Skip to content

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 registration plates, 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.

Share this...

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 to 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.

Return to the top of the page