Private Plates

A private, or personalised number plate, is a top way to make an impact while you’re motoring around in your pride and joy.

Celeb Status Plate

If you’re a household name, a private registration plate is almost de rigueur. The late magician, Paul Daniels’ number plate read MAG 1C and veteran comedian, Jimmy Tarbuck, bought a plate that spelt COM 1C.

Investment Plate

But not everybody purchases private number plates to strengthen their fame or enhance their street credibility. Some financiers pounce on cheap registrations that they believe could become more expensive in time. For instance, many private plates go up for auction on the DVLA website, which catalogues millions of potential permutations that regularly cost below £500. The government body then offers the number plates for sale through private companies at a profit when they consider the time is right.

Stay Plate Legal

Irrespective of whether you acquire a private number plate as an asset or a status symbol, there are guidelines to stick to if you don’t want to get on the wrong side of the law. Private registration numbers must be applied to a registered vehicle, or one soon to be registered. The motor must also be used in the United Kingdom – and it has to be taxed. In plain English, that means you can’t just fork out for a personalised number plate and put it on a shelf in your garage with the expectation that its worth will swell.

Plate Age

Also, and for clear reasons, you can’t use a private plate to make a vehicle look as if it’s newer than it truly is. For example, placing a “12” registration number onto a 2010 registered car is off limits as a result. The DVLA also forbids the use of particular words that are distasteful in any commonly used language. That said, formerly prohibited combinations, like SEX, have become obtainable of late. And you risk being stopped and penalised by the police if you don’t adhere to the official UK font, size and positioning. I’ve seen some clever practice, such as motorists placing rivets into a vehicle registration plate to make ‘II’ look like ‘H’. But, perhaps the cops have bigger things to worry about?

Transferring Your Plate

Furthermore, there are constraints when it comes to retailing private plates, or reassigning them to another vehicle. You will, for instance, have to complete a form to move the registration number from your old motor to your new car. The same is true if the personalised registration plate is going onto a vehicle kept by somebody else. There is also a fee. Additionally, the purchaser will need to fill out the same paperwork if the number plate is changing owners.

Absolute Reg Plate

So, if you feel you need a personalised number plate, what are your choices? Well, you could peruse online where sites like Absolute Reg number plates offer a huge database of plates. Or you could check out the aforementioned DVLA auctions where personalised plates are flogged to the highest bidder.

Unique Plate

Otherwise, you could just hope that the next vehicle you shell out for has a number plate which you could palm off as being bespoke. A good market is out there for those who are lucky enough to be gifted a decent private plate and want to trade. The proviso to this is that you’ll need a reasonable amount of cash if you want to get something unique. A few thousand pounds is likely to get you something that could bear a resemblance to your name. But the more popular your name, the higher the cost, as there are more Dave Browns out there looking to distinguish themselves from the fleet.

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