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 popular any name or initial it contains is: You are more likely to get good money for a registration plate that spells out a name like 5UE than you are with a more unusual name, simply because there is more demand for Sue (or Dave or Mel) than there would be for Hector, Primrose or Zebedee
How valuable the letters and numbers the plate contains are: in terms of numbers, lower numbers with fewer digits tend to be the most valuable when reselling personalised number plates, making BOB 1 more valuable than BOB 379. Sequential numbers (123, 456 etc.) and repeated numbers (444, 88) are more popular than random combinations, and special occasion numbers like 18 and 21 can also boost a number plate’s value a little. In terms of the letters in a number plate, the likelihood of a series of letters being a name or a person’s initials increases the value of the plate, too.
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