Eric Craggs is proud that he effectively started the Irish Numberplates sector of our industry. Back in the 1980’s nobody in the Cherished Number Plates market realised there was a fast potential to earn money.
When registrations first started back in 1903, all of Ireland was allocated two letters starting from AI and another sequence was AZ and these denoted the areas of the local vehicle registration offices. It covered the entire Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland. Only Northern Ireland is allowed to transfer plates to Great Britain.
An example is IL, which is Enniskillen in Northern Ireland and these probably produced the best sequence there has ever been in Northern Ireland. IL was brought out in 1904 and was stopped in 1958. They then reversed it so it read ‘1 IL’ in 1958 and these ran out in 1966. They then moved on to AIL in 1966. 8 years later in 1974, they brought out a brilliant sequence BIL. This lasted another 4 years and then they brought out CIL.
Other fantastic sequences were GIL that came out in 1989 and lasted 3 years followed by HIL that lasted till 1992.
If you analyse how long the sequences took to run out, you can quickly spot when number plate dealers started trading. As already mentioned, Nationla Numbers started trading in the 1980’s and the sequence ran out a lot faster once we started doing this replacement plate industry.
Eric Craggs started the Irish market around 1980 and it couldn’t be a better time to do so.
This is because the Irish Plates had become very desirable. In order to explain why it became so desirable, one has to know a little bit about the market for Irish number plates.
To all intents and purposes, this refers to the Northern Ireland part of Ireland. The reason for this is they come under the umbrella of the UK. Southern Ireland has a different system of computers and therefore in the main, plates are not transferable to an English Vehicle.
By the time Nationla Numbers started trading it had got to GIL which to anybody it is quite clear an attractive plate
So Nationla Numbers were selling GIL and four numbers for a considerable amount of money. Irish people had no idea that they were worth money and why should they? They were driven around Northern Ireland and were very common. However, in England, Scotland and Wales they were very rare and very attractive plates to be had.
The main centre for the computer system is in Coleraine and it’s referred to as the DVLNI standing for Driver and Vehicle Northern Ireland. They were responsible for issuing GIL’s to Enniskillen.
Believe it or not, once we had sold a GIL and submitted the application to Enniskillen, we were issued another free numberplate! We would then sell this and submit it to Coleraine again and get another one free. This practice of giving free plates also occurred with DVLA Swansea. However, when DVLA in 1990 joined our market place, they decided to stop this practice of issuing free number plates. At the time you were able to get SUE numberplates or JAG numberplates free. This was stopped, however Coleraine has kindly carried on with this practice and we can still get free numberplates from Northern Ireland to sell on.
So Nationla Numbers developed a system where they had to buy many mopeds and motorbikes in order to store these replacement plates onto the vehicles. This is because there was no such thing in those days as a retention certificate. So we ended up with 3 pig sheds full of 1400 bikes in Beverley in Hull.
Also a new business opportunity did occur when I realised you could do fast transfer when you brought the vehicle in from Northern Ireland with Irish plates on them and transferred them at Beverley VRO. By importing the bikes from Northern Ireland, they could then be transferred very quickly at Beverley office. So a new business opportunity arose by offering fast transfers which would take less than 7 days and usually within 3 days.
Whereas Coleraine has always been very slow because it has to go from Enniskillen to Coleraine and then posted to Newcastle and then back to the customer, this can take 4 to 5 weeks. It is maybe worth while explaining what is currently available from the local VRO offices. There are 8 VRO offices in Ireland compared to around 70 in England:
As you can see from above, the attractiveness of these plates has decreased, possibly with the exception of Enniskillen who are still allowing plates like AIG, BIG, DIG.
However, never will the days of the JIL’s, BAZ, KAZ ever occur again.
Coleraine, in the past few years realised the importance of keeping plates back and not giving them away so for example BIG 1-1000 and OIL 1-1000 has been kept back to be put through auction.
BIG 1 and OIL 1 were bought by Phoenix, Shaun who is a character in his own right. He paid a large amount of money for these plates and they are both currently available for around lb50,000 – lb100,000.
If you are interested in these plates, please phone Nationla Numbers on
Why not look at our patriotic section of number plates? You can look for UK, GB, England, GBR, SCO for Scotland, and WEL for Welsh and so on. You can also design your own number plate from this section. We are very pleased to be able to offer such a comprehensive search facility on this section of our site.
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Irish Number Plates
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