How Much Is My Number Plate Worth? | Know About The Cost Of Number Plates In The Uk

Are number plates worth money? It may seem like a strange question, but have you ever really wondered how much your number plate is worth in the UK?

You might be surprised to know that it could be worth a lot. There are a number of companies that make big profits finding the right buyers for what may seem like just an ordinary license plate.

The trick is to know what sells and who is willing to buy what you have.

plates for sale


There are a number of factors to consider once you decide to take your first step down this path, such as how long your number plate is, does it contain only letters or just numbers, and could these numbers and letters possibly have a significant meaning to someone else.

Once you master these considerations, you could make a killing in this somewhat untapped market.

In this detailed guide, we will take a closer look at this process and give you some valuable insight on factors that affect the worth of your number plate and how to know the cost.

In summary, here is what the article entails:

  • What Are Number Plates in the UK?
  • What Information Can I Know With a Number Plate in the UK
  • Types of Number Plates in the UK
  • Meaning of the Numbers and Letters of a Number Plate in the UK
  • How Much Is My Number Plate Worth?
  • How to Determine the Worth of a Number Plate in the UK
  • Frequently Asked Questions

But before diving into the worth of a number plate, it is best to know about some basic information on number plates, including types, numbers, and letter meanings.

These play a huge role in determining the worth of a number plate.

What Are Number Plates in the UK?

License plates or registration plates have quite a uniquely complex system of naming.

Basically, this is a one-of-a-kind code to identify your car, sort of like a social security number for your car that holds the key to every kind of important information about your car.

It holds information about penalties and offenses like traffic fines.

In the UK, cars must display their plates on both the front and rear of the car, and the registration codes on these cars are issued by the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Authority (DVLA).

When driving in London, you will come across a number of personalized plates or, as they are more popularly known, vanity plates.

Owners of these vehicles pay extra to choose their own combination of letters and numbers in order to form codes that usually have some double meaning – from special words, numbers, or names.

What Information Can I Know With a Number Plate in the UK

The new system of registration and naming allows people to identify a lot of information about cars just by looking at their plates.

For instance, you can learn about the date and place where the car was registered.

License plates can also be used to check vehicle ownership and other important details such as unpaid parking tickets or warrants.

They are an invaluable tool to help ensure the safety of all types of road users.

Types of Number Plates in the UK

As you will soon find out throughout the article, the type and age of a number plate also affect its worth.

So far, there have been three distinct periods where different vehicle registration naming methods were used in the UK.

To start off, the first types of plates in the UK did not include dates in any form, and because of this, they are referred to as ‘dateless plates‘.

They are short in length and highly sought after. An example of this type of code would be something like 93 GRM or 124 BA.

Suffix Number plates were used from 1963 until 1983. These personalized types of plates can no longer be bought from the DVLA and have to be obtained from DVLA auctions. Their rarity is what makes them worth more than other codes.

Prefix personalized number plates started circulation between 1983 to 2001. They also use a smaller amount of digits than the new system of naming, which makes them slightly more appealing.

However, they are more common than suffix number plates, and you can use similar numbers for additional vehicles such as R81 ABD or R82 ABD.

The new or current numbering system includes two letters, then two numbers and ends with at least three more letters.

Number Plates in the UK


These plates can obviously have many variations and are easily available for purchase at the DVLA, meaning that they are also the least valuable.

Meaning of the Numbers and Letters of a Number Plate in the UK

Keep in mind certain numbers and letters can have an impact on the cost of the number plate.

Generally, the new plate numbering system includes two letters, then two numbers and ends with at least three more letters.

Each of these letters and numbers represents a specific piece of information.

The starting letters show the area in which the car was initially registered. For example, the codes EA to EY represent vehicles that were registered in Essex.

Codes that start with MA to MY are for Manchester to Merseyside.

The numbers in the middle of the plate give a rough estimate of the age of the vehicle, i,e. when the car was registered.

Now, this can be a little tricky to decipher because the codes refer to a six-month period in a year.

Cars that were registered between 1st March to 1st September will just have the last two digits of the year they were registered in, while those that were registered between 1st September to 1st March have 50 added to the last two digits of the year.

So, a car registered in October 2009 will have the number 59 on its plates.

The last three letters are always randomly generated and have no significant meaning behind them, other than just to ensure that your license plate is unique.

How Much Is My Number Plate Worth?

Now, you may be wondering how all of the information above turns into a scenario where your plate is either worth a lot or little.

Well, there are a number of factors that affect how much your plate is worth.

Generally, a customized number plate cost around £800 to £900.

The cost mentioned above is just an average. You may not be aware of this, but some buyers are willing to pay thousands of pounds for a very special or unique number plate.

Let’s take a closer look at some factors that affect the worth of a number plate.

1.    The length of the plate

Registration codes that are shorter are almost always valuable, whether they have some hidden meaning or not.

This is mostly due to the fact that they are less common.

As we mentioned before, the last 3 digits of these codes are generated randomly, and usually contain 3 to 4 letters.

