How to Sell My Private Registration Plate

If you have a private registration plate, there is an option to sell it. This can prove to be especially beneficial if you have no use for the plate any more, or are a private plate dealer looking to make a profit.

In this blog, we will answer the question ‘How to sell my 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.)

Does a private plate have a specific format?

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

Yes, private plates in the UK follow a strict format. Since 2001, all new private plates have adhered to this format:  AA 11 AAA

  • The first two characters: These can be any combination of letters from A to Z (except I, Q, and V)
  • The first two digits: These represent the year the plate was issued, following a two-year rolling system. For example, plates issued between 2024 and 2025 would start with numbers from 24 or 25.
  • The last three characters: These can be any combination of letters and numbers.

What is the format before 2001?

Prior to September 2001, private plates in the UK followed a format known as the “prefix system.” Here’s how it worked:

  • Single Prefix Letter: This letter indicated the year of first registration. It started with “A” and went alphabetically up to “Y”.
  • One to Three Numbers: Following the prefix letter were one to three digits, with no specific meaning assigned.
  • Three Letter Sequence: The final element was a sequence of three letters. These letters often determined the issuing area of the vehicle registration.

Can a stolen private plate be sold?

In this blog, we will aim to show you how to check if a number plate is on retention.

Selling a stolen private plate in the UK is a dead end for a thief. The DVLA throws up roadblocks at every turn. First, they meticulously check the legitimacy of any ownership transfer, including verifying if the plate is flagged as stolen.

Second, a thief wouldn’t have the original retention certificate, which is only issued to the rightful owner and is required for any transfer.

Reporting the theft to the police is another important step. The police report provides crucial evidence if someone tries to sell your stolen plate.

Finally, many online marketplaces for private plates have security measures in place to prevent stolen plates from being listed. These may involve verifying seller identities and checking against databases of stolen plates.

In short, the odds are stacked against someone trying to sell a stolen private plate. Here’s what you should do if your plate is stolen:

  1. Report the theft to the police and get a crime reference number.
  2. Contact the DVLA to inform them of the stolen plate and request a replacement.
  3. Depending on your insurance policy, your insurance company might cover the cost of a new plate.

How to sell my private registration plate?

How to sell my private registration plate?

There are a couple of routes you can take to sell your private registration plate in the UK. This is through selling it through a private dealer, or selling it yourself. Below is a basic layout of both options and its pros and cons.

Selling Through a Private Plate Dealer:

  • Convenience: This is a hassle-free option. Dealers take care of marketing, advertising, and handling negotiations with potential buyers.
  • Fees: Dealers will charge you a commission (typically a percentage of the sale price) for their services.

Selling the Plate Yourself:

  • More Control: You set the asking price and have more control over the entire process.
  • Effort Required: You’ll need to take good photos of the plate, write a compelling description, advertise it online, and handle communication with potential buyers.

Here is a breakdown of the steps involved in selling your plate yourself:

  • Get a Valuation:

There are online services that offer free valuations. Consider recent sales of similar plates to get an idea of fair market value.

  • Prepare to Advertise:

Take high-quality photos of the plate with a clean background. Write a clear description highlighting the plate’s unique features and potential appeal.

  • Choose Your Platform:

Browse online to find an appropriate platform to list your plate on. Consider listing on general car selling platforms as well, depending on your target audience.

  • Marketing and Communication:

Craft a catchy title and highlight the benefits of owning your plate. Respond promptly to inquiries and be open to negotiations (within reason).

When it comes to selling plates, make sure you:

  • Be realistic about the price: Research similar plates and set a competitive price to attract buyers.
  • Safe transactions: Use secure payment methods offered by the online platforms, or recommend cash on collection for in-person deals.
  • Official Transfer Process: Once a buyer is found, follow the DVLA guidelines for transferring ownership of the private number plate.

Do I have to buy a private plate with the DVLA?

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

Not at all. You can buy a private plate from a private dealer if they are selling their number plate. Plates sold by the DVLA are ones that have been relinquished or new private plates that have yet to be bought.

Private sellers can come in the form of individuals, or even businesses. For example, Bespoke Plates not only offers customisation for regular and private number plates, but we also sell private number plates too!

Customising a private 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.

Buy a private plate 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 to sell my 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

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