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based on 7,000+ reviews
Find a Private Number Plate Guides

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 Show Me How

A1
The ultimate registration mark
25 JR
Janet's 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 or Alfie
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

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.

Brett James Brown, DOB 1967, Accountant

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)

ABC 1A Show Me How

ANG 314D
Angela Davies
KEN 1X
Kenneth, Number 1, Kiss
JON 3S
Jones
EDW 412D
Edward
GHO 5T
Ideal for Rolls Royce Owners, or believers in the supernatural!
RAC 3R
Racer
JAC 1P
Jack or Jacqueline, Number 1, Peters
CAB 846E
Cabbage, for vegetarians!
  • Age identifier is the last letter (suffix)
  • No I, Q or Z in the registration

Plates4Less offered me SAL 19Y which was a great option for us.

Tom, searching for a present for Sally

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


Prefix Style number plates (issued between 1983 and 2001)

A1 ABC Show Me How

L4 URA
Laura
E12 ROR
For computer developers!
G3 MMA
Gemma
M155 GEG
Miss Grace Elizabeth Gallagher
K155 AJS
Kiss, Amy Jane Smith
J46 UAR
Jaguar
X999 ROB
A kiss for Rob, who works in the 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

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

Amy, looking for a plate for her new car

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


Current Style number plates (issued since 2001)

AA51 ABC Show Me How

OO07 RAY
For Ray, a James Bond fan
AN63 LAJ
Angela Jones
YU11 MMY
Tasty plate!
LO12 RYS
Haulage firm
AN11 MAL
For sports car fans or 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
  • Age identifier is the two digit number in the middle
  • No I or Q and Z only in the last three letters

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

Shirley, looking for the perfect plate for her name

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


Northern Irish Number plates

ABZ 1234 Show Me How

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
For a petrol-head!
  • Can be transferred to any age vehicle
  • Always have an I or Z in the registration
  • A cheaper alternative to a dateless number plate

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!

Ai, searching for a gift for her husband, Darren

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