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.
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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