Person in Switzerland bids over 800.000 francs for number plates

Person in Switzerland bids over 800.000 francs for number plates

After ZH 100 sold for hundreds of thousands of francs in November, you may have thought that the cost of special licence plates in Switzerland couldn’t get any higher. Now, one person from near Basel has broken the record for the most expensive number plate sold, twice, after he bid a total of 826.000 francs for two licence plates.

Special number plates a sign of prestige in Switzerland

In Switzerland, having a lower or special number on your licence plate is a sign of status for many drivers. As licence plate numbers are assigned to individuals and families not vehicles, they remain in service long after the first car is scrapped. They are also issued in numerical order, meaning ZH 1, for example, used to be owned by the first person to register a vehicle in Canton Zurich.

Once Swiss number plates fall out of service, they are re-auctioned on the internet by the Swiss canton that issued them, with the proceeds going back to the government. Because of their rarity - and the perceived prestige - lower or interesting numbers are regularly sold for hundreds of thousands of francs.

BL 49 and BL 850 become the most expensive number plates sold in Switzerland

That’s precisely what happened with BL 49 and BL 850, which sold for 526.000 and 300.001 francs respectively at an auction on Christmas Eve. The winning user, UeliMueli44, fought a tense battle with other bidders to win both plates. The extremely high fee makes BL 49 and BL 850 the first and second most expensive number plates ever sold in Switzerland, beating the previous record (ZG 10) by 293.000 francs.  

However, 20 Minuten noted that when ZG 10 was sold, the auction was won by a 424.000-franc bid, until authorities discovered that the winner couldn't actually afford the price they bid. Much like then, it remains to be seen whether UeliMueli44 is actually able to afford the purchase - which could get you eight top-of-the-range BMW M5s for the same price.

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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