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5 Personalised Plates Myths … Busted

June 16, 2015
Posted in Editorial,Interesting — Written by Nationla Numbers

Personalised plates can mean one of two things – 1. Private registrations that Nationla Numbers sells, and 2. The plastic plates that you put onto your vehicle.

You are probably aware already what you can and can’t have on a private registration, but what many people aren’t aware of are the rules and regulations relating to the plates themselves.

Personalised number plates are just strict as the DVLA’s format for car registrations, and the penalties can be hugely costly if you deliberately or accidentally use an illegal set.

In today’s blog we will address the common myths surrounding personalised plates, and we will tell you exactly what you can and can’t have.


Myth #1

“I can space personalised number plates however I want.”

singh personalised number plates

Many people forget that when you buy a personalised registration you are still buying what is a valid vehicle registration number from the DVLA, and so it is still in format. However, since it is a personalised plate you might still make the assumption that you can modify it to look however you want.

For example, if you buy F511 NGH because your name is Singh then you might want to space it so 511NGH is together, thus spelling the name. It makes sense, but it is illegal as it doesn’t match the official format.

All personalised plates much meet the standard DVLA formats, which have been explained here. Spaces are legally mandated and cannot be omitted, altered or moved.

Singh personalised plates


Myth #2

“I am allowed to use my own images on a personal reg.”

derek personalised number plates

You might have noticed that some plates have a flag on the left side. You might think this is a customisation option and you could potentially have any picture you want in place of that, but unfortunately that is not correct.

Flags act as identifiers and the EU symbol is compulsory for any vehicle travelling through Europe. Like characters and spacing, the size, shape and even colour are mandated by DVLA. The only ones you can have are as follows:

  • Union Flag (UK)
  • Cross of St George (ENG)
  • Cross of St Andrew – also known as the Saltire (SCO)
  • Red Dragon of Wales (WALES, CYM)
  • Euro Flag (GB)

I have had customers ask for things like the Cornish flag in the past, but even this is not allowed unfortunately.

derek personalised plate


Myth #3

“It is okay to add my own slogan at the bottom of my number plates.”

sa personalised number plates

If you get number plates from a car dealership you will notice that they will put their name at the bottom. You might this this is them trying to get some free advertising and that if you had your own personalised plates made up you can add your own name or slogan at the bottom.

However, that is not correct. According to DVLA:

The British Standard sets out the characteristics of the number plate. This includes visibility, strength and reflectivity. To meet the British Standard, each number plate must be permanently and legibly marked with the following information.

1. The British Standard number (currently BS AU 145d)

2. The name, trademark or other way of identifying the manufacturer or supplier

3. The name and postcode of the supplying outlet


This is basically so the supplier of the number plate can be held accountable if there is anything wrong with the plate, such as it not being made to legal standards.

The space reserved for the name can be no more than 13mm in height, so is barely visible at a distance, and no other advertisement is allowed.

sa personalised plates


Myth #4

“Personal number plates don’t have to use the standard sizes and colours.”

des personalised number plates

Technically, this is sort-of half true if you are talking about the size and shape of the acrylic number plate. Many makes and models even require specially cut and shaped number plates these days, such as the curved Ferrari plates.

Other than this though, DVLA do have set guidelines for the size of the font, the colour of the font, and the material used. All personalised plates must be made of reflective acrylic and must be white on the front and yellow on the back, all with black text.

You couldn’t for example had a red number plate to match your Ferrari, like one customer asked for.

You cannot actually have anything in the background on the number plate. It much be plain white or yellow. Even the honeycomb that some number plate suppliers issue is no longer allowed.

des personalised plates


Myth #5

“The font on personalised plates can be changed.”

marty personalised number plates

No matter what personalised number plate you have, no matter the format or the length, every single character on a number plate is deliberately formatted within DVLA’s specifications. You cannot have any variation on the font.

