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A brief history of number plates

The UK number plate system was introduced in late 1903 with the registration ‘A1’, debatably, being the first. Registration marks were issued in sequence and related to the geographic area they were issued. The registration system has undergone many changes since then. We have put together a brief guide to the different private numberplate styles for you below.

Dateless Style number plates (Mainland UK) (issued between 1903 and 1963)

123 ABC ABC 123
A 1 The Ultimate Registration Mark
25 JR Janet And Ronald's 25th Anniversary
999 ROB Rob The Fire-fighter
TOY 5 Ideal For Toyota or Toy Store Owners
AJL 33 April Jeanette Lee
4 CMP For Christopher Michael Parkinson
ALF 45 Alfred
XMA 55 It's Christmas!
  • Can be transferred to any age vehicle
  • Very rare due to their age
  • Generally the most expensive style
  • No I, Q or Z in the registration
Dateless Plate Quote

I wanted a Dateless plate to cover the age of my vehicle and that would hopefully act as an investment. Plates4Less suggested BB 1967, BJB 808 and XOX 222.

Our Dateless Number Plates area is the most comprehensive in the industry, including lots of useful tools, check out these areas (these links open in new window):

Suffix Style number plates (issued between 1963 and 1983)

ANG 314D Angela Davies
KEN 1X Kenneth, Number 1, Kiss
JON 3S Jones
EDW 412D Edward
GHO 5T Ideal For Rolls Royce Owners and Supernatural Believers!
RAC 3R Racer
JAC 1P Jack or Jacqueline, Number 1, Peters
CAB 846E Cabbage, For Vegetarians!
COS 74A Costa
JAG 805S Jag Boss
  • Age identifier is the last letter (suffix)
  • No I, Q or Z in the registration
Suffix Plate Quote

Plates4Less offered me SAL 19Y which was a great option for us. suggested BB 1967, BJB 808 and XOX 222.

Here are interesting areas for you to look at (these links open in new window):

Prefix Style number plates (issued between 1983 and 2001)

E12 ROR Computer Developers
G3 MMA Gemma
M155 GEG Miss Grace Elizabeth Gallagher
K155 AJS Kiss, Amy Jane Smith
J46 UAR Jaguar
X999 ROB Kiss, For Rob who works in emergency services
N16 GKM Nov 16th (Date of Birth), George K Moore
X40 JHD Kiss, 40th Birthday, Janet Hannah Davies
K8 KLX Katherine (Kate) Lambert, X for a kiss
  • Age identifier is the first letter (prefix)
  • No I, Q or Z in the registration
Prefix Plate Quote

I wanted a fun plate for my new car. Plates4Less found K155ESS for me which I love!

Take a look at the useful features within our Prefix Style Area (opens in new window)

Current Style number plates (issued since 2001)

OO07 RAY For Raymond, A James Bond fan
AN63 LAJ Angela Jones
YU11 MMY Tasty Plate!
LO12 RYS Haulage Firm
AN11 MAL Sports Car Fans/ Vets
SH12 LEY Best Plate for Shirley
SA12 AHJ Sarah Jayne
BO55 RPJ Boss, Rhys Paul James
JE55 GAZ Jessica and Gary
MR52 DVS Mrs Davies
XK03 JRC XK Jaguar, John Robert Clark
JD04 CPD Mr John Dawson and Mrs Claire P Dawson
FA57 BMW Fast BMW car
BE57 JAG Best Jaguar car
  • Age identifier is the two digit number in the middle
  • No I or Q and Z only in the last three letters
Current Plate Quote

I was looking for a plate that spelled my name exactly. Plates4Less suggested the ultimate 'Shirley' plate, SH12LEY.

Find your perfect plate by searching in our Current Style Area (opens in new window)

Northern Irish Number plates

ABZ 1234
SHZ 40 Sharon's 40th Birthday Present
BAZ 101 Barry
BIG 8055 Big Boss
GIL 2068 Gillian
GAZ 6468 Gareth
LNZ 12 Lyndsey
OIL 999 Petrol-head
MIG 6857 Cover Plate, Ideal for hiding vehicle age!
  • Can be transferred to any age vehicle
  • Always have an I or Z in the registration
  • A cheaper alternative to a dateless number plate
Irish Plate Quote

I wanted to get my husband a unique gift. Plates4Less suggested DAZ 84 which is perfect as it's his nickname and year of birth!

Find your perfect plate by searching in our Irish Style Area (opens in new window)