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Buying a personalised number plateBack

Like Marmite, personalised number plates have divided the nation into those who love ’em and those who hate ’em.

If you sit in the former camp, you may be interested to know the DVLA is holding a three-day summer auction for personalised registrations this week.

Prospective owners of the new McLaren 720S supercar could get their hands on the ultimate accessory, with the MCL 720S plate, which is listed with a £250 reserve.

The number plate is among the 1,250 personalised registrations being auctioned from Wednesday.

It follows MCL 650S, which went under the hammer for £12,500 in May 2014 only to be succeeded by 650 S which sold for £31,000 that same year. It is one of a raft of registrations closely related to range-topping sports cars available to buy during this summer sale including 488 A and A488 GTS, which relate to the Ferrari 488, and 996 GT which will resonate with Porsche fans.

But the lots aren’t just for supercar lovers. For poker players there’s ACE 10W and fans of the  successful Lord of the Rings books and films there’s 81 LBO.

The registrations on offer range from marks that reflect names such as BR16 ETT, 511 ENA, RUT 1H and SM17 THY through to quirkier offerings such as JU57 ASK, JE11 ANS and ST11 YLE.

Jody Davies, of DVLA Personalised Registrations, said: “ I’m delighted to say we have again managed to unearth another phenomenal array to suit all tastes and budgets.”

If you’re thinking of buying a personalised number plate, here’s what you need to know:

There may be restrictions

Depending on the age of your vehicle, there may be restrictions to what registrations would be suitable for use on your vehicle. Where the personalised registration number has an age identifier, you can only put that number onto a vehicle of equal age or newer. For example, if you purchase a 66 current style registration, it can only go onto a vehicle that was first registered as new on or after  September 2016.

You cannot personalise a Q-registered vehicle

DVLA issues ‘Q’ registration numbers to vehicles whose age or identity is in doubt. According to the organisation, it did consider selling Q prefix registrations for use only on Q registered vehicles but due to the associated costs, it was decided not to proceed. There were also consumer protection concerns if the policy was changed.

Buying as a gift

You can buy a personalised registration as a gift. The DVLA will ask you for your details so that they can record you as the purchaser of the registration number. If the vehicle you want to put the number onto is not registered in your name, you can give a different name as the nominee. If you are adding a nominee to your purchase, make sure it matches the name of the registered keeper of the vehicle you want to put the number onto.

Buying options

Through the DVLA, you can either buy online or bid in one of its auctions.

If your choice is available to purchase online, click ‘buy now’ and follow the on-screen instructions. Online prices start at £250, including VAT and DVLA fees, and are non-negotiable. Some registrations are priced higher if they contain or resemble names, words, car makes or models, etc.

If you wish to bid for a registration, visit where you can download a copy of the next auction catalogue and register as a bidder. You can also find answers to the most frequently asked auction questions.

Bidding starts at a fixed reserve price that does not include the buyer’s premium, VAT or DVLA fees. These additional fees will be added to the final ‘hammer price’.

The next DVLA auction will take place at Mercedes Benz World in Surrey from Wednesday, July 19.


Posted by Beth Rose on 17/07/2017