Old number plate fetches £400,000

A bidder has paid £397,500 at auction for one of the earliest number plates ever issued.

The historic registration mark "S1" had been estimated to fetch between £200,000 and £250,000.

The century-old plate was the first registration number to be issued in Edinburgh and belonged to leading pioneer of motoring Sir John HA MacDonald, who was the Lord Justice Clerk of Scotland from 1888 to 1919.

It was the first time the registration number had come on the market since it was created in 1903.

Josephine Olley of auctioneer Bonhams, which handled the sale, said: "There was a bidding battle between several people on the telephone and a bidder in the room. The bidder who was present eventually secured the lot to a round of applause.

"We're obviously delighted to have broken the world record yet again."

In 2005, the auction house sold registration "1F" for £144,500 and in 2006 it sold "M1" for a previous world record auction price of £331,500.

The mystery bidder from the company Bold Registrations, who declined to be named, said of the sale: "I believe that number plates in general are a good investment even at this price. The registration number will remain in the UK and will be going on an old red Skoda which will be seen around the Midlands."

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