Number plate in Switzerland sold for over 170.000 Swiss francs

Number plate in Switzerland sold for over 170.000 Swiss francs

A numberplate in St. Gallen has been sold at auction for 179.700 Swiss francs. SG 4 is now the second most expensive number plate you will encounter as you drive on Swiss roads and motorways.

Swiss licence plate sold for 179.700 francs in St. Gallen

The St. Gallen Road Traffic Office confirmed the sale on Wednesday evening after a day-long bidding war. From its starting price of 5.000 Swiss francs, buyers were allowed to increase their bids by 100 francs at a time, meaning that 1.747 bids were made for the number plate before it was sold.

“After just 48 seconds, the price had risen to 15.000 francs, a minute later it was 20.000 and after 22 minutes, 75.000 francs were being offered,” said Hanspeter Sigg, Head of the Road Traffic Office in St. Gallen. Bidding ended at around 9.30pm on Wednesday, with a final price of 179.700 Swiss francs.

Why do people in Switzerland pay so much for low-number licence plates?

In Switzerland, number plates are assigned to people and are numbered by when they or their family first registered a vehicle. This means that the original owner of ZH 1, for example, was the first-ever registered driver in Canton Zurich.

Number plates can be passed down through generations of families to the present day, leading to a culture where the lower the number, the more prestigious it is. Plates that are handed back to authorities or fall out of use are sold at auctions on Road Traffic Office websites in each of the 26 Swiss cantons, with lower number licence plates often selling for thousands.

SG 4 joins the top four most expensive number plates in Switzerland

SG 4 is now the second most expensive number plate ever sold at auction in Switzerland. The most expensive number plate in Switzerland is ZG 10 (Zug), which sold for a whopping 233.000 Swiss francs in 2018. The third and fourth most expensive go to VS 1 (Valais) and ZH 987 (Zurich), selling for 160.110 and 152.400 Swiss francs respectively.

Even today, drivers in Switzerland still want the lowest number possible on their licence plate, with the Limmattaler Zeitung reporting that people in Zurich spent five million Swiss francs on number plate auctions in 2021. To find out what number plates are being sold in your canton, check out the Road Traffic Office website and navigate to your local online auction.

Image: l i g h t p o e t /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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