How Do I Find Out if a Private Number Plate Is Available

Private registration plates add a unique level of individuality to your vehicle, whether you want to make a statement, or commemorate a special vehicle with a unique plate. But how do you get them?

In this blog, we will answer the question ‘How do I get a private registration plate?’

Bespoke Plates is a renowned and legally certified registration platemaker and installer, with options of 3D Plates, 4D Plates, Show Plates, and regular / Electric Vehicle Plates and more. We are the one-stop shop for all things registration plates!

Whether it’s a Private Plate, Gel Plate, Standard Registration Plate or plating accessories, we have you covered.

As a certified and experienced team of plate fitters and makers, our plates are installed to the specification of UK law, provided alongside the appropriate paperwork you require. (The only exception to this is show plates.)

What is the most expensive private plate?

What does it mean if a number plate is on retention?

It’s difficult to pinpoint the absolute most expensive private plate sold globally in 2024 so far. However, there are strong contenders, one of which being the MM plate.

  • California’s “MM” plate: This two-character plate was put up for sale for a staggering $24.5 million in 2024. It’s paired with a non-fungible token (NFT), potentially making it the most expensive plate ever if it sells.

What makes a private plate so expensive?

The price of a private plate in the UK boils down to a combination of factors that influence its desirability and exclusivity. Here are some key reasons why some plates can go for a fortune:

  1. Rarity and Age: Plates with fewer characters, especially cherished registrations with only a letter and a number (like “A 1”), are rarer and typically command higher prices. Additionally, older plates issued before certain years can be more valuable due to their limited availability.
  2. Memorability and Personalization: Plates that spell words, initials, or significant dates hold personal meaning for buyers, making them more desirable. For instance, a plate like “CAR4LIFE” or someone’s initials like “MJW 12” can be quite expensive for the right person.
  3. Status Symbol: Certain letter and number combinations are perceived as status symbols. This could be due to a sequence like all the same numbers (e.g., “555 PPP”) or a combination associated with luxury car brands (e.g.,”BENTLEY 1″)
  4. Investment Potential: Some collectors view private plates as an investment, hoping their value will appreciate over time. Plates with timeless characteristics like simple letter-number combinations or those reflecting historical events tend to be strong contenders for investment.
  5. Market Demand: Ultimately, the price is determined by what someone is willing to pay. If there’s a high demand for a specific plate due to the reasons mentioned above, it can drive the price significantly higher.

How do I get a private registration plate?

How do I get a private registration plate?

In the UK, acquiring a private registration plate for your car involves two key steps. First, you need to obtain the legal right to display the desired plate. This can be done by purchasing a new plate directly from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) through their personalized registrations service.

Alternatively, you can explore options offered by private dealers who specialize in selling personalized plates.

The DVLA offers a vast selection of plates, with prices determined by the uniqueness of the letter and number combinations. You can search for specific combinations or participate in auctions for particularly sought-after registrations.

Private dealers may provide a wider selection, but it’s always wise to compare prices before making a choice.

What do I do after buying the plate?

Once you’ve acquired the right to display the plate, typically proven by a certificate (V750 for new plates or V778 for transfers), you can proceed to assign it to your vehicle. This process is handled online via the DVLA website. You’ll need to have your vehicle’s registration document (V5C) and the certificate or reference number for the private plate on hand to complete the assignment.

Keep in mind that the DVLA charges a mandatory transfer fee of £80 to assign the plate to your car. It’s crucial to remember that displaying a private plate without completing this transfer process is illegal.

Your vehicle’s registration number must always match the information in your V5C document. Additionally, the right to display a private plate needs to be renewed every 10 years.

Finally, after assigning the plate to your vehicle, you’ll need to obtain new number plates made according to regulations from a registered supplier to ensure they are legal and properly displayed on your car.

Can I buy a private plate for someone else?

Yes, you absolutely can buy a private plate for someone else in the UK! Here’s how it works:

  • In your name: You can complete the purchase and have the right to display the plate registered in your name. When gifting the plate, you’ll need to transfer ownership to the recipient’s vehicle. This involves them completing an assignment form with the DVLA.
  • Nominee service: If the plate is intended for a specific vehicle, some DVLA approved sellers offer a nominee service. During purchase, you can specify the recipient’s details as the nominee. This allows the plate to be assigned directly to their vehicle upon successful purchase.
  • Gift certificate: If you’re unsure about the specific plate the recipient desires, you can consider purchasing a DVLA gift certificate. This allows them to choose and purchase their ideal plate within a set budget.

How to customise a private number plate

How to sell my private registration plate?

Private number plates can be customised as long as certain requirements are met. The most important requirement being that you visit a legal plate manufacturer. They will ensure that all the correct checks are made, so your plate does not end up being invalid.

As long as you have the relevant documentation, you are able to create a custom version of your private plate, which can include 3D/4D characters etc.

Bespoke Plates makes the hassle of getting yourself a brand-new number plate easy and efficient. This is regardless of whether you’re after a standard replacement number plate, or a gel plate. Here is the process.

By following these steps, you will also have the option to see the plate before making a decision.

Visualising how your plate can look in real-time, with the characters from your actual registration plate, saves time and makes it easy for you to know what you want before you get it. Let us walk you through the process of choosing your plate through us.

  1. Head to the Bespoke Plates website
  2. Select the plate style you want under the “Build Your Plate” tab. Alternatively, you can follow this link.
  3. Enter your registration (You can press ‘preview’ to see your registration with all the modification options you have selected.)
  4. When selecting your chosen plate, you can opt for 3D/4D options, a Hex plate, and whether you want a legal plate or a show plate.
  5. Select preferred optional accessories.
  6. Decide if you are collecting with installation, or if you want it to be delivered.

Installing through Bespoke Plates ensures the best service & secure installation for your number plate, along with guidance for any questions you may have.

Browse private plates today

In this blog, we have highlighted our plate options, and the information you need in order to obtain our stylish customisation options for your vehicle. We aim to have answered the question ‘How do I get a private registration plate?’

We hope that we have provided all the right answers and options for all of your plate modification needs.

Bespoke Plates has all the options you can ask for, as an approved registration vendor we can guarantee your modification abides by the DVLA rules whilst offering same-day collections and full fitting service.

To get in touch and discuss the full fitting service we offer with our plates, you can talk to one of the members of our team by:


Phone 0333 006 7878

Visit in-store

36A Broughton Street,


M8 8NN

discount popup bespoke-plates

Great! Use coupon code below at checkout for 5% discount