If you’re hoping to buy a personalised plate, either for yourself or as a gift for someone else, then the process is fairly straightforward. Many companies now exist that specialise in selling private number plates, and they all offer a wide range to choose from.
Perform a simple search online and you will find a large range of sites that sell personalised plates, and the prices can vary widely.
The prices for number plates start from under £200, and can go up to tens of thousands of pounds - in rare cases, even hundreds of thousands. Their pricing is all based on supply and demand, so the cost depends very much on what someone would pay for that particular marque.
Some characteristics do tend to make certain number plates more desirable than others, however, and such factors will increase the price you would have to pay to drive around with that very specific sequence of letters and numbers.
Factors affecting the price of number plates
Asking “how much is a personalised number plate?” is akin to asking “how long is a piece of string?” The following are some of the most sought-after features that will inflate the price tag:
The basic rule
All registration numbers are unique, but a rule of thumb is that personalised registrations that are particularly unusual - because there aren’t many similar ones around - are more expensive, while those with similar sequences to a range of others tend to be more affordable.
Suffix, prefix, dateless or new style
The particular sequence on a number plate will fall into one of four categories. Dateless plates tend to be the most expensive, as they are seen as classic and timeless, so their simplicity appeals to a wider audience. Suffix plates - where the plate ends with the letter denoting the year of registration - were issued until around 1980, while prefix plates - with the letter at the start - followed these. New style registrations are still being issued by the DVLA, and the extra digits within these, as compared to older style plates, allow for more options. Whichever you choose, every single number plate issued is unique.
A numbers game
Single figure numbers are generally the most sought-after, with number one normally at the very top of the desirability list. However, other numbers can even go for more money if they happen to match the car model numbers of prestigious vehicles, such as top-end sports cars or sleek, luxury saloons. Numbers are also used on car plates in place of particular letters, so they are more popular when they spell a hankered-after name or word.
A blast from the past
When a number plate has been owned by someone famous or used on an iconic car, it tends to become very sought-after. Classic car owners may well want a plate that reflects the age of their vehicle, while some people like the idea of their plate hailing from the same part of the country as they do.
The name of the game
The more common the name, the more popular - and therefore pricey - the plate is likely to be. Put simply, this is because there are a lot of Toms, Jans or Janes in the world, many of whom would like to claim these plates as their own. Sequences that include popular initials, or words that appeal to the masses, are thus more desirable and therefore more expensive to obtain.