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The most expensive license plate in the world just sold at auction for $15 million

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A license plate just sold at auction for nearly $15 million U.S. dollars — making it the world's most expensive plate. A plate with the number 7 sold in Dubai for 55 million dirhams, Emirates Auctions announced last week. 

The auction house specializes in cars and license plates, and buyers can bid on distinguished number plates in the United Arab Emirates.

The company has previously held the record for most expensive plate sold, auctioning off the 1 license plate in 2008 for 52 million dirhams, or about $14.2 million U.S., according to the Guinness Book of World Records. 

The 7 license plate, which is also accompanied by the letter P to follow the format of Dubai license plates, has now beat that record by about $800,000 U.S.

The license plate auction benefits the charity 1 Billion Meals Endowment, founded by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, to bring food to communities struggling with food insecurity around the world. 

Other countries also auction off special license plates. Earlier this year, Hong Kong held a Lunar New Year auction of several vanity plates. The one that took home the most money: The letter R, going for 25.5 million Hong Kong dollars (about $3.25 million U.S.). 

Before that, the letter W was bought for 26 million Hong Kong dollars (about $3.3 million U.S.) in 2021, according to the country's Transportation and Logistics Bureau. 

It'll cost you far less, however, in the U.S.: Drivers can typically receive vanity plates for their cars by paying an initial cost plus an annual fee. There are qualifications for the plates. In New York State, for example, the plate is $60 up front and $31.25 annually. The words on vanity plates must not be obscene, they can't have only one letter and they cannot have six numbers and one letter, among other rules. 

In New York, you can also transfer the plates to a new car you purchase, or store them when your car is taken off the road, if you want to keep the combination on the vanity plate, according to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles. The rules and costs for vanity plates vary by state — but don't approach the world's most expensive.

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