Popular Number Plates
When it comes to car number plates, Californians have several to choose from that can depict everything from a dancing Snoopy to a majestic whale tale to a fire fighter.
But by far the most popular number plate to be attached to the state’s cars is a throwback to the 60s – that has no imagery at all - but rather just bold, gold letters on a black background.
According to The New York Times, the “California 1960s legacy number plate” is the special number plate desired by more Golden State drivers than any other.
More than 230,000 of the placards, first issued in the decade when Fred Flintstone was having a yabba dabba doo time and muscle cars ruled the road, have been sold since the Department of Motor Vehicles reintroduced them in 2015.
The “Have a heart, Be a star, Help our KIDS” plate, that can include a handprint, a heart or star is second on the list with 91,000 and the third most popular is the majestic whale tail with 67,000, the Times reported.
Then-Assemblyman Mike Gatto wrote the bill that created the legacy plate program in 2012 so that classic car owners could have a plate that reflected the years their vehicles rolled off the assembly line.
But the number plates are showing up on cars of all makes and models and years.
Why are they so popular? “Because they look so cool,” wrote Gary Richards of The Mercury News last year.
The DMV began issuing the plates once the agency had received 7,500 preorders, the number needed for them to be manufactured. (Alas, 1950s and 1970s fans, those decades were also going to be available but neither hit the above magic number.)
The replica number plates, which are produced at Folsom State Prison, cost $50 and can be ordered for any year vehicle. More info can be found here. Proceeds from the sales go to the Environmental License Plate fund, which benefits environmental projects in the state.
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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