How much is my number plate worth?

How much is my number plate worth?

Whether it’s given as a gift, or something you bought yourself as a flex, a personalised number plate is a fun way to add some character to your car.

So how much is a number plate actually worth? If you’re looking to sell an existing number plate or buy something from a dealer, there’re a lot of factors that can affect its value. You can check out the most common things that can affect the price of a number plate in this blog!.

You can also learn the basics on private number plates in our blog ‘How do private number plates work?


What can affect the value of a number plate?

The simplest way to know whether or not your number plate is worth anything is to consider whether it is valuable to other people, and how much they might be willing to pay for it.

The more people who want a number plate, the more it’s going to be worth. Number plates are unique, so if you have a plate that looks very close to a popular name or word, there’s a chance it could be worth a lot of money. This works the other way as well, as some letter and number combinations are very common and are automatically going to be worth less.

The more variations available will also make a number plate cheaper, as more complex words can only be recreated a few times. Resemblance also plays its part in setting how much a number plate is worth. The closer your number plate actually looks to the word it’s spelling, the better. For example, if you really like ducks, JI39 DUK looks a lot better than DUO2 CKU, even though the second option actually has all the right letters.

These are the basic rules, but it can be a bit more complicated than that, so let’s see the main factors that will affect how much your number plate is worth.


First names

First names are solidly at the top of the list of priorities for those looking to buy number plates. If we go back to the supply and demand rule, the more popular the name, the more the number plate will be worth. You can look into popular baby names here, but you might want to go back at least 18 years, as there’re not many people buying number plates for babies.

If you’re looking to buy a new plate and you want to keep it cheap, you can think about variations on your name that might be easier to replicate with a plate. For example, a good “Thomas” number plate is hard to come by and therefore will be worth a lot of money, but “Tom” is pretty simple, so will be more affordable.


Words

There are also certain words that can increase the value of a number plate. This is slightly harder to figure out, as the popularity of certain words will mostly depend on what’s trending at the time. Some words, however, like “boss” and “cool” will always be highly sought after, and so will probably be worth more.

Pet names and breeds are becoming very popular at the moment, so even though there are a lot of ways to get “LAB” on a number plate, they end up being worth more because they’re in such high demand. Keep an eye on what’s popular and you never know, your plate could be worth a lot more than you thought.


Car models

Number plates that replicate a specific make or model of car are becoming very popular. These can be worth a lot of money, even if it’s just seemingly unrelated letters and numbers.

The worth of a number plate will also be impacted by the type of car it matches. For example, if your plate matches an Aston Martin model, it’s likely to be worth more than if it matches a Skoda. The more expensive and exclusive the car brand, the more likely the owner will have the money to spend on a personalised plate.


Initials and numbers

Certain combinations of initials and numbers can also impact the value of your number plate. Some people just want their initials, maybe with a certain combination of numbers. J, M, S, D, and C are the most common initials for first names, so we would expect number plates with these letters to be worth more.

Number combinations are also popular but can vary in how rare they are. For example, key number combinations like 11, 55, and 22 are all very popular, so plates with these number combinations will automatically be more expensive.


Plate style

There are 4 key styles of number plate in the UK, all of which allow for different word and number combinations. These will all impact how much a number plate is worth.

  • Current style number plates, issued since 2001, are the plates used nowadays. They’re the most common, have the most rules on number and letter combinations, and are generally the cheapest.
  • Prefix number plates, issued from 1983 to 2001, and suffix number plates, issued from 1963 to 1983, allow for a lot more options on words and numbers. They’re much harder to come by and therefore worth a lot more money.
  • Dateless number plates, issued before 1963, are the oldest and they offer the most options for number and word combinations. They are very rare, and so will probably cost you quite a lot of money to get your hands on. Some are worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

If you’re wondering about the rules on number plate design, you can check out our blog ‘Do you need a front number plate in the UK?

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Calculating the value of your number plate

There are a lot of websites where you can easily check the value of your number plate for free. Some sites offer more comprehensive services where they provide a more in-depth valuation and will likely offer to buy your number plate. These valuations may cost money but if you think you’ve got a rare number plate on your hands, you might be better off with a more expert opinion.

If you see a number plate you like on another car, there’s not much you can do past leaving a note on their windscreen. Sadly the DVLA doesn’t offer a service to track down the owner of a car to find out how much their number plate is worth.


A few final tips…

So, how do you know how much your number plate is really worth? Here’re the key rules again so you can be sure:

  • Take a look at your number plate and see if it resembles a word, set of initials, car brand or something fun
  • Think about how valuable the word or numbers might be to a person and how rare they might be in that combination
  • Consider how easily that specific combination might be replicated
  • Get your number plate valued by an expert
  • Get paid!

If you’re thinking of changing your number plate but want to hold on to you personalized plate, it might be worth checking out our blog ‘How to put a number plate on retention

Urban Jungle is not a financial advisor and information in this article should not be taken as advice or recommendation.