Number Plates Purchases Reg Plates On The Rise In 2018
Record numbers of motorists are driving cars fitted with personalised numberplates amid a surge in “auto vanity”.
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency sold a record 374,968 registrations last year, up 12 per cent in 12 months and almost five times the total in the mid-90s.
The trade in numberplates made more than £110 million for the Treasury in 2016-17 alone, a record annual total.
The rise coincides with an increase in the number of registrations made available by the DVLA, combined with a sharp rise in the value of rare plates over the past two decades.
In an era when we’re all supposed to be flaunting our individuality, the trend for personalised car number plates has apparently never been higher. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), which sells new and never-issued registrations, sold 374,968 last year, an increase of 12%.
Among private dealers, who sell pre-owned plates, business is just as good.
“For the past five years, [the market has] been steadily rising.” It is thought one reason is a personalised plate makes the age of the car less obvious. But he also says social media has played a huge part. “It’s, ‘Hey, everybody, look at me’,” he says.
People post pictures of their new cars on Instagram, and adding a private plate “seems to be something that people can use to boost their social media reach”.
At the entry-level end of the market, “registrations that start at £250, on average there are 800 of those sold every day.” He says one fairly common customer is the parent who buys a personalised plate for their child on passing their driving test, to go with a new car. “My typical client would be someone in their 40s or 50s, they’ve got a bit of money sitting about and always fancied a personalised number plate.”
At the extreme end, plates can fetch more than £500,000. In 2014, one classic-car dealer bought a “25 O” plate, reportedly for his Ferrari 250 GTO, for £400,000 (the final price, including fees, was £518,000) and a “250 L” for £130,000.
“The numbers that were selling for £1,000 in 1980 now sell for £150,000. What probably changed it was in the late 80s, when the government started to sell numberplates. We in the trade all thought it would devalue the numbers, but it didn’t, it just got more people interested.”
A personalised plate is “a prestigious thing. There’s a little bit of vanity about it,” says Saperia. As for those of us who believe it’s the mark of a bit of a berk, Saperia points out that the DVLA’s sale of personalised plates “bring more than £100m every year to the treasury”.
When you are getting a valuation for your private registration number, think about the fact that certain types of number plate match will lead to much higher worth. These include plates that represent names, initials, models or makes of cars, or words.
The rarity and desirability of any combination of letters and numbers on a registration plate will essentially determine its value on the market. Bear in mind that there is only one version of every number plate in existence, so each is basically rare because it’s unique. But its value requires more than that exclusivity, it must also be worth something to somebody else. People will pay more for a good representation of their name than they will for an average representation of their initials, for instance, so how well a number plate depicts the word, interest, name or initials in question can add or subtract £hundreds or even more from its price tag.
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