We’ve been through what this format is in the past, but as a summary it is as follows:

  • Characters must be 50mmx79mm (except for I/1), and 14mm thick.
  • Spaces of 11mm between each character.
  • Spaces in the format must be 33mm.
  • Margins at the top and bottom must be 11mm.

Even if you have your own personalised number plates made up you cannot change the font if you want to be able to drive the car. It is this way so every number plate on the road can be easily identified. In fact, that is the reason why many of these rules are in place to begin with.

marty personalised plates



If you are caught violating any of the rules mentioned you could face fines of up to lb1,000 and your MOT will be invalidated, even if you are using personalised plates.

Remember, these are in place to keep you and other drivers as safe as possible. Do not fall for any of these myths, it is not worth it!


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3 Other Ways To Sell Your Number Plates

March 18, 2015
Posted in Customers — Written by Nationla Numbers

One of the most frequent queries we get is a customer asking how to go about selling their number plate. In most cases it is pretty straight forward as Nationla Numbers will advertise for you for free – in fact most of the number plates for sale on our website are put on with private individuals.

The problem is that advertising with Nationla Numbers means entering in a competitive market. You would have to name a price and list it for sale, usually against hundreds of other similar registrations. This is not handy if you need to sell the number plate quickly – maybe you’re about to scrap the vehicle or the retention is about to run out?

Nationla Numbers are here to help guide you in the sale of your number plate. There are a few ways to go about it and lots of useful tools to make the whole ordeal stress free.


number plates for sale

Method #1: Advertise Your Number Plates Everywhere

Customers who buy registrations on our website come to us, not the private seller. In doing so they are obviously playing slightly more to cover a commission for ourselves. Cutting out the middle man might make the difference, as the registration can then be bought for less.

Of course, it would mean you, and you alone, as the seller are responsible for the transfer and you do not get the protection or guidance as you would from Nationla Numbers. You can easily consult DVLA for advice though. (See DVLA Guide)

Take advantage of the huge number of sales websites out there such as:

  1. eBay
  2. Gumtree
  3. Preloved
  4. Friday-Ad
  5. Loot

There is likely tonnes more as well. Online classifieds and auctions are hugely popular ways of selling goods these days.

The key is to advertise in as many places as possible to increase visibility. Just remember to take any listings down if you sell it somewhere else – the last thing you want is to have more than one person to buy it from you.


number plates for sale

Method #2: Contact Potential Buyers Directly

If you have a number plate that you know would be suitable for certain people – maybe it is suitable for a specific car, profession, or maybe even a celebrity – you can put some leg work into making sure they know it is for same.

Many customers aren’t looking for private number plates specifically because the market is too crowded. If the right plate presents itself they would likely be interested, and that is where you come in.

This does require some of your own research of course, but it has never been easier to make contact. We have sold plates to companies just be calling them, and celebrities just by messaging them on Twitter, you can do the same.

If your number plate refers to a specific car the internet can be a great tool. Various owners clubs have internet forums you can post on to make people aware of the number plate and hopefully spark some interest.

Auto Crowd Group is a great website that groups together all the owners clubs you can imagine into one website, allowing you to see the full shooting match. Use it to join the relevant car clubs and take it from there. You might even make some new friends along the way.


number plates for sale

Method #3: Check If Dealers Will Buy It from You

For a lot of people this is usually the first port of call. It is common when having a number plate valued that customers ask if we would be it from them, and unfortunately the answer is usually “No”.

It is not anything personal, but Nationla Numbers and other dealers only tend to buy number plates that meet certain requirements. For example, we only tend to buy number plates that are rare, short, or dateless.

If you want a cash offer from dealers you have to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Does my plate meet the requirements mentioned earlier?
  2. Is there nothing else similar on the market right now?
  3. Will I be willing to take a lot less than the market value?

If you answered “Yes” to all these you might be within a change.

Nationla Numbers will only tend to buy number plates that we either know someone is after or we know there are not many like it, and only if we can get it at a fraction of the price.


