The World’s Most Expensive Number Plates

The World’s Most Expensive Number Plates

When it comes to our cars, there are a few accessories that people are willing to pay a lot to make their cars unique to them. Number plates are often subtle, but personal ways to customise cars. 

While a personalised number plate from Absolute Reg can be bought at an affordable price, there are plenty of plates all over the world that rake in millions at auctions.

In this blog, as well as exploring some of the mind-boggling prices that some of the world’s most expensive number plates sold for, we’ll take a look at some of the priciest number plates in the UK.

Why are Private Number Plates Expensive?

You can get a personalised plate for as little as £153. There are websites you can use to check DVLA number plates to see whether the number plate you want is available and just how much it will cost you.

However, for some, a personalised number plate isn’t simply about putting their name on the back and front of their car for other road users to see. For some, they are a status symbol, a point of pride or a chance to own something unique, and this can come with a price.

The Top 10 Most Expensive Number Plates in the World

1. Californian £20 Million ‘MM’ 

In the State of California, there are over 35 million registered number plates but only 35 licence plates with double letters, making the MM plate an incredibly rare purchase and a unique status symbol for its next owner.

As well as owning the MM licence plate, you’ll also have ownership of a one-of-a-kind non-fungible token (NFT). The plate is available to purchase for 5888 ETH (the crypto-currency Etherium), which equates to roughly £20 million.

Discover your own 'MM' number plates.

2. ‘New York' for £16.6 million

In the late 1970s, the State of New York starts issuing a series of vanity reg plates. The ‘New York’ plate was bought by a family who has maintained ownership of it for more than 40 years attached to the family’s 1998 Volvo V70. 

Recently the family put their old Volvo V70, with the number plate attached, up for sale. The asking price came to a whopping £16.6 million. While the number plates can be taken off the car and attached to another vehicle, when the sale is made, it will probably also go down as the most expensive 1998 Volvo V70 in the world.

Discover your own 'New York' number plates.

3. Afzal Kahn’s £15 Million ‘F1’

In 2018, the British automotive designer Afzal Kahn, who has been described as “the king of car customisation”, put his ‘F1’ number plate for sale. 

It is seen here on Kahn’s Bugatti Veyron. Kahn was previously offered £6 million for his ‘F1’ number plate, which he bought for £440,000 in 2008. 

In 2018, however, he was asking for almost £15 million.

Discover your own 'F1' number plates.

4. Dubai’s ‘AA8’ for £7.9 million

This number plate was sold at Dubai’s ‘most noble numbers’ charity auction to raise money to provide food to children, refugees and displaced people.

The campaign so far has provided over 340 million meals since being launched at the start of Ramadam.

Discover your own 'AA8' number plates.

5. Dubai’s £7 Million ‘D5’

Indian businessman Balwinder Sahni forked out 33 Million UAED, roughly equivalent to £7 million, in 2016 for the Dubai number plate ‘D5’. 

Sahni told the press that he wanted the plate because 9 is his “lucky number”. D is the fourth letter in the alphabet, and four plus five equals 9.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has many of the most expensive number plates in the world, with the country’s richest often forking out millions for luxury number plates. 

Given the number of luxury cars on the roads in Dubai, we’re not surprised that luxury number plates are so popular over there.

Discover your own 'D5' number plates.

6. Abu Dhabi’s ‘1’ Number Plate for £6 million

It’s no surprise that another United Arab Emirates plate is in the top 10 list. Abdullah Al Mahri bought this plate in 2016 for 31 million UAED – that’s £6 million. 

The auction in Abu Dhabi saw the sales of many valuable number plates. Mahri’s number ‘1’ plate took the number one spot, but other plates sold for millions of dirhams include ‘7’, ‘50’, ‘11’, ‘22’, and ‘66’.

Discover your own '1' number plates.

7. ‘09’ in Dubai for £5.5 million

Balwinder Sahni who also owns the world's 3rd most expensive number plate also bought the ‘09’ plate at auction.

He told CNNMoney in an interview “I always like t give myself a gift every year. When you work very hard, you need to present yourself with something.”

Discover your own '09' number plates.

8. Dubai’s exclusive ‘7’ plate for £3.2 million

The super exclusive ‘7’ plate was bought by an unknown businessman from the United Audi Emirates in 2016.

While the exact reason isn’t known, it is believed that they bought the plate for PRICE to celebrate the seven emirates and because 7 is considered a lucky number.

Discover your own '7' number plates.

9. £2.2 million for Abu Dhabi’s ‘2’

Ahmed Al Marzouqi, a businessman from the UAE, won Abu Dhabi's ‘2’ number plate at auction with a bid of PRICE.

Al Marzouqi said that the reason why he spent a large amount of money on the plate was that the number 2 held a special place in the UAE’s history, with the union of Arab states forming on December 2nd.

Discover your own '2' number plates.

10. Lucky ‘28’ for £1.6 Million in Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, personalised number plates with lucky numbers on them are popular and often sold at a high price. 

In 2016, a ‘28’ number plate was sold for 18.1 million Hong Kong dollars – which equates to roughly £1.6 million.

In Cantonese, the word for 28 sounds similar to a phrase meaning “easy money” or “easy prosper”. After they spent well over a million pounds on this number plate, we can only hope that money comes easily to this buyer!

Discover your own '28' number plates.

Summary of World’s Most Expensive Number Plates

Here is a summary of the world’s most expensive number plates.

  1. ‘MM’ – $24.3 million 

  2. ‘New York’ - $20 million 

  3. ‘F1’ - $20 Million 

  4. ‘AA8’ - £7.9 million 

  5. ‘D5’ - £7 million 

  6. ‘1’ - £6 million 

  7. ‘09’ - £5.5 million 

  8. ‘7’ - £3.2 million  

  9. ‘2’ - £2.2 million 

  10. ‘28' - £1.6 million

The Top 10 Most Expensive Number Plates in the UK

However, it isn’t just wealthy people in places like Dubai that spend a lot of money on personalised number plates. 