PR63TTT number plate up for sale


This means that codes that only have 1 to 2 numbers after their area tags are quite rare and, therefore. worth more.

2.    The age of the license plate

Older licenses are often shorter in length. This means that the number of variations for each plate is limited, making it more unique and, therefore, more valuable.

3.    Significant word resemblance and meaning

The value of a number increases manifold when it holds some easily recognisable meaning that appeals to people.

For example, the code B055 corresponds to the words ‘boss’, while the code COO 7L looks a lot like the word ‘cool’ and both of these are highly sought after.

Additionally, some plates have a deeper meaning for a particular group of people only.

For example, the code MD 001 might not mean much to the average person, but to a doctor, it would be worth a lot.

4.    Number plates that resemble names

R K16RAN number plate up for sale


Some number plates have digits that are combined in such a way that they seem to spell out a name, such as J0N 500N.

Now, these plates will obviously not appeal to the population at large but they can sell for a large amount to the right buyer.

You just need to know how to find such a person, but we will go into more detail about this a bit later on.

5.    The quality of the word match

The value of the number plate increases substantially the closer the plate matches the desired word.

Take a look at one of our previous plate examples, CO 07L which obviously looks like the word ‘cool’ .

However, a code like CO 00L more closely matches the word and would therefore be more valuable.

The same is true for name matches. For instance, a match to the surname ‘Jones’ like JO N35 would be worth more than JO N355 and so on.

6.    The History of the Plate

Codes that have some historical connection are also more valuable.

For example, a license plate that was previously owned by someone famous could fetch a pretty penny.

7.    Special Car Codes

Lastly, some numbers and words have a special connection to certain brands of cars.

The word 911 is closely linked to Porsche and is one of its best-selling models.

So a license plate like 911 NXT would be valuable to a Porsche 911 owner. In a similar fashion other numbers like AUD R08 appeal to Audi R8 owners or BMW 01 to the owner of a BMW.

Steps on How to Sell Number Plate in the UK

As you can deduce from everything we’ve just mentioned above, the value of your license plate is extremely dependent on its meaning to a potential buyer, special numbers and letters, and plate type.

Should you decide to sell your number plate one day, there are a few simple steps that you need to follow in this process.

1. Check whether you can legally sell your plates

Before you go counting your chickens before they hatch you need to make sure you have permission to transfer your plates in someone else’s name.

Make doubly sure with the DVLA that the plate is indeed assigned to your name and you should also possess a V778  Retention Certificate or  V750 Entitlement Certificate.

2. Get help in determining the cost

Once the first step is complete, you have two options, either hire a middleman who specializes in these types of sales or try to go it alone and manage the sale by yourself on a platform like eBay.

Most dealers do not charge any fee, and they usually make their profit by taking a commission on the sale.

However, since they are well-versed in this process, they have the marketing know-how and reach to get your plates seen by the right customer.

They also have a deeper understanding of their product and can give you a better estimate of its value based on their own experience and the current market climate.

This can significantly increase the amount of money you make on a sale and will offset the cost of their commission.

In addition, they will take care of the time-consuming haggling with customers.

Despite these benefits, it is still advisable to get a few quotes from different dealers to find out the true worth of the plate you are selling.

However, if you do choose to go it alone, there are also a number of avenues to choose from.

You could sell your plates for a fixed and predetermined price, or you could auction them off online to the highest bidder.

If you are not comfortable with these methods, there is still the old-school way of advertising in the classifieds section of a newspaper.

3. Fill out all of the proper legal documentation

Once you have decided on a buyer, you need to seal the deal by filling out all the transfer paperwork.

Again, this needs to be carefully dealt with to avoid any legal issues, which is why it is better that this is handled by an experienced broker.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most expensive UK number plate?

Based on Yorkshire Times’ list of the most expensive plates sold in the UK, the top 10 most expensive plates sold are:

  1. 25 0 – £518,480
  2. X I – £502 500
  3. G I – £500,000
  4. RR I – £472,000
  5. F I – £440,625
  6. S I – £404,063
  7. I D – £352,411
  8. I S – £340,000
  9. M I – £331,500
  10. GB I – £325,000

Can I sell my number plate back to the DVLA?

Unfortunately, this is not an option. The DVLA sells registrations that have not been issued yet, and they keep certain ‘cherished registrations’ on hold for future sales.

Are number plates worth money?

Yes, a personalized number plate not only helps you and your car to stand out in the crowd it also makes good business sense.

These private registrations help to make your car look better, and unlike your vehicle, they only increase in value with time.

Can I sell my old number plate?

Yes, generally, you can but there are a few conditions that have to be met.

First, you have to make sure that the number plate is registered to your vehicle, and that you have a valid V778  Retention Certificate or  V750 Entitlement Certificate.

Wrapping Up

By now you have most probably realized what a great investment a personalized car registration code is.

Not only does it serve as a statement of success and high status, but it can also be a wise financial decision in the long run.

We hope that this article has helped you understand how to determine the worth of your license plate as well as how to go about making a killing on your first sale without any legal worries.

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