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Top Things to Consider in Choosing and Finding Private Number Plates


The private number plate or personalized number plate is the vehicle registration mark that is selected and demonstrates its uniqueness to the driver. Instead of using the original set of letters and numbers given by the DVLA you can purchase your own number plate that appeals to you and your preferences. The cost ranges from a few hundred dollars to a hundred thousand dollars. It doesn’t only capture the rich and famous people’s attention, but it also appeals to the public as it in the UK alone over 100 million dollars was spent in 2017.

Here are some things that you need to consider when you’re thinking of purchasing private number plates:

Where to Buy Number Plates?

You can purchase private number plates from three main sources:

  • DVLA - You can start from here with the added benefit that you’re removing the middleman with millions of registrations you can buy. You can use their search tool to enter your criteria, like your initials, and browse their available plates. They also have auctions where you can bid in person, online, or over the phone. There are also timed auctions where you can place your bid unknown to other buyers and the highest bidder will have the plate.
  • Private Seller - You can search online or in classified ads for sellers of number plates. These are people who mostly own rare and expensive number plates and are looking to get the most of its value. Just do your research on the plates being sold to you so you’ll know they’re valid and bear no legal impediments.
  • Brokers - This one of the places you can get better and sometimes rare private number plates. You’ll have to look for a reputable seller of these private number plates. It is important to buy from a reseller that is recognized by the DVLA. You must be wary of those “bargain” number plates that you might see online, cheap prices could mean that certain corners were cut and that could spell trouble for you.

How much does it cost?

This is largely dependent on the rarity of the number plate and where you purchased it. Some good brokers start their prices with just over a hundred dollars and DVLA will sell you the number plates from over 250 dollars on their website. There are also plates sold online by brokers that are very desirable, this will set you back 4 or to an even 6 figures. In an auction, the price will vary depending on the competing bid for that same number plate. Normally, the fewer characters or characters used a personalized number plate has, the higher you’re going to have to pay for it. Chelsea FC owner reportedly paid over 280,000 dollars for “VIP 1” and in 2014 the highest ever paid for a number plate in the UK was over half a million dollars for “25 O”.

Is it worth it?

Some people don’t become “hooked” with buying number plates for vanity, but also they invest in them. They collect rare and desirable registrations, dateless plates in particular, and sell them in the future for a better price. Think of it as works of art, property, or antiques that may rise in value and require no maintenance. The bestsellers are those plates that have common initials in them. An example is “JS 1” as there will be a number of John Smiths out there.

Single letters and numbers are the ones that are truly collectible such as P2, 2P, 8M, 9M, 5K, 3D, 3H, etc. There are also private number plates that are double letters or a single number, which are perfect to invest in. They include MB, 8, JB, 9, AM, JW, 8, BB, etc. You can purchase popular initials so that it won’t take much time for it to sell, they include A, B, C, D, H, J, M, P, R, S, and W.

Types of Plates

In the UK there are 4 basic types of registration plates. These are the current, prefix, suffix, and dateless.

  • Current - These are the plates that are used today. Since 2001 it is composed of 2 letters, 2 numbers, and 3 random letters. The first two sets indicate the region and the car’s age respectively. An example is AB14 AER.
  • Prefix - This was introduced in 1983 and it ended in 2001. The format of the plate starts with a single-letter Prefix, then 1 to 3 numbers, space, and a 3-number sequence. An example is AC234 123.
  • Suffix - This style was introduced and used in the UK, between 1963 and 1983. The sequence starts with a three-letter sequence indicating the area of origin, space, then a 1 to 3 number identifier, and a single letter indicating the year it was issued, B is for 1964. An example is ABC 123C.
  • Dateless - These are the earliest plates that ran until 1963. The first registration numbers were used in 1903 and the number plates issued during this time had this sequence: 1 or 2 letters, space, and a number from 1 to 4 digits. They don’t indicate the vehicle’s age, which makes these plates highly sought after.

Legal Requirements

After you purchase your private number plate, the DVLA will give you a certificate of entitlement (V750). You will then go to the nearest registered number plate supplier and show your identification together with the V750. The car’s original plate will be deactivated by the DVLA upon the registration of the private number plate. It cannot be used on that car unless it goes through the application and is accepted by the DVLA application process. You could also be given a new age-related number plate even if you reinstate your original registration. If you are caught displaying the wrong plates, you will be fined up to 1,000 pounds and the car fails its MOT.

Other Information

  • Gifts - Personalized number plates are great as gifts. You can give them to your family or friends on their notable birthdays or during a memorable gathering or event.
  • Transfers - You can keep your personalized number plate even after you sold your vehicle for a fee. The DVLA will let you keep your personalized number plate until you’re ready to use it for a new car, in which you’ll have to register it again.
  • Not in use - You can store your personalized number plate. Some people do this so they can sell their private number plates for a good price or gift it to their loved ones.

Number plates are your car’s individual identity, it was decreed before by the government for regulation. Over the years, sequences have evolved mainly due to the fact that there were already too many cars for a certain alphanumeric sequence.

Personal number plates are a great way for one to display his enthusiasm to his own vehicle by giving it the name the government did not actually issue, rather something that it is connected to the owner’s personal idea.