personalised number plates

Personalised number plates

Personalised number plates are 25 years old; since 1989 you have been able to make the ultimate driving statement by getting your hands on a personalised registration.

If you’ve always been tempted to make the trade to personalised plates, CDG gives you the licence plate low down; from how and where to buy, to the most expensive plates to be sold at auction; we’ve got all the essential info to guide you through the world of personalised number plates…

Why personalise?

150 auctions and online sales have generated £1.8bn for the Treasury since the first auction held at Christies, way back in 1989. That first auction saw ‘1 A’ go for £160,000, ‘MUS 1C’ make £65,000 and ‘JUL 1E’ fetch £34,000 and personalised registrations took off from there…

For many people, the chance to personalise your car registration is an opportunity to make a statement about yourself; long favoured by celebrities and the rich and famous, it is a way of setting yourself apart from the rest of the pack.

But a personalised plate is not just a status symbol, they can also be a serious investment. Plates can fetch huge prices in private auctions and some sought after numbers only increase in value.

The most expensive plates sold through DVLA auctions to date are:

1 25 O £518,000 November 2014
2 1 D £352,000 March 2009
3 51 NGH £254,000 January 2006
4 1 RH £247,000 November 2008
5 K1 NGS £231,000 December 1993
6 1 O £210,000 January 2009
7 1 A £200,000 December 1989
8 1 OO £197,000 January 2006
9 2 O £142,000 March 2009
10 250 L £130,320 November 2014
11 6 B £130,000 September 2008
12 1 HRH £113,000 January 2009

Sold in the United Arab Emirates, the world’s most expensive plate was ‘1’ which went for a staggering £7.25 million back in 2008.

How can I get one?

The DVLA registration site is your first port of call if you’re looking for a personalised plate. You can buy registrations online at any time, and with over 39 million to choose from you can take your time to find the right one for you. Simply enter the initials, date of birth or phrase that you’re looking for and results in all the different formats will be displayed.

personalised number plates

The different types available are:

  • Current – AB51 ABC (2001 – present)
  • Prefix – A123 ABC (1983 – 2001)
  • Suffix – ABC 123A (1963 – 1983)
  • Dateless – 1234 AB, or 1 AB (Pre-1963)

The most desirable plates tend to be the dateless as they hide a vehicles age. These can be any combination of up to four numbers and three letters, or the other way around and are only sold at auction.

If the plate has an age identifier, like 60 for 2010, or N for 1995, then it can only be used on a car of the same age or newer – you can age your car as much as you like, but you can’t make it appear newer than it is by purchasing a number plate.

For a fee you can transfer a registration to another car, or retain it if you choose to remove it from a car; but once a car is scrapped the registration can’t be ‘brought back to life’!

Auction action

personalised number plates

A DVLA auction                                                                                                                                                                                        Image credit

Some particularly desirable plates are held back to be sold at auction. The DVLA holds six auctions a year, and up for grabs at each one are around 1,500 handpicked, sought-after combinations. The registrations will have reserve prices which you can check out ahead of the day by heading here.

The first auction of 2015 is at Nottingham Belfry Hotel on Wednesday 25th, Thursday 26th and Friday 27th of February, you can get a full list of the registrations for sale at this auction by clicking here.

If you’re heading to a DVLA auction then make sure you:

Set a budget; it’s very easy to get carried away in the frenzy of a bidding war when at auction, but once the gavel sounds, a contract is formed between you and the DVLA making you liable for whatever you have bid; so don’t stray too far over your budget or be swayed to overspend on the day.

Check out the fees attached; the actual bid price isn’t all that you will have to pay. Head to the DVLA Auction site for full details of costs and fees.

Keep your options open; setting your heart on one particular set of numbers could see you being sorely disappointed if you are outbid on the day. We recommend  going in with a few options to maximise your chances of coming away with a smile on your face.

Famous faces

Over the years personalised plates have proved popular with many celebrities looking to make a statement, here are some of our favourites:

AMS 1 Lord Alan Sugar

KP11HOT Katie Price

BOX 111G Amir Khan

JU5T WED The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their wedding day

WE11 JEL Essex girl Amy Childs

A 7  Her Majesty the Queen

FAB 1 Chris Evans

D4RT P Phil Taylor

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