PROFIT IN NUMBERS
Some years ago while we were on holiday in Northern Ireland an excursion took us to Castle Ward. There I spotted a white Mercedes bearing the registration number RGM 15. Although the number 15 had no special significance to me I would quite happily have swapped the number plate on my car for this one bearing my initials. Fortunately the owner was not around so I was not in a position to ask him to name his price. Probably just as well as Isabel might have objected to me putting our house on the market. I quite fancied another number which I saw in one of those newspaper adverts. It was M90 RGM. Now that would have been more appropriate bearing in mind where we live. Personalised numbers have been popular for many years. One of the first that I recall was TT1 owned by comedian Tommy Trinder. During the war years he was appearing regularly at the London Palladium where I saw my first West End Show called “Happy and Glorious” in which he starred. I also saw him in several other revues at the same venue. He was also on the board of directors of Fulham Football Club. He would quip that the number TT1 confirmed that he was the first person to sign the pledge.
Jimmy Tarbuck’s car sported the number COM1C. A potato merchant from this area proclaimed his business cleverly with POT 80 as did Dr Matthew Shepherd with DOC 999. When golfer Jessie Anderson won the Scottish and British Ladies Open titles in the same year husband George of Valentines Motors presented her with a new car with the number JES 1, a familiar sight in Perth for many years.
Sometimes a number which resembles a letter can be used to make up a word. One of my wife Isabel’s former work colleagues plumped for N4RKY. Hopefully she didn’t have that attitude to the customers.
When working at 52 Pall Mall in London the office of a well known whisky firm was just a few doors away. The vehicle parked at the door bore the plate VAT 69 sometimes jokingly referred to as the telephone number of a prominent religious figure. The car which transports the Provost of Perth and Kinross Council has always borne the registration number ES1. When the number plate GS1 owned by our late next door neighbour John Wilkie was put up for auction following his passing it raised the magnificent sum of £220,000. There was as a result great pressure on the Council to follow suit with ES1 to raise much needed funds but I personally am pleased that they resisted as it is nice to carry on these traditions, although many might not agree with me. On the other hand General Accident owned the plate GA1 which latterly was on one of the company’s blue vans. Subsequent mergers leading to the formation of AVIVA saw the initials GA lose their significance and they cashed in but I have no idea how much was raised by the sale. With the letters ES being preceded by a different letter in later years one of my colleagues at work Leslie Mansfield, now sadly no longer with us, benefited when his company car was replaced. I can’t recall the number but the letters were LES. There is money to be made if you happen to own a number plate which may not strike you as special but might mean something to someone else. The late Allan Stewart who was a motor mechanic once told me that he spotted an interesting number on a derelict car outside a house somewhere in the country. He purchased the car for a modest price and advertised the number plate for sale. It attracted the interest of a company down south who sent up a representative to meet him in the Station Hotel where he was treated by him to dinner before purchasing the number giving Allan a handsome profit.
When the letters ES were preceded by the letter P, I always thought that the combination of letters were more suited to Dundee bearing in mind the natives’ manner of pronouncing the delicacies produced by Murrays the bakers in South Street, Perth.
Although my nephews all have personalised numbers the only member of our immediate family with one is eldest daughter Jane with J3 NEM. Sadly the figure 4 to represent A was not available to read J4NEM.
The main disadvantages in having one is that they are too easily remembered if you are guilty of some breach of etiquette while driving. Happily she does not appear to have raised the ire of any other drivers.
My first car bore the number 14 HPH and I have to confess that it did give me a few problems. Hire Purchase Headache could have been appropriate. It was only while I finished off this article that I thought of that description. The moral of this story is Registrations Gather Money.