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Ten Amazing-But-True Facts About Private Number Plates

You can get plenty of fantastic number plate deals at The Plate Guy but did you know that personalised number plates have a deep and rich history? Check out these top facts before you visit the site to see the wide selection of great value personalised plates available to suit all budgets.

1. The most expensive private number plate in the world is ‘1’

When the number plate ‘1’ came up for sale at an auction in Abu Dhabi in 2008, many experts felt that the world record would be shattered. That proved to be the case when Saeed Abdul Ghaffer Khouri, a member of a very wealthy Abu Dhabi family, paid £7.25m for the number plate.

He explained later that he had bought the personalised number plates “because it is the best number” but declined to say which of his many different supercars, he would be assigning the number to.

The £7.25m spent beat the previous world record of £5m, which was spent by Talal Ali Mohammed Khoury in 2007 for the ‘5’ number plate. Not satisfied with that Mr Khoury then went on to pay a further £800,000 for the ‘55’ plate at the same auction.

Somewhat oddly, when asked about why he had spent almost £6m on the ‘5’ and ‘55’ number plates and if that number held any particular meaning for him, Mr Khoury revealed that the number 5 held “absolutely no significance whatsoever” for him.

2. Since 1989 the DVLA has raised £1.8bn through the sale of private number plates

Although the world has been in a global recession for some time, the sale of personalised number plates remains relatively strong and the market still holds its value, considerably better than many other markets at this time. As such, the DVLA has proved to be an important revenue generator for a succession of governments bringing in £1.8bn since 1989 through the sale of personalised number plates alone.

3. The unusual history of the prestigious Personalised Number Plate VIP 1

The much-coveted personalised number plate VIP 1 was originally made for Pope Jean Paul II’s trip to Ireland and was placed on the pope-mobile. After that a succession of Very Important People paid top dollar to own this historic plate and the current owner is Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich, who paid £285,000 for the personalised number plate in 2006.

4. The first celebrity cherished number plate was owned by Harry Tate, a music hall artist.

Like Roman Abramovich above, many celebrities like to own their own personalised plate for many a reason, indeed is almost de-rigeur for a Premier League footballer to have their own personalised plate. The very first celebrity to own their own personalised number was a man called Harry Tate, a successful bu not particularly well-known music hall artist. He purchased the registration number T 8 and is believed to be the first ‘celeb’ purchase.

That same plate is now owned by Johnny Tate, who is one of the owners of the famous Tate & Lyle sugar company.

5. You don’t actually need to own a vehicle to own personal number plates legally

If you want to buy a personalised number plate, it is not a legal requirement to put the plates on a vehicle. You can renew the certificate of entitlement to the number plate each year for £25 and maintain ownership of the plates for as long as you like, without actually putting the plates on a vehicle.

Be careful though as if you let your certificate expire, it will become void and while you will get your £80 registration fee back, you will lose the entitlement to the plate and it will become available to be sold again.

6. Robbie Williams bought the personal plate S8RRY.

Robbie Williams has a reputation as a cheeky chap and he showed his grasp of irony when purchasing a Ferrari. Realising his less well-off fans may feel a little slighted that he had spent so much cash on such a status symbol, the Stoke-upon-Trent born superstar, added a nice touch by buying the number plate “S8RRY” to say a tongue-in-cheek ‘sorry’ for spending so much money on the vehicle.

7. The Most Expensive Car Number Plate ever bought in the UK

While the most expensive number plates in the world have been sold either in the Far East or Abu Dhabi, in the UK, there is also a strong market and the highest price paid for a personalised number plate in the UK is the £440,000 paid by Afzal Khan in 2008 to procure the coveted “F1” number plate.

Mr Khan is believed to have used the number plate on a number of vehicles including a McLaren Mercedes SLR and his Bugatti Veyron. Mr Khan reckons the purchase was a sound investment stating “I think it’s a good price to pay because it’s probably worth 10 times that.”

8. Cherie Blair bought a personalised number plate LEO 10 for her son’s bed

As if to prove you don’t need to own a vehicle to buy a personalised plate, barrister and former PM’s wife Cherie Blair spent a not inconsiderable amount to procure the personalised number plate LEO 10. Why?

Well her son Leo had recently been given a Lamborghini-style bed frame and what better way to top it off with a personalised plate, which he can then use when he learns to drive?

9. Every year the DVLA Remove potentially offensive plates from the issue list

Did you know that every year the DVLA convene twice prior to the new registration release to remove any potentially offensive registrations from those set to be released?

With the new 14 registrations released on the 4th December, the DVLA have already removed several potentially offensive registrations from sale such as SL14 AGS, AL14 LAH, PR14 CCK, SH14 TTY.

That said, occasionally a few slip through the net, so keep your eyes out for any amusing 14-registered plates from 4th December onwards.

10. Private Number Plates are a form of investment

As is evidenced by the number of wealth families in the UK, Asia and the Middle East buying them, personalised number plates are now seen as a genuine form of investment. TV personality and car expert Quentin Wilson has already stated his view that he sees them as a sound long-term investment.

A good example of this is the popular 1 A number plate in the UK. In 1989, it fetched £160,000. However, given the rise in market value of similar plates, experts now believe that if the plate came up for sale now, it would fetch well in excess of £300,000, potentially more in an auction.

Increasingly, people are investing in sought-after plates as a form of investment, especially when so many other investments are experiencing poor performance in the current global economic climate.

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