Is it just me? What’s the big deal over number plates? Why would someone pay half a million bucks for a piece of metal with three numbers on it? Because the Victorian black and white numerical number plate ‘101’ set a new Australian record when it went under the hammer for $510,000 this week at Shannons Melbourne Autumn sale. We’re not sure why it’s a record, because $2.45 million was paid for a plate last year — but Shannons is claiming it as a record. The $510,00 was almost double the previous figure of $268,000 that was paid for the plate ‘124’ at Shannons Melbourne Late Summer auction in February. Shannons says the sale was the culmination of a prolonged duel among floor, phone and online bidders that opened at $300,000 and resulted in victory to the floor bidder. The next best number plate result was $157,000 paid for ‘453’, while ‘752’ made $150,000.
Somewhere along the line however they seem to have overlooked the $2.45 million paid for NSW plate ‘4’ last year by Chinese-Australian sex toy magnate Peter Tseng.
In fact, Tseng purchased the plate before a crowd of 300 people at another Shannons auction in August last year.
A renowned number plate collector, the entrepreneur arrived in a red Ferrari bearing the number ‘2’ licence plates.
Tseng also owns the Hong Kong-registered number ‘1’ plate and the personalised plate ‘ONE’ that sits on his 1969 Mercedes.
For those who remember, the number 4 plate was once owned by Aussie John Symond, founder and executive chairman of Aussie Home Loans, who stuck it on his Roller.
As an aside, we spotted a three or was it four-digit NSW plate on a crappy old Corolla on Sydney’s M7 Motorway the other day.
Guess the owner was just using the Toyota as a parking space for the plate, or he has a very droll sense of humour.
If you have a minute have a gander at some of the heritage plates advertised on numberplates.com.au, the home of Aussie number plate sales.
The site has the Victorian plate ’81’ currently advertised for $295,000 (you’d think it would cost more than 101?)
Other states don’t seem to attract anywhere near the same sort of prices.