License Plate Reading ‘R’ Sells for $3.2M
By Arden Dier
A Hong Kong resident hoping to find good fortune in the new year just paid $3.2 million for a personalized license plate boasting a single lucky letter. The “R” license plate sold in a Lunar New Year auction hosted by the Transportation Department on Sunday fetched the second-highest amount ever paid for a personalized license plate in Hong Kong, where such plates are all the rage, CNN reports. The outlet reports the letter “R” is considered lucky in Chinese culture and is also associated with racing cars—hence the high price.
Such sales are more common than you might think. In March 2021, another Hong Kong resident paid a record $3.3 million for a “W” plate. Indeed, Hong Kong’s Treasury has collected almost $77 million in license plate sales since 2006, Business Insider reports. In the city, drivers can’t simply pay a fee for their desired plate. Instead, they must submit a proposal for a plate, which is then auctioned with a starting price around $640, per CNN. Several license plates sold Sunday include the number “8,” which is associated with the Chinese word for fortune, per the South China Morning Post.
Sunday’s second-highest price came in auctioning a “292” plate, perhaps because the number “9” is pronounced the same as the Chinese word for long-lasting. But not all auctioned plates have to do with good fortune. “These vanity plates are used by their owners to highlight their status, wealth, humor, desires, superstitions or even their favorite food,” Hong Kong-based creative director Michele Salati, who collects images of vanity plates, tells CNN. The outlet notes a “EL0NMUSK” plate sold for $1,405 in January, along with others reading “BAD G1RL,” “LATTE” and “SHADYB1Z.”