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10 Interesting Plates in the DVLA’s November Auction

November 20, 2014
Posted in DVLA — Written by Nationla Numbers

If you are new to the number plate game you might not be aware of the DVLA’s personalised number plate auctions. These are the auctions where the DVLA sell off a selection of the vast number of registrations never been issued to the public. In other words, if you buy a number plate from an auction you will be the first owner, which is why good deals are to be had.

As a number plate dealer I buy a lot of my stock this way, and for a member of the public it is perfect for getting a great plate at a decent price. The November auction will be hosted at The Vale Resort in Cardiff and will run from the 26th to the 28th. Below I have listed 10 marks that have caught my eye and the Estimate Price* I reckon we’ll see on the day. You can grab the full list of plates available here.

(* = Hammer price before fees.)

Porsche 991 Turbo 911 Number Plate

#1: POR 991T (Lot No: 1133)

Meaning: Porsche 991 Turbo

Reserve: lb400

Estimate Price: lb1,500

There is a few Porsche plates in this auction, one very good that I will mention later, but I expect this one to be quite a steal at lb1,500, especially if you have the matching car. I think the price will stay down because the model is still very new so it is not very widely driven yet, but it might only take two or three owners showing up to make things pick up. In case that happens though there are a few more in the same auction: 111 POR, POR 217T, POR 711A and POR 993X.

Fulton Fullton number plate

#2: FU11 TON (Lot No: 479)

Meaning: Fullton, Fulton

Reserve: lb900

Estimate Price: lb2,600

I’ve estimated this to go quite low because it is not a hugely popular surname, but it is about as close as you could possibly get to “Fulton”/“Fullton” so I imagine a bunch of people will be trying their hand. It only takes two or three bidders with deep pockets to create a bidding war that could see this go for a lot more, but if so it is not the end of the world as F111 TON will also be available a few lots later.

Belamy Bellamy number plate

#3: BE11 AMY (Lot No: 127)

Meaning: Bellamy

Reserve: lb1,000

Estimate Price: lb5,000

It is hard to predict what these sorts of plate go for because there are very few plates to compare it to. For the name, “Bellamy”, it is perfect so it really depends on who is there on the day. lb5,000 is quite a conservative prediction, but as I mentioned earlier it just takes two or three affluent bidders to make it fly way above that. I can pretty much guarantee that the plate will be back on the market a couple of years from now at a five-figure price.

25000 25 OOO number plate

#4: 25 OOO (Lot No: 1063)

Meaning: 25000

Reserve: lb3,000

Estimate Price: lb5,500

I always like looking out for these are they always go quite decently. There is even a rumour going around that the same party is buying them all at each auction. Looking at the history we’ve had 20 OOO go at lb5.5k, 21 OOO at lb5k and 22 OOO at lb5.5k, so this should be a pretty safe bet at our estimated price. However, sometimes you never can predict as 23 OOO went at lb9k. Maybe this registration will have similar fortunes?

WELSH WALES number plate

#5: WEL 55H (Lot No: 1498)

Meaning: Welsh

Reserve: lb1,000

Estimate Price: lb6,000

It is not the only “Welsh”/“Wales” plate coming available, there is also W44 LES, WEL 6H and WA11 LES coming up in the same auction, but this one in particular grabbed my attention because the WEL 5H sold at over lb27,000 when it went to auction several years ago. This is definitely one to watch, as the result could be surprising. I doubt it will get anywhere near to price of its shorter counterpart though.

Callum number plate

#6: CA11 LUM (Lot No: 205)

Meaning: Callum, Calum

Reserve: lb900

Estimate Price: lb8,000

I could be underestimating this number plate because it isn’t the perfect spelling of “Callum” (three L’s), but it is a pretty tidy number plate. A quick look on the market shows that other plates referring to this name are going for as high as lb40,000 so there is definite investment opportunity. Plus, if you want a “Callum” plate and do not want to pay that sort of price this might just be your last chance to get one cheaper. However, I do know C411 UM* plates are still available.


