$2 million for a vehicle license plate with the name “CASH”
If you live in America and are interested in a personalized vehicle license plate, now is your opportunity. A lucrative license plate called “cash” is for sale for $2 million. Isn’t that a great deal?
Just ask Claude Arthur Stuart Hamrick, a retired Bay Area patent lawyer who registered his vanity California license plate CASH 50 years ago. “Every time I traded in cars, dealers tried to buy it from me,” Hamrick, 83, told the Mercury News. “Every car dealer in San Jose wanted that plate. I told them I wouldn’t sell it for a million dollars.” And he was right: The asking price is now $2 million.
Michael Modecki, the “plate broker” behind the sale, said California is one of several states in the U.S. that allow transfer of license plates from owner to owner.
In a state like California, where the lifestyles of the rich and famous flourish, Modecki said it’s not unusual for someone to spend $2 million on a flashy accessory, especially one that has a good story behind it. Hamrick, the board’s owner, was one of Silicon Valley’s first lawyers. He was hanging out with people like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs when the computer industry boomed in the late ’80s and early ’90s. When Hamrick first commissioned the CASH brand in 1970, it was for the Buick Riviera. Since then, it has always been affixed to Cadillac. Hamrick moved to North Carolina years ago to be closer to his grandchildren, but hopes the unique brand will bring him one last paycheck.
Modecki, who has been interested in cars and collectible plates since childhood, has been using the “aftermarket” for license plates since 2015, when he learned that California had changed the rules allowing plates to be transferred from owner to owner. In 2008, billionaire Saeed Abdul Ghaffar Khouri bought the world’s most expensive license plate – the No. 1 – at an auction in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, paying a staggering $14.2 million for it, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
In states like Texas and Delaware, license plate enthusiasts can bid on “high value” plates at auction. Delaware holds the record for the most expensive license plate ever sold in the U.S. – number 6 at $675,000. In Texas, meanwhile, a “RARE” find sold for $2,400 in 2021. And “12THMAN” – a nickname for Texas A&M football fans – sold for $115,000.
Modecki found that numbers are more desirable than letters, but it’s hard to estimate what a given brand will be worth. It’s not like real estate or other industries with comparable sales. “It’s all subjective. What you have may mean the world to someone else, and that someone else may have the means to pay for it,” Modecki explained. “That’s basically how this market is: it’s not what it’s worth, it’s what it’s worth to someone else.”
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