard.
“It can help completely eliminate the chaos of selling special license plate numbers in the market (with no regulations).”
He added, “People usually prefer three- or four-digit numbers, yet the symmetry in the six-digit numbers make them eye-catching and some people find them to be a good omen, too.”