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Auspicious Thai vanity license plate sells for $223,000

Price of car tag reading "9999" worth several condos in Bangkok
Thailand tuk tuk 2011 08 25Enlarge
A "tuk tuk" or automated rickshaw in Bangkok, Thailand. (NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)

The Thai government has received a whopping $223,700 for a single license plate with an auspicious series of numbers.

According to the Bangkok Post, the plate reads "ส.ส. 9999" and was sold at auction. The report doesn't offer any details about the buyer.

What could compel a Thai person to spend the price of several downtown condos on a plate with a bunch of nines?

The word for "nine" in the Thai language is nearly a homonym for the word for "stepping forward," which evokes progress and prosperity.

Both are pronounced "gow" (rhymes with "cow") with a falling inflection. (Butcher the tonal pronunciation and you end up saying either "glue" or "old.")

With all those nines, the license plate is naturally quite auspicious.

Though, given the price, the person who bought it probably doesn't need a magic license plate to gin up any extra prosperity. (The fee, according to the Post, helps pay for prosthetics and wheelchairs for victims of road accidents.)

This price is still beat out by Chinese license plates selling for $366,500. Those plates include lots of eights, a number that rhymes with the Chinese word for wealth and is therefore -- you guessed it -- highly auspicious.

 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-rice-bowl/auspicious-thai-license-plate-sells-223000