Over the years we have seen the demand for custom license plates continue to increase, with the most expensive plates now being worth millions of pounds, not only in the UK but around the world. In this blog, we take a look at just some of the most expensive number plates ever sold, as well as some interesting stories and trivia that you might not have heard of in the private plate industry.
Record £440,000 paid for F1 number plate
A record price had been set for a British vehicle registration number sold in the UK after a businessman paid £440,625 to buy the Formula One initials F1.
Afzal Khan, 37, smashed the previous record of £331,000, paid 18 months earlier for M1, to purchase the historic F1 number plate from Essex County Council.
The Bradford entrepreneur, who owns a specialist car design company, plans to display the number plate on his £317,000 Mercedes SLR McLaren supercar.
F1 was the first number plate issued by the Essex County Register of Motors in 1904, the year it became compulsory for motor vehicles to bear a registration plate.
Its first owner was the Essex county surveyor, Percy John Sheldon, who attached it to his 15hp, four-seater Panhard Levassor.
After a period in private hands, it was given back to the county council in 1955 and subsequently used in a variety of civic limousines including a Darracq Torpedo, a Humber, a Daimler and a Jaguar.
The authority will use its windfall to fund an advanced driver training programme to improve the skills of hundreds of young motorists in Essex.
Lord Hanningfield, the council leader, said he was pleased that the money was being put to such a cause.
“It will be with some sadness that we will be losing this little piece of Essex history but we have sold it at a time when such number plates are reaching very high sale prices on the market and we have reached a deal which breaks all previous records,” he said.
Mr Khan, the owner of Khan Design, which describes itself as “the most successful automotive design house in the UK”, said that he had been tracking the F1 plate for a number of years. He believes that he has purchased a bargain.
“I think it’s a good price to pay because it’s probably worth 10 times that,” he said.
“I am privileged to have acquired such a prestigious plate and I’m extremely happy that the money raised from the sale will help improve road safety through the training of young drivers.”
Mr Khan’s total investment of £440,625 (£375,000 plus VAT) beats the £331,000 paid by a Cheshire businessman in July 2006 for the number plate M1, apparently as a present for his son’s sixth birthday. In April 2006 a Sikh businessman paid £254,000 for the number plate 51 NGH (spelling the name Singh).
The world record price at the time for a registration plate, £3.5 million, was paid at an auction in Abu Dhabi last year by a prominent Gulf businessman, Talal Ali Mohammad Khouri, for the single-digit number 5.
S1 plate changes hands for a record £397,500
ONE of the earliest car registration plates ever issued fetched a world record price of £397,500 after going under the hammer.
The registration mark “S1” had been estimated to fetch between £200,000 and £250,000.
The plate was the first registration number to be issued in Edinburgh and it belonged to a leading pioneer of motoring.
It’s sale marked the first time the registration number had come on the market since it was created in 1903.
Josephine Olley of auctioneer Bonhams, which handled the sale, said: “There was a bidding battle between several people on the telephone and a bidder in the room. The bidder who was present eventually secured the lot to a round of applause.
“We’re obviously delighted to have broken the world record yet again.”
The auction house, founded in 1793, has a track record of achieving high prices for registration numbers.
In 2005, the company sold registration “1F” for £144,500 and in 2006, it sold “M1” for a previous world record auction price of £331,500.
The bidder from the company Bold Registrations, who declined to be named, said of the sale: “I believe that number plates are a good investment even at this price. The registration number will be going on an old red Skoda (in] the Midlands.”
The plate originally belonged to Sir John HA MacDonald, who was the Lord Justice Clerk of Scotland.
1D number plate fetches £352k at auction
The number plate 1D was bought for a record £352,000 at auction.
Tycoon Nabil Bishara won it in fierce bidding and plans to put it on his wife’s Bentley.
His £352,411 offer beats the previous £254,000 best for a DVLA sale, set by 51NGH in 2006. The DVLA’s Damian Lawson said after the auction in Claverdon, Warks: “We’re absolutely over the moon.”
Britain’s priciest car reg is F1, bought privately for £440,625 in 2008 by Afzal Kahn of Bradford, West Yorks.
The world’s top price was £7million to buy plate 1 in the United Arab Emirates.
CD 1 Mayor’s Plate Worth £150,000!
The “CD 1” plate, which had been valued by independent experts, has been attached to the Mayor of Brighton and Hove’s car for the last thirty years.
But now with council bean counters trying to make at least £45 million of savings during the next three years, residents have called for the pricey plate to be auctioned off.
Peter Burr of Woodingdean, Brighton, wrote to his ward councillor Dee Simson about the issue.
He said: “Having just received our new council tax bill, within which the council claims to be making cost savings where possible, could you please explain why the mayor has a personalised registration number?
“The letters CD used to be the local registration letters for the Brighton area.
“However, since the new style registration numbers were brought in about ten years ago, the letters have absolutely no relevance whatsoever.
