I’m Shane, the owner of NumberPlates.com.au, and this is the story of my number plates.
I registered my first personalised number plates around the year 2000. The plate was OMK-276.
Ironically the car was never actually registered. It was a project car that never quite got off the ground.
At the time these were known as ‘retro plates’ by PPQ. They were only available in black and white, and the alpha section of the plate could only start with an N, O or P.
My second personalised plate was for my motorbike. The plate was AKR05 and the bike was a Suzuki Across.
Unfortunately ACR05 was already taken, so AKR05 had to do.
My second car number plate was another retro plate, OFF-000.
This time around I simply wanted a plate that had as many zeros (or letter Os) as possible, along with a repeating letters if possible.
A short time after registering the plate I traded in my car on a Ford Falcon, and suddenly the plates had some meaning!
I sold these plates recently on eBay, and as usual they sold for far less than their original cost.
Around 2005 or so I started to develop an interest in Q plates, which are Queensland’s equivalent of heritage number plates.
A proper Q plate was out of my budget, but I liked the idea of having only numbers on a plate.
So I registered OOO-208. The first three characters were actually the letter O, but they still looked like zeros.
I picked the number 208 simply due to it being the lowest number available.
I must say that I really like the black and white plates starting with OOO, and I have noticed that they are becoming more popular on good cars.
Next up I decided it was time to move into the prestige plate category.
I didn’t have anything particular in mind, so I searched for the shortest dictionary word I could find which was still available.
This happened to be TIP. This was a great looking plate, although it was a pain when people asked what the meaning was and I had no good answer…
I loved short number plates, and some time later I found the 2 letter plate TD on eBay.
The plate attracted no bids, but I contacted the seller after the auction had finished and managed to negotiate a very good price to secure the plate.
Fast forward a few more years and I left my job to start my own business.
This meant a few non-core assets had to go, and regrettably I sold both TIP and TD. TIP sold for less than I bought it for, but that was made up for with the profit from TD.
So I went back to the OOO-208 plate for a few years until 2012 when The Great Qld Plate Auction II was held.
I was very, very happy to secure my first Q plate at this auction – Q697.
I thought that was it for me and number plates. I finally had my Q plate and I was happy.
But a short time later I was informed by a friend that the plate RISK was on eBay. My insurance business contains the same word, so I just had to have it.
I managed to secure RISK for less than the cost of a new prestige plate, which just goes to show that it’s very difficult to make a profit on anything other than a heritage plate.
The previous owner had held the plate for around 15 years, and was only selling as he had recently sold his own insurance business.
This time I really thought I was done. I had RISK on my car and Q697 on my wife’s car. I was very happy with our two plates.
In 2013 our first child was born, and just one month later the The Great Qld Plate Auction III was held in Brisbane.
The plate Q2013 came up, and given this was my first child’s birth year I just had to have it!
So now I have two Q plates in the collection, with Q2013 sitting on the bookshelf until my daughter gets her first car.
Recently I discovered that both of my Q plates were issued in the first year Q plates came into existence, which was 1921.
And that’s the story of my nine personalised number plates.
I think my story is typical of the progression of many number plate owners and investors.
I started by trying to make something out of the cheapest plates available, then progressed to prestige plates containing proper words with some meaning, and finally found myself at the pinnacle of number plates, which in Australia are heritage plates.
The only next step is to move into lower numbered heritage plates, but with prices climbing well into the five-figure range (and beyond!) I don’t think that will be happening any time soon.