How do I buy a cherished number?
Firstly visit the DVLA website & have a look around. If you are just after your initials on a plate there should be plenty of choice unless you have very popular initials. More exclusive numbers are sold through their auctions. If you are after a particular registration you may find it for sale with a dealer.

How long does a transfer take?
Depends on the plate - numbers that have not previously been on a vehicle can take just a few days. Older numbers still on a car can take a few weeks.

Can I find out who owns a particular number?
No. Only the police & DVLA have access to that information under the data protection act.

How much is my registration worth?
Difficult to say, have a look at 'How are they valued' below.

When are 'F' regs being released?
The DVLA finally put them up for sale in November '08 having already auctioned off all the decent ones, leaving the dregs for joe public to F1GHT over. The first day of sales generated over 3.5 million for the government.

Why don't the DVLA allow all letter registrations like other countries?
Because it would undervalue the current numbers in circulation. Suddenly M4RKS is worth 3K instead of 15k, everyone wants MARKS instead.

How are they valued?
The following factors affect the value of cherished numbers:
Age and rarity how old it is and how many of that series were issued
How well it will sell how popular the initials or names are
The lowliness of the number number 1s are the most sought after
Price trends taking into consideration prices achieved in the past, at present and at auction.
Basically if you have popular initials or want short letter/number combo's you will pay more. For example AS12 is worth more that AS74, which is worth more than AS8276.

I can't find a record of a particular number
If you have checked a VIC site (like RAC) and can't find it it may be on retention or not yet registered. Check with DVLA.

The reg I want doesn't appear to have been released yet
Check with the DVLA, if not yet released they may include it in a future auction. They will not sell it to you directly. Money grabbing so and so's.

I've seen a number I like on an old car, how do I get it?
Any car must be taxed and MOT'd to have its number transferred. Be wary if you buy a car displaying a valuable plate - the reg could have already been sold and you will only find out when you get the new logbook displaying its 'age related' plate.

What is a retention certificate?
If you would like to buy a vehicle number but have not yet purchased the vehicle to display the registration mark, you may retain the registration number on what is known as a 'Retention Certificate'. The certificate is valid for a period of up to 12 months. The grantee is the person(s) or company who the governing bodies regard as the owner of the mark.

A buyers guide to cherished numbers

Why do some people get so excited by number plates? Does it matter if the letters are BXD or YLP? If you drive around in a 10 year old Ford Fiesta then probably not. But if like me, you are enthusiastic about cars and driving you may want to splash out and personalise with a set of wheels, bodykit, loud stereo or cherished registration. If you've just bought a nice car, haggled the dealer down and have got some spare cash is there a better way to finish off your new purchase? Exactly what you want is up to your personal taste and wallet. Hopefully I can guide you through the do's and don'ts of buying.

Private number plates have never been so popular, its a cheap way to personalise your car, advertise a business, disguise your car's age or simply to show off. The best place to start when looking for a cherished number is the DVLA website. Prices start from just 249 if you just want your initials on a plate (not you, Quentin Irvine). More interesting and valuable numbers are sold through their auctions. You can use the auction search facility to get prices of comparable plates previously sold (useful when looking at numbers for sale on dealers websites).

To find out if a particular registration plate is already in circulation you can look at the various Vehicle Identity Check (VIC) sites, RAC and my car check offer a registration search for free. If the number you want has already been registered you may find it for sale with one of the dealers. Buyer beware though! Although the CNDA has a strict code of conduct only around 20 of the 250 dealers are currently signed up to it and it's easy to be left out of pocket by an unscrupulous dealer.

So why use a number plate dealer? They mainly offer previously issued numbers which they own, or sell on behalf of customers, also offering unreleased government stock which they will purchase form the DVLA for you. Many companies will be offering the same registrations for sale so its worth shopping around. Also check if the prices include VAT and the assignment fee. Don't let the price put you off! Just because they are asking 25k for BER71E it doesn't mean thats what its worth - they are just waiting for you to win the lottery! Use DVLA auction prices as a guide but think of them as a 'trade' price. You will pay a premium on top, how much depends on how much the seller thinks its worth and how good your negotiation skills are!

Bargains can also be found on auction sites like Ebay, particularly if you just want a pre-reg cherished number (one which doesn't have a year identifier) or an Irish plate. There are some dreamers (is 1UKE worth 500,000?) just don't get exited and buy the first thing you see. The traditional place to find private plates is in the Sunday Times. Autocar magazine and AutoTrader generally have some for sale.
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