Private number plates


Although each car is given a registration number when it is first sold and registered with DVLA, that number may be changed if the vehicle’s owner wishes to choose something else. If the number on a car is different to the one the vehicle was originally registered with, we say that the car has private number plates.

There are several words or synonyms for private number plates. You may hear them called private registrations, personalised number plates, cherished number plates and other things as well. These terms are mostly interchangeable, but there can be subtle differences in meaning. For example, some people would say that personalised or personal number plates are those that represent a person’s name or initials. Some people consider that the term cherished number plates to be old fashioned, and they use it to refer mostly to those number plates that appear on vintage and veteran cars.

Different people perceive slightly different meanings in the various labels, but most agree that they all come under the umbrella category of private number plates.


The most expensive number plates ever sold

Private reg plates are big business in the UK and around the world. In Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates in particular, wealthy people are prepared to pay more for a private registration than many people pay for a car. In the UK the half-million pound mark was reached some time ago. In the UAE, prices have reached… Well, look for yourself on our most expensive number plates in the world page and see if you can believe it!

Also see the most expensive private number plates in the UK

Personalised number plates

As mentioned above, some people consider that the term personal or personalised plates should refer specifically to those plates that represent names or initials, as these really personalise a vehicle. In fact, they can be a bit like a name tag or monogram for a car!

Read more about personalised number plates

Cherished number plates

Some cherished registrations owners don’t consider all private number plates to be cherished plates. That may seem a little odd, as we said earlier that ‘cherished number plates’ is a synonym for ‘private number plates’, but some resist being lumped together. People who make the distinction tend to be vintage or veteran car enthusiasts or owners. Just as they form an emotional attachment to the vehicles they invest so much time, money and effort into restoring, they also cherish the private plates that complete the historic effect - hence the term.

Read more about cherished number plates

Celebrity number plates

Regtransfers is the UK’s leading supplier of private number plates to famous sports stars, business people, musicians, TV and movie stars etc. Our exclusive celebrity interviews and photographs are the main feature of our fantastic FREE magazine, The World of Personal Number Plates.

Read more about celebrity number plates

Free private plates magazine

Our famous free magazine, The World of Personal Number Plates is unique in the industry. It is a professional, full-colour, glossy, 84-page, A4 publication packed with celebrity interviews and photos, customer stories, news and articles and comprehensive listings of the best private number plates for sale in the UK.

Order your free copy on our Magazine page.

Business number plates

More and more companies and sole traders are taking advantage of the marketing and branding benefits offered by private number plates. Vehicle registrations can represent business names and initials or word relevant to a business. London's Pimlico Plumbers operates an entire fleet of vans bearing plates cleverly selected to represent words with a plumbing theme, such as 'water', 'drain' and many more. We've also seen small businesses from ice cream vans to horse dentists (yes, really!) finding ways to promote themselves with eye-catching and memorable number plates.

See our business number plates articles

Customer number plates stories

We love to hear from our customers about the fantastic plates they have bought from us. Many individuals or families have amassed whole collections of number plates, often with a shared feature such as a name or a set of initials. The ingenuity of our customers, and the wide range of reasons that they love their personal plates never ceases to amaze us.

Read our customers' stories

Number plates glossary

Try as we might, it can be difficult to avoid the use of jargon. We sometimes forget that the terms that are part of our everyday conversation, when talking about buying and selling registrations may make no sense to someone new to the world of private number plates. Our handy number plates glossary should help to make things a little clearer.

Controversial number plates

You'd be surprised how much fuss and controversy can surround a simple string of number and letters. People read so much into the letters and numbers on car registrations that the authorities have actually gone so far as to ban some combinations as offensive.

Some numbers prompt debate by merit of the spectacular prices people have paid. There are always plenty of people ready to share their outrage and disapproval.

Then there are the dodgy deals and the disputes over ownership… Who would have thought that a simple identity number for a vehicle could be the catalyst for so much kerfuffle?

Read about controversial number plates.

  • 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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