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Australian Auction Extravaganza: Historic License Plate ‘1’ Sparks Unprecedented Bidding Frenzy

The rarest and most sought-after vehicle registration plate in Australia has taken center stage at Lloyds auction, with bids soaring past the $10 million mark....

In an astonishing twist of fate, the rarest and most sought-after vehicle registration plate in Australia has taken center stage at Lloyds auction, with bids soaring past the $10 million mark at the time of this report. With 43 days remaining in the auction, authorized bidders are eagerly vying for this elusive plate, once thought to have vanished from existence. This marks the first time in over a century that the plate has graced a public auction, presenting a golden opportunity for savvy investors.

In previous auctions, the New South Wales license plate ‘4’ fetched an impressive $2.45 million in 2017. More recently, Victoria’s ’14’ commanded $2,270,000, while South Australia’s ‘1’ changed hands for $700,000 in 2020, and Queensland’s ‘Q65’ went for $780,000 in 2019.

The global record for the most expensive license plate currently belongs to Dubai’s ‘P7,’ which secured a jaw-dropping 55 million Dirhams (equivalent to AU$22.3 million) in an April 2023 auction. The backstory of Australia’s coveted license plate ‘1’ is shrouded in mystery, with limited public information on its origin. According to the current listing, these plates were originally assigned to a vehicle owned by the state’s first Police Commissioner in 1910. The subsequent journey is less clear, but historical records suggest they found a private home with businessman and politician Sir Frederick Stewart in the 1930s, adorning his Oldsmobile.

Following Sir Stewart’s passing in 1961, the plates passed to his widow, Lady Marjorie Stewart, who proudly displayed them on her 1981 Ford LTD. Notably, she declined a substantial offer of $200,000 for the plates in 1988, underscoring their sentimental value. Despite hopes for a sale after Lady Marjorie Stewart’s passing in 2000, the plates remained elusive until sporadic sightings in subsequent years. They made appearances on a Daimler in the United States in 2009 and surfaced again in 2014 at Motorclassica.

As of the current update, bidding for the New South Wales license plate ‘1’ has surpassed the remarkable milestone of $10 million. With the auction scheduled to close at 9:00 am AEDT on January 27, 2023, anticipation is high for the final bidding frenzy, which may well propel the plate’s value to unprecedented heights.


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