Guides

Investing in number plates

Personalised number plates are becoming more and more popular all the time, and because all number plates are unique, only one person can own a particular combination of a number plate. For these reasons, the value of some, more desirable, combinations has increased dramatically in recent years, with number plates selling for as much as £440,000! In this guide we take a look at investing in number plates, how and why, and give you some pointers and tips.

Why invest in number plates?

Buying personalised number plates for investment, not only allows you to use and enjoy the plates whilst you own them, but there can also be significant gains to be made in the long term. We think James Caan sums it up quite nicely with this quote...

"If you look back over the last ten years, the value of number plates has gone up quite a lot. You know, there's only one of each plate, and I also think that's the fun thing about it. If I wanted JC 1, I'd be the only person in the country who had got it."

Is there money to be made investing in number plates?

Yes, there is money to be made but it's not as easy as it sounds and you do need to know your stuff! You will need a fairly healthy budget and a decent knowledge of personalised number plates to see a healthy return on your investment. Number plates should not be seen as a short term investment, and generally speaking, they are not a fast way to make a quick buck.

How can I invest in number plates?

Investing in number plates is a specialised activity, obviously anyone can go out and buy a number plate, but to buy a number plate that will increase in value takes some knowledge and careful consideration.

We recommend purchasing number plates that have a wide appeal and will by eyecatching to others, as well as yourself, for example:
• Dateless number plates with few digits e.g. 2 EE
• Popular name number plates e.g. S1MON
• Popular word number plates e.g. MAG1C

We would personally avoid the purchasing the following sort of number plate:
• Irish number plates e.g. BBZ 2454
• Number plates requiring illegal fonts or spacing e.g. X 3MA X
• Look-a-like number plates e.g P3TCR

Our tips for investing in number plates...

Do your research - Choosing which number plate to buy can be the hardest part, you need to think about which combinations will appeal to others and why. Number plates with popular names or funny words are an increasingly safer bet than number plates that are very personal to yourself or specialised combinations.

Compare prices - Look around different sources, such as the DVLA, number plate dealers, eBay, and websites like Plate-Trader, to make sure you are getting a good deal and not paying more than you should.

Buy direct & save - Try to buy your number plates directly using websites like Plate-Trader, as often you will find more appealing plates (they have already been bought by seomeone else in the past don't forget), and you get the opportunity to negotiate. If you buy a plate from a dealer you will be paying a price which has been inflated by their commission, any cost savings you can make will increase any potential profit.

Think longer term - Buying and selling number plates for profit is not a quick buck. You will need to have your money invested in the plate for perhaps a year or two before you can sell for a profit. Number plates are a luxury item don't forget, so they can also be affected by economic factors, such as peoples disposable income.

Enjoy - You can use any number plates you have buy as an investment, so transfer it to your car and enjoy it in the meantime!

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