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Motor racing legend Nigel Mansell sells off his personal number plate!


British motor racing legend Nigel Mansell's personal collection of racing memorabilia will be auctioned at Sotheby's from 4th-11th October. One lot caught our eye. The auction of his personal number plate 5 NM.

Update: 10/10/2023

Nigel Mansell's 5 NM personal registration sold at the Sotheby's auction on 10th October 2023. The registration, with its famous provenance, performed well and achieved a hammer price of £50,400. With auctioneer's fee and VAT added to the hammer price, the purchaser would have spent £62,496 in total.


Although his last season as a Formula One driver was in 1995, Nigel Mansell remains one of the UK's greatest racing drivers. With 31 F1 wins, Mansell comes second only to Lewis Hamilton in terms of the number of victories by a British driver.

In 1993, while he was the reigning Formula One Champion, Mansell suddenly retired from F1 and began racing in America Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART). He won his first season at CART, becoming the only driver to hold both the F1 and CART titles at the same time. He returned to Formula One from 1994 - 1995 before retiring permanently.

Mementos of a career

Mansell has owned houses and businesses in Britain, the Channel Islands and the USA. He had a museum of his racing memorabilia in St Helier on Jersey, but he closed the collection in 2019 in order to accommodate a business. Mansell has now decided to auction off the collection of items from the museum, and quite a collection it is.

The sale, which will be conducted online by Sotheby's, will offer 330 very varied items, all of which will go under the hammer from 4-11 October 2023. Racing helmets, baseball caps, racing suits and other attire, steering wheels, motorcycles, trophies and awards will all be sold without reserve. Bearing in mind the huge popularity of Formula One, the auction is expected to attract a great deal of interest from racing fans.

A winning plate?

Naturally, the lot that caught our attention was Nigel's 5 NM private registration. As we have already said, no reserves are being set for lots in this auction, but Sotheby's guide price for 5 NM is £30,000 - £60,000.

We consider the lower end of that estimate plausible, but the upper end is, perhaps, a little ambitious. If the plate does achieve that kind of price, it will be largely due to its association with Mr Mansell. That history will not be hard for the new owner to prove, should they subsequently sell the plate on, as its provenance has been widely reported in the news and, of course, now in this article. How much of a boost it gets from that association may depend on getting at least a couple of Formula One or Nigel Mansell fans among the bidders.

Regtransfers can neither confirm nor deny whether or not we will be among those bidders.

The Regtransfers number plate auction

Auctions are a great option when it comes to buying and selling number plates. Buyers can often find bargains, while sellers enjoy the benefits of quick sales and possibly of competing bidders driving up their profit.

The Regtransfers number plate auction is a purpose-built, specialist platform for buyers and sellers of private registrations. It is secure and backed up by Regtransfers 40 years of experience as the UK's leading independent private plates supplier.

Original image 'Nigel Mansell 1991 United States' by 'Wileynorwichphoto' licenced under CC by 2.0

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The role of DVLA

Car registrations and number plates, including personalised number plates, in the UK, are the responsibility of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, usually known as the DVLA. It issues new registrations twice a year and also maintains the central database that records details of all vehicles licensed to drive on UK roads, along with their keeper and registration information.

Regtransfers works closely with DVLA to complete registration transfers as quickly and efficiently as possible. Regtransfers is a DVLA-registered supplier of personal car registrations and number plates and is listed on the DVLA Registrations website. All number plates supplied by Regtransfers comply with DVLA's prescribed standards and regulations.

DVLA administers all UK registration transfers and issues updated registration documents when the registration number of a car is changed, or when a registration is removed from a vehicle and placed on a retention document in accordance with the DVLA Retention Scheme.

DVLA is a registered trade mark of the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency. Regtransfers is not affiliated with the DVLA or DVLA Personalised Registrations. Regtransfers is a recognised reseller of unissued Government stock.

Number plate regulations

When a car is on the road, it is an offence to display number plates bearing any number other than the vehicle's officially recorded registration number. If you purchase a private registration, learn how to transfer private plates before displaying the new number.

All registration number plates displayed on UK vehicles must comply with the official number plate regulations. DVLA oversees enforcement of number plates display regulations and maintains a register of approved manufacturers and retailers of vehicle number plates.

Regtransfers is not part of, and is not formally affiliated with DVLA.

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