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 close a series of letters or numbers are to a real name of word: if the match quality is high (and the numbers and letters are very convincing in making a popular word), the value of the registration plate will be higher. This means that a match like 5IMON, for the name Simon, will be worth a lot more than a more obscure set of letters and numbers that are not as convincing a match, such as S17 MMM for the name Sam.
The style of the plate: this means establishing if it is a new-style plate, an older-style format or if it is dateless or Irish, for instance. Other options are that it is a prefix-style plate or a suffix-style plate. New-style number plates, which have been produced since 2001, tend to be the least valuable because they are a bit less appealing to some collectors, plus the rule about not having plates that are newer than your car can also come into play, putting people off from buying a newer-style plate for their older car. Prefix-style number plates, which were in production between 1983 and 2001 can be more popular as more vehicles are entitled to have those licence numbers, and they may have fewer characters in total. Suffix-style plates, issued from 1963 to 1983 are relatively rare, which means they can attract higher prices than prefix-style plates and newer designs. Dateless number plates, also known as cherished number plates, were produced between 1903 and 1963 and are nearly always the most valuable number plate configurations; they have fewer digits and their dateless nature means that people can hide the age of their car. Irish number plates are similar to dateless number plates, especially because they don’t have a year identifier. They also tend to be cheaper than other types of vehicle registration plates.
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