How private number plates serve as status symbols.
Status symbols are items or possessions which are a visible representation of someone’s social status. They separate the poor from the rich, the weak from the strong and the peasants from the wealthy.
These are different depending on cultures, countries, technology etc. As an example, a mobile phone was a conspicuous status symbol in the 1980s, as a phone you could use anywhere was expensive and rare.
Nowadays, the vast majority of people either own a mobile phone or can purchase one very cheaply.
Therefore, just owning one doesn’t do much for your social status.
The most common status symbols tend to be our houses and cars these days, but in most cases this isn’t enough. Extensions of these have to be made to really show your worth in your community. As an example, a private plate would be a good addition to your car to show off your social status.
Private number plates are exclusive as you can only have one per car. The more prestigious ones do not have to follow the DVLA issued registrations following the generic criteria:
Region – two letters at the beginning
Age – two numbers in the middle
Remaining letters – three random letters
For this privilege, you have to pay extra for them, which adds to the exclusivity. The price depends on how or what they say (or can mean), as well as being influenced by age and how popular the plate is.
Generally, the cheapest version of a private number plate is personalised to the individual – as the group associated to it is limited to people with the same name. This can be achieved by swapping letters for numbers to resemble the name of the person owning the car. These can still be made more exclusive as the closer they resemble the actual name you are trying to spell, the less it matches the set criteria set by the DVLA. For example, if your name is Kate Smith, you may want something like “K8 SMH” but as there are thousands of people with the same name and only one number plate per vehicle, you have to be either very lucky or well off to get that plate. However, this also means that it serves as a bigger status symbol.
The most prestigious private number plates are the most popular, which normally resemble a popular phrase or meaning that appeals to everybody not just those called “Kate Smith”. Examples might include “R1CH” or “FA5T 8OY”. The most expensive ever was just the number “1” which was purchased for in excess of £7m.
Article was written by Paul Lock on behalf of www.theprivateplatecompany.co.uk, experts in private plates.