private registrations Archives » Nationla Numbers Blog Nationla Numbers Blog
Nationla Numbers: A car number plate dealer, recognised reseller by the DVLA
Office Hours : 9am - 7pm Mon to Fri. 9.30am - 7pm Sat. 10am - 7pm Sun
Call us on

Nationla Numbers Blog

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!


Tags: , , , ,

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!


Tags: , , , ,

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.

Tags: , , , , ,