“£150,000 is a considerable amount of money which the council should put to much better use than just sitting on an official vehicle.”
V1 LLA Plate Sells For £39,000!
Gregory, the last manager to lead Villa to an FA Cup final, flogged the football-themed accessory in an auction on eBay.
The 56-year-old lived and worked in Israel, where he managed Israeli Premier League side FC Ashdod.
Gregory rubbished claims he sold the plate because he had fallen out of love with his former club.
“I don’t even get to drive my cars, let alone see the number plate,” he said.
“I will always be a big Villa fan but I thought it was time for someone else to enjoy it as much as I have for the last nine years.
“Only one bid came in for the item but it was at the £39,000 asking price.”
Gregory bought the plate for £40,000 in 2000, halfway through his four-year spell as Villa manager.
Number Plates Dubai To Get Dh29 Million
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Ali Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai ordered payment of Dh26.36 million to Emiratis whose taxicab number plates are used by Dubai Taxi Corporation and the taxi franchise companies in Dubai.
According to a press release sent by the RTA, the Public Transport Agency at the RTA will start distribution of money to the beneficiaries. The Dubai Taxi Corporation and other franchise taxi companies have around 6,591 number plates owned by Emiratis and they had to pay them to share from their revenue for using these number plates.
The government allows commercial number plates to Emiratis with low or fixed income and then companies which use these numbers have to pay them their share as decided by the government.
Car Registration Number Sells for £7 Million
In Abu Dhabi the car registration plate ‘7’ sold for a massive £7 million!
If a figure can sell in a bidding frenzy, this was it — for a whopping Dh17million to become the world’s third most expensive car plate.
The cash kept pouring in for a formidable total of Dh50million.
Seven took the stage tantalisingly perched on a red Ferrari to lure buyers. From a modest Dh400,000, it shot to Dh4million, and broke the Dh10 million ceiling in seconds, only to make the winning bid in double quick time.
CEXI Numberplate, yours for £850,000!
A souped-up Rolls-Royce owned by an Indian Maharajah went on sale for a staggering £850,000.
The supercar, with the number plate ‘Cexi’, is the only one of its kind in the world.
Customised from a 2005 Rolls-Royce, the four-seater Phantom DC Concept was designed by its wealthy mystery owner including gull-wing doors.
No expense appears to have been spared on the car, which can reach speeds of 130mph and does around 14 miles to the gallon.
It is decked out in chrome, flashy red leather, walnut dash, DVD screens and 22-inch alloy wheels.
WWW 1 Sells For £175,000 At A Number Plate Auction!
A prominent VVIP from Johor is the proud owner of the much-sought-after vehicle registration number plate WWW 1.
A car enthusiast, the VVIP was the successful bidder who apparently paid RM520,000 (S$210,000) for the coveted number.
That amount has now set a new record as the most expensive number plate to be sold in Malaysia.
The well-known personality has a collection of antique and latest car models.
All his vehicles are well-maintained and he has been seen driving them all around the state.
On Thursday, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha announced that WWW 1 had set an all-time high bid.
The number surpassed the record set by “MCA 1” in 2010 sold for RM300,100 (S$121,000).
From £375k To £6 Million In 5 Years! F1 Number Plate
There can be few investments that can boast an increase from £375,000 in 2008 to £6 Million 5 years later but the number plate F1 which was owned and auctioned by Essex County Council in 2008 has now been valued at this huge sum.
The owner Mr Khan turned down an offer of £6 million from an undisclosed buyer.
The Council said: “We got the best price for it at the time we sold it and it still remains the highest ever value for a number plate.”
Robert Plate Sells For £40,000!
The DVLA auction of 1500 previously unreleased number plates saw a Wimbledon businessman pay £40,000 for the reg plate RO13 ERT making it the highest seller of the auction.
Top-selling plates included FA11 SAL (Faisal) which sold for £29,240 and 96 M at £17,740.
Jody Davies from the DVLA commented “Clearly the popularity of personalised registrations continues to rise.
“Our autumn auction has far exceeded our own expectations and predictions and now our sights are firmly set on delivering an outstanding final sale of the year.”
It’s A Record Breaker! 25 O Sells At Auction for £400,000!
On a very special day, the UK record for the highest price paid for a registration at a DVLA Auction was smashed.
The registration “25 O” sold for a hammer price of £400,000. The previous record for a DVLA sold plate was set in 2009 when “1 D” went for £285,000. With fees, this makes a massive £518,480!
A 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta became the most valuable car in history to be sold at auction when it fetched $38,115,000 (£22,843,633) at Bonham’s auction in Carmel, California.
Surpassing the current record of the most valuable car sold at auction, which was also set by Bonhams with the Fangio Mercedes Benz grand prix racer that sold for £17.5 million at Bonhams’ auction last year at Goodwood, the Ferrari GTO had been the subject of intense interest from the world’s enthusiasts and, more importantly, its well-heeled collectors and investors.
