Getting The ‘D’: Australian Heritage License Plate Could Sell For Seven Figures

I got the big D.

A Ferrari with a 'D' license plate.

Heritage license plates have long been sought-after commodities in Australia, and with the economy in a strange place after a multi-year pandemic slump and global supply issues worldwide, this is truer than it’s ever been before. This week, all eyes are on a single-letter offering with tongue-in-cheek connotations: this might just be the most expensive ‘D’ you’ll ever see.

Necessity is the mother of invention, which is why shaky markets have seen a surge in left-field investment strategies from Australians looking to put a few extra dollars in the bank. Crypto, NFTs and second-hand cars have all had their time in the sun, but this week all eyes are turned to one of Australia’s most idiosyncratic investment opportunities: the heritage license plate.

For the uninitiated, what are heritage plates? They are car license plates that were introduced many decades ago, long before plates were standardised in the mid-century. These are not to be confused with personalised number plates; heritage plates have just that – heritage and history – personalised plates are an entirely different beast (and nowhere near as valuable).

Australia’s history with license plates is a convoluted one, with examples of heritage plates differing state by state. In short: any plate that doesn’t conform to the now-standard license plate format can suddenly become desirable. If you throw into the mix a plate that’s got some pop-cultural significance or can draw a wry smile from people that see you cruising by, then you’re really onto a winner…

A Porsche Taycan with NSW ’88’, easily one of the most desirable plates in the state – 88 is considered a lucky number in Chinese culture. Image: The Motor Tailor

That’s where the ‘D’ plate comes in. This first-generation NSW plate is not only one of the first to ever be issued in the state, making it incredibly exclusive and laden with Australian history, but it also invites a number of eyebrow-raising questions: just how big could this ‘D’ get? Who’s going to have the most valuable ‘D’ in New South Wales?

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How much is the NSW ‘D’ license plate going for?

Well, at the time of writing, the highest bid for the D-plate stands at a not-immodest $112,000, after jumping from $36,000 earlier this week. However, if history is anything to go by, that number could climb quite a way before bidding closes at 8:30 pm on Tuesday 28th.

The record-breaking NSW-4 heritage plate.
The NSW ‘4’ plate sold for a record-breaking $2.4 million in 2017. Image: DMARGE

Back in 2017, the exceptionally rare NSW ‘4’ plate sold for a whopping $2.4 million. Ian Davies, director of leading Sydney luxury car dealership Prestige Connex, spoke exclusively to DMARGE about the phenomenon of the seven-figure license plate:

“Heritage plates have certainly become an appreciating asset to own […] It’s a tax-free profit opportunity versus shares and property – they seem to have proven to be a safe bet for investment.”

Ian Davies

A “safe bet for investment”, a piece of Australian history, and the basis for a few good jokes to boot, it seems that the ‘D’ plate has all the key ingredients to be a resounding success at auction… watch this space.

Following bidding for the D-plate at