Swiss number plate sold for over 220.000 francs after fake bid chaos

Swiss number plate sold for over 220.000 francs after fake bid chaos

It’s official: the ZH 100 number plate has sold in Canton Zurich for 226.000 francs, after the official online auction ended on the evening of November 9. The auction itself was beset by technical and administrative problems that saw sky-high bids and several crashes.

ZH 100 is the second most expensive number plate sold in Switzerland

At 7pm on November 9, ZH 100 sold at the official online auction for 226.000 Swiss francs, making it the second most expensive number plate ever sold in Switzerland. The highest of all the valid bids was made by user mistermh just before the end of the auction on November 9.

In Switzerland, number plates in all Swiss cantons follow an incremental number system - ZH 1, for example, would originally have been owned by the first person to import a car to the canton. However, as number plates are assigned to individuals not vehicles, the lower numbers remain in circulation long after the first car is sent for scrap.

As plates fall out of use, they are auctioned off by cantonal authorities. Number plates in Switzerland can sell at auction for hundreds of thousands of francs, as many drivers want to register their car with a lower number, seeing it as a sign of prestige. In Canton Zurich alone, drivers spend 5 million francs a year at number plate auctions, according to the Limmattaler Zeitung.

Fake high bids flood number plate auction in Zurich

With such a unique number for sale, the auction of ZH 100 was extremely popular, which in turn led to technical problems and chaos. According to Blick, bids of 380.000 francs were submitted for the number plate, although authorities soon discovered that users could not actually afford the price they bid. This also occurred during the sale of SG 4, where the winning bidder was found to not actually have the money to pay the 179.700-franc bill.

After multiple crashes, the Road Traffic Office was able to restart the auction at a lower price on November 5. To stop spam and fake offers, authorities restricted bidding times to between 8am and 7pm and confirmed that they would be performing “creditworthiness checks” at their discretion. 

In practice, this meant that bidders received a call via mobile phone, where authorities asked whether they could actually afford to pay the amount they bid. Those found to not have adequate funds were blocked from participating in the rest of the auction.

The 10 most expensive number plates sold in Switzerland

The final price makes ZH 100 the most expensive number plate ever sold in Zurich and the second most expensive in Switzerland as a whole. The top 10 most expensive number plates in Switzerland are:

  1. ZG 10 - 233.000 francs
  2. ZH 100 - 226.000 francs
  3. ZH 888 - 194.000 francs
  4. SG 4 -179.700 francs
  5. VS 1 - 160.100 francs
  6. ZH 987 - 152.400 francs
  7. BE 5 - 151.000 francs
  8. TI 10 - 135.000 francs
  9. SG 1 - 135.000 francs
  10. AG 55 - 132.400 francs

To see what other number plates are coming up for auction, check out the official website for Canton Zurich.

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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