How to Buy Cherished Numbers on eBay

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How to Buy Cherished Numbers on eBay

A cherished number plate, also called a "personalised registration plate" or "personal car number plate", is an alphanumeric custom car registration plate. There are a limited number of cherished number plates available, and therefore, many drivers may wait for years for one of their top choices to be up for sale. These plates, although limited, can be bought, sold, and exchanged by anyone, and oftentimes people register the plate and never use it; they sell it instead.

Drivers who find their cherished number plate is already registered should search on eBay. Many plate owners conduct business on eBay and with thousands of choices to browse through, there is bound to be something for everyone. Once an auto owner has found the perfect plate on the online marketplace, there are several factors to investigate before buying. Roadworthy cherished plates follow strict DVLA codes. Every plate has a registration certificate, and it should be authenticated before purchasing.

Choosing a Cherished Number Plate

Whether the plate reflects the driver or the car, cherished number plates are a fun way to personalise a vehicle. Sometimes an auto owner comes up with an idea, but it has already been registered or taken. Fortunately, cherished number plates can be exchanged with filing a few forms.

Before paying for a pre-registered plate, it is important to be familiar with the legal guidelines to make sure the plate can be used. The following sections guide shoppers through the process of buying a cherished number on eBay.

Personalising the Plate

Picking out the right combination of letters and numbers for a plate can take some major brain power. All plates must be alphanumeric and cannot contain any forms of punctuation. If a driver is after a cherished number plate with her initials, those are easy to find since there are plenty of combinations to choose from. The first place to scout for a particular number is with the DVLA. Drivers who want a specific combination can look at the several Vehicle Identity Check (VIC) sites to see if it has been registered. There are dealers and individuals who buy the rights to the plate but do not register it to a vehicle.

Price of Cherished Plates

The price for cherished number plates is influenced by a variety of factors, all revolving around the age and desirability of the plate. The more exclusive the series, the more it is worth. The overall popularity of the lettering also contributes to the cost; there are certain cherished plates that are priced in the six figure range. Lower numbers, particularly "1&", are another sought after commodity. There are several official DVLA auctions held per year, but on eBay, sellers have thousands of cherished number plates for buyers to choose from at any time.

Retention Certificates

Should a person find themselves wanting to purchase or reserve a cherished number before owning the vehicle, then a certificate of registration is issued. This document is known as a "Retention Certificate", and it is valid for 12 months. In addition to actual plates bought and sold, some cherished numbers are in the form of these certificates. When searching for plates on eBay, ask the seller if the plate is already in use or "on retention&". As long as the appropriate paperwork is filed, the end result of buying either is the same.

Legal Guidelines

Only the DVLA can issue authentic cherished number plates and retention certificates, but the general public has many outlets to choose from when searching for their perfect plate. There are many reputable dealers that have thousands of options to search through, and many list their inventory on eBay. If purchasing a plate, then a V750 certificate of entitlement should accompany the plate. If the plate has only been reserved, buyers receive a V778 certificate of retention.

Buyers should exercise caution when looking for a particular plate. Some of the best cherished numbers can cost a fortune, so buyers offered an inexpensive, too good to be true plate may end up buying something that cannot be legally displayed.

Specific Rules

In order to avoid purchasing an illegal cherished number plate, it is important to know the national rules and regulations before buying. All plates must abide by the following regulations: Font must be of DVLA standard format; uniform spacing between characters; no egregious spaces; letters and numbers clear and legible, no other symbols or characters other than alpha-numeric permitted; after 2001, plates must have name and postcode of the supplier.


Motorists who ignore one or more of these laws can find themselves in one of three situations. Drivers can receive a hefty fine or an MOT test failure. Illegal cherished numbers, once discovered can also result in the complete withdrawal of the original registered number.

Display Only Plates

Cherished number plates, as the name implies, can be a sentimental accessory for a car, and some of the best plates are being auctioned for a future. It may be tempting to look at the lower end of the spectrum for DVLA authentic plates, and buyers should be aware that not all plates sold are able to be used on the open road. Some plates may look authentic enough, but there are a few telltale signs that can help buyers distinguish legal plates from display-only ones.

Since true plates only have letters and numbers, anything else is a fake. For example, a dash between two "I"s to make it appear as an "H" is illegal; unauthorised manipulations comes with a hefty fine. Moreover, the letters must be spaced evenly from each other; there is no strategic spacing for multiple words. When buying cherished number plates on eBay, read the entire listing before purchasing. Sellers are required to notify buyers about the authenticity of the plates, and some write it in the fine print.

Authenticating a Cherished Number Plate

Buyers should always have the certificate authenticated before paying. The DVLA office can disclose if the retention certificate has a registration mark on it, but due to the Data Protection Act, this is all that can be revealed. Therefore, it is important to know how a certificate is authenticated. Every certificate has a watermark, and buyers can consult any DVLA office to see what an authentic certificate looks like.

Transferring a Cherished Number Plate

Once the buyer has bought a cherished number plate, it must be legally transferred. In order to file the correct paperwork, buyers must know the history of the plate. If the plate has been previously registered to another vehicle, both the buyer and the seller must fill out the DVLA form V317 and pay an application fee. Shoppers should check the DVLA website to see the most current regulations and paperwork requirements.

Transfer Process

Transferring a plate from one car to another is straightforward enough. However, certain circumstances require more. If taxes are due on either the old or new car at the time of transfer, then an additional form, the V10 Application for a Tax Disc, and valid certificate of insurance must be included. Not having these documents prepared can slow the process down. If the plate is being transferred to a new car and the car needs to be registered at the same time, then there are certain documents that must be provided to complete the process. See the DVLA website for an updated list of requirements.


Cherished number plates are a simple way to personalise a vehicle. Finding the right plate takes a bit of time and research, and creating one that has been taken is a feat. One of the best places to find cherished number plates, whether already in use or in the form of a retention certificate. Authentic, street legal, plates are alphanumeric only. Plates that have bolts or add in other punctuation marks are for display only and are not roadworthy. All plates should be sold with the appropriate paperwork.

Every cherished number plate is registered with the DVLA, and anyone can call with a local office and confirm. Once buyers have authenticated, then purchased the certificate and plate, there is a bit of DVLA paperwork to make the transaction official and binding; buyers should consult the official DVLA website for a list of current instructions. eBay&'s extensive collection of rare and affordable cherished number plates has something that can fit nearly everyone's budget.

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