A NUMBER plate sold to raise money for Tatton Park has fetched a world record price of £331,500 at auction.
The M1 registration mark was bought by an anonymous north west-based bidder - for his six-year-old son's birthday.
Officials at auctioneers Bonhams and Tatton Park were stunned by the final selling price for the unique plate, which quickly reached and overtook the previous world record.
And they were even more amazed to learn that the owner is a boy who cannot legally drive for another 11 years.
The youngster is the son of a wealthy Cheshire businessman who refused to reveal himself and made his bids by phone.
The previous record for a registration plate was set by VIP1 which was bought by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich for a whopping '285,000.
The M1 plate was auctioned yesterday by Bonhams at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in Chichester, West Sussex.
The winning bidder paid three times the guide price set by auctioneers of '80,000 to '120,000.
The M1 plate was the first registration issued in Cheshire and was originally handed out in 1902. It has been on a rare 1900 Benz car kept at Tatton Park near Knutsford.
Proceeds from the sale are going to a newly-formed charitable trust which has been set up to safeguard the estate, its farm and grounds.
Brendan Flanagan, general manager of Tatton Park, said: "We are absolutely thrilled with the figure achieved for the M1 plate.
"This will allow the new Tatton Park Charitable Trust to do so much in support of our conservation, education and access projects for years to come.
"It is particularly nice to know that the M1 registration will return to the north west of England."
Bonhams' expert Jon Baddeley, said: "The registration M1 has huge appeal, not only as one of the earliest registrations issued, but also one with a fabulous history. This price goes to prove that."