They’re a staple of the British roads – the private number plate. They allow us to personalise our cars and stand out from the impersonal standard number plates. It’s estimated that there are over 60 million private registrations in the UK, and as you might expect, this creates a big market for the most sought-after plates. This means that private reg plates can cost you anything from £100 into the hundreds of thousands and probably even more in the future! But what is it that makes some of these number plates so expensive?
Supply vs. Demand
Like any market, supply, and demand plays a big role. Because there are only so many numbers and digits you can put on a number plate and so many combinations, the supply for popular names, and words are actually very low. Just think how many people there are called Bob, who would like a personalised number plate that has their name. The problem is, there are very few combinations of letters and numbers that can make that name. While there are hundreds of thousands of Bobs who would love to have their name on their number plate, there are only so many number plates available with this option.
The Shorter, The Better
Using this logic of supply and demand, it follows that the shorter number plates are more valuable than longer ones. If “B0B” were available, it would fetch a huge amount of money because it is the purest spelling of Bob, and there’s only one combination that can offer it. If you were looking at something longer like “BM57BOB” it would still be valuable but not as valuable as “B0B” because there are many more letters and number options. Unfortunately, if you’ve got a common name that’s short, like Bob, this is going to make your private number plate a little bit more expensive to buy. However, unlike your car, a number plate isn’t likely to lose value with time. In fact, they’re generally seen as a pretty good investment for the future.
Cherished plates date between 1904 and 1963 and predate the system where the last letter of the plate represented the year the car was registered. These cherished plates are considered the antiques of the number plate world, and their values reflect that. Cherished plates are not only in huge demand, but supply is also low, which means prices get pushed up. As the name suggests, owning a cherished number plate is quite the honour, and there’s a good chance the value of the plate will go up with time.
At the end of the day, the value of a number plate is what that combination of numbers and letters means to you. If lots of other people happen to have the same feelings, however, then that’s going to push up the price of your desired plate. There are so many private reg plates options out there for people with every kind of budget, though, so make sure you do your research.
If you choose the right option, you not only get to personalise your car, but you might just find you made a very good investment.