Personalised number plates: the top 10 most expensive ever

New DVLA auction figures reveal the UK’s most expensive private number plates

Most expensive personal plate header

Personalised number plates are one of the more expensive ways that some drivers choose to cosmetically enhance their car, and while private plates might not be to everyone’s tastes, the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA) has earned over £2billion from them since holding its first personalised registration auction in 1989.

This huge sum is the result of over 6 million personalised registrations being sold to UK drivers. Some bidders are willing to part with serious cash in order to get the plate of their dreams, too, as the UK’s most expensive private number plates all commanded a six-figure price when sold. 

The UK doesn’t hold the world record for priciest plate, though, as this is currently held by a motorist in Dubai who forked out over £12million for the number ‘P 7’. 

The UK’s current record for the most expensive personalised plate sold by the DVLA belongs to the reg number ‘25 O’, which was sold in November 2014 for £400,000. This then became £500,000+ once sales fees and taxes were applied. According to reports, this plate adorns a classic Ferrari 250 GT SWB, which was at one point owned by the musician and Ferrari enthusiast Eric Clapton.

The UK's most expensive car number plates

These are the most expensive UK number plates ever sold by the DVLA. 

  Registration Price Date
1 25 O £400,000 November 2014
2 1 D £285,000 March 2009
3 DEV 1L £240,010 December 2021
4 IG 1 £222,000 July 2019
5 51 NGH £201,000 April 2006
6 1 RH £196,000 November 2008
7 K1 NGS £185,000 December 1993
8 KR15 HNA £180,000 May 2015
9 1 O £170,000 January 2009
10= 1 A £160,000 December 1989
10= LSK 1 £160,000 October 2021

Other UK number plates will have changed hands in private sales, possibly for more money, but these transactions are difficult to verify. The ‘F1’ number plate was reportedly bought for £375,000 in 2008 by Afzal Kahn, owner of the Kahn Designs car customisation firm. It was then put up for sale in 2018 for a staggering £14million.    

While some of the more desirable registration numbers can go for crazy money, a lot of them tend to be sold for more affordable sums - pricing can start from under £200 in some cases.

If you are planning to buy your own plate, you can also check out the reg numbers that are being auctioned off in advance of the sales, via the DVLA auctions website. As well as showing you when the plates will go under the hammer, the listings also show the reg number’s reserve price, so you’ll know how much to budget if there’s a particular plate you’re interested in. 

It doesn’t hold the record once you factor in inflation, though. In this instance, that accolade belongs to the personalised plate number ‘1A’, which went under the hammer at the DVLA’s very first reg number sale in 1989 for £160,000. In today’s money, that would equate to a sales price of around £392,000

More on car number plates...

Shane is responsible for looking after the day-to-day running of the Auto Express website and social media channels. Prior to joining Auto Express in 2021, he worked as a radio producer and presenter for outlets such as the BBC.

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