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Number plates as an investment

You may be buying your personal number plate to personalise your car, to hide its age or simply as a bit of fun, but did you know that you may also be investing in something that will bring you a nice profit should you decide to sell it in the future?

A healthy market

Private number plates, once an elitist flourish seen only on the luxury cars of the rich and famous, have become a universally popular way for car owners to personalise their vehicles.

There is still exclusivity at the high end of the market but people now realise that there is a wide choice available, with something to suit every budget.

This growing popularity has driven the growth of a multimillion-pound industry around the buying and selling of car registrations. Spectacular sale prices frequently make the news and every number plate auction seems to produce at least one record-breaking or headline-grabbing sale.

Since it began selling personalised registrations in 1989, The DVLA has sold a staggering 6 million registrations.

Recent data shows that the British public owns a staggering £4.3bn worth of private number plates and personalised plates are now taken into account as assets when bodies such as the Office for National Statistics calculate the UK's national wealth [1].

Chart showing percentage increase of valued items

The hidden value in your private plates purchase

In recent years, alternative investments such as classic cars, wine, jewellery etc have consistently gone up in value and have often outperformed traditional stocks and bonds.

The value of private registrations over the same period has shown a similar trend. Actually, in percentage appreciation terms, top quality private registrations have performed even better than classic cars, antique furniture, watches, wine, art or jewellery.

A white sportscar with the registration RH 1

When we take a look at our own top sales from the last 12 months, and at some of the great plates sold at DVLA auctions throughout the year, the resilience of the private registrations market is clearly evident. See our article Top Sales of 2021.

Here are just a few examples that show how much the value of registrations can grow.

Registration 1st sale 2nd sale Overall Increase
1 AJT £35,000 (2014) £72,000 (2021) 206%
1 BNK £8,900 (2014) £75,000 (2021) 843%
1 DRB £30,000 (2013) £90,000 (2021) 300%
1 KFH £14,000 (2012) £55,000 (2017) 393%
1 AMP £22,000 (2008) £66,000 (2010) 300%
15 A £44,891 (2016) £70,000 (2017) 156%
86 G £27,000 (2019) £68,620 (2021) 254%
97 J £20,150 (2017) £55,000 (2018) 273%
321 J £11,250 (2017) £21,495 (2019) 191%
J 541 £8,000 (2018) £14,495 (2020) 181%
M4 RKG £15,500 (2013) £60,000 (2015) 387%
G11 LES £10,495 (2008) £33,500 (2014) 319%
E111 OTS £11,890 (2011) £29,000 (2014) 244%
CRA 16A £7,000 (2018) £10,200 (2021) 146%
BLA 6K £8,588 (2008) £17,000 (2019) 198%
81 VY £4,000 (2018) £17,000 (2021) 206%
DN11 CKY £1,392 (2015) £4,300 (2016) 309%
LAU 124M £2,500 (2016) £5,895 (2020) 236%
RC14 ARD £1,373 (2017) £3,000 (2019) 218%
2 TL £20,000 (2020) £40,000 (2020) 200%
4 KM £26,500 (2017) £60,000 (2019) 226%
11 US £7,000 (2018) £17,495 (2021) 250%
32 SA £8,120 (2018) £15,500 (2020) 191%
48 MH £15,000 (2020) £26,000 (2021) 173%
83 SP £11,000 (2019) £21,000 (2021) 191%
94 RB £15,500 (2019) £25,000 (2021) 161%
SB 90 £24,000 (2018) £35,000 (2021) 146%
765 LT £8,208 (2019) £30,000 (2021) 365%
666 RS £8,500 (2009) £23,367 (2021) 275%
888 DP £9,000 (2007) £16,000 (2013) 178%
911 CC £6,850 (2007) £17,000 (2015) 248%
DL 1001 £3,500 (2018) £6,995 (2019) 200%
7 JDC £8,600 (2010) £17,500 (2016) 203%
5 MCD £16,000 (2007) £29,000 (2014) 181%
4 ART £8,400 (2008) £35,000 (2016) 417%
8 UXA £1,400 (2018) £6,500 (2020) 464%
8 UFX £1,595 (2018) £5,170 (2019) 324%
CBS 4 £5,336 (2018) £10,800 (2020) 202%
MCC 7 £8,495 (2016) £15,500 (2019) 182%
CUM 2 £2,500 (2016) £20,000 (2020) 800%
9 JMM £9,500 (2017) £17,495 (2020) 184%
HKR 11 £4,000 (2018) £15,000 (2019) 375%
11 BDG £2,800 (2017) £8,400 (2021) 300%
16 RAB £5,000 (2016) £13,000 (2020) 260%
AAS 10 £3,836.67 (2016) £16,072 (2021) 419%
ALF 13 £16,000 (2016) £57,500 (2017) 359%
LSH 111 £5,000 (2016) £8,250 (2019) 165%
GTS 333 £3,200 (2017) £6,250 (2019) 195%
911 MCB £4,500 (2016) £8,600 (2021) 191%
120 WEN £2,000 (2014) £5,000 (2015) 250%
815 HOP £3,607 (2008) £10,000 (2010) 277%
CAS 51N £4,000 (2019) £12,500 (2021) 313%
JOS 11B £4,000 (2015) £8,600 (2020) 215%
CRE 11D £2,500 (2017) £7,000 (2020) 280%
HAR 180N £2,750 (2016) £7,000 (2019) 255%
G1 BSO £1,836 (2017) £5,000 (2021) 272%
M2 BAD £2,300 (2016) £6,150 (2019) 267%
M3 WON £1,595 (2016) £5,995 (2017) 376%
R8 TOY £1,500 (2015) £6,250 (2016) 417%
T4 OMS £1,700 (2020) £5,000 (2021) 294%
P14 STA £3,250 (2018) £7,750 (2020) 238%
A999 RON £1,550 (2017) £4,000 (2018) 258%
AY55 HAA £1,500 (2015) £9,800 (2019) 653%
HS61 NGH £2,000 (2016) £4,000 (2018) 200%

