VIC Number Plates advertising
We advertise weekly in The Trading Post, The Age and Unique Cars.
There's the cute, the crass - and the capitalistic. Ben Haywood reports on a nice little earner.

Dollars, not simple vanity, are driving an increasing number of Victorians to buy personalised number plates.

With plates such as SOSEXC and IAMA-10 on the road, there's no doubt ego is a factor. But dreaming up a creative plate can be a cheap way to turn a tidy profit.

"There are certainly some investors," says Graeme Vaux, manager of VicRoads Custom Plates. "By number, the largest group would be young males, perhaps predictably, but we've certainly had a lot of success with more people investing in plates."

An estimated 100,000 customised plates are on the road and the number is increasing, with VicRoads receiving 100 applications a day and earning about $7 million a year.

Mel McLennan and some of his number plates.


"It's a social trend that people are wanting to personalise their houses, their own appearance and certainly their cars," says Mr Vaux.

Compared with NSW, plates in Victoria are relatively inexpensive. In NSW, the RTA charges an annual rental, while VicRoads charges a one-off fee.

A specially issued standard plate costs $160, while a six-digit personalised plate is $310. Other commemorative or special-issue plates - such as those released by footy clubs - cost more.

The real money is in the resale value.

Mel McLennan owns VICnumberplates.com.au, a growing online directory of about 1000 customised and collectable Victorian number plates. He says that, although plates can be a good investment, sellers often set unrealistic prices.

"What I say to people is that if you get four or five times your money that's not a bad return. But if you've got exceptional plates, well, then they're worth exceptional money."

Some investors have even higher hopes. ZMZMZM would be perfect for your Mazda - if you've got a spare $8000. Kylie fans can expect to pay $10,000 for MNOGUE, and if you want to be ORIGNL you're looking at a cool $25,000.

Others try to outsmart business by registering plates with company names. More than $20,000 is the asking price for a red FOX-FM plate, while YAHOO has a $30,000 price tag. Neither has sold.

The plates that raise real cash are heritage plates. Mr McLennan recently sold an original enamel Victorian plate, 156, for $38,000.

"There's a lot of heritage plates. They're a very tightly held plate and there are always about 20 on the market at any time. They are worth some serious money. A two-digit one - that's worth about $99,000. Big bucks."

For some, like 42-year-old prison officer Ron Penny, number plates are just a hobby. Mr Penny is a member of the Number Plate Collectors' Club, and says he isn't selling his collection of about 300 Victorian plates. "For some people, it's an investment, but I probably wouldn't sell them. For me it's a hobby and an interest. I feel like I'm collecting part of Victoria's history."

Return to Top

  Advert 3