If there is something that reflects the diversity and range of private number plates, it's the corresponding vast price range. There are many personalised registration plates that range from less than a hundred pounds to the perhaps more eminent and so-called cherished number plates that range from tens to hundreds of thousands of pounds. In some cases, even millions!
Cherished number plates have been sold for handsome profits for over a generation, not just by private plate dealers but also by individuals who have sought to enjoy the fruits of an investment. For example, 1 SAJ was bought in the mid nineties for about £3300 and is now valued today at around £30,000. That's makes for quite an impressive investment.
Generally, these super expensive private number plates are characterised by the age of the plate, the individual's initials and a single number though this is not always the case. Even some relatively recent issues of personalised number plates that spell out words or names can command extortionate prices. For example, N1 CKY is valued at over £100,000.
It's not surprising then that private number plate dealers are faced with questions regarding the most expensive private registration plates ever sold. So, for the curious right through to the investors, Plate Master has compiled a list, so that you can discover some of the most expensive private plates sold to date. First, in descending order we present the top 20 highest paid for UK registrations. Then we'll take a look at the World's top 5, none of which are British. Yet!
Sold to venture capitalist Spencer Day, at auction in Whittlebury Hall, Northamptonshire in January 2009. Confident of a good return Mr. Day bought this cherished plate as an investment.
Originally issued to George Drinkwater of Braddan for his steam powered car, this, the first registration number issued in the Isle of Man in 1906, was sold at auction to an undisclosed bidder in February 2009.
Sold to Mr Singh! Given the sale price of older brother S1 NGH and the popularity of these plates in the Asian community, MR51 NGH secured a lot less than expected for the Treasury.
Fit for the Queen and the subject of media attention, this royal mark was secured by a Berkshire-based businessman, at auction. He said he was "determined to keep it in British hands".
In addition to the rarity, the huge appeal for this cherished plate may come from the fact it resembles 'GB', short for Great Britain. It was just one of the prestigious registrations snapped up at a DVLA auction in Wansford, Cambridgeshire, September 2008.
The second of the DVLA's single digit O-series was auctioned at Ardencote Manor, Warwickshire, in March 2009. The rest will follow at subsequent auctions.
Once owned by the Essex County Council, this mark was sold at Bonhams auction in 2005, clearly breaking its anticipated sale price of £30,000 to £40,000. The winning bidder was an unnamed telephone buyer.
The private plate with a very desirable combination set the record for the highest price paid for one on eBay, in 2007. The increasingly used term Chief Executive Officer, no doubt fuelled the appeal, which would have had many business and corporate executives fight for the right to the ultimate status symbol for the city.
The younger mirror image of the legendary A 1 went under the hammer at an early DVLA auction in 1989. Apparently, nearly ten years later, both numbers were sold to the controversial Prince Jeffry of Brunei, brother of The Sultan of Brunei. Both numbers were transferred to identical white Bentley's ready to collect the Prince and co from his private jet.
With this fine showpiece, perhaps the DVLA were commemorating the 100th anniversary of their personalised registrations auctions in April 2006. Whether your nickname is "Loo" or not, 'I OO' would add a nice touch to any prestige motor.
Just a line and a circle, this rarest of dateless number plates demonstrates that less is more. The minimalist jewel, never released before, was sold at a DVLA auction in Whittlebury Hall hotel in Northamptonshire to a private buyer. It was the first release of the 'O' series.
Surely the "royal with ease" of all registration plates, this was sold in 1993. It is alleged that this sale marked the beginning of an explosion in the market for personalised number plates. An anonymous bidder, possibly an Arab Sultan, secured the regal crown.
This cherished plate went under the hammer for 30 times its reserve at a DVLA auction in South Yorkshire, November 2008. Exceeding his planned budget, winning bidder businessman Robert Harverson said after, "in the end, I was just determined to buy 1 RH and nothing was going to stop me".
Despite being technically less of a match to the popular Asian name Singh, this dateless mark fetched over two and a half times the price of S1 NGH, its younger brother. It's hard evidence and hard to believe that the year of issue can make such a difference. Sold in 2006 to a Sikh, this cherished plate had previously generated a lot of interest since Singh is a popular name in the Sikh community. 51 NGH is the most expensive Asian number plate sold in the UK.
The estimated auction price for this registration plate was about one third of the hammer price. It was auctioned off in July 2005 in Perth, Scotland and was originally registered in January 1928 by Perth County Council.
Currently owned by the Chelsea boss Roman Abramovich, this "very important" cherished number plate was bought in 2006 with the billionaire tycoon's pocket change for £285,000. This plate was once placed on the Pope-mobile for Pope John Paul II's papal visit to Ireland.
Bought in 2006 by Mike McCoomb who had previously sold his mobile phones business to BT for around £40 million. Apparently he bought this number plate for his son, who at the time was under ten! Sold at Bonhams Auctions, Chichester, this was the first registration number to be issued in Cheshire at the beginning of the last century.
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