Lovely jubb11y, Rodders: DVLA does a bit of Del Boy dealing to make millions on best 2011 plates

They are the kind of number plates that would get Del Boy rubbing his hands with glee.

For as the 11-series registrations come on stream for next year, there will be plenty of opportunity for a bit of Only Fools and Horses-style dealing.

The DVLA is auctioning the best of its age-related numbers with an unofficial nod to the fact that the 11 – representing 2011 – will be used to spell words with a double ‘L’.


Don't be a plonker! The DVLA doesn't intend to be - they're making millions of pounds from the sale of personalised and quirky number plates and 2011 is expected to be a bumper year, so to speak

That means DE11 BOY – intended to appear as DELL BOY – is among the prizes to be had.

Take a look at many of the personalised plates already on cars, and it is clear that corrupting letters with a strategically placed stud or drilled hole, or squeezing them together to form a name, is more attractive to some people than paying a premium to abide by the law.

But for those who want to conform to strict legislation on spacing and lettering, there will be gems such as BULL DOG, GALL OPS, WELL BAD and FALL GUY.

Or, if you happen to be an unfortunate motorcyclist, FALL OFF.

The sale made a staggering £12.5million for government coffers on its first day alone this month, when punters could go online to reserve their dream number.

But forthcoming sales of particular plates which have been held back for auction are set to raise even more.

The bad news for speculators or vanity buyers is that they will need big WALL ETS to secure some of the more attractive registrations, many of which will have reserve prices of up to £10,000.

And if previous interest is a guide, some will far outstrip the reserves.

The first day of the 11-plate release broke all records for DVLA sales of personalised registrations, which last year raised just £3.5million over the entire period.

More than 23,000 were booked this year, ready to be attached to new vehicles from March 1 and beyond.

Some were assigned in advance as Christmas presents to a relative or loved one, or bought as an investment to re-sell.

Minimum prices of plates featuring letters relevant to the buyer, or those spelling words such as DULL DAY, sold for between £399 and around £3,000.

DELL BOY, however, will find himself in a different league when that plate goes under the hammer in the New Year.

Likewise, those which need no tweaking to convey their message will command a premium.

The DVLA’s dalliance into the personalised registration market is, in theory, a useful money-spinner for the motorist and the taxpayer. So far it has raised £1.6billion for the Treasury. 

Since the government got into the business in 1989, however, it has spelled misery for private firms trying to sell them.

Elite Registrations, one of Britain’s longest established and best known dealers, bought only 75 ‘mostly bog standard’ plates in the current sale, and none which used 11 to spell words.

Managing director Tony Hill expects 0011 JON to fetch his best price, probably in excess of a modest £2,000.

He explained: ‘As far as we’re concerned, there’s no such thing as a bargain from the DVLA.

‘Some of the prices they sell them at are ridiculous, and they keep all the best ones back for auction.’

The highest price paid for a DVLA plate from its stock of timeless numbers was £352,000 for 1 D.

Alas, we’re not allowed to have too much fun with rude plates or those deemed inappropriate.

A team of official spoilsports is employed to weed out offensive, inadvisable or easily corruptible combinations before they are allowed to join Britain’s 34million registrations.

Plates such as BULL ETS, MULL AHS and CALL GRL, therefore, will not be in anyone’s Christmas sack; nor will those that could be changed to look like POLICE, TALIBAN, A KILLER or FILTHY.

And don’t be misled into thinking the DVLA will miss one.

Only rarely does it make a bit of a BALL SUP.

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