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Dateless Number Plates - A Complete Guide


If you want to enhance your new or classic car and give it a distinctive look, dateless number plates are a perfect choice in 2023. 


But what exactly are dateless number plates? How much are they worth? And where can you buy cheap dateless number plates? You’ll learn all this and more in our helpful guide.


Topics on this page include:

  • What are dateless number plates?
  • When were DVLA dateless number plates used?
  • How much are dateless number plates worth?
  • Can you put a dateless number plate on your car?


Dateless number plates are one of four types of car registration systems in the UK. You can learn more about prefix number plates, suffix number plates, and new style number plates by following the links.


Alternatively, you can learn all about these systems in our complete car registration years chart


What Are Dateless Number Plates?



A dateless number plate is a type of UK number plate that doesn’t show an age identifier. As such, it can be assigned to any vehicle.


This plate type usually contains a simple letter region code and a unique number

to identify the vehicle. However, it can be designed with up to four numbers and three letters. 


When Were Dateless Number Plates Used?


Dateless number plates were the first type of number plate system used in the UK and were first issued by local councils in 1903. This system was replaced by the suffix registration system in 1963, which added age identification to number plates.


Introduced under the Motor Car Act 1904, dateless registrations were originally issued with letters first and then the number. It started with a single letter, then moved to two letters, and later three.


After all the combinations were exhausted, the pattern flipped to include numbers first, followed by letters. 


Because of this, it’s possible to find DVLA dateless number plates that are a mirror image of each other like “AG 1” and “1 AG”.


What Was the First Dateless Number Plate?


The first dateless number plate was “DY 1” and was issued in Hastings on November 23rd 1903.


How Much Are Dateless Number Plates Worth?


Due to their rarity and desirability, dateless number plates are some of the most expensive on the market. 


In fact, every one of the top 10 most expensive private number plates sold in the UK was a dateless number plate. The most expensive dateless number plate, 25 O, fetched a jaw-dropping £518,480.


Of course, dateless number plates can come far cheaper than this, but they are usually in their thousands. 


Why Are Dateless Number Plates So Desirable?


Although their appearance is a big factor in desirability, dateless number plates are usually the most expensive on the market due to their rarity. 


For a DVLA dateless number plate to have survived to the modern day, they would have needed to be transferred between cars. Many of the original cars that featured these plates have since been scrapped, with thousands of desirable number plates lost to time. 


And once issued, the DVLA will not re-issue the same registration.  This makes dateless registrations among the most cherished number plates in the UK. 


However, some dateless number plates have never been on another vehicle, increasing their desirability. This is because many regions never exhausted their allocated plate combinations and often withheld certain letter sequences that referenced names. 


These types of plates that were never issued are made available today at DVLA car reg auctions, which happen several times per year.  

Can I Put a Dateless Number Plate on My Car?


Yes, you can put a dateless number plate onto any vehicle. 


It’s illegal to make a car look newer than it is. For this reason, you couldn’t put a 2021 car registration plate onto a car made in 2002.


However, dateless number plates don’t have an age identifier like modern car plates. This means you can put a dateless plate on any vehicle as long as they follow the latest number plate rules on spacing and lettering.


You can learn more about number plate rules in our complete guide. 


Buy Cheap Dateless Number Plates UK With SwiftReg


We hope you’ve enjoyed our guide to dateless number plates. But how can you find and buy cheap dateless number plates today?


If you are searching for your own unique private registration, then SwiftReg can help. We have access to over 50 million number plates, and our database contains many styles and variations of DVLA private registration plates.


Dateless plates can be styled to reflect your name, initials, a word or a saying. 



Remember, replacing letters with numbers, such as a ‘3’ for an ‘E’ can open up even more possibilities, so experiment with different formats until you can get the design you want.


Use the SwiftReg number plate search tool to browse thousands of options, check availability, and find your own unique dateless private plate. 


How to Sell a Dateless Number Plate?


Thinking of selling a dateless number plate? You can sell your number plate today on SwiftReg. 


With SwiftReg, you can sell car registration plates online completely for free. You have full autonomy by setting your own price. We add a commission on top of your sales price, which the buyer pays, meaning there are no costs to you.

Just follow the link to sell your number plate and learn more.


How to Transfer a Dateless Number Plate?


SwiftReg has a full stress-free transfer management service for number plates. This means we’ll conduct the legal transfer and register with the DVLA on your behalf.

You can learn more about transferring dateless number plates by following the link to our number plate transfer service.

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