Coventry & Warwickshire

'Smiithy' numberplate fetches more than £37,000 at auction

SM11 THY personalised numberplate
Image caption The DVLA has a special department which market personalised registrations

A numberplate featuring one of the most common surnames in the UK has been sold for more than £37,000.

SM11 THY was one of 1,500 personalised registrations being sold in a three-day auction in Warwickshire.

The numberplate was bought for £37,016. The highest price paid at the auction was £53,988.50 for the registration 90 O.

The record price paid for a personalised registration was set in March 2009 when 1 D sold for £352,000.

The SM11 THY numberplate had a reserve price of £2,000.

The DVLA holds six auctions a year selling personalised numberplates.

Since the auctions began in 1989, they have raised £1.8bn for the Treasury, a spokesman said.

The DVLA has a special department responsible for selecting and marketing personalised registrations.

Owners of a personalised registration are not allowed to "alter, rearrange or misrepresent letters or numbers" in order to form names or words, according to the DVLA website.

The DVLA said the police could also issue fixed penalty fines of up to £1,000 for illegally displayed number plates and in some cases the registration mark may be withdrawn.

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