Rhianna number plate

#7: RH14 NNA (Lot No: 1199)

Meaning: Rhianna

Reserve: lb1,000

Estimate Price: lb12,000

I cannot wait for this one. It is very hard to pick a price on this because there has never been anything like that name that has gone through auction before. R14 NNA is on the private market at over lb10,000, but this is perfect for the name. Everyone is thinking the obvious, that the popstar will want it, but she does not live in the country, so who realistically will be bidding on it? People called “Rhianna”, those who have named their daughter “Rhianna”, maybe even people who hope to sell it to the popstar one day. My prediction? Lots of bidders, but most of them will not bid high. Will it break lb10k? I think so, but I can definitely see most bidders dropping out before it gets anywhere near that.

Porsche 911 GTS number plate

#8: 911 GTS (Lot No: 544)

Meaning: Porsche 911 GTS

Reserve: lb1,900

Estimate Price: lb12,000

I reckon this will break into five figures no problem, eclipsing my estimated price. The Porsche 911 is a very popular car so there are bound to be a lot of interest from owners and dealers alike. To give you an idea a new model will cost you upwards of lb90,000, so I guarantee they’ll be a lot of people with the money to spend. You can also bet that it will increase the value of a car that is being resold too, perfect investment.

McLaren number plate

#9: MC14 REN (Lot No: 902)

Meaning: McLaren

Reserve: lb5,000

Estimate Price: lb15,000

This could be go for anything. Definitely one that will break five figures because of a double meaning – it is a surname and could also refer to the F1 team. I wouldn’t be surprised if a representative of McLaren is actually there to bid for it. That said, it might be one that has a very high resale value but goes for cheaper than expected, it is an obvious target for people trying to get an investment number plate.

Robson number plate

#1o: RO13 SON (Lot No: 1218)

Meaning: Robson

Reserve: lb1,000

Estimate Price: lb20,000

This is the big one. The name is very common and this registration is absolutely perfect for it. We know it is going to be popular as well because we had well over a hundred people contact us about it when the 13-issue registrations were about to be released, many of them telling us they would pay upwards of lb10,000 to get hold of it. Since then though more people will have 13-reg vehicles and more people will have realised that it was coming up for auction. Like with RH14 NNA I expect there will be a room full of bidders, but I reckon they’ll be a handful of people willing to bid high. I would not be surprised if it surpassed our estimated price by some distance, in fact.

What are your predictions for the upcoming auction? Are there any plates you are looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below!


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Should cyclists be made to display number plates?

October 21, 2014
Posted in Editorial — Written by Nationla Numbers

Whether you think it is right or wrong, we would all agree that cyclists get a lot of hate from motorists in Britain. I won’t go into where I personally stand on the issue because weighing up the reasons why and why not would take an entire blog post in itself! What I would like to talk about is this recent idea that is being floated around – should cyclists display number plates?

Sussex Police Commissioner, Katy Bourne, brought the idea into relevance a couple of weeks ago, saying it would make prosecution of cyclists who disregard road laws. Bourne has road safety at heart, highlighting negligent cyclists who ride through red lights and put other road users in danger. She isn’t the first with these views, I remember a few years ago Ken Livingston, Mayor of London at the time, put forward the same idea.


Speaking at a public meeting, Bourne said: ‘I would like to see cyclists wear some form of identification like cars have … This way when they go through traffic lights, you can actually identify them and then you can prosecute them for breaking the law.

Katy Bourne also made it clear she wanted equal punishment for cyclists and motorists who break the same laws. In her opinion this would make life much easier, and law enforcement easier. She would agree that this is more a case of the few spoiling it for the many, but nevertheless if a car has to be identified regardless she sees no reason why a bicycle shouldn’t have to either.

