Cherished Number Plates

Cherished number plates refer to specialized number plates that deviate from the current formatting norm. The “cherished” portion of the title alludes to the number plates’ widespread appeal; more than simply differentiating a vehicle from others, a cherished number plate enables the owner to create a unique, personally tailored on-road identity.


General number plates―those issued to newly registered vehicles by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)―consist of seven characters: two letters that identify a vehicle’s registration area, two numbers that identify a vehicle’s year of registration, and three randomly selected letters. This system was instituted in 2001 and applies to all UK countries except Northern Ireland, which utilizes its own number-plate system.


Cherished number plates typically omit age identifiers (because the number plates were assigned before age identifiers were adopted) and often boast inherently valuable letters, numbers, and/or messages.


Perhaps the most exciting byproduct of owning a cherished number plate is the fact that literally nobody else can lay claim to the same plate. Anyone can simultaneously own the same make and model vehicle, but no one can simultaneously own the same number plate. Cherished number plates are truly one of a kind.


How to transfer a cherished number plate?

Cherished number plates exist in two states – on a certificate of entitlement (showing you as the legal owner), or on a vehicle. You can transfer a cherished plate from a vehicle to a certificate, or vice versa, with a DVLA fee of £80 payable to make a registration ‘transferable’.


The best way is to do this online however you can perform a transfer via the post but you will need the V5C log book for any vehicles involved. The vehicles must be taxed and tested, and of course any certificate must be valid and not expired.


If you remove a registration from a vehicle to a certificate or another vehicle, the vehicle will receive another registration mark to take it’s place. This will typically be the original registration from before it was given a cherished number, or a random reg of suitable age for the vehicle.


What are the Rules for Purchasing Cherished Number Plates?

Cherished-plate customers are subject to one main rule: They cannot use a number plate to make a vehicle appear newer than it really is.


In the past (and especially before the internet came about), vehicle salespersons would sometimes disguise the age of vehicles by installing newer number plates (equipped with newer age identifiers). Conceivably, customers could be fooled into buying an older vehicle that was made to appear newer by a number plate.


But as virtually all of today’s cherished-plate enthusiasts aim to make their newer vehicles appear older, at least in a technical sense, they have little more than a transfer form to worry about, regulation-wise. So long as it’s lawfully bought, the mentioned paperwork is completed, and the “Age Rule” is adhered to, any number plate can be used on any car.

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