The trade in personalized license plates in the UK can be big business -- the most coveted ones aren't given away, they are auctioned off at country clubs and manor houses. And in spite of a thing called "the recession" the record price paid for a specialty plate in the UK has just been broken, with a Lebanese property developer paying £352,411 ($513,047 USD) to own "1 D." The actual winning bid was £285,000 ($414,893 USD), to which fees and taxes were added.

And this year will see four more auctions hosted, with the most important items on the block the initial run of O-series plates, from "3 O" to "6 O." The first, "1 O," was sold for £210,242 ($306,063 USD) in January. It is said that investors and businessmen are buying the plates now as investments. Oh, and that half-million-dollar plate will be going on a Bentley, and even with the recent price increases, the most expensive Bentley runs £245,000 ($356,865 USD). Let's hope that at these prices, the new owners are buying locking hardware. Check out the press release after the jump.

[Source: DVLA]


PRESS RELEASE

25 March, 2009
PRESTIGIOUS REGISTRATION SMASHES DVLA RECORD

The much sought-after personalised registration 1 D has sold for a record amount at auction.

Lebanese property developer Nabil Bishara paid a staggering £352,411 for the prestigious plate at the DVLA Personalised Registrations auction in Warwickshire this afternoon.

The sum smashed the DVLA's previous record of £254,000 fetched by the registration 51 NGH in 2006.

Mr Bishara will now put the notable number on his wife's Bentley as a surprise present.

The registration was always regarded as one of the most desirable in the land and was expected to be the star lot in this week's auction at Ardencote Manor Hotel.

But DVLA bosses were staggered when furious bidding in the room and on the phone and internet saw the total soar. Mr Bishara finally triumphed though, with his winning bid of £285,000 rising to £352,411 with fees and VAT.

Damian Lawson, DVLA Personalised Registrations' Marketing Manager, said: "We always expected interest in this registration to be among the highest we've ever had and the pre-auction bids certainly backed that up.

"But we were still amazed when the bidding went as high as it did and we are absolutely over the moon with the final result."

A number of other desirable registrations are still to go up for sale at the auction which continues until Friday. This includes 2 0, which is also expected to fetch a high price when it goes under the hammer on Friday morning.