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Early registration plate number heading to auction

Picture of Chris Teague

Chris Teague

Silverstone Auctions will sell off a very early, historic Birmingham number plate.

Have you ever tried to get a custom license plate only to find that the one you want is taken? And your second choice? And third? Before custom tags were a thing, drivers were issued the next in a numeric, at first, then alfa numeric plate upon registering their vehicle.

The earliest vehicle registrations in the U.S. featured the vehicle owner’s initials rather than a number. In the U.S., in 1903, the first modern license plate was used in Massachusetts. It was simply the number “1” and was issued to Frederick Tudor, a member of the highway commission.

That same year, the Motor Car Act required Britains to register all automobiles and carry what the Brits now call a registration number. In order to fulfill the requirements of the act, England was divided into several regions, each receiving a letter designation that would be the first character on the registration plate.

Birmingham was designated with the letter O. The number 9 is the ninth official registration in Birmingham.

In 1949, the father of the current owner of registration plate “O9” gave up his plate for £5. The new owner displayed it on his Jaguars for years.

On Saturday, August the 1st 2020 would have been the current owner’s father’s 100th birthday, the plate will cross the block at Silverstone Auctions.

The plate is part of a larger collection of vehicles and memorabilia that will be digitally auctioned off, including 30 vehicles from one collector.

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