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How To Find A Personalised Number Plate

For many car owners, a private number plate adds the most personal finishing touch to any vehicle. In the last 25 years, the market for personalised plates has seen a boom. While once more commonly associated with celebrities like footballers and film stars, private plates are now a regular sight on UK roads.

Registrations featuring or indicating names, words and common phrases are particularly sought after. Seeing the potential of this market, the DVLA got involved. It is now a stockist of private plates for purchase and has sold over six million of them. Here at, we also sell private car registrations.

If you’re wondering how to find a private number plate, read on for some information and tips.

The three main ways to buy a personalised plate

1. Direct from the DVLA

Buying directly from the DVLA is one option when you’re looking to pick up a personalised plate. With an easy-to-use search facility, you can enter in your specific search criteria online and try and locate your perfect plate. The DVLA system will cross reference your specifications and show you a list of results based on them that might fit the bill. All the number plates listed will be brand new and never used on a vehicle. From time to time, the DVLA will also hold auctions where you can bid on number plates, so keep your eyes open. Fixed price purchases tend to be a better option if price is important, as auction-style buying can get quickly become expensive once the bidding starts.

2. Number plate dealers and brokers

Brokers and dealers can be useful when you’re selling a personalised number plate, and they are also worth checking out when you want to buy one of these plates. These companies purchase plates to sell on to buyers. 

If you can’t find what you’re looking for on the DVLA site, dealers and brokers may well be your best bet. Just like the DVLA, dealer websites often feature handy search tools to track down a plate that fits what you’re looking for. This means that purchasing a new number plate in this way can be quick and convenient.

3. Private sellers

In the classified ads of newspaper car supplements and in physical and online editions of auto publications, you’ll find private number plates being sold. Registrations sold by private sellers are sometimes the most expensive, but they’re still worth considering if you’re seeking a specific number plate that you know exists. Private sellers also sometimes advertise their plates online via sites such as eBay.

How much does a personalised number plate cost?

Private number plates up for sale can range from a few hundred pounds to thousands depending on demand. Plates that feature popular names or words tend to go for the highest prices, as well as those that hold a special meaning for a group of buyers. For example, plates with numerals 9 and 11 are highly sought after by Porsche owners.

Shorter number plates often command a higher price tag too as this typically means they’re much older. Plates that have been used by famous people or on well-known vehicles can also sell for significantly more.

The cost of plates is determined by supply and demand, so if you’re searching for one that is unusual and is likely to be desired by a lot of people, you can expect to have to stump up significantly more than if you went for a less popular, more generic plate.

Other related FAQs

Looking for more related content to this? We’ve picked a selection of related topics that you may find helpful

Most private number plates are bought and sold online, via one of the many websites - including the DVLA - that sell these plates. People may also buy number plates privately, or via a traditional auction house

Whether as a gift or for yourself, it’s perfectly possible to buy a number plate without a car. The registration will be put on a certificate allowing you to use or gift it to someone at a later date.

You’ll find a variety of finance products available for purchasing a private number plate. These agreements allow you to pay in monthly installments, helping you to spread the cost of your new plate.

Always a popular addition to vehicles, there are many websites that allow you to purchase number plates online, including the DVLA. It is safe to buy personalised number plates online as long as you take a few simple precautions.

You can buy your personalised registration from the DVLA or specialist vendors and then get them made up by auto retail outlets such as Halfords, but you’ll need to provide your vehicle log book and proof of ID.

The vast majority of private number plates are sold online, via either the DVLA or one of the other websites that specialises in selling registration numbers. Otherwise, you might be able to obtain one privately or at an auction.

The price of a personalised car number plate in the secondary market is determined by supply and demand. Number plates featuring popular names, words or initials that are attractive to many people tend to come with a higher price tag.

You can buy a personalised number plate from an individual or an organisation as long as they can show that they are the legal owner of the plate. You can then assign the number to your car if you wish.