Second most expensive number plate in Switzerland sold in Zurich

Second most expensive number plate in Switzerland sold in Zurich

How much would you pay for a cool-looking number plate? 200, 400, 1.000 Swiss francs? Well, for one resident of Zurich, that number is closer to 194.000 francs - a sum they paid for ZH 888 at an online auction on Thursday.

The lower the number plate, the higher the status in Switzerland

In Switzerland, much like the rest of the world, having a smaller number to register your car with is a sign of status. In the alpine nation, number plates are given to families and individuals, not cars. This means that originally, the owner of ZH 1 was the first person to import a vehicle and register it in Canton Zurich.

This has made lower or repetitive numbers extremely valuable. The number plate market in Switzerland is assisted by cantonal auctions for disused number plates, where the public is open to bid for the number they want. Prices at these auctions are unregulated, meaning many people end up paying tens of thousands of francs for their dream plate.

On Thursday, the number plate ZH 888 sold for an eye-watering 194.000 Swiss francs. It is now the most expensive number plate ever auctioned in Zurich and the second most expensive number plate sold in Switzerland - the most expensive being ZG 10, which sold for 233.000 francs in 2018.

3,5 million francs a year spent on Zurich number plates

An investigation by 20 minuten found that Zurich has a liking for number plates with repetition, especially the number eight. In recent years, ZH 8.888 and 888.888 have both sold for more than 50.000 francs. The second and third most expensive plates ever sold in Zurich are ZH 987 and ZH 1.000, which sold for 152.400 and 131.000 francs respectively.

According to the Limmattaler Zeitung, Canton Zurich alone spends more than 3,5 million francs a year on number plates. All proceeds from the sales go to funding the canton and its government, with Zurich councillor Mario Fehr noting that, in the end, "our auctions benefit the people of 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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