We all have our heads turned by a unique private number, but did you realise that the industry is worth £2 billion worldwide? What is just an essential component to a vehicle for one person is an opportunity to make a statement to another, with private number plates giving an instant slick upgrade.
What is the most expensive number plate, we hear you ask? Let’s find out together just how car-obsessed the UK motoring elite is. Buckle your seat belt as these astronomical prices are sure to set your mind racing in the fast lane!
Why are private plates popular?
It is no surprise that people love to spend money on their vehicles, with it being one of the most significant purchases that most people will make in their life aside from a property or a business. Modifications have always been a common way to make a standard vehicle more unique, meaning a high price does not have to be spent on the initial purchase itself.
In the UK, as of 2020, there was £3 billion worth of personalised plates showcasing that this is a popular method for adding a stylish upgrade. Private number plates also offer a brilliant investment opportunity, with the value rising steadily since 2020 due to the pandemic. Whilst a vehicle may depreciate over time, a desirable plate will retain and improve its worth.
As well as the financial benefits, the options for personalisation are vast, with various character formations allowed under the approved DVLA guidelines. This completely legal method of making your car personal means that people love choosing plates that represent themselves in a fun way. Personalised plates can also be upgraded to custom designs, allowing an extra way to upgrade your vehicle. The option to eliminate the year of manufacture from the number plate is also favoured by some people who don’t want their vehicle’s age to define it. There is no reason why an older car cannot be kept in the same condition as a newer one with the right work, and this form of personalisation is said to ensure that cars are looked at more favourably.
Finally, personalised number plates make a popular gift. The purchasing process is easy through websites such as our own, and assigning a plate is equally simple, making it an excellent choice for a car lover. With endless options available, we think that personalised plates are a brilliant way of putting your own stamp onto your vehicle of choice.
How is cost calculated for private plates?
Like how a car’s value is derived, many aspects go into establishing the price of a personalised plate. Even though we will be sharing some of the UK big hitters, you can purchase a plate that has a unique meaning to you from just a couple of hundred pounds, including DVLA registration.
The main factors that go into determining the cost of a plate are:
- The age of the plate and its history of previous sales
- How many characters are included, and the formation (You can find out more about short plates here)
- Where is it coming from
- How long has the plate been available for sale on the market
- How much interest is there in that plate
- What do the characters represent in terms of vehicle models and wider popular culture meaning
Personalised plates are attainable for everyone. You just need to determine your budget and set a realistic expectation for what you can expect to purchase for your desired amount.
What is the most expensive number plate in the UK?
F1 – Worth £20 million
This proves just how much-personalised plates with unique characters can increase in value, with the F1 plate first being purchased in 2008 for £440,625. This already impressive amount has skyrocketed over recent years as the famous Formula One franchise has continued to become a household name. The sporting industry associated with this plate is worth over £2 billion annually. With big names and even bigger brand deals taking the sector from strength to strength, the worth is not projected to deplete anytime soon.
The plate owner is an entrepreneur and businessman Afzal Khan, who has an impressive collection of over 60 personalised plates to his name. Despite Afzal confirming he would never part ways with the plate, it has been on the market for a couple of years now, with a £10 million offer rejected back in 2018. As the worth has been calculated at double that price, Afzal has commented in multiple interviews that he would not sell for anything less than its actual worth.
As you would expect, this number plate has adorned some of the most prestigious vehicles, with it last being seen on Afzal’s Bugatti Veyron. His Instagram page is full of dreamy vehicles and equally rare personalised plates. His bio reads ‘The road is my catwalk’, which alludes to his impressive collection of showstopping rides.
The value is also so high as the plate was first registered way back in 1904 by Essex Council. When asked how he acquired this pinnacle of design, Afzal has previously stated, “I was looking at buying the number plate for quite a while. When it was made available in 2008, I beat off two other potential buyers to snap up the plate from Essex County Council. The 114-year-old registration was previously on a 30,000 pounds Volvo S80 used by the council chairman. The council sold it to me in 2008 to raise money for a charity, which aims to raise the standards of young drivers”.
If you have a cool £20 million spare, this would be the ultimate personalised plate to invest in. We somehow think that Afzal will never want to part ways with this unique piece of motoring history. We certainly would not!
Some other plates that command the biggest price tags in the UK are:
25 0 – Last sold for £518,480
Ferrari collector John Collins acquired this standout plate in 2014, so we bet it’s worth a lot more now. The plate is special as it is associated with the Ferrari 250 GTO, one of the most expensive cars in the world. When asked how much he wanted to spend on the plate when he attended the auction, John said “no more than £300,000” and that he “would rather have it for cheaper”, but the desire to own the plate was too high for him to stop bidding. This shows just how much people are willing to spend for the right plate.
S1 – Last sold for £404,000
S1 is unique as it is believed to be the first ever number plate printed in Scotland back in 1903 by Lord Kingsburgh. Sold to an anonymous bidder in 2008, they stated that this piece of motoring history would be put on a small red Skoda. That is sure to be one fancy run-around car! This also proves that your vehicle does not have to be top of the line for it to have a sleek finishing touch.
1D – Last sold for £352,411
Purchased back in 2009 by business owner Nabil Nishara, this number plate has surged in popularity since the formation of the pop band One Direction in 2010. Whilst this was purchased a year before the band were created on X factor, the number plate is regularly spotted in the North of England and shared online by excitable fans. The current value of this plate is not known, but should it hit the auction anytime soon; we think that it will be worth a lot more than its previous sale due to its ties with popular culture.
M1 – Last sold for £330,000
M1 was the first number plate ever to be issued in Cheshire back in 1903. When the plate when onto auction in 2006, it was purchased by millionaire Mike McComb who is said to have bought the expensive item in honour of his son’s sixth birthday. The popularity of two-character plates is clear to see, so we are sure that when this plate comes back up for sale, it will be snapped up much quicker than the associated motorway journey that will spring to the minds of many of us!
Has your journey into the world of private number plates left you wanting to find out more?
As one of the leading number plate experts in the UK, we know a thing or two about the world of personalised plates, and hopefully, now you do as well.
We are sure you have a good idea about how much people love to spend on their cars, but the market for private number plates is in another league of its own. This unique way of upgrading any vehicle is great as everyone can have a slice of the pie for a cost that suits the budget they are working with.
Sure, you may not be able to invest in a two-character plate for a couple of hundred pounds, but you can still secure something that is personal to you. Whether you are interested in the most expensive number plate or the least, we hope you now feel that you understand more about this fun form of modification.