Arab News runs two brief news items showing very different attitudes toward money in Saudi Arabia. Interesting.

Sidelights: ‘AAA-1111’ for SR6.45 Million

RIYADH, 28 November 2007 — If you are driving around the capital and happen to see a car with plate number AAA-1111, take a picture because it is one of those rare license plates that are actually worth more than the car itself. AAA-1111 was snatched up by an anonymous buyer for a whopping SR6.45 million ($1.73 million) yesterday at an auction for the Kingdom’s redesigned car license plates, the daily Al-Watan reported yesterday.

Dowry of Coins Worth SR200

MAKKAH, 28 November 2007 — A father revealed an astonishing fact to guests attending his daughter’s wedding. He told the guests that he asked for only three Saudi silver coins worth about SR66 each, or about SR200, in total for his daughter’s dowry, the Al-Madinah daily reported yesterday. Cases of exuberant dowry demands have been widely reported in the local media; often running into hundreds of thousands of riyals, many young men are often forced to postpone getting married. Occasionally, reports are published about the opposite: Fathers who ask for humble dowries realizing that newlyweds need the money to start their lives. But this is perhaps the first time a father has asked for collector’s coins that aren’t worth very much.

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