Private Number Plates - A Brief History from an Enthusiast
Charles has been an avid fan of private plates since 1960 and he has a wealth of knowledge in the industry.
I have seen all the format variations introduced by the DVLA over the years and I have to say that a dateless format has to be my preferred style says Charles.
Dateless formats for car number plates date back to 1904 with the first registration issued to a vehicle being A1. The Motor Car Act of 1903 required all vehicles to be registered with local authorities and for all vehicles to clearly display number plates of a regulation size.
The first series of dateless number plates ran for 28 years until 1932. From 1932 onwards a 3 letter series were issued on a regional basis with the second pair of letters being used to identify the region of issue. These dateless registrations formed the basis for the first private plates and the low number combinations are the most sought after by enthusiasts.
From 1950 onwards the combinations were reversed as the number of combinations with letters first were running out. In some popular regions the 3 number combinations were then added to with 4 number combinations.
Suffix Style Registration Number Plates
In 1963 the dateless formats comprising 4 numbers and 2 letters were reaching their limits with permutations being depleted on a regional basis. A national scheme was subsequently introduced with the addition of a year letter to the existing 3 letter and 3 number combinations. From 1963 the suffix number plate format was introduced and suffix private number plates were born with some incredibly attractive formats now available as name plates.
The popularity and availability of motor vehicles during the 60's and 70's placed a huge demand on car registrations and eventually suffix combinations became exhausted in 1982. Prefix Number Plates were launched in 1982 and these have formed the basis for what we know as the core of the popular private plate market.
Prefix and New Style Registration Numbers
The prefix formats have proven to be the most popular as they are readily accesible and affordable. There have been some great combinations at low prices and the trend continues despite the new style formats having been introduced.
New Style number plates were introduced in 2001 and their popularity is increasing slowly. The new style formats can provide some interesting combinations and members of the public don't yet fully realise what is on offer with these formats. There have been some recent high value sales of the new style registrations and these have been name related with RU55 ELS reaching around £75,000 at auction.
In order to establish the real value of your private registration you need to speak with one of our experts or request a valuation from our website where there is a valuation service request page available.