$10M ‘Unicorn’ Heritage Number Plate for Auction

After being missing in action for decades and never been offered for public auction before, the heritage “NSW 1” number plate has been listed for auction with bidding already surpassing $10 million after being online for just over 72 hours at Lloyds Auction House already set to break Australian records.

As one of the most sought-after number plates in Australia and with more than a month until the auction ends the result has already broken the record for being the most expensive number plate to sell in Australia when the hammer falls in January 2024.

Some 6 years ago back in 2017 the NSW single digit plate number ‘4’ sold at auction, for a record $2.45 million and the number ‘1’ has already surpassed $10 million. There were only nine of these New South Wales plates ever issued making them extremely collectible and irreplaceable as all Australian plates started at the number 1 for each state.

“This is the first time “NSW 1” is being offered via public auction in more than 110 years and will probably be the last, it is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity to secure the most desirable and prestigious number plates in Australia,” said Mr. Lee Hames, Chief Operations Officer for Lloyds Auctions.

“Generally rare heritage plates such as these are usually passed down through generations within families so the significance of this 1 in 100-year bidding event is record breaking in itself, if you or someone you know was ever thinking of selling their heritage plates, then now is the time to list it as a part of this auction,” Mr. Hames continued.  

“The most expensive plate sold in the world was in 2008 with the United Arab Emirates registration ‘1’ selling for $52.2 million dirham which is equivalent to almost $20.5 million AUD, and with 40 days to go until auction, the NSW plate is over halfway there already,” said Mr. Hames.

“We have had many heritage plates achieve record-breaking prices at auction, including Victorian Heritage plate ‘994’ which fetched $391,000, and Victorian plate ‘621’ which sold for $330,000, but this NSW single digit plate is in another league and already sitting at over $10 million,” continued Mr. Hames.

The history of the greatest and most sought-after number plates in Australia “NSW 1” begins with the plates being issued to a vehicle of the state’s first Police Commissioner it was then passed onto the founding chairman of Australian National Airways where his wife was to have knocked back an offer of $200,000 back in 1988. When his wife Lady Stewart then passed in the year 2000 there was hope these extremely rare plates would come to market but this never eventuated and now here they are for the first time.

This rare heritage plate among many others listed online, will feature as a part of a massive Grand Carmada Classic Car Auction on the Australia Day weekend in January 2024, kicking off the year with a bang with the unicorn heritage number plate being the holy grail must-have for any blue-chip passion investor or the no.1 gift for that person who has ‘everything’.

You can view the heritage plate here.

For more information visit www.lloydsauctions.com.au.

Matt Kalinski

Head Of Valuations

Qualifications & Affiliations

American Society of Appraisers Candidate Member

Certified Practicing Valuer AVAA


Matt has been in the valuations space for many years and has extensive experience in the space across an abundance of various industries. He now leads the valuations teams for Lloyds Auctions with a passion for encouraging his team to set and achieve high goals and produce great results for the company whilst growing the team’s skills starting with a great culture and team mindset.