Masked bidder bags license plate '28' for record HK$18.1 mln

February 22, 2016 12:10
Bidders are shown in action in this file photo. Sunday's winning bid of HK$18.1 million for a license plate is the highest on record. Photo:

Put this one down as the luckiest number in the Year of the Monkey, if not the most auspicious ever.

An anonymous bidder found the number "28" so auspicious the person paid HK$18.1 million (US$2.3 million) for it in Sunday's vehicle license plate auction, Sing Tao Daily reports.

The number is pronounced "yi-fat (易發)" in Cantonese which means "become wealthy".

The winning bid was the highest on record for a vehicle license plate.

The next highest bid went to the “65” license plate at HK$5.3 million.

A total of 45 vehicle registration marks were offered, including two personalized license plates.

Other notable license plates were “8999” and “HK6628”.

The “28” license plate started at HK$3.21 million, with a masked man bidding it up through 70 offers.

He later said he was doing it for a friend and left hurriedly after the gavel came down on his final bid.

In 2008, the transaction price for the vehicle registration mark “18” was HK$16.5 million, a record at the time.

The government first auctioned license plates in 1973.

Ngan Man-hon of Lucky Number Center, Hong Kong's largest supplier of license plates, said registration marks “1” to “9999” were among the first batch of car plate numbers auctioned by the government.

These are now highly sought-after for their historical value.

Ngan said although the final bid for “28” is a record, it only matches the price for "18" eight years ago after accounting for inflation.

The “28” license registration might have been surrendered to the Transport Department by its previous owner who has either left Hong Kong or died, Ngan said.

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