Fun Facts About Number Plates

Fun facts about number plates you may not know

The history of number plates is a fascinating one, and there are all sorts of interesting and odd facts about them. Read on to enjoy a host of fun facts about number plates.

The plate ‘T8’ was one of the very first celebrity plates and was owned by the music hall artist Harry Tate. It was apparently later acquired by Johnny Tate of the sugar producers Tate & Lyle.

Robbie Williams once apologised for splashing so much cash on a new Ferrari by adding an S8 RRY plate to the vehicle.

Cherie Blair apparently bought an LEO 10 plate for her son Leo.

Back in 1989, the plate 1 A was bought for £160,000.

It wasn’t legal to transfer motorbike and moped plates to cars until late 2001.

When J registrations were launched back in 1991, the number J1 HAD was immediately banned.

Princess Ann once used a 1 ANN plate on her car before being forced to remove it for security purposes.

France was the first country to introduce registration plates in 1893.

Fans of The Phil Silvers Show bought the plate B1 LKO at auction.

When New York became the first state to make licence plates compulsory, the plates themselves were made by the owners of the vehicles. These plates only required the initials of the owner.

The first licence plates were manufactured from porcelain or ceramic materials. Unfortunately, these plates were easily broken, so redesigns were necessary.

A man in California bought bespoke plates with the message ‘NO PLATE’ in 1979. He went on to receive more than 2,500 notices of citations when he was targeted by the authorities over various other cars which had been described as having ‘no plate’.

Comedian Jimmy Tarbuck is the proud owner of the plate COM 1C. Late magician Paul Daniels once owned the plate MAG 1C.

The Queen Mother used to own the plate NLT 2, with her husband Prince Philip once owning OXR 1.

The first state-issued plates were introduced in Massachusetts in 1903. The first state-issued plate simply read ‘1’ and was owned by a man called Frederick Tudor. Massachusetts issued 3,241 tags between September and December 1903.

The first state to issue personalised plates was Pennsylvania in 1931.

In 1928, an image of a potato was the first graphic to be added to a registration plate, in the state of Idaho.

There are no licence plates on vehicles owned by the US Postal Service.

In nineteen US states, only a rear plate is required.

The DVLA examine the list of registrations up for release twice a year to weed out any offensive messages, though some outrageous plates still slip through the net from time-to-time.

VIP 1 was bought by Roman Abramovich for £285,000 in 2006 and was originally created to mark Pope Jean Paul II’s visit to Ireland.

The plate simply reading ‘1’ was sold for £7.25 million to Adu Dhabi’s Saeed Abdul Gaffer Khouri.

Personalised number plates have a great track record when it comes to rising in value. The plate 1 A we mentioned early would apparently raise over £300,000 in today’s climate, almost three decades after it was originally sold.

At Show Plates Direct, we’re waiting to hear from you right now if you are interested in purchasing your very own bespoke show plates and registration plates. Our plates are produced to the highest standard and created to stand the test of time. We offer a variety of delivery options and are renowned for our swift delivery times. It’s easy to make your way around our website and order your personalised plates, and you’re welcome to drop us a line at any point if you do have any queries about our products and services.

More and more drivers are heading straight to Show Plates Direct when they require plates of the highest quality. Our customer network spans not only the whole of the UK but Europe and even further afield too, with many buyers ordering their plates from the US and Canada. To find out more about our bespoke show plates or to speak to us about any other issue, just send an e-mail to

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