Unlucky for some, '4' plate's a record

AFP
A car plate with the single digit “4” has sold at a Sydney auction for a record-breaking A$2.45 million (US$1.9 million), reportedly to a Chinese-Australian sex toy entrepreneur.
AFP

A car plate with the single digit “4” has sold at a Sydney auction for a record-breaking A$2.45 million (US$1.9 million), reportedly to a Chinese-Australian sex toy entrepreneur.

The buyer offered more than twice the average cost of a Sydney home, despite “4” being considered unlucky in Chinese culture because it sounds similar to the word for death.

“Just nine of these New South Wales number plates were ever issued, making them ultra-collectible and irreplaceable,” said Shannons auction manager Christophe Boribon.

“Their unique status and desirability is never going to change. The opportunity to acquire such a plate is exceptionally rare, as most single-digit plates remain in family hands, are usually passed down through generations and rarely, if ever, come onto the open market.”

The auction house refused to name the buyer, but the Sydney Morning Herald said it was Chinese-Australian billionaire Peter Tseng, who made his fortune in sex toys.

It said he arrived at the auction in his red Ferrari bearing a “2” plate.

He also reportedly owns a Hong Kong-registered “1” plate and a “ONE” plate registered to his 1969 Mercedes in Sydney.

Boribon said the previous Australian auction record was for the NSW “2” plate which sold for A$689,000 in 2003.

According to records, the “4” plate first adorned a 1909 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost owned by Michelin tires importer Noris Duval in New South Wales in the early 1920s.

More recently it was on another Rolls-Royce — that of Aussie Home Loans founder John Symond, who then sold it to a Sydney collector, who was at the auction.

The “4” plate was one of seven NSW plates at the auction, with “321” selling for A$192,000 while “1968” made A$94,000.

The Herald said the NSW “1” plate has been owned by the family of late founding chairman of Australian National Airways, Sir Frederick Stewart, since the 1930s.


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