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Private number plate industry BOOMING with predicted worth a whopping £1.3billion in 2022

Updated: Feb 11, 2022



Online search interest in buying and selling private number plates has increased by 58% since 2018.


This trend in vehicle personalisation is showing no signs of slowing down, with the industry predicted to be worth a whopping £1.3 billion in 2022, increasing by 275% since 2018.


On average, a personalised plate costs British drivers £877, but some buyers are willing to spend tens of thousands of pounds for the ideal combination of characters.

Pricey private plates


Plates with the fewest characters are typically the most valuable, along with any plates released before 1963 (which is when age identifiers were introduced).

Table credit: comparethemarket.com

In Dubai in 2016, the plate ‘1’ was bought for 31 Million AED (£5,410,120) and resold two years later for 52.2 Million AED (£10,615,160) to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, increasing in value by an impressive £5.2 million.


Private number plates can increase in value depending on their popularity, and names and words tend to be firm favourites. For example, in the UK, the plate ‘JAM3S’ (JAMES), was bought in 1998 for £9,200, and sold last year for £95,500 - a 933% increase. ‘P14 STA’ (PASTA) was purchased in 2018 for £3,250 and sold in 2020 for £7,750 - a 138% increase.

4 things to know when purchasing a private plate:


It’s important to follow these rules to avoid being fined up to £1,000, or having your plate go back into the ownership of the DVLA.


  1. Make sure your plate is legal: To be legal, a plate has to have the correct font, colour, character spacing and be made of the correct material. There are also rules on 3D domed and gel plates.

  2. Have the correct documentation: It’s important that you have either a V750 certificate or V778 retention document to prove you have the right to use the private number plate.

  3. Put your plate on retention when changing cars: You must put your plate on retention whilst changing registration, or risk losing the plate. This costs £80 and can be done through the DVLA website.

  4. Don’t forget to update your insurance: If you add a new personalised plate to your car, make sure you tell your insurance provider. Not doing so can invalidate your cover.


comparethemarket.com has identified several personalised plates in different categories and predicted what their resale value could be. To see the full list of plates, please visit: https://www.comparethemarket.com/car-insurance/content/pricey-private-plates/

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