On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me… a low-digit Delaware license plate?
The Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles plans to issue the low-digit tags a bit differently this year.
Traditionally, the DMV releases unclaimed low-digit license plate numbers and makes them available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
This year, they’re introducing “12 Days of PLATE-mas,” an online low-digit tag lottery.
Low-digit tags in Delaware
Delaware has a robust market for license plates. Unlike in other states, Delaware license plates become the registrant’s property and can be transferred from one car to the next or bequeathed to an heir. They can also be sold to new owners.
A study published by researchers at Rice University emphasized that “license plates offer no direct economic benefit other than authorizing the operation of a motor vehicle.”
“But they appear to be a source of social status,” the study says. “Not only do market prices suggest a preference for lower plate numbers, but there exist extreme price jumps that indicate that exclusive clubs exist whereby the number of digits on the plate convey implicit membership.”
For example, in 2021 the “37” tag was sold to an anonymous buyer for a whopping $282,000.
Authentic and reproduction black and white porcelain plates are authorized for passenger car tags not exceeding 86,999, commercial, dealer and motorcycle plates up to 4 digits, and ham operator license plates.
Plates with a black background, stainless steel numbers and the word “Delaware” embossed on the plate are authorized on passenger car plates up to 200,000. The same is true for plates with a black background and numbers covered with white reflective sheeting.
Plate number “1” is reserved for the governor, “2” is for the lieutenant governor and “3” is for the secretary of state. The rest can be exchanged on the open market.
12 Days of PLATE-mas
People interested in winning a low-digit tag during the 12 Days of PLATE-mas release must register online.
Registration begins Monday, Oct. 31 at 8 a.m. and will continue every day through Sunday, Nov. 13.
Individuals may register only once per driver license or identification card.
During the registration process, entrants must specify which type of tag they are interested in receiving:
- PV – 5 Digit – Numbers Only (Under 10,000 lbs. registered vehicle weight)
- T – Trailer (regular trailers – utility, flat-bed or non-camping trailers)
- PC – Passenger Car (Under 10,000 lbs. registered vehicle weight)
- C – Commercial
- RT – Recreational Trailer (camping trailers 5,000 lbs. and over, not regular trailers – see above)
- MC – Motorcycle (above 55cc’s)
Entrants who would like to register to win a five-digit, numbers-only tag whose vehicle is under 10,000 lbs should select tag type “PV.”
Entrants will receive a confirmation e-mail with a lottery code.
Beginning Monday, Nov. 14, at 9 a.m. through Thursday, Dec. 1, the DMV will randomly select the following number of winners for each of the 12 days for the various tag types: PV (240), T (60), PC (15), C (6), RT (4), MC (80).
There will be no drawings on weekends or on Nov. 24 or Nov. 25.
All winners will receive an e-mail confirming they won a low-digit tag. The e-mail will include additional instructions.
Lottery codes can be found in the registration confirmation e-mail.
All winners will receive a standard blue and gold license plate upon completing their title work.
If they qualify and wish to purchase a black and white tag once they have completed their title work with DMV, they can do so through the Delaware Historic Plate Co. To order a qualifying black & white porcelain or stainless steel tag, go to dhptags.com.
For more information, visit this webpage.
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