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How to Sell a Private Number Plate UK

Pretty much every day, people sell personalised number plates. Back in 2015/16, personal number plates sales reached £102 million. This was a 19% increase compared to 2014. There are more than 45 million personalised number plates in the UK. Basically, two out of three people own a personalised number plate.

In the UK, acquiring a personalised number plate adds a unique touch to your vehicle. For others, it’s a statement of success and status. In the last two to three decades, the DVLA has experienced a boom in personalised plate sales.

There comes a time when a car owner decides to sell their personalised plate. Just like any other asset, it is essential to sell it for the best price. Want to know the best place to sell a private number plate?

In this post, you’ll find a host of information that will guide you to the best places where to sell your private plates.

What is a Cherished Number Plate?

A cherished number plate is a private plate that’s of age. Basically, the personalised plate is the equivalent of antiques. Such plates do not display a year code. They’re dateless. First issued before 1963, they are often found on classic vehicles. But, you can find newer and highly sought after private plates.

The reason why they’re ‘cherished’ is because they’ve been in circulation for several years. As such, their ownership has passed in one family for generations. Cherished number plates have a variety of formats:

  • A 12
  • A 1234
  • AA 12
  • AA 123
  • AAA 12
  • AAA 123

Later issues reused many of these numbers but with the number first. For example, ’12 A’ or ‘123 AA’.

How Are Personalised Number Plates Valued?

Private number plates are a big business. In 2014, John Collins, a Ferrari dealer, bought a number plate “25 O” for £518,000. To date, this is the most expensive private plate in the UK. In fact, the sale of this private plate beat the previous record holder, the “F 1” plate bought for £440,000. Owned by Eric Clapton, the value of the Ferrari 250 SWB was £10 million.

A private plate is worth what buyers are willing to pay for it and how big a market is for your personal plate. For example, if your plate reads “A1” or “007,” it will command a higher price. If your plate contains your initials, it will appeal to buyers with the same initials.

To value a private plate, there are several factors to consider:

  • Rarity
  • Age
  • Market demand
  • Registration length
  • Price comparison
  • Desirability or novelty

Personalised number plates that appeal to buyers are those with:

  • Fewer characters
  • Shorter registration length
  • Popular phrase or word

Demand for private plates can fluctuate quickly. Before selling your personalised number plate, get an accurate valuation.

Example of personalised plates and their values:

  • Single letter suffix combinations (for example A 123) – £1,799 – £600,000
  • Single letter suffix combinations (for example 123 C) – £1,599 – £500,000
  • Double letter prefix combinations (for example AA 123) – £799 – £200,000
  • Double Letter suffix combinations (for example 1 AB) – £699 – £150,000
  • Triple letter prefix combinations without year letters (for example AAA 1) – £699 – £75,000
  • Triple letter combinations with prefix year letters (for example A1 AAA) – £199 – £6,599
  • New style registrations (for example AA11 USA) – £150 – £4,999

National Numbers offers a free online valuation and listing. The site provides a free number plate valuation within 30 seconds. The free valuation service is available to the owner of the personalised plate.

SwiftReg also advertises a combination of private plates from:

  • DVLA
  • Private sellers
  • Private investors
  • From their stock

You can happily get the valuation of your personalised plate. Head to SwiftReg website and fill out the form. Click “Request Valuation”, and SwifReg will send an email with your personalised plate estimated value.

How Do I Sell My Personalised Number Plate?

There are several places where you can sell your private number plate.

Auction Sites

One of the easiest ways to sell your private number plate is through auction sites such as eBay and Gumtree. Both have millions of active users and provide a ready market for you. eBay has a dedicated website category for cherished number plates.

If you choose to sell through eBay, we recommend getting a valuation from SwiftReg or National Numbers. This way, you’ll be able to keep the starting price of your bid close to the estimated value. If you post on a slow month, it may result in few low bids.

At the time of writing, the most expensive private number plate listed on eBay UK was £9,622. Remember, there is a listing fee of 10%. Before posting your listing, we recommend that you wait for an email from eBay for a maximum of £1 selling fees.

DVLA Authorised Dealers

Another secure method of selling your private plate is through DVLA authorised dealers. The dealers have a free valuation tool that allows you to know the estimated value of the private plate before selling. They promote the sale of your personalised plate and manage the payment and transfer of the private plate. Just like eBay, the DVLA dealers do charge a small fee upon sale.

The following is a list of DVLA authorised dealers:

  • WNReg
  • Plate Private
  • The Private Plate Company
  • Plates4Less
  • Western Registrations
  • Reg Maker
  • Platinum Plates
  • The Personalised Numbers Agency
  • Premier Plates UK
  • Grand Plates
  • BoldReg
  • Primo Registrations
  • Caz Reg
  • Elite Registrations
  • Click 4 Reg
  • British Car Registrations
  • Drive-in Plates
  • Absolute Reg
  • Drive-in Plates
  • Platinum Plates
  • National Numbers
  • Plate Finder
  • Mark Hunt
  • Plates4Less
  • New Reg
  • Motor Marks
  • Plate Dealer
  • SpeedyReg
  • Reg Transfers
  • Reg Plates
  • Grand Plates

The DVLA strongly suggests that you never share or scan your V750 certificate of ownership or V778 online. If you share these documents online, someone other than your intended buyer may use the documents illegally. In fact, there is the possibility they may attach your private number plate to another car.

Private Sale

Besides selling your private number plates on auction sites, you can advertise it yourself. Thanks to social media and private group chats, you can notify interested buyers that you’re selling your private plates.

While you may have thousands of followers on social media and private chats, it may take a while. To gain more traction, do not limit yourself to one social media channel. We recommend creating a video and a catchy description. Post your listing (including video, photos and description) on:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • WhatsApp
  • Facebook Messenger
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube and others

Just remember not to share your V750 (Certificate of Entitlement) or V778 (Certificate of Retention) online.

Can I Sell My Personalised Registration Plate Back to the DVLA?

There are several rules that the DVLA requires you to follow:

  • It’s illegal to misrepresent the format of the private plate
  • A private plate should not have a registration mark that misrepresents the vehicle
  • Vehicles must have MOT and Road Tax to take part in the transfer scheme
  • Private plates must have at least one number

The DVLA stocks cherished plates that have never been issued to date. But they do not buy personalised plates. If you’ve a private number plate, you cannot sell it to DVLA. You can sell it to DVLA authorised dealers as listed above. However, when you sell your private plate, you must notify the DVLA immediately.

Private number plates are not registered to the individual but the vehicle. If the car or the owner of the private plate changes, there must be a transfer which incurs a fee of £80. To transfer ownership, DVLA will send the current logbook of the vehicle (V5C) and the V750 or V778. Once this happens, DVLA will post a new logbook for the car wearing the plates.

Final Thoughts

A private number plate is an asset. Before selling the personalised registration plate, research online. The first place to look is the DVLA. They hold numerous auctions where they sell newly published registration plates. You can also check out DVLA authorised dealers, auction sites and social media.

If getting a personalised number plate, make sure it’s legal. This will allow you to avoid getting a £1,000 fine or fail your next MOT. If you successfully sell your private plate, inform the DVLA using the V778 and V750 along with your V5C.