Swiss Number Plate Auction Record Breaker
Would you pay CHF150,000 ($148,000) for a number plate? A bidder made the record offer for “VS 1” on Tuesday – still three weeks before the auction ends, so the record could rise further.
Very Special? Vain Show-off? Victoria’s Secret? In fact, the VS represents canton Valais. Swiss vehicle registration plates comprise a two-letter code for the canton followed by up to six digits. The plate on the back of the vehicle also shows small shields representing the flags of Switzerland and the canton.
Until now, the Swiss record was CHF135,000 for “SG 1”, bought by a driver presumably from canton St Gallen.
Valais began the month-long auction of sought-after number plates last week. In future, the plan is to auction 60 car plates and 36 motorbike plates a year. Over the next decade, the canton expects the auctions to generate around CHF1 million, which will go towards the cantonal structural deficit.
Although CHF150,000 might seem a lot for a number plate, it’s small change compared with the world record of 52.2 million dirhams (CHF14.4 million) paid by an Emirati businessman in 2008 for the minimalist “1”.
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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