March 20th, 2020 at 9:52 am
Personalised or private number plates are more desirable than ever. Maybe this is due to the restrictive legislation surrounding number plates in the UK that prevent any personalisation and variation. The only possibility if you want to be more creative is to get private plates.
It isn’t just petrolheads and motor enthusiasts who like private plates. They are appealing to people who are keen to make a bold statement as well as businesses that want to put a perfect touch to their prestige vehicles. Football players and fans may not be very interested in cars, however they may want a number plate spelling out their team’s name. Private plates have an appeal that is increasingly universal.
There are companies and plate hunters that specialise in getting hold of personalised plates and they’re always seeking out unusual or cherished numbers whether old or new. Since UK registration plate formats have changed over the years, there are several distinct and different categories people can search in:
Dateless plates – these were the oldest to be issued. They date back to the 1900s and so are highly sought after. Of course, this also means they’re most expensive, with some retailing at about £500,000. These types of plates have either 3 or 2 letters then a number which is up to 9999.
Reverse dateless plates – on these, the numbers appear first. Numbers between 1 and 9999 are followed by two letters. Numbers between 1 and 99 may be followed by 3 letters. These plates aren’t as valuable as dateless plates by are still desirable.
Suffix plates – in 1963, more cars appeared on the roads and so the way characters appeared changed too. On those plates, the last character was a letter representing the year. These continued until 1983. Although these aren’t as costly as the above categories, when the plate spells a word they command higher prices.
Prefix plates – this type of number plate ran between 1983 and 2001. They have a letter as their first character which represents the date then a number followed by 3 letters.
New Style plates – September 2001 saw these plates coming into force. They’ll continue in this style for several more decades. Two letters at the front of the plate refer to a car’s geographical registration area even though the process has now been centralised and is usually carried out online by car dealerships. After the letters there are two numbers indicating the year as well as whether that plate was released in autumn or spring. Following the space, three random letters are printed although dealers are usually given blocks of letters that might be sequential or similar so savvy motorists purchasing a new vehicle will often ask about the variations available for them to choose from.
In some cases, number plates simply offer great combinations that look similar to words. The DVLA always removes any registration numbers that would be inappropriate or offensive, but sometimes some shocking plates slip through unnoticed into pubic circulation.
Demand is higher than ever for personalised number plates. The DVLA in 2017 sold 374,968 and that figure showed a 12% increase over the previous year. It could be social media that is partly responsible for the drive towards personalised plates since it’s extremely easy to post images of a brand new car with its personalised plate online.
Getting Maximum Bang For The Buck
Plates are retailed at an average of £250. Many people buy personalised plates for teenagers who have just passed their test. However, one plate went for a whopping £518,000. This plate read “25 O” and was purchased in 2014 by a dealer in classic cars for a Ferrari. The plate reading “250 L” only reached a price of £130,000 so it’s hard to see why the former was so expensive. Maybe “25 O” was especially significant for its purchaser?
Over the years, the value of cherished plates only continue to rise. Numbers that sold for £1000 back in 1980 are now selling for around £150,000. When the marketplace opened by in the 80s due to the involvement of the DVLA a bigger audience became interested in the idea of private plates. That interest has never waned since.
Should you consider buying a prestige plate today for investment purposes? How much could you really make from it? There’s no real answer to that question, but experienced sellers and hunters of plates would be able to give an estimated figure. If you’re purchasing only for investment purposes instead of because you’re keen to have a specific number plate for your car, you might want to identify trends in the industry. Look at what type of plates have been popular in the past and the combinations that could be coming up soon. It’s a similar concept to purchasing domain name that may be uninteresting at first but suddenly become incredibly in demand because of a person or event.