How Private Number Plates are proven to be Great Investments

People buy private registration marks for various reasons – displaying a name, perhaps, or promoting a business – and with a whole range of combinations to choose from, there's no shortage of plates to fit any purpose.
30/04/2020 News
Plate investment

However, with the stock market currently more unpredictable than ever, property prices expected to drop if the economy goes into a recession and some people placing less trust in their banks and savings accounts, it’s worth noting that personal plates have proved to be great investments.

For a start, they tend to either hold or increase in value over time. With this in mind, perhaps don’t invest in a registration if you’re after a quick turnaround on your money. If you’re able to wait a while though, private registrations might be the way to go.

As with all investments, the value will depend on supply and demand. What you’ll want is a registration mark that’s in limited supply and yet highly sought after. Names, for example, are always very popular choices for private registrations and tend to make safe investments. Similarly, people often prefer shorter registration marks over the more common, longer, current style. Combine the two – a name and a short registration sequence – and you should find your investment will reward you when it comes to selling it later.

Another popular choice for a personal registration mark is one that combines letters and numbers to suggest an occupation or service. TRI4 NER, for example, might suit a personal trainer looking to promote their services on their vehicle, while a CAB plate might prove attractive to a taxi business.

Private number plate for a trainer business

Also popular, and therefore likely to retain value, are the early dateless plates. These registrations present a group of letters and a group of numbers separately, rather than mixed together like the current style, and can sometimes be quite short. What’s more, because there’s no obvious age identifier on the plate, they can be used as a cost-effective way to disguise the age of an older vehicle, when replacing or upgrading it may prove too expensive. (Please note, though, that Northern Ireland style plates, while dateless, tend to remain at a low cost due to their wide availability.)

Whatever vehicle registration mark you choose to invest in, you can either keep it on retention, which means it’s held on a certificate, or you can assign it to a vehicle – neither choice will affect its value. Certificates are currently valid for ten years and can be renewed for a further ten if necessary, at no charge. Putting it on a vehicle, though, may prove a useful way to advertise it whilst simultaneously enjoying its use, and when it’s on a vehicle there’s no need to renew the registration’s validity. Either way, there’s very little for you to do, making private registrations incredibly low maintenance investments.

There have been some impressive investments in private registrations over the years. Registration VIP I, for example, was bought for £62,000 and only two years later sold for £285,000. Registration mark 7A sold for just over £8,000 back in 1993 and is now worth around £300,000, whereas ELV IS was bought for £75,000 and is now estimated to be worth £150,000

Elvis Presley


Most impressive of all is probably registration F I which was purchased for £440,625 in 2008 by entrepreneur Afzal Khan and has since been listed for sale for over £12 million! Khan has built up quite a collection of private registration marks. He paid £700 for his first, KHA I7, and sold it four years later for £6,000. “I believe they are a better investment than gold and property these days,” he says, noting, “I have been in two recessions and everything falls apart other than number plates.”

The chairman of the Cherished Numbers Dealers Association, Eric Craggs, agrees that registration marks are “a brilliant investment”, adding “Definitely as good as wine, gold, and Harry Potter first editions”!

Of course, you can’t ever know for sure how good an investment a private plate might be, but rarely would you make a loss; they tend to at least retain their value (unlike vehicles!), and when chosen well to anticipate demand, can make quite a profit.

Should you wish to invest in a private registration, we have a whole range for you to choose from, including both previously unissued registrations and pre-owned ones. If you’re looking to sell a private registration you’ve already invested in, you can do that through us, too. Simply navigate our website, or give one of our team a call on 01792 477316.