Aussie number plate sells for almost a million dollars

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Words: Matthew Hansen
30 Nov 2020

What would you buy for $735,000? A McLaren 720 S with all the options? A third of a house in Auckland? What about a number plate with a single measly digit?

The latter unlikely but also inevitable story from an auction that took place over the weekend in South Australia. Pickles Auctions hosted bidding for two local South Australian designation plates — “1” and “2” — with each auction netting a six-figure sum. The latter was won with a bid of AU$185,000 ($194,415), and the former a staggering bid of AU$700,000 ($735,627).

The two plates were first released in 1985 as ‘Grand Prix’ plates, as part of a tribute to that year’s Adelaide Formula 1 Grand Prix. South Australian plates from this release are known as ‘GP plates’.

The South Australian “1” plate at the centre of this story isn’t the only 1 plate in Australia. There’s also 1s in New South Wales and Victoria, respectively. CarAdvice writes that the Victoria plate is valued at around AU$2.5million ($2.6million) and is owned by an alcohol magnate, often spotted attached to a Mercedes-AMG E 63 wagon.

The NSW plate, meanwhile, could be worth even more money given that the NSW “4” plate sold at auction in 2017 for a whopping AU$2.45million ($2.57million) — the current record for most expensive plate in Australia. Maybe this $735,000 GP1 plate is decent value after all? 

Plate numbers with singular digits are generally worth big bucks all over the globe. Dubai’s “D5” plate, for example, sold in 2017 for 33 million AED — or around $13.9million. And in 2016 the United Arab Emirates’ “1” plate sold for around $10million.

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