GG 300 – JFK Number Plates Sell For $100,000 (£65,000)
Some famous Washington D.C. number plates, which were on the limousine carrying John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie on the fateful day of his assassination on November 22, 1963, were sold at auction.
The asking price was $40,000, but the final sale price was $100,000. They sold to an anonymous Kennedy memorabilia collector. $80,000 went to the seller, Jane Walker, and $20,000 went to Heritage Auctions of Dallas, Texas as their auction fee.
The number of plates had been discarded when the Kennedy limousine was shipped back to Hess & Eisenhardt in Ohio to be refurbished, painted, and bullet-proofed. The bright yellow D.C. plates, stamped GG-300, were retrieved from the trash by the limo company owner, Mr Ackerman, with the permission of the FBI agent in charge. They were then kept on Ackerman’s bookshelf until the year 2000 when he gave them to his daughter Jane Walker just before he died.
AG 1 Sells For £200,000 At Auction!
Issued in 1924, the historic number plate reached £200,000 at an auction in Ayr and was purchased by a buyer in the Midlands.
Auctioneer boss Michael Callan said: “When the hammer went down at £200,000 there was an enormous cheer. “It was a phenomenal price and the number plate is our highest selling item ever. It was a day to remember.
The auction galleries were crowded, with many potential buyers and spectators forced to watch from outdoors. “The bidding started at £60,000 and with a sea of hands the bidding reached more than £100,000 in only a minute.”
KR15 HNA £233,000 Number Plate Steals The Auction Top Sellers!
KR15 HNA £233,000 Number Plate Steals The Auction Top Sellers!
The 2015 May DVLA auction saw a huge range of prices achieved with a few notable ones as shown below:
- KR15 HNA £180,000 (£233,000 all in!)
- KR15 HAN £76,000
- 458 S £70,000
- 993 S £26,000
- TR15 TAN £25,000
You can view the listing for the next auction on our website www.regplates.com/auctions.php
Dubai Number 5 Number Plate Sells For £9.7 Million
Dubai number plate number 5 sold at a public auction for £9.7 million.
Dubai resident Balwinder Sahni paid 33 million dirhams (approximately £9.7 million) for a sought-after licence plate at a government auction.
A single-digit number plate on your vehicle in the United Arab Emirates indicates you are counted among the wealthiest citizens in the country.
After handing over the small fortune for his winning bid, Sahni, a Dubai-based property developer, had his conspicuous number plates installed on his equally eye-grabbing pearl white Rolls-Royce Phantom luxury automobile.
Sahni has a penchant for Rolls-Royce cars—he currently owns six, with two more on order. Another of his Phantoms wears the number ‘9’ licence plate, which he purchased for $9 million last year.
“It’s hard, people giving comments without knowing the type of person I am,” Sahni said, going on to describe himself as “a simple man.”
Hong Kong Number Plate Sells For $2.3 Million!
A personalised number plate sold for nearly $2.3 million in Hong Kong during an auction. The amount is the highest ever paid in the city during the number plate auctions.
The particular plate which has the number ’28’ is special because it sounds like the Cantonese phrase for “easy money.” Although the new owner of this personalised number plate remained anonymous, the bidder for the plate said that he was representing another party.
That bidder also won the bidding for another personalised number plate carrying the number ‘232’ for around $174,000.
IG 1 Number Plate Sells For £222,000
The personalised number plate IG 1 sold at a DVLA auction for £222,000 hammer price. This brings the all-in price to over £287,000 with the VAT and auctioneers fees.
Short number 1 number plates have continued to prove their worth and continue to increase in value in recent times.
Historic AJ 1 Number Plate Sells For £243,000 At Auction
The AJ 1 number plate was first used in 1907 by the chief constable of the then North Riding Constabulary, Maj Sir Robert Bowyer. It has continued to be used by the North Yorkshire force for a century. The sale was approved by the county’s police, fire and crime commissioner Julia Mulligan in agreement with the current chief constable.
“The historical link of the AJ 1 registration is important to North Yorkshire,” she said.
The plate is no longer in use and North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan and Chief Constable Lisa Winward have agreed to sell the AJ 1 number plate commercially with the money raised invested in two projects.
The first will be to support work improving the memorial garden at the police headquarters in Northallerton. The second project would be to invest in community road safety with a new ‘AJ 1 Project’ fund. Parish Councils and community organisations will be invited to submit bids for small road safety projects and schemes funded by the new fund will be asked to display a replica AJ 1 number plate sign with information on how it was funded.
Ms Mulligan said: “North Yorkshire residents tell me they want to ensure as much investment as possible goes into making them safe and feel safe.
“The historical link of the AJ 1 registration plate is important to North Yorkshire, but the plate is worth a considerable amount of money, which I believe could be better spent.”
Personalised number plates have continued to increase in both popularity and value over the past few years and very rare examples such as AJ 1 have proven to be highly sought after.
We offer a full brokerage service for distinctive and high-value number plates offering a complete and bespoke service to buyers and sellers.