Victorian six-digit personalised number plate sells for record-breaking $230,000

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A new record has been set for a non-heritage number plate in Victoria, with one buyer willing to spend more than a quarter of a million dollars – perhaps in the hope of bringing good fortune.

‘Heritage’ number plates have become a favourite of investors and speculators in recent years, with low-digit combinations selling for millions.

However, in what is believed to be a record for a personalised six-digit number plate, ‘888888’ has sold for $230,000 through Donington Auctions – or almost $272,000 with auction fee and tax.

Six-digit ‘heritage’ number plates in Victoria – created in distinctive black and white vitreous enamel – are only available between the range of 100,000 and 285,000, and typically sell for between $18,000 and $40,000.

The ‘888888’ combination is a personalised number plate and not considered ‘heritage’, and would have cost the owner less than $400 when purchased new from VicRoads in the 1990s.

In Chinese and other Asian cultures, eight is considered a lucky number as it sounds similar to the word for ‘generating wealth/fortune’ in Mandarin.

As the popularity of heritage number plates has skyrocketed in recent years, personalised number plates with six numerals have also increased in popularity – with some motorists illegally having their plates made in vitreous enamel in an attempt to look like heritage plates.

While police have been cracking down on the practice, Custom Plates – which issues custom number plates in Victoria on behalf of VicRoads – suspended sales of six-numeral personalised plates in 2023.

In July 2023, Custom Plates also suspended orders of heritage number plates after having them available to buy for just three days, due to overwhelming demand – and despite prices increasing to $17,995 from $14,000. Prior to that, sales had been suspended for about a year.

In January 2024, Queensland heritage number plate ‘Q1’ sold for $5.66 million, in the same auction as NSW number plate ‘1’, which sold for more than $11.5 million – making it the highest amount known to have been paid for a number plate in Australia.

The previous record was held by a two-digit Victorian heritage plate ’14’, which sold in 2022 for $2.27 million.

Ben Zachariah is an experienced writer and motoring journalist from Melbourne, having worked in the automotive industry for more than two decades. Ben began writing professionally more than 15 years ago and was previously an interstate truck driver. He completed his MBA in Finance in early 2021 and is considered an expert on classic car investment.

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