Obviously she has her opponents on this matter. The Telegraph’s Andrew Critchlow said the idea was “impossible to enforce” in his blog on the matter, and Simon Usborn of The Independent called it an “unworkable policy”. What Katy Bourne has implied about the competency of cyclists in general has also inspired heated opposition, as you would expect.

The point is that the idea, in general, is impractical. When you say cyclists should have number plates in a literal sense one would wonder how you would go about displaying them. Your average car number plate is rectangular and clunky, very awkward for the frame of the bicycle. Plates more akin to the smaller square ones motorbikes display are still a problem because there is simply nowhere to put them.

You are left with a very big decision about whether you would make a completely new design bicycles can display – and I have no idea what that would be – or you simply ban certain bikes from the road if they cannot fit a number plate, which right now is most. Another problem would be required modification to allow a place for the number plate – who will be paying for that? The cyclist?

I’m sure there are ways around this – Number plates printed on cycling jerseys? Number plates on helmets? Number plates on the side of the bicycle? One way or another it would be very hard to solve the problem of identifying the cyclist as all of these would, in someway, obscure the actual mark.

cycle number plates

The other problem is where exactly are this registration numbers coming from? For vehicles these are issued by the DVLA, and it is based on location and date of first issue, which alone is practically unenforceable. How would one go about assigning an age to a bicycle? Or would the DVLA create a new department specifically so cyclists can register their bikes for the first time? Would they then sideline a specific combination of registration marks like they do with exported vehicles – CY15 ABC for example?

We’ve explained how number plate formats work in the past, but even if we can work it out that is still a huge strain on the DVLA. By estimation there is about 3.5million regular cyclists in the country (based on recent sales and survey statistics), and 43% of the country have access to a cycle as well – all presumably would need to be registered. That is a lot of unique number plates the DVLA would have to give out, presumably for free.

Not to mention how you would go about enforcing which bicycles are road worthy or not. At what point would a recreational bike become a road bike? There are way too many variables that would make this entirely impossible, unless you do something over-drastic like outright banning certain types of bicycles from the road completely, and that is not something people would be enthused about.

It is hard to disagree with Katy Bourne’s original sentiments – it should be as easy to report a cyclist who has broken the law as it is for a dangerous driver, if just for the continued safety of road users, but there is no magic bullet for this problem. The world of vehicle registrations is complicated and the last thing that needs to be done is to rush into it without a plan, and a plan itself would take years to iron out.

I echo statements made by others: Rather than instigate a War of the Roads between cyclists and motorists we should be more focused on building a respectful relationship between the two and encourage the education of proper road use. That is the best, and so far only practical, solution to help protect both drivers and cyclists alike, as well as pedestrians.


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Number Plates – Legal Fonts and Formats

March 17, 2014
Posted in Cars,DVLA — Written by Nationla Numbers

DVLA issue private registrations which can resemble names or words BUT it is an offence to rearrange the characters or alter the spacing. This is because number plates are functional, the exist primarily to identify the vehicle for enforcement purposes. Hence the existence of standard fonts and formats.

Standard rear number plates

Current Legal Format for Number Plates

A new format had to be introduced on September 1st, 2001 as the previous prefix letter arrangement had come to the end of the alphabet. The current number plate format consists of two letters, two numbers and finally followed by three random letters.

Consultation with interested parties, particularly the police was carried out at length. According to research, the first few characters are more likely to be remembered by a witness. Therefore, the first two letters indicate an area e.g. NT denotes a vehicle registered in Middlesbrough, North East of England.

The two numbers are an age-identifier e.g. 13 indicates of vehicles registered in March 2013, 63 indicates the September 2013 registration and 14 represents vehicles registered in March 2014.

layout on a standard number plate

Legal Number Plates on Cars and Vans

The plate displayed at the front of the vehicle is white with black letters while rear number plates have black letters on a yellow reflective background. The size and shape of these acrylic plates vary depending on the model (for example, some Jaguars have curved plates rather than the standard shape), but the measurements for the characters are very specific and are as follows:

  • 79mm character height
  • 50mm character width
  • 11mm space between characters
  • 33mm between groups of characters

The font that is used on all legal plates is named “Charles Wright”.

