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Amazing Hobby - Most Expensive License Plates

Collectible license plates: better than collecting stamps? Collectible license plates: better than collecting stamps?

Some people have hydroponics as a hobby. Others collect things. Some very lucky individuals get to do both. Coins, stamps, and rare books are a few of the items these collectors fancy - and so are license plates.

In 2000, a 1921 Alaska license plate traded hands outside a Wendy’s parking lot for $40,000 - it’s worth nearly twice that today. Why do certain plates have astounding value in collectors’ eyes, and which ones are worth the most?


Mississippi plates from 1912 and 1913 are said to be worth around $30,000 - $50,000 each. Lucky the man who finds one hanging askew from a rusted old car in a cornfield!

Abu Dhabi Street Legal

Single and low double digit plates in Abu Dhabi are street legal and sell for millions, with the numeral ‘1’ plate topping $14 million at auction. These are considered a huge status symbol in the region.

Hong Kong

The license plate numbered ‘9’ is quite valuable in Hong Kong - ‘9’ sounds like ‘everlasting’ in Cantonese, and the plate sold to a tycoon named Yeung for $4 million in 1994.

Delaware Street Legal

Residents of ‘The First State’ have a special affinity for low number, street legal plates; The number ‘6’ plate sold a few years ago for $650,000. Many cars carry plates more valuable than the vehicles themselves.


At a ALPCA (Automobile License Plate Collectors Association) meet in 2008, a plate could be viewed that was made in Tasmania in 1898. Ninety years later, an IT manager from New Jersey picked it up in a Hobart antique shop for $200 - the plate is worth over $20,000 today.

Texas Street Legal

In 2011, Texas held the state’s first ever license plate auction in Cowboys Stadium in Arlington TX. Customized street legal plates went for thousands. FERARRI held the top spot at a staggering $15,000. COWBOYS went for $11,500, GOHORNS (a reference to the wildly popular college team the Texas Longhorns) for $10,500, and RANGERS for $10,000. Other high dollar plates included the Bidders Choice - bought by an Austin man who put the name of his business FROMTHEAIR on the plate.

Britain Street Legal

The trend in Great Britain is Middle Eastern; 51NGH (SINGH) went for a mind blowing £254,000. Other high roller paid £51,000 for 1RAN (IRAN), £20,500 for SYR1A (SYRIA) and £18,000 for AHM3D (AHMED).

Victoria, BC

The Guinness Book of World Records oldest license plate is a porcelain on steel number ‘6’ plate issued in Victoria in 1884 - 18 years before the introduction of the automobile to the region. It was a plate for a hackney cab (a horse drawn conveyance that served as the ‘taxi’ of the times. The owner bought it for $1,000; its current value is unknown.

License plates are becoming more and more popular as a collector’s item, with many striving to collect a plate from each state in the US, or the same number from various states, or plates with special designations.

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Last modified on Friday, 21 September 2012 17:47

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