Punters are still buying private registrations, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has drawn in bids worth more than £2 million from the first day of this week’s live online number plate auction. Although normally conducted in physical venues, the sales have moved online as a result of the coronavirus crisis, but private registrations are still fetching big money.

This week’s sale lasts seven days, with 2,250 plates up for auction. By the close of play on Wednesday (July 22), the first day of the sale, 80 percent of the plates listed had reached their reserve prices, with more than £2 million bid.

Among the most in-demand plates at that point were ‘86 A’, which had reached a massive £34,610, and ‘SUN 1A’, which had climbed past £12,510. ‘1 NAB’ wasn’t far behind, either, hitting £11,210.

Other plates included in the sale include ‘SHE 33P’ and ‘511 CK’, which the DVLA describes as “quirky and fun marques that help market businesses”. The two plates have reserves of £300 and £2,200 respectively, while ‘SPA 805S’ and ‘W45 STE’ both have reserves of £250.

Elsewhere in the sale, several plates are approximations of people’s names, including ‘LA18 URA’, which has a reserve of £400, and ‘YUS 53F’ (£300). Other plates on sale include ‘LE11 NNY’ and ‘BLA 112R’, both of which have reserves of £250, and ‘C43 MAX’, which has a reserve of £130 and might suit a Mercedes-driving Max.

Man making number plate on machine in workshop

However, human names aren’t the only ones in the limelight. American performance car maker Saleen is represented by ‘S41 EEN’, while a Lamborghini owner might snap up ‘LAM 80V’, which has a reserve of £300. Other car-related plates include Aston Martin-related ‘DBS 1A’ and ‘AST 700N’, as well as ‘F812 FER’, which might interest a Ferrari 812 Superfast owner.

Interested buyers will have to head online to get their hands on the plates, after the Covid-19 lockdown forced the DVLA to take its sales onto the internet. Staged over 10 days, the DVLA says the online auctions enable the sale of a greater number of lots and “provide customers plenty of time to bid”.

Old UK car number plate

“These have been totally unprecedented times but our paramount concern is, and has always been, for the safety of our colleagues and customers,” said Jody Davies, DVLA Personalised Registrations’ senior sales manager. “We know our customers truly value the experience our live auctions provide but, with a heavy heart, we made the immediate decision extremely early to move our spring and summer sales online.

"While the country is slowly getting back to some normality, we feel it is only correct to maintain our online services in order to guarantee both our service and safety. We truly look forward to February 2021 when, hopefully, we will be able to once again safely stage our next live auction.”