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Looking to buy a number plate?

In the UK since the seventies the government and DVLA have allowed the transfer of number plates from car to car.

It became apparent that some combinations such as COM1C could be read as "COMIC" and not just COM 1 C - Noel Woodall in many ways pioneered this area of numberplates which is known as Autonumerology.

Your ideal number plate

You've probably got an idea of the number plate you wish to buy- whether it's your initials, your name, or a word- your first step is to track down your ideal combination.

As there are many millions of combinations available and many also in private hands it can prove tough to find your exact registration.

Have a plan B

It's worth considering a few options for the personalised number plate you want - consider additional digits to give you more combinations - R1CKY would become R11CKY etc.

Consider phonetic spelling- HUGO can't be legally spelt in a number plate; but H3WGO can and reads as HUGO.

The number plate phonetic alphabet will also help you here.

How much do number plates cost?

The $64,000 dollar question is always how much a number plate costs- it can be confusing buying number plates as many dealers advertise the same numberplates for different prices.

Some Irish number plates can be bought for as little as £100 and at the top end of the number plate market - combinations like M1 and F1 fetch hundreds of thousands of pounds.

As with buying anything you need to work out your approximate budget and try to stick to it- it's too easy to get carried away if you see a great number plate only to regret it later (!)

"Off the peg" number plates

The DVLA sell unissued prefix and new style number plates direct to the public - some of the best (and cheapest) plates can still be found among the 30 million number plates in the database - if you know what you're looking for.

As a guide the DVLA retail prefix number plates from £250 with nothing more to pay at

New Style number plates begin at £499 and some go up to £2499 with nothing more to pay.

The number plate market

Buying in the private number plate market means there is no real structure to pricing so it's always wise to compare number plates to ensure you get the best deal.

A lot of number plate dealers and sellers are rather optimistic about the value of their combination so don't be afraid to haggle.

Number plate transfer

Once you have found the plate you want and negotiated the deal then only the number plate transfer remains to be completed.

This can take anything up to 2 weeks depending if the reg is on retention or a car and whether you want to transfer the plate to retention or a vehicle.