Here in the UK, there are people who are willing to spend their hard-earned cash on the number plate that is the perfect finish for their vehicle. 

Here’s a list of the 10 most expensive plates that have been sold in the UK.

1. '25 O' for £518,000

Sold in 2014, the ‘25 O’ plate takes the prize as the most expensive in the United Kingdom. 

This number plate was bought by John Collins, a Ferrari dealer. It is rumoured that this plate was purchased for a Ferrari 250 SWB that was once owned by the guitarist, Eric Clapton, a car worth about £10,000,000.

Discover your own '25 O' number plates.

2. 'F 1' - £440,000

Before ‘25 O’ sold in 2014, ‘F 1’ was the most expensive number plate sold in Britain. 

Any petrol head will be able to tell you that ‘F 1’ stands for Formula 1 and these initials were bought by Afzal Khan, a Bradfordian businessman that assigned the number plate to his McLaren-Mercedes SLR.

A rather fitting number plate for the vehicle given the racing pedigree of the two companies.

Discover your own 'F1' number plates.

3. 'S 1' for £404,000

What would you pay to own the number plate that is thought to be the first one in Scottish history? 

An anonymous bidder was willing to part with just over £400,000 for the honour.

Surprisingly, the bidder claimed that the number plate wasn’t going to be fixed to a machine of equal or greater value. The bidder said it was going to be placed on an old Skoda - not especially fitting. 

Discover your own 'S 1' number plates.

4. '1 D' for £352,000

Though it might sell for an awful lot more now, when it was initially purchased, 1D or 1 Direction hadn’t even been formed. 

It was bought a year before the pop group came into being by Nabil Bishara, a Lebanese Businessman. 

If he were to consider selling it now, there’s every possibility that it could take the top spot in these rankings.

Discover your own '1 D' number plates.

5. 'M 1' for £331,000

When most people spend a lot of money on a number plate, they are buying it for themselves. 

But the number plate at no. 5 on our most expensive list was bought by Mike McCoomb. McCoomb was a mobile phone businessman and bought the registration back in 2006. 

It is reported that he bought it for his son, who was 10 at the time.

Discover your own 'M 1' number plates.

6. 'VIP 1' for £285,000

The billionaire boss of Chelsea FC, Roman Abramovich, bought the ‘VIP 1’ number plate. 

Interestingly it was also once owned by the Pope. The Holy Father had the number plate on the Popemobile when he visited Ireland.

7. '51 NGH' for £254,000

Singh is a surname that is popular amongst the Sikh community, and this particular number plate was sold back in 2006 for a fair sum.

8. '1 RH' for £247,000

When this number plate was put up for auction it was only expected to sell for just over £8,000.

However, when some see something they want, they are willing to pay for it. It was eventually sold to businessman Robert Harverson for 30 times the estimate back in 2006.

Discover your own '1 RH' number plates.

9. 'K1 NGS' for £231,000

There are many people that we can think of who might want a number plate like this, it’s rumoured that this particular plate was sold in 1993 for this princely sum to an Arab Sultan.

Discover your own 'K1 NGS' number plates.

10. '1 O' for £170,000

It may be in binary, but the figure paid for it certainly wasn’t and sold in Northamptonshire back in 2009.

Discover your own '1 O' number plates.

Reasons to Invest in Expensive Number Plates

For Investing

As we’ve shown you in this article number plates carry a lot of value and can sell for millions of dollars. Not only that, number plates are also excellent at retaining their value due to being one-of-a-kind. 

This makes them an excellent investment that can turn you a nice profit if the right buyer comes along.

For Business

If you own a business that has company branding to increase brand awareness, you might want to consider buying a number plate that can catch people’s eye to achieve the same thing. 

Having a number plate that matches your company name will strengthen your company’s brand, especially if you are a local business.  

For Pleasure

Collecting number plates is a hobby for some people. Maybe you’re looking for some personal wall decorations for your bedroom or an indoor bar to act as a conversation piece.

World’s Most Expensive Number Plates FAQ

What is the most expensive number plate in the world?

The most expensive number plate in the world is ‘MM’, a Californian number plate that is valued at £20 million. As well as the plate is one of only 35 in the State of California with double matching characters, the plate also gives the owner a one-of-a-kind NFT.

Who owns the number plate for No 1?

The No 1 number plate is owned by real estate mogul Saeed Abdul Ghaffar Khouri. The plate was snapped up for £6 million in 2008. 

Who owns the A1 number plate?

The A1 number plate is currently owned by Jefri Bolkiah, a member of the Brunei Royal Family. The plate was bought by Bolkiah in 2000 from Insignia Registrations, and it’s believed to have been placed on a Bentley Azure.

How much is the F1 number plate worth?

The F1 number plate, which is currently owned by British automotive designer Afzal Kahn, was put up for sale. Khan bought the plate for £440,000 in 2008 but has placed an asking price of approximately £15 million.

Who owns the 007 number plate?

The 007 number plate is highly coveted because of its association with Bond films. The plate was sold at auction for £240,000 to a resident of the Channel Island of Guernsey, who has chosen to keep their identity anonymous.

Not So Expensive Number Plates at Absolute Reg

The good news is that you don’t need to fork out millions for a number plate that adds a personal touch to your car; we offer an affordable option for you to buy and sell number plates.

Use our number plate search to find the reg you want. We’ll be able to tell you if it is available, how much it will cost, and how to register it for your vehicle.