Who buys?

There is no shortage of millionaire and entrepreneur owners of private car registrations. These astute people earned their reputations and their fortunes by investing wisely. Here are just a few of the successful people who have come to Regtransfers for their private registrations: you will know their names.

Duncan Bannatyne with his 23 D number plate

Duncan Bannatyne

of Dragons' Den

Theo Paphitis with his number plate RYM 4N

Theo Paphitis

of Dragons' Den

James Caan with his number plate 28 JC

James Caan

of Dragons' Den

David Gold with his number plate D6 OLD

David Gold

Co-chairman of West Ham United and owner of GGI and Ann Summers

Kelly Hoppen with her number plate T8 UPE

Kelly Hoppen

of Dragons' Den

Sir John Madejski with his number plate 1 JM

Sir John Madejski

Founder of Autotrader

The bottom line

Unlike a car, a private registration holds its value very well indeed. Furthermore, a well-chosen registration may bring a genuine investment benefit and, ultimately, a very tidy profit!

Let's find yours!

Our sales advisors are available to help you find your perfect number plate.

And they are rather good at finding great combinations that you've never thought of.

Call us on 01582 967777, 9am - 9pm, 7 days a week.

Footnotes:

  1. Sources: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-48759591 and https://www.ons.gov.uk
  2. For the purpose of this analysis we examined all sales of private number plates in the formats ranging from single-letter/single number combinations to three-letter/three number combinations. This group includes the vast majority of categorisable private registrations.
  3. Source for all other assets: Knightfrank.com Luxury Investment Index
  • Autocar
  • Autotrader
  • Car Magazine
  • Classic And Sports Car Magazine
  • Country Life magazine
  • Daily Mail
  • Daily Telegraph
  • Easyjet
  • Google
  • Sunday Times
  • Top Gear Magazine

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