Legal Number Plates on Motorcycles

From September 2001, new motorcycles were required this to display the rear plate already (previously, motorbikes occasionally showed a curve plate along the front mudguard). This one rear plate on a motorbike is always square. As you would expect, the dimensions are slightly smaller:

  • 64mm character height
  • 44mm character width
  • 10mm space between characters
  • 30mm between groups of characters.

Classic Pressed Plates

If you are lucky enough to own a pre-1973 classic or vintage vehicle you are entitled to an older style of plate. These are not made of acrylic like the standard type, there are actually metal, and are black and silver in colour. A company in Sheffield (Jepson and Co Ltd) specialises in making these traditional plates using original dyes and presses dating back a hundred years.

pressed number plates

Flags, Fancy Fonts, Stickers and Borders

While you are unable to alter the legally mandated format and spacing of standard registration plates there are various other designs that you can take advantage of. Bare in mind though that this does change over time, and it was only recently that the honeycomb background was made illegal.

What is legal currently though is what is called “3D Lettering” (also known “two tone”). These are the same in size and shape to the standard font, but rather than plain black the letters are shaded with a second grey colour. This makes the characters appear as if they have been raised.

You can also put a flag on the side of the plates. The Union Jack, St. George Cross, Welsh Dragon and the St. Andrew Cross (Scottish Saltire) are still legal as arer various identifiers such as GB, UK, SCO, CYM. Neither flags nor identifiers can be more than 50mm wide and must be displayed on the left hand side of the number plates. A standard GB sticker is required book can be substituted for a EU symbol plus a GB identifier.

3d font and flag

Number plates with legal fonts and formats are a requirement for MOT test. Displaying illegal plates can land you in trouble with the police.

In extreme circumstances, the Secretary of State for Transport can withdraw the registration mark from you – though I can’t say I have ever known this happen unless the number plate has been offensive in some way.



DVLA Transfer Costs Explained

January 28, 2014
Posted in DVLA — Written by Nationla Numbers

DVLA transfer costs, to be fair, have not changed for many years. However, with the recent closure of all local DVLA offices, perhaps the fees could change. We speculate that DVLA transfer costs could even be reduced as a consequence of reduced government costs. We shall see – stranger things have happened. Lets not speculate though, lets look to the facts.

DVLA Transfer Costs

1. For Vehicle to Vehicle

To simply transfer a private registration from one vehicle to another a fee of lb80 is required. This transfer fee is usually sent to the DVLA along with the appropriate vehicle documents (usually the V5/C, tax disc and a MOT if applicable) as well as any DVLA paperwork that they ask for – usually the V317. Both vehicles involved must meet the correct standards to be involved in the process though – this includes being taxed and tested up to date, so this could add to the DVLA transfer costs as a whole.

The donor vehicle, this is the vehicle that is “giving” the number plate, is covered by the DVLA transfer costs in regards to receiving a brand new plate. No car can be without a number plate so all DVLA transfer costs are set to cover both sides, however this is only really for the purpose of keeping all vehicles registered. The donor vehicle will receive a standard age-related plate in return, often the first number it was registered under.

It is traditional that the buyer of the private number plate pays the DVLA transfer costs. Since the majority of transfers are organised through Cherished Number Dealers (regulated by the CNDA), who will collect, check and submit paperwork for customers, the aforementioned lb80 fee should be forwarded to them. Using a dealer as a third party allows the safeguard of only paying the seller after DVLA has passed the transfer.

2. For Vehicle to Retention, or purchasing a Certificate of Entitlement

Other DVLA transfer costs involve the transfer of a private mark onto a retention document (V778). This is a green A4 sized piece of paper, which “holds” the number plate until a suitable vehicle is available. To place a mark onto retention involves an initial cost of lb105, lb25 of which represents the retention fee and the remaining lb80 being “stored” on the document as an eventual assignment fee.

