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DVLA Number Plate Auctions: How Do They Work?

Anyone looking for a personalised number plate will have come across the DVLA number plate auctions that take place a few times a year. With around 1,500 plates available in each auction, it is a great day out for car and number plate enthusiasts, just download the upcoming auction catalogue and see if any plates would be a good fit for your car.

For those who have never been or bought a personalised plate from a DVLA auction, then this guide will tell you what to expect.

Read about the different types of bids you can make at a DVLA auction, as well as an outline of the process - from registration to winning your favourite plate. 


How do DVLA Plate Auctions Work?


DVLA number plate auctions

If you’d like to buy a DVLA number plate, you can get involved with their live private plate auction. To do this, you’ll need to register. To do this, simply browse their auction catalogue and fill in the Bidder Registration Forms with the necessary information – you must then send these back (either electronically or by post). If you are not submitting your registration online, ensure you complete the forms correctly and legibly.  You can register online here.

Once you have registered, make sure you read all the terms and conditions. You’ll be sent your bidder’s card in advance- meaning there is no paperwork to be filled out on the day.

It is advised that you get to the auction around 1 hour before your Lot comes up (times for each Lot will be supplied in the catalogue).

Tip: set yourself a maximum budget and stick to this- bearing in mind additional fees that are chargeable.

Once your Lot goes on offer, the DVLA recommend that you bid early on by using your bidder’s card (held up high, so the auctioneer can clearly see it).

If your bidding has been successful, the auction house will take a 10% deposit for the plate on the day, then you have 5 working days to make the promised payment in full – this includes the fees on top of the plate price, including VAT and an £80 Assignment Fee.

After payment is cleared, the DVLA will send you your V750 form (a Certificate of Entitlement), meaning you can assign the personalised registration to a vehicle (either your own, or someone else’s if you are giving the registration as a gift).


How do I bid at the Auction?

bidding at number plate auction

 Image credit: KsanaGraphica /

The process explained above applied for in-person biddingm however, there are 5 ways you can bid at a DVLA plate auction. You can bid in person – which is a great way to soak up the atmosphere and buzz of the auction! Alternatively, if you are unable to make the auction dates, you can bid:


Over the telephone - If you can't be there on the day, you can still soak up some of the atmosphere over the phone!
Online (internet bid) – Just make sure you have a good internet connection, or your bid may not go through in time!
Absentee bid – this just means you can bid if you are not contactable during the auction for whatever reason. Just leave your maximum bid with the auctioneer.
Via text (SMS bid) – These types of bids can be placed up to 1 hour before the Lot goes up for sale

Bear in mind though that in-person bids are prioritised over remote bids. You will also need to register your bids before the deadline of that specific auction. You can find out the deadlines for each bidding method by clicking here.

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