As the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) celebrates 30 years since it started selling personalized plates, it was revealed that the British Treasury has netted a $2.5 billion bonanza from the sales.
To mark an upcoming three-day live action, DVLA has listed its top dozen most expensive number plates.
Top earner was “25.0” which was sold for half a million US dollars. The plate “1 D” went for $356,000, with all top-12 going for six-figure sums.
The agency holds several live auctions across Britain each year, and has almost 60 million registrations for sale on its website.
Many seek out registration numbers that spell out names, places, or even a favorite football club such as LFC or MU, or for cricket enthusiast MCC, marking the home of the sport.
The first ever auction in 1989 saw just 74 lots offered for sale at Christie’s Auction House in London, with the first lot offered for sale by DVLA, “99 MG”, selling for just under $10,000.
The highest price that day was for “1 A” which sold for $200,000. DVLA chief executive Julie Lennard said: “The sale of personalised registrations began in the days when the only way to place a bid at the live auction was to attend in person.
“We now live-stream every auction, giving bidders the opportunity to bid for their dream registration online from our live auctions, as well as the many millions we have for sale on our website.”
DVLA sold 658 registrations in 1989, increasing to 26,161 the following year.
In the 2018/19 financial year almost 404,000 registrations were sold.
A recent DVLA survey showed that 69 percent of motorists would buy a private registration because of a personal connection, a name or initial, 6 percent for their business, while 17 percent said they saw them as an investment.
Thousands of drivers have even bought plates to match the names they have given to their cars, the most popular being ‘Doris’, ‘Dave’, ‘Henry’, ‘Betsy’ and ‘Bumble’.
And while the most expensive plates are worth far more than the value of most cars, personalised plates can sell for as little as $312.