Investment Plates History

  • Investment Plate Value Increases From 1989 to 1995

    Shown below are graphs of the average plate value fron 1989 to 1995, and the specific performance of plate number 1.

    Chart showing average plate value from 1989 to 1995
    Chart showing increase in plate 1 value from 1989 to 1995

    Then the wheels started to fall off.


    Why did a successful formula go wrong? Here is my opinion.

    There were a lot of rules and restrictions when selling through Personalised Plates Ltd. For example they wouldn't sell if you hadn't held the plates for 12 months. The selling price for a new plate was set in stone (by law). The commission was quite high, for example on a $45,000 plate the commission was $5,500 OUCH! So what did people do? Go to the secondary market.

    The secondary market was where sellers sold their plates privately whenever and for whatever price they liked. Because of the great returns up to that time, sellers could afford to drop their prices below set market prices and still make a good profit.

    And as long as investors were prepared to sell their plates privately at below set market prices there would be few investors willing to buy new releases at higher list prices.

    As Personalised Plates were getting less and less of the cake promotional advertising dwindled. I remember large billboards in Newton Auckland with for example "INVESTMENT PLATE XXXX SOLD FOR $XXXXX 150% profit in 12 months!! which was regularly updated with the latest sale........then absolutely no visible advertising almost overnight.

    Most Investment plates were unissued or locked away; few were ever fitted to a car.

    The Internet was still in nappies and TradeMe did not exist. People did not have access to a national listing of plates for sale on the secondary market. There would be plates for sale in different regional papers throughout New Zealand with potential buyers in other regions not knowing they were for sale.

    The market was not established enough to weather the economic and political changes at that time.

    Other Factors

    Talk about Déjà Vu. Look at the date of this letter. (Click on the image for a larger version of the complete letter)

    The type and style of Government was changing, MMP was being introduced. It was a distraction.

    In July 1997 Personalised Plates Limited changed hands. As stated in an update letter dated 11th August 2003, "The pricing formula upon which plates were offered to the market by the old company means that we are unable in law to offer plates to market either first time or resale at prices less than or equal to the last sale in a series". Perhaps with the change of Government, a new approach by Personalised Plates Limited may be more successful in implementing a law change.

    Only about 2,600 investors owning 3,700 plates are a very small proportion of the population having a direct interest in the plate market. Add to that many investors reside overseas and they don't have ready access to publications in New Zealand.

    Experience with my plates tell me there is several generations of New Zealanders who don't know Investment Plates exist(ed). This has been caused by a lack of promotion, advertising and information.


    Why should Gold be valuable - It is only useful in fillings and coating electronic terminals- and there is plenty for that purpose? But it is relatively scarce and supply is regulated.

    Why should diamonds be valuable - the only real use they have is in grinding applications where clarity, cut and colour don't matter? But they are relatively scarce and supply is regulated.

    Aluminium is a much more useful product from which we all benefit daily. It should be very valuable, but it is the most abundant metal in the earth's crust.

    Scarcity. There are only 13,000 Investment plates in total. Only 3,700 of these have been released. They are scarce and their supply is regulated.

    They are treated as an investment in 14 other markets worldwide that have been running for 30 plus years. See examples throughout this site.


    The title remains with the legal owner-they are simply replaced if:

    • They are stolen
    • They are destroyed/damaged
    • They are lost


    • The dumping of plates has stopped
    • The internet is mature and very useful
    • Most other investment options are struggling
    • People know where to look and have better access to information


    We all need to promote curiosity and interest.

    Potential investors need to know Investment Plates exist.

    Get the plates on your car!
    Take advantage of any other promotional opportunities.

    We will list the plate with your asking price.

    We will get the website ranked as high as possible (currently no.1 for Google searches of Investment Plates).