Personalized quantity plates are now considered a serious financing alternative

Personalized license plates have been seen as the preserve of posers and the ultra-rich.

But the current rise in their reputation has been such that the non-public documents market is now worth around £2bn, turning perhaps the most sought-after information into lucrative funding alternatives.

Specialists are actually pouring tons of 1,000-kilo custom plates into the market to provide perhaps the most valuable combinations – usually those with two initials and a quantity that consultants say is currently booming.

One in the know even says that they yield higher returns than conventional investments comparable to watches, jewelry and traditional vehicles.

Are custom license plates a financing alternative you’ve been forgetting about? Specialist non-public document sellers claim higher returns than traditional vehicles and jewelery

John Kirkbright, 45, founder of Plate Hunter, says the value of personal plates has skyrocketed recently.

The Staffordshire-based supplier of custom plates previously worked in gross car sales before acquiring car insurance.

He started 11 years ago by listing a couple of license plates he discovered on eBay on his website.

He currently stores 60 million pieces of information on his website, as well as information released by the DVLA, where he acts as a distributor.

And he says he “can’t keep up” with the demand from wealthy traders at the moment.

John Kirkbright, 45, is the founder of Plate Hunter

The board John bought with a short, catchy identification cost £20,000 in 2020.

But within 12 months it had doubled in value and was resold in 2021 for £40,000.

Two-letter and one-digit license plates have become extremely valuable, he says.

In the nineteen-nineties these plates are often valued at between £2,000 and £10,000.

But due to the current rise in reputation, identical plates can now cost as much as £45,000, according to Iona, based mainly on information from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

John said: “We are seeing dealers pouring out of the art markets and wine merchants getting into number plates, which has resulted in confirmation that repayments are due.

“People who get into it make quick money and it becomes very addictive.”

Two-letter, single-digit license plates have become extremely valuable, John says

In the 1990s, such information cost between £2,000 and £10,000. According to John, and mainly based on information from the DVLA, they will get as much as £45,000 at this point.

John announced that he recently bought custom number plates for an England and Arsenal member and one other different plate was bought by a buyer for a whopping £140,000.

The DVLA issues new number plates twice every 12 months – on 1 March and 1 September.

In addition, there is a booming trade in classic custom indicators, John said, and traders are usually quick to buy and resell.

He added: “There are many who started for three, four grand in 2007 and 2010.

“Five years ago it was 10,000 and now we’re selling it for 20,000. It’s just supply and demand. There are people who pay and that’s the problem.

Unique number plates can fetch even higher quantities, with F1 – for Formula 1 – bought for £440,000 in 2008 and 1D – for One Direction – for £285,000 in 2009.

The ‘F1’ quantity tag is owned by businessman Afzal Khan, who has reportedly refused to pay more than £10m for it.

But even when he agreed a £10m sale value for the F1, it still doesn’t break the current world record for a non-public car number plate.

It happened in April when a driver splashed out a whopping £12 million on a ‘7’ plate at a public sale in Dubai.

Afzal Khan, a London-based businessman, owns the ‘F1’ quantity tag, bought in 208 for £440,000. He claims he has refused to pay even £10 million for it

Even tough boards make for exciting boards

One of the problems driving the rise is cash-strapped municipalities promoting customized number plates, once used by senior government officials.

“In the last decade, there have been many municipalities that have sold their personalized signs that they have received as gifts in the past,” says John.

“Municipalities sell them to make money after they have registered at the time.”

This has led to highly sought-after figures hitting the market, with East Renfrewshire Council in Scotland promoting the unusual ‘HS 0’ quantity table and saying they hope Harry Styles will buy one.

“People want license plates that are their initials or their girlfriends or their daughters — ideally with a ‘1’ at the end,” John said.

DVLA roadblock on ‘rude’ number plates

John went on to explain that people tend to buy “crass” indicators, which consist of a sequence of letters and numbers mixed together to create offensive phrases or meanings.

However, it can have unforeseen penalties.

The buyer, whose license plate had a particularly offensive phrase with a ‘1’ in the centre, bragged about the purchase online.

John indicated that the customer appears to have been contacted by the DVLA as the social media posts quickly disappeared and registration is currently not taking place.

With the latest number plates being delivered every two years, the DVLA has even sat down a panel of consultants to identify and remove as many offending quantities and letter combinations as possible, earlier than it turns out in March and September.

The custom signal market is estimated to be worth around £2 billion

Current growth in the UK custom plate market means the company is now worth around £2bn, according to industry insiders.

British motorists spend thousands and thousands of kilograms on them every year, and the Treasury has raked in billions from private plate gross sales since their inception.

How do I find out how much my private board costs?

The incredible development of the custom license plate market in recent times shows that there are actually many companies that purchase and promote non-public license plates.

For those who have already obtained a non-public number plate, it is difficult to get a quick assessment without offering these companies additional information.

We couldn’t even find specialist websites in the UK that offered a valuation without going to the owner’s contact details.

However, when you look at the numbers DVLA registration website.

It will show comparable samples to your sample and let you know what the resale value is so far.

John estimates that one in three vehicles in the UK have custom number plates – individuals usually buy number plates to make their car look newer or older if they don’t need their neighbors to know they’ve bought a new car.

“When I started this site, my mom said it wouldn’t attract customers because personalized license plates were only for the rich,” John said.

“Now when I look at the cars on the road, it looks like one of three.”

He says there’s even been an increase in divorce cases where {couples} usually buy new custom plates so their ex-partners can’t stand it.

John pointed out that while there are good deals out there, sellers need to be wary of unscrupulous sellers who promise exorbitant costs that people don’t want to pay.

He said, “Some of the bigger dealers will fool you and tell you it’s only worth more to get you on the books.”

“There is no fixed value. I often have a dialogue with sellers about what is bought or what is there for that value – and what information is initially bought to introduce the concept to the buyer.

“Then the buyer said, ‘Yes, this is the price I want.’

“Then we advertise it on the website – it all depends on the exact value. You don’t just pluck figures out of thin air; you should check them all out.

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