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.
How much similar registration plates have sold for recently and in the past: it is always worth looking at what has been going on in the private registration plate market recently to add extra weight to the valuation of your own number plate. It is a market that is not immune from trends, so keep a close eye on what has been selling well and see if your plate has any similar features
The age of the plate: older plates tend to attract higher prices and dateless number plates (the first ones ever issued) normally call for the highest prices on the market
The plate’s rarity: if a lot of similar registration plates were issued, your plate may be less valuable. So, the relative rarity of older, dateless number plates makes them more valuable, as a whole, than newer, dated plates. Similarly, having a private plate with a word or name spelled out on it gives it a degree of rarity that would raise its value.
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