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Private Number Plates Transfer Scheme

Article Posted 03/10/2009

The term cherished number plate has traditionally been associated with classic dateless registrations. Many of these number plates have often been owned by families for decades or have a high sentimental value.

Since the introduction of number plates in the early 1900’s, the need to own a cherished number plate has grown. During this time the administration of car registrations has moved from the responsibility of local councils to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), which was set up in 1965.

The introduction of the DVLA brought with it new rules and regulations for the sale and transfer of cherished car number plates and for the next 10 years the trade of personalised number plates boomed. Dealers started buying old cars and motorbikes just for their private number plates and selling the registration numbers on for a profit. Many of the vehicles were not in working order however their registration marks could still be legally transferred.

However in 1976, the DVLA head office in Swansea went about changing the laws of cherished number plate transfers with the view to totally prohibit the transfer of cherished registrations in the future. The implications of these new laws would have been devastating to number plate dealers who had built up the industry from scratch. The stock piles of old vehicles that they had bought would become useless as the registration numbers could no longer be transferred, the general public would not have a chance to own their perfect number plate and many of the best cherished registrations would be lost forever. It was clear that something had to be done about the changes.

In 1977 the DVLA re-introduced the cherished number plate transfer scheme and trade flourished once more. There were however key changes that were made to the cherished transfer scheme which are still in effect today. One main change was that once a registration number had been transferred off a vehicle the replacement number plate was non-transferable. A second change, that is still in use today is that each vehicle is required to have a valid MOT in order for the transfer to be successful.

Applications to transfer a number plate can be made in person at any local DVLA office or via post to the DVLA. An £80 transfer fee is payable to the DVLA for the transfer process.

The DVLA also offers a retention document scheme which enables owners of private number plates to transfer their car registration's off their vehicle's and hold them on certificate's. By doing this people can collect and own as many private registration plates as they like without having them assigned to their vehicles. The current fee for transferring a private registration onto a retention certificate is £105. (During the changes made in the 1970’s the retention scheme was abolished due to the level of fraudulent activity associated with it. Much of this was due to the scheme being paper based). It was reintroduced in 1992 with extra measures to minimise the amount of fraud and is now administered by a central DVLA database.

With the rising demand to own a private number plate, prices have increased each year. Cherished registration plates can change hands for tens of thousands of pounds and some are worth more than the average house. However in today’s terminology the term cherished number plate has been diluted somewhat by owners, so cherisehed number plates can now be known as private, personalised, suffix, prefix, current and dateless style car registrations.

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