Auction Number Plate Tipped For Half A Million Sale Price
This heritage number plate will sell for around half a million dollars at a Shannons auction in Sydney on Monday evening. As will a similar example offered by Mossgreen the following Sunday.
You may wonder why. The real value of these plates is in the 'right to display' option that is handed over with the hardware. This allows the winning bidder to place this number on their own cars. The original plates are usually mounted on the owner's wall in the manner of a sporting trophy.
This is a curious phenomenon, at least to those of us unwilling to spend half a million on a rego number. In a sense these are status symbols. The new owner is guaranteed membership of a very exclusive double digit club.
NSW 29, with estimates of $490,000 to $550,000, is worth more simply because it is a lower number than NSW 36. That one has estimates of $400,000 to $450,000.
After taking off in the early 2000s, values of low number plates have remained relatively stable since the global financial crisis. This is graphic evidence that they are moving again. Speculators have always been a feature of this scene, buying plates in the same way that others trade in shares.
Double digit plates come on the market very rarely, and when they do a select group of collectors get very excited. Vic 97 sold for $180,000 at the 2010 Motoclassica Auction in Melbourne. NSW 18 sold for $248,600 in the early noughties. All figures include buyer's premiums.
The record for any Australian plate sold at auction remains the $680,000 paid for NSW 2 through Bonhams & Goodman in 2003. It is rumoured that NSW 6 has changed hands privately for around the million dollar mark.
Shannons has long been the major Australian auction house for sales of heritage plates in Australia, also handling releases on behalf of VicRoads and the Roads and Maritime Services in NSW.
Mossgreen entered the market only recently but has made an impact. In June 2016 it sold NSW 100 for an impressive $241,500. Mossgreen's May 28 auction, which includes the sale of NSW 36, marks the first time this Melbourne-based business has held a classic car auction in Sydney. It takes place at Carriageworks in Eveleigh.
It is worth noting that NSW 1 and Vic 1 plates are both known to exist.
Vic 1 was released in 1932 but after heated debate between the Police Commissioner, the Premier and the Governor about who should stick them on their car, these plates were locked in a vault at the Motor Registration Board until they appeared at auction in 1984. A retired Ballarat mechanic allegedly bought them for $165,000.
Estimates of current value are $2 million to $2.5 million.
“Once you’ve bagged that number plate – if it’s a good one it adds value to it. Some are iconic and will be sought after. Some of the best are simple but exquisite.”
The biggest went for £180,000 in May last year – for KR15 HNA – which was a new British record for the most expensive current style personalised registration plate.
Today, plates with just one number and two letters cost an estimated £60,000, 20 times more than the early 1990s, when drivers could expect to pay somewhere between £3,000 to £5,000.
A DVLA spokesman said: “Many people enjoy displaying a personalised registration number and the general sale and auctions remain extremely popular with the public.
“Since we began selling personalised registrations we have raised around £2.3 billion and all the money raised is passed to the Treasury.”
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