Private Number Plates can be a Good Investment

Choosing a suitable way to invest your money is increasingly difficult, with the interest rates on savings accounts going down and property being somewhat unreliable, in terms of value. Because many people currently have questions about the economy, they are looking for new and alternative ways to invest their money that are perhaps more creative and less conventional than what they have historically been involved in.

One option that people are beginning to explore is the medium- to long-term investment value of personalised number plates for a car. With the possibility of an old plate being worth more than the car it is registered to, there is certainly some very interesting potential for looking more deeply into this idea.

One of the most appealing aspects of private number plates is that they are each unique; when you own a pair of plates, it is the only pair with that letter and number combination in existence. And, while many generic number plates are mundane, finding a plate with the right digits in the right order is a truly exciting moment.

Of course, as with any potential investment opportunity, private number plates offer no guarantees. The value of investments can go up as well as down! So, what can you do to improve your chances of finding a gem of a number plate that will increase in value over the mid to long term?

Make the right choices with your private number plates

There are promising examples of private number plates that have shown an impressive return on their original investment. Some of the most valuable personalised plates tend to be the oldest kind, with a single or double digit number and a letter, also known as ‘cherished plates’.

Cherished number plates really stand out from the crowd and have often gained a lot of value over the years.

  • In 1997, the plate 2NJS sold for £3,300. In just 1999, an equivalent plate – 3NJS – was sold for £5,800
  • The plate 1SAJ – sold for £3,300 in the 1990s – is now valued at £30,000.
  • A3 JMB – sold for £145 in 1991 – is now valued at £2,500.

Those are big jumps in value in such a short space of time!

If you want to look at buying private number plates with a view to making a profit over the years, it is important to consider several factors:

  • Is it a fad? The plate OAS 1S dropped in value as the indie band’s popularity waned.
  • Would other buyers be interested? Buying a newer plate that includes your initials or wedding anniversary date could be incredibly special to you, but finding the right buyer when you wanted to sell could be difficult.
  • Does it contain a common name or set of initials? While the oldest plates tend to hold the most value, newer number plates that include the letters SUE or DAN or TOM are always likely to hold onto their popularity.
  • Would it appeal to buyers interested in novelty plates? For those looking for humour or a cheeky number plate, seek out combinations that could raise a smile.
  • When was it made and first registered? The older number plates, which were not made to indicate the year a car was registered, are especially popular with buyers.
  • Will the date on it limit its buyer potential? It is illegal for a car owner to use a number plate that suggests the car is newer than it is. On modern number plates, for instance, a car built in 2007 would not be allowed to register a number plate that is dated 2014.
  • Is the font and spacing acceptable? Registration plates with unusual fonts or spacing, designed to squeeze together the digits to make the number 13 look like the letter B, for example, are a risky purchase. The owner of plates like this risk being pulled over by the police and issued with a fine.

Doing your research is vital if you want to make an informed investment. It is impossible to predict the future but, by looking for patterns in what is popular and what has risen in value in the past, you have a higher chance of turning your hobby into a profit, over time.

What to look for when purchasing a private number plate

As you would expect, there are legal documents that must be completed in order for a personalised number plate to be registered legitimately with the DVLA. Don’t get ripped off!

The person selling the plate must have a V750 certificate of entitlement or a V778 retention document. The cars of both the previous and new owners of the number plate must be DVLA registered and have a valid, up-to-date MOT certificate, and there is an £80 fee for transferring the certificate (recently reduced from £105). Both the parties in the transaction must also complete a form V317 for the transfer of ownership and registration to be valid.

The same process is carried out in reverse when the time has come for you to sell your private number plates.

Car insurance companies should also always be informed when a person buys a new number plate for their car. If the number plate on your vehicle does not match the number plate in your documents, there could be delays or even cancelled policies, in the event of a claim.

Where to buy your private number plate

Using a reputable company with experience and expertise in dealing with the private number plate market is essential if you are to get a great, reliable deal – when both buying and selling your registration plates.

At, we are registered with numerous professional organisations in the private number plate field, demonstrating our specialist knowledge and our high standard of customer care. We are a DVLA recognised reseller, a DVLA registered number plate supplier, and we are members of MIRAD, APRT and ICO.

Our specialism in private number plates, as well as our passion for helping our customers to get the best plates, mean we are ideally situated to assist you with your number plate needs, whether you are buying or selling.