Economy, Business And Markets

Gold Numbers: All About Preference

Gold Numbers: All About PreferenceGold Numbers: All About Preference

Iran’s silver, gold and platinum mobile phone number industry, like many around the world, has become deregulated over the past decade.

Iran now ranks as one of the countries where a mobile phone number can make all difference when a person is in trade, and with that the industry has become one of the highest grossing, least intensive ways to generate money.

Earlier this year, Fars news agency reported that gold and platinum numbers have long been a part of upmarket purchases in Tehran. The report said that a number 09121181111 was sold for 5.5 billion rials ($163,000 at free market exchange rate), highlighting that this industry is impervious to any downturn in the general economy.

The report did mention that numbers from Tehran area starting in 0912 are generally 40 percent higher than equivalent numbers from other cities.

The best known online database to purchase these “gold” numbers is currently This website is a live collection of numbers being bought and sold through the working day, and sometimes into the dead of night.

Currently the most expensive number available on the phone number website is 09121111511. This number comes in at a staggering 6.9 billion rials ($202,000).

We attempted to call the owner of this number, though he wasn’t willing to divulge information of how he acquired this number or his other numbers available. However, when researching further on the website we found that the top ten most expensive numbers on the website listed belong to the same person.

When contacting another seller, Hassan Fahimi, he mentioned his top number was worth $68,000. The seller said that gold numbers, no matter how ridiculous their prices are, always have people willing to purchase them.

On further questioning, Fahimi mentioned that the majority of the “platinum” numbers – those over $100,000 - are not sold to individuals. However, he said, “They are often bought by large companies and organizations that want to push over their rivals by showing off their professional number.”

Fahimi went on to say that, the next group of buyers of “gold numbers” are usually traders themselves, who use the numbers as a sort of alternative investment class, as opposed to buying more traditional investments like gold, antiques or paintings.  

These numbers, which are usually second, third or fourth hand, make the rounds amongst the traders and are traded against situations like inflation, thus suggesting that the numbers ultimately keep their prices even if there are severe fluctuations in the foreign exchange market.

Don’t think Iran is alone with these expensive prices; the world’s most expensive number to date was sold in a Qatari charity auction in 2006. That special number, 6666666, sold for 10 million Qatar riyals or $2.4 million. The previous record holder, according to The Register, was a Chinese number, 88888888 – a special number in Chinese folklore – which sold for $432,000.