Friday, May 24, 2024

Are private number plates a good investment?

As the value of your car continues to decline in relation to its’ age, it is not uncommon for the number plate displayed on a car to become a bigger source of cash than the vehicle itself.

Private number plates – otherwise known as vanity plates – are sequences of letters and numbers that can be configured to display names, words, initials and short phrases.

It’s been proven that private number plates have the ability to increase significantly in value as the years pass, but is it possible to receive a decent return on your investment when you purchase a vanity plate?

We share why private number plates can be a great investment, along with how to predict the amount you can be expecting to receive in a few years’ time:

Why invest in a number plate?

Because no two number plates are the same, it is guaranteed that your personalised plate is truly unique (and will be forever!). This means that their value is only likely to increase over time due to desirability being the main factor in which a plate sells for.

The stress-free nature that comes with purchasing a private number plate means that the investment process is made simple. No matter where you display the plate, how often the vehicle it is used on is driven or the car it is displayed on changes, the price in which it can expect to sell for remains unaffected.

Successful investments

Despite the growing number of celebrities that are investing in personalised number plates, normal people with an interest in finance are turning to number plates to earn extra income.

Let’s take the number plate “ELV 1S” – it was purchased in 1990 for £75,000 and is now worth an estimated £100,000, resulting in 33% more cash than originally invested.

However, you don’t need a such a large sum of cash to invest (or wait for such a long period of time before selling).

The number plate “ATT I4H” was bought for £1,101 in October 2015 and sold for a massive £8,670 just two months later in December.

Estimating your return on investment

It is highly unlikely that the standard number plate in which you receive when purchasing your car will be worth a substantial amount if you come to sell it in a few years.

There are a few common names, letters and numbers that you should look out for when searching for a plate to invest in to receive the highest possible return.

These can include:

Competition and rarity

The popularity of your number plate is the number one factor in which its’ expected return can be calculated.

Common names, initials and letters that can be used to signify words are amongst the most popular, with names like John, Sarah, Jane and Chelsea expecting to be worth the most.

Number plates of this nature are likely to have a strong following. This can also influence their high prices.


The impact in which a number plate gives off is also an indication in how much can be worth.

Let’s take the plate “25 O” – the most expensive private plate ever sold in a UK auction. It was purchased for over £500,000 in 2014 with the main reason being the “wow-factor” that it gives off.

Generally speaking, the shorter the plate, the more it is worth. People are prepared to pay a lot of money for a high-impact reg plate and if you manage to grab one for a reasonably low price, you could be in with the chance of getting a huge ROI!

To find out more about investing in number plates, get in touch with Platehunter – an online seller of private plates – and find your ideal match today.

Elliot Preece
Elliot Preece
Elliot is the Editor at ABCMoney. He manages a team that writes and contributes to many leading publications across a number of industries.

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