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Cherished Number Plates

Until the early 1990’s, all dateless registrations that were sold in the UK were classed as Cherished registration numbers. Car magazines such as The Exchange & Mart, Autotrader and weekend newspapers had “Cherished Number Plate” sections that were crammed with list after list of old registration marks for sale. This only really changed when the DVLA ( Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency ) became actively involved in the sale of prefix car registrations in October 1990 with the release of “H” registrations for sale.  Prefix marks had a letter at the front of the plate to signify when it was issued. It was the prefix registrations that changed the entire personalised registration industry forever.

Up until this point, cherished registration plates were not as abundant as they are today. When in Swansea first issued the “A” prefix reg plates in 1991, it opened up a huge opportunity for people with the more popular initials to now buy the personal reg marks that were so difficult to find up to that point. Initials such as MJB and DJW were now widely available for sale however thousands of them were snapped up by knowledgeable dealers and investors who were quick to see the opportunity of a profit.

Vintage PhotoNowadays, we consider cherished plates to be the dateless personalised registrations that were issued before 1963. That means the style that does not have a year character or indicator to show when the plate was issued.

Have a look at the image of A 1, which is the generally regarded as the first dateless number plate ever issued, and you can see exactly what a cherished registration number looks like. They are often referred to as dateless registrations although they shouldn’t be confused with Irish registrations which also have no year letter indicator.

Cherished Registrations for sale

Plates for sale such as AB 2367, MW 9 are classic examples of this type of cherished or dateless car registration. As they are significantly older (and some can be over 100 years old now), these car registrations have a much higher market value than the usual prefix, suffix or new style registrations that are common place on today’s busy roads.

The earliest cherished reg marks from 1903 started with just one letter and one digit such as G 1, H 1 and so on but A 1 , as most would expect, may not the first registration issued.  A great story exists where Lord Russell had a member of his household staff to queue at the local council office to be first in line for A1 which he did achieve however this was just the London office and rumour has it that Y1 was registered beforehand.  The most expensive private plates that have been sold over the last 10 years have virtually all been the cherished number plate style. Registrations such as F 1, M 1 and S 1 have made well over £300,000 and our company sold one of the most photographed car registrations in the UK which was B1 for over £200,000 back in 2006.

B 1 Registration from The Private Plate Company.png

Here is a list of the council offices that issued some of the very first single digit dateless registrations.

A 1 - London

B 1 - Lancashire

C 1 - Yorkshire (West Riding)

D 1 - Kent

E 1 - Staffordshire

F 1 - Essex

G 1 - Glasgow

H 1 - Middlesex

J 1 - Durham

K 1 - Liverpool

L 1 - Glamorgan

M 1 -  Cheshire

N 1 - Manchester

O 1 - Birmingham

P 1 - Surrey

R 1 - Derbyshire

S 1 - Edinburgh

T 1 - Devon

U 1 - Leeds

V 1 - Lanarkshire

W 1 - Sheffield

X 1 - Northumberland

Y 1 - Somerset

As you can see, cherished registration marks have been exceptional investments over recent years. You can find many thousands of these dateless plates on our website in the DVLA auction results sections.

If you should want to know how to sell a number plate just complete our online form and we will advertise it FREE of charge for you within 24 hours. We are a recognised reseller of DVLAregistrations.