Selling your classic car? It's FREE to list your car on Honest John Classics | No thanks

Select registrations contribute £1.8bn to the economy

Published 29 July 2013

DVLA plays a major role within the number plate industry and since 1989, it has raised £1.8 billion for the Treasury purely from the sale of registration numbers via its auctions and website.

The Agency began selling select registrations during the 1980s when it became clear that the sale of sought-after combinations were being traded for significant sums of money. To capitalise on this, DVLA began to reserve certain registration numbers, such as those that resemble names or words, and combinations containing less characters, in order to lodge them in future auctions.

Hundreds of thousands of new combinations are released each year.  The majority are put up for sale on their website, whereas the most desirable ones are also reserved for the future auctions, aiming to sell them for their true market value.   

Reg Numbers

What are the available styles and where can I get them?

There are four different types available, and the format is based on registration numbers issued in different eras.

  • Current style – (2001-present) – Example: AB51 ABC
  • Prefix style – (1983-2001) – Example: A123 ABC
  • Suffix style – (1963-1983) – Example: ABC 123A
  • Dateless – (pre-1963) – Example: 1 AB or 1234 AB

Dateless registration numbers consist of combinations of up to four numbers followed by up to three letters, or vice-versa.  This style tends to be the most popular as they can go on any age vehicle and ultimately covers up its real age.  These will only be found in the DVLA auctions and/or advertised with number plate dealers such as

The rest are age related numbers, so you can distinguish when it was issued by the ‘age identifier’. For the current style, the two-digit number is the age identifier, for the prefix it is the first letter, and for the suffix it is the last letter of the combination.  For example:

  • In a current style, ‘61’ means it was issued between 01/09/11-29/02/12;
  • In a prefix style, the ‘A’ means it was issued between 01/08/83-31/07/84;
  • In a suffix style, the ‘A’ means it was issued between 01/02/63-31/12/63.

Current styles and Prefix styles can be found on the DVLA website, and/or with number plate dealers such as Carreg but some of the more desirable ones may be in the DVLA auctions also.

Suffix styles will normally only be advertised with dealers and/or in the DVLA auctions.

For more information regarding DVLA Number Plates please see the Carreg page at


Add a comment


Compare classic car insurance quotes and buy online. A friendly service offering access to a range of policies and benefits.

Get a quote