NSW 4 Number Plate Auction High Prices Held
If Sydneysiders thought property prices had hit peak ridiculous, licence number plate collectors have gone one better with the original NSW No.4 plate up for sale for between $1.2 million and $1.4 million.
The asking price tops the $1.18 million median house price in Sydney, and doesn't even include the Rolls-Royce that it was attached to until early last year when it was owned by Aussie John Symond.
The founder and executive chairman of Aussie Home Loans bought it in 2010 from property developer Ivan Holland, who had secured it in an art swap from businessman and art collector John Schaeffer.
Aussie John was approached to sell the 1910-registered plate early last year, but with a $1.2 million price tag the buyer from Asia declined.
Mr Symond has confirmed he sold the plates 18 months ago to a mystery buyer in South Sydney.
Numberplate aficionado Shane Moore said the plate is widely rumoured to have been sold by Mr Symond for about $1 million.
"Single-digit plates rarely trade so quickly," said Mr Moore, who runs the numberplates.com.au website.
"They are usually held within the one family for decades. As an asset class they've appreciated in value in recent years, but they're also a volatile asset. If things go badly, investors will sell off the plates."
Registered in 1910, the No.4 licence plate is the most expensive item set to go under the hammer on August 28 at the 2017 Shannons Sydney Winter Classic Auction.
It tops the asking prices for 26 cars on offer, including a 1924 Rolls-Royce for $120,000, a 1964 Porsche for $125,000 and a Mustang Fastback for $120,000.
Single-digit, heritage licence plates have long been a highly prized collectible among the ultra-wealthy. In 2008, the No.6 NSW number plate sold for $800,000. It topped the previous high of $683,000 paid in 2003 by an Asian businessman for No.2.
The No.1 plate is owned by the family of the late founding chairman of Australian National Airways, Sir Frederick Stewart, who had owned it since the 1930s.
The No.8 plate was regarded as the most valuable because it is regarded as auspicious in traditional Chinese culture. It last traded in 2010 for $500,000.
In Victoria, single-digit number plates are also investment-grade assets. The number 1 VIC plate is owned by former Foster's Group chief Peter Bartels.
In 2013 British businessman Afzal Kahn knocked back £8.5 million for his "F1" numberplate, having bought it for a record £440,000 in 2008, according to The Telegraph in London.
The UK in particular has a relationship with personalised number plates. According to estimates by the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency), the UK reported an excess of two billion pounds in tax revenue from tax auctions over the past 25 years. As they are keen to state, an expression of interest in a particular plate by three people or more is enough to push the price of that Reg plate through the roof. It has also been documented that the buyers let their hearts take control of their heads when they bid for these plates.
Personalised number plate auctions are constantly rewriting the record books with regard to the highest price paid for a plate. The record currently stands at £518,000 which is quite impressive. The prices of these Regplates does not seem to be slowing down either.
Of particular interest is the recent auction of the highly-hyped 250 C Reg plate which sold for £21,500. This is a clear indication that the expectations for the prices of personalised number plates will continue to increase.
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