3. For Renewal Fees

Further DVLA transfer costs are incurred by the registration of the number plate. This requires any and all documents to be kept in date. In other words, look at the certificate’s “Expiry Date”, if that date has passed you cannot use it and have to pay additional DVLA transfer costs to make it usable again. Essentially, you’re renewing and extending the certificate. Currently this costs lb25 per annum, plus admin fees.

At first the DVLA tried to insist that expiry dates were strictly observed. In fact, if you look at either document you will see the definitive wording that the registration MUST be assigned before the expiry date. If you read between the lines the message is “use it or lose it”. In practice, as long as the extension fees are fully paid (i.e. a certificate four years out of date can be brought up to date on receipt of lb100 back fees) then a renewed certificate will be issued. DVLA will not assign a mark from an expired certificate.

In recent years, DVLA have offered the facility of renewing a V750 or V778 for one, two or three years with one application. Don’t get too excited though, DVLA don’t do BOGOF offers so you still have to pay the yearly DVLA transfer costs three times. It does save time though, which is great if you don’t plan on using it for a while, such as if it is for your child when he/she grows up. Beware though, if you pay for three years and get it no a vehicle before two you don’t get that extra year refunded!

What you can do though is send the certificate back to the DVLA to have the lb80 assignment fee returned. Since this is technically the fee you’ve paid the DVLA to assign to a vehicle and it is only “stored” on the certificate in the meantime you can cash it in and get that fee back. Only do this if you no longer want the number plate though, so doing so will mean you lose the number plate and you CANNOT buy it back.

DVLA transfer costs have been set in stone for as long as I can remember, but who knows if in the future these could change? The DVLA are making a lot of alterations to their processes, including taking a lot of transactions away from the post and putting them online. Perhaps in the future this will affect the fees you pay? We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it though.


By . Daniel is a journalist and marketing executive who has been with Nationla Numbers since 2012. As well as movies, Daniel’s other passion is the private number plate industry. In between writing about the constant changes, Dan can be found on the phone alongside the dedicated sales team trying to help customers find their perfect number plate.

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What is the cost of a private number plate?

January 21, 2014

To most people a private number plate might conjure up a few images. Some may think of it as a status symbol, others as a bit of showbiz jazz. To some it reminds them of the celebrity lifestyle while others think of it as a fashion statement. No matter what though, you can’t really mention a private number plate without talking about the money.

Some of the most powerful people in the country drive around with a private number plate on their vehicle, so it is natural that they come with this stigma of being really expensive. Truth is the cost of a private number plate can go anything from a hundred pounds upwards. Of course, ‘upwards’ is as high as several million, so the stigma is mostly justified!

How much does a private number plate cost?

A private number plate doesn’t have to cost you your first-born though, and it honestly depends on several factors. Where is the private number plate coming from? WHO is it coming from? How long has it been on the market? How much interest has it had? Is there another private number plate like it? You’ve got to consider all of these when you go looking for one. Essentially, it is the same principle of any “supply and demand” system.

Private number plate, F 1

Private number plate, F 1, is amongst the most valuable around

A private number plate of high demand and low supply is going to increase in value over time, where as if there is a lot of similar number plates around you would be able to pick one up for a lot less. The best example of this would be a private number plate from Northern Ireland. There is an absolute tonne of these around and the most common of them are very cheap. I’ve seen some for as little as lb99, for example.

Why so cheap, you ask? A lot of these common Northern Irish plates are “cover plates” – these are number plates that are issued by the Government and cost the owner literally nothing. When someone sells their current reg mark as a private number plate they receive a brand new yet similar one in return. Rinse and repeat. This is why there are hundreds on the private number plate market.

