Spending a cool $20 million can get you a lot of things. You could buy multiple Bugatti Chirons and a place to store them. Or, you can buy this old Volvo V70 in New York and get a distinctive set of vanity New York license plates that say New York on them.
OK, so you’re really buying the plate and getting a Volvo in the deal. But why is the plate worth so much money? The car and plate combo are advertised on the duPont Registry Daily and the seller provided a little extra context.
The seller says that New York started issuing vanity plates in the late 1970s. During that time, the seller’s father managed to score the one and only New York vanity plate that just says “New York” on it, from duPont Registry Daily:
“In the late 1970s when I suggested to my father to order the plate, I knew that it was special… I just never realized how special.”
The family has been rolling with this set of plates for 40 years on various cars. Now, they’re ready to pass the plates, and the Volvo, on to someone else. Thankfully, the plates don’t have to stay with the Volvo. The plates are transferable to its new owner and whatever car they wish to affix the plates to.
A vanity plate like this is certainly special and I’d think a lot more awesome than even low number plates. But is it $20 million cool?
Some people are willing to pay absurd amounts of money for uncommon license plates. In 2008, a businessman paid $14.3 million for Abu Dhabi license plates with only the number 1 on them, reported ABC News. According to New York Post, a set of UK plates reading “F1" (for Formula One) asked $20 million in 2018. So these New York plates aren’t too crazy. The seller just has to be a rich person that really wants their car to say New York, New York.
What I love about this ad is just how little effort is being put in to sell the car. No year, mileage or specs are provided for the V70 and the few pictures provided show it covered in road salt.
It makes me laugh that something with an asking price of $20 million is being presented like your average Craigslist ad.
Update 4:28 p.m. CST: Some readers have pointed out that New York license plates cannot be transferred. This appears to be true for regular plates, but the state has rules in place for special plates, emphasis mine:
Special number plates assigned to a vehicle may, in the discretion of the commissioner, be transferred to any person one year after the expiration date of the registration, or to any person within one year after the expiration date of the registration with the permission of the prior registrant or his estate. Nothing contained herein shall be construed to give any person a property right to a special number plate.
N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. Tit. 15 § 16.8