If you were asked the question, who do you think owns the most expensive personalised number plates, you probably wouldn’t think of your local council. So you may be surprised to learn that some regional governments and authorities own unique personalised number plates worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. In the current economic climate politicians are coming under increasing pressure to dispose of their valuable assets to put the money to better use. This has resulted in some councils being urged to consider selling the valuable number plates that are often proudly displayed on the mayoral car.
At this point you may be thinking why did some councils decide to spend huge amounts of public funds on personalised number plates in the first place? The answer is; they didn’t. Back in the year 1903 when number plates were introduced, it was the job of the local licensing authorities to issue registrations to vehicles. Each authority was given a letter combination for the geographical area. Naturally the first registration to be issued was the number one which was often reserved for the mayoral car.
To use an example; the City of Leeds was allocated the letter ‘U’. The very first registration to be issued was U 1 in 1904. It was retained by the City of Leeds for the Lord Mayor’s car and is still being used for that purpose today.
So in many cases it is purely by accident that the council happens to own a very unique and valuable number plate. We have already mentioned Leeds Council and the registration U 1. Here are a few other valuable number plates and their respective council owners.
NH 1 is displayed on the Mayoral car of Northampton. Southend Council has HJ 1 and EG 1 is used by Peterborough Council.
A few years ago Essex County Council decided to cash in on their valuable F 1 number plate. Some of the proceeds were used to provide advanced driver training for young people. The Council did however decide to buy a replacement personalised registration spending a few thousand pounds on ECC 1 for the Mayor’s Jaguar.
So should all councils follow the lead of Essex County Council and sell their prized possessions? One council leader defended his authority’s decision to keep their treasured registration number. He pointed out that it would only knock £4 off the average council tax bill for one year if the suggested sale price of £400,000 for NH 1 was achieved.
At Simply Registrations we don’t blame the councils for keeping their valuable number plates. If the Mayor wants to ride around in a chauffeur driven car proudly displaying a fantastic number plate that is fine by us. If the very best personalised number plates continue to appreciate in value, as they have for the past few years, we will soon have councils owning cherished registrations worth in excess of £1million.