How To Sell A Private Number Plate

A great way to make extra money before selling or scrapping your car is to sell your private number plate. Within this article, we walk you through the entire process of selling your number plate as well as our top tips based upon our experience.

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How To Sell A Private Number Plate
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Private number plates are increasing in value each year in the UK and you may be quite surprised at how much your number plate is actually worth. Over the years, we’ve sold multiple number plates privately but if you don’t want the hassle of a private sale, there are other ways of selling your private number plate.

To ensure that you sell your private number plate securely and at the best possible price, the below guide walks you through everything you need to know.

Can You Even Sell Your Private Plate?

Before you even begin to think about how you are going to sell your private plate, you may not even be able to do so in the first place. Therefore, to be able to sell a private number plate, you must have either of the following:

  • Certificate of Retention (V778) or Certificate of Entitlement (V750) in your name (purchaser or grantee)
  • The vehicle registered in your name (required in order to get either of the above certificates)

Although it’s not that common, it’s also advised that you check that the number plate is transferable. If it isn’t, it’ll state “non-transferrable” on the V778 or V750 document.

What To Do Before The Sale?

In order to sell a private number plate, you’ll want to have the retention certificate in your possession. The advantage of this is that if you were to receive a tempting offer, you’ll be able to sell the number plate straightaway without any delays.

This is important because if the number plate is still on the car, it can take up to 6 weeks to receive the retention certificate. If you are in this position, we wrote an in-depth guide that walks you through the process of removing a number plate. After the removal is complete, you’ll receive a retention certificate in the post and you’ll be ready to sell it.

How To Sell A Number Plate

Once you are ready to sell your number plate, you can opt to sell it privately or through a dealer. Both have their advantages and disadvantages but in short, if you want to make as much money as possible, privately selling your number plate is recommended. However, if you want an instant offer with little hassle, selling it to a dealer is advised.

Below is a walk-through of how to sell your number plate privately or to a dealer.

Selling Privately

Selling your number plate privately requires additional work in terms of managing the paperwork and the transaction but it’s also a great way to make as much money as you can. As you can see from the below eBay feedback, we’ve had great success selling number plates privately and we would highly recommend it.

how to sell a personalised number plate

In order to sell your number plate privately, we would recommend creating a listing with the following:

  • A title that includes the exact number plate and that the retention has been paid.
  • A description that states the number plate again (as confirmation) along with the fact that it’s ready to be transferred straightaway or posted. You may also want to state how the purchaser will receive the registration.

With regards to the marketplaces to sell a private number plate, we would recommend the following:

  • eBay
  • Gumtree
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Cars and Classics
  • Enthusiasts/owners’ forums

After you’ve received an offer that you would like to accept, you’ll then need to securely transfer or send the number plate to the purchaser. To do this, we would first communicate with the purchaser and offer them the choice of receiving the retention certificate in the post or assigning it straight to their vehicle online.

If you send the retention certificate in the post, we would advise that you send it via 1st class signed post. You’ll also need to sign the relevant boxes so that the purchaser can send the document to the DVLA.

If you intend to transfer it to the purchaser straight away, you’ll need the log book (V5C) document reference number of the vehicle to which the private plate is being assigned to. You can then use your retention certificate details to complete the transfer online.

Selling To A Dealer

Selling your private plate to a dealer is much easier but you may not get as much. Depending upon the dealer you choose, most will give you two selling options that include an instant purchase or listing it upon their auction.

With regards to their instant purchase, they’ll likely offer you a low price because they’ll list it themselves after it has been transferred. However, if you require money as soon as possible, it’s a great option to consider. Alternatively, if you list it upon their auction, they’ll take a commission upon the price that it sells at.

Although you receive a lower price for your private number plate, the fact that you don’t need to deal with any questions or paperwork makes it an appealing option to consider. The dealers also gain great exposure to your number plate due to the fact that they list their stock in magazines, newspapers and newsletters.

Can You Sell Your Number Plate Back To The DVLA?

Although the DVLA sell thousands of private number plates every month, they don’t buy any private number plates. Therefore, there is no point in getting in touch with the DVLA in order to sell a private plate back to them.


Selling your private number plate is a lot easier than you would think and it’s a great way to make extra profit before selling or scrapping your car. Although “make and model” style number plates may add to the value of your car, removing other types of private plates before selling your car is highly recommended. The reason we state this is that the new owner is more than likely going to remove the private plate and sell it themselves.

Hopefully our guide on how to sell a private plate has walked you through everything you need to know. However, if you require further information, feel free to get in touch and we will try to provide our assistance where possible.

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