Are Private Plates For You?

When you put a personalised number plate on your car you are making a statement. You are opting to step out of line with the rest of the motoring conformists, adding your own personal twist to proceedings. And why not? If you can afford it, what harm does it do?

Personalised number plates have been around since 1903 and during that time many unique digit combinations have been generated. But with private number plates it is the quirky, personal, off beat or humorous combinations that create the most buzz and command the highest prices.

Before investing in a personalised number plate, there are a few things you may not have considered…

Is it My Style?

Private number plates attract attention, there’s no denying it. And the more exclusive, clever, funny or unusual your number, the more people will stop and stare. Before committing any money, ask yourself if you would feel comfortable with this level of attention from complete strangers.

Are Private Plates For You?

In some parts of the world, personalised plates are described as ‘vanity plates.’ Some individuals thrive on such interest, others prefer to conduct themselves more discreetly. Don’t overlook this important factor – if you’d prefer to remain an anonymous driver on the road, stick to general number plates that don’t create a stir. Likewise, many people buy private number plates as a special present for a loved one. But be sure your gift will be welcomed by the recipient – consider if they have the right personality fit for an attention grabbing number plate. Getting this wrong could be a costly mistake.

Can you Afford it?

Personalised car number plates frequently change hands for enormous sums of money. The DVLA estimates that over the past twenty five years a whopping £2 billion of tax revenue has been generated by its countrywide plate auctions. It is a high stakes, high priced field and you need to do the sums first to make sure you can afford it. Historically, the most shelled out for a private plate in the UK was £518,000 in 2014. The unique numerical formula that generated this eye-watering sum was ’25 O’ and was purchased by a Ferrari dealer. The plate is now thought to be sported by a Ferrari 250SWB with a price tag of around 10 million pounds, which almost makes the plate seem like a bargain!

Of course, thousands of plates can be purchase for far less money. Private plates can make good investments, in fact there are people who make their living waiting for interesting numbers to come up and buying them on spec. However, caution should be exercised. Recently a plate expected to generate a £500,000 price, sold for a disappointingly low £21,500. The plate was ‘250 C’ and anyone doing their research on Ferrari models could be forgiven for thinking it would attract a premium price.

Are You Patient Enough?

The exclusivity of certain numbers means that they rarely come up for sale. If there is a particular number you are waiting for, do you have the patience? What if it never becomes free for sale? What if it is beyond your pocket? If you don’t want to be driven nuts by the waiting and uncertainty of  the number plate game it is advisable to adopt a philosophical attitude. Better still, sign up with a number plate dealer, tell them what you want, then forget about it until you get the call.


Stumped for ideas? Here are some number plates that celebrities have chosen to make their vehicles stick out from the crowd.

Premiership footballers are known for their love of flashy cars and Wayne Rooney is no exception. The number of WAZ 8 on his Aston Martin certainly catches the eye. Or Vinnie Jones, ex footballer and more recently an actor has 100 VJ on his car, whilst his wife Tanya has 99 TJ. Celebrities with numbers that reflect their profession include hair designer Nicky Clarke with the rather clever H41 RD0, magician Paul Daniels with MAG IC and comedian Jimmy Tarbuck with COM IC.

Choosing initials and significant dates are the most popular reasons behind the personalised number plates people have. If you have a popular name, the chances are the plate was snapped up years ago, however, those with unusual monikers might bag themselves a bargain.

So, are private plates for you? Only you can answer that question, but if the answer is a resounding ‘YES!’, follow these tips to help you get the most out of the private registration game…