In stark contrast, a private number plate in short supply will cost more. A variety of number plates, known as “cherished”, are practically antiques due how old they are, and their prices reflect this. Others are so costly simply because to many it is a dream private number plate. An example of the latter would be something like BA12 RYS, which clearly reads BARRY’S and with very few like this available it is probably the best number for someone called ‘Barry’, which can be seen in the price.

But, how much does it cost to OWN a private number plate?

So far I’ve been focused on how much a private number plate costs to buy, but there is another question that not many people know the answer to: how much does it cost to actually own a private number plate? Surprisingly, the answer is: Not much.

A private number plate is not really its own thing – it is a facade. When it is registered to a vehicle it belongs to that vehicle, not the person who bought it, as some understand. This means there are no annual fees to pay as long as the private number plate is on the vehicle. Of course, if a tax or MOT is needed that has to be paid for, but the number plate itself has no fees.

Costs will be incurred by taking a number plate off a vehicle though. When not registered to a vehicle a private number plate is held on a retention certificate, which costs lb105 to do. Certificates though have a time limit though, and to extend this expiry you do need to pay an annual fee. This is usually lb25 per year, plus an admin fee if a third party supplied the private number plate to you.

As you can see, the cost of upkeep is quite reasonable and not much at all. In fact, the cost of keeping a private number plate is nothing if you use as intended: straight onto a vehicle. But even if not the costs are the same across the board and apply to everyone, so even if you pay out for a really good number plate the expense is not going to come back to bite you later on. At least, not as far as the private number plate is concerned – we cannot promise your partner won’t bite you!


By . Daniel is a journalist and marketing executive who has been with Nationla Numbers since 2012. As well as movies, Daniel’s other passion is private number plates. In between writing about them and raising awareness of the issues surrounding the industry he can be found on the phone lines along with the dedicated Nationla Numbers sales team helping customers find their perfect number plate.

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BBC SP12 OTY – Congratulations Bradley Wiggins

December 17, 2012
Posted in Interesting,Media,Other News — Written by Nationla Numbers

Nationla Numbers would like to congratulate Bradley Wiggins on being crowned the Sports Personality of the Year by BBC.

Wiggins had a fantastic 2012, winning an Olympic gold medal for Team GB as well as becoming the first Britain to win the Tour de France.

The Vélo d’Or holder beat other Olympic heroes Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and Andy Murray to the prize, saying it is his “greatest sporting achievement”.

Like the rest of the country, we are proud of Wiggo and if he wanted to trade the cycle in for a car we would happily help him find his perfect personalised registration plate.

We aren’t lucky enough to know where W1 GGO is these days (give us a call if you want to point us in the right direction!), but I’m sure we can find something suitable.

He could easily get his name on a plate. BRA 9W for example has no current owner. If that isn’t suitable, what about initials? You can even get BW13 CBE to highlight Wiggo’s title.

Mr Wiggins could also cap off his career-defining year with a plate bragging another great achievement – VE10 DOR (for Vélo d’Or).

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A Royal F11 KUP

August 24, 2012
Posted in Humour,Media,Other News — Written by Nationla Numbers

Image not related, promise.

Image not related, promise.

It looks like Prince Harry has made a show of himself but it probably wasn’t the best way to go about it. He should have just bought a private registration from Nationla Numbers.

For those who haven’t heard the news, Prince Harry’s crown jewels have been all over the internet and have today been published in the Sun newspaper, despite efforts from the Royal Family and the Press Complaints Commission to stop it.

In defence of the young Royal, he was just having a bit of fun on his holidays. What is that old saying? “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”

However, if Harry wanted a good time there are plenty of ways to do it without taking all your clothes off. In fact, why not put something on that is much more eye-catching?

We have plenty of rude number plates available for those feeling in the mood. Be like the Prince and get FR51 SKY, expose a PEN 7S to the public (in a way that won’t get you arrested), or just stand there proud of your BON 3R.

If that isn’t becoming of the third in line to the throne perhaps young HH54 RRY could splash out on our PR11 NZE number plate.

For more please check out our website.

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