Jamie | Founder of J3 Private Tours Hong Kong | Offering Award Winning Private Tours of Hong Kong
Vehicle License Plates in Hong Kong, Hong Kong Vanity Plates, License Plates in Hong Kong, Hong Kong Number Plates and my personal favourite Personalized Vehicle Registration Mark.
License Plates | Number Plates | Vanity Plates
Lucky car license plates are an integral part of Hong Kong culture.
Just what on earth do you call them? I think it is about time we had a standard name for those plates you see on cars ... here our Government takes this nonsense one step further by calling it a Personalised Vehicle Registration Mark, very colonial or what!
I have been photographing car license plates in Hong Kong for a few years now to the point where I have amassed over 10,000 images of them, it is a fascinating subject here in Hong Kong where rich folk here will spend a small fortune on number plates, so I decided to do a small project and a put together a list covering license plates that cost more than HK$1,000,000 or US$128,205.
It was not easy I can tell you, it is quite possible that some listings are missing as the Hong Kong Government Transport Department seems to have data on the sale of license plates going back to mid 2005 only but they have had auctions on and off from 1973 onwards for which data is very, very thin.
Since 2006 they are a lot more organised but it did mean I had to download over 150 PDF Files and then check every file (and over 40,000 license plates) to get the sales price realised for each plate, very tedious.
It is not uncommon around the world for people to spend a fortune on a license plate | number plate | vanity plate but I honestly believe that nowhere in the world is like Hong Kong where people part with obscene amounts of money for these things.
I am an old Hong Kong hand and the reason to me is very simple as to why people pay so much...
To let the world know they have made it aka bragging rights!
It really is all about that.
In essence bragging rights can be deconstructed into 3 parts |
- the mega expensive license plate is generally a culturally lucky number and almost always relates to wealth so dropping US$2 Million + announces to the world that you have substantial means... it is a very clear message
- and the luck of the number ensures that your fortune will continue to grow exponentially over the coming years, it is all but guaranteed
- and because your statement of wealth is a license plate you generally have a very nice car to match and half the Hong Kong population sees it when you drive to the office and such and people will utter the phrase "wah! so rich!"
Naturally, the money you pay to the Government for your mobile asset goes to the Lottery Fund and is disbursed to local charities and you can be very smug in the knowledge that no one can really criticise you as the money after all is going to charity, at least this way you do get a very real tangible asset which cements your place at the very top of Hong Kong society.
For the record I have no issue with this at all given I am a car freak | number plate freak and people can do whatever they want with their money and did I mention that the money goes to charity?
The REALLY rich family and their obsession with the number 9 and the fortune they have spent on car number plates
License Plate no. 9 | License Plate no. 29 | License Plate no. 9999
Just to be clear, one family owns these 3 cars
- they paid HK$13,000,000 or US$1,666,666 for license plate no. 9
- they paid HK$7,000,000 or US$897,435 for license plate no. 29
- I assume they paid a hefty price for license plate no. 9999 as well.
How do I know this?? well I have quite a few images of bodyguards in suits always trailing the Japanese 7 seater car with the license plate no. 29 in a boxy little Japanese car with the license plate no. 9999 and ditto the Rolls Royce with the license plate no. 9 and a friend of mine also sent me an image of the Rolls Royce with the 9999 car trailing behind.
9 is a very lucky number in Chinese Culture it generally means "everlasting" that could be very long life or everlasting wealth!! you get my drift
Again, the bragging rights are very impressive in this instance although it should be mentioned that if I had that Rolls Royce I would not be trolling around in a Japanese 7 seater, it can hardly be an incognito thing as the the cost of the no. 29 license plate is about 11 times the cost of the car! odd, very odd.
Do you go for an expensive lucky number license plate or a much cheaper vanity plate which could just be your name?
License Plate - DEBORAH | License Plate no. 13 | it's a hard choice
My research over the years has revealed some interesting facts and that is in general a license plate full of letters can be very cheap ie HK$5,000 or US$640, now I am sure the license plate DEBORAH for the pink Rolls Royce probably cost a lot more than that but for example the random license plate RYAN LEE cost him HK$5,000 | US$640 which is quite a bargain.
The license plate no. 13 on the other hand on the lovely classic Rolls Royce sold for HK$7,400,000 | US$948,715.
Personally I like the idea of no. 13 as I was born on Friday the 13th but I feel you can have a lot more fun and be more creative with just letters on the license plate.
Some of my favourite all letter number plates include |
BATMAN, IRONMAN, DUCK, BEATLES, TOMORROW, WHATEVER, CASPER, BIMBO, CARPOOL, CHICK, BIG FISH, BIG BANG, CHEAP CAR, FAT, FERRARI, GROUCHY .... you get my drift and remember more fun for your money.
So, fun or status, the choice is yours
The high prices paid for number plates with just one or two letters, it is quite mind boggling
Car License Plates | Just 2 letters | just how much are you willing to pay?
What a gorgeous red Ferrari 488, quite stunning but I was more amazed that the owner paid HK$1,400,000 | US$179,485 to have his initials CH on the plate.
In general here, the average price of a number plate with 2 initials here ranges from HK$150,000 | U$19,230 at the bottom end to HK$800,000 | US$102,565 at the top end and then some people are willing to go way beyond that.
I was surprised to find out that we have some license plates with just one letter, I thought this was a myth, it is not, the number plate V sold for HK$13,000,000 | US$1,666,666 ! V for Victory perhaps, that would make sense.
Perhaps people just want a 2 letter plate because it is simple and elegant?
... and no I was not the buyer of the license plate JL no. 41 on the most expensive list, I would never pay HK$1,100,000 | US$141,025 for a bloody vanity plate.
.... and some people are just darn eccentric when it comes to license plates and status.
Very lucky license plate | horrible car | the lady with a "I do not care look"
Just to be a little different I thought.....
This is brilliant, never in a million years would I have thought that someone would pay HK$1,020,000 | US$130,770 for this car license plate and then stuck it on this piece of junk! ( however I do think the horrible reddish wheels are a nice touch)
Basically the number 1688 means something like, certain easy life and wealth forever, hence it's high price so I have no idea what statement is being made, perhaps she has an English sense of humour ?
So there you go, the wonderful world of $ million car license plates in Hong Kong, if all of this is too much for you, just get a random plate from the Government which will be 2 letters and 4 digits but where's the fun in that and you do have to be careful that you do not have the number 4 in the numbers, 4 is death.........................
Oh my golly gosh, the simply amazing Pagani Zonda Absolute - this is a custom made car and is rumoured to be the only one of it's kind in the world and it is in Hong Kong!... oh... and yes, this is my picture, talk about being in the right place at the right time.