SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA (June 23, 2009) – Enthusiasts and collectors paid a record $1.9 million for 49 rare, numerical New South Wales number plates in Sydney on June 18, comfortably exceeding expectations and blowing away any notions of a recession.

Conducted by Shannons for the New South Wales Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA), the auction resulted in an average sale price of $41,000 for the 49 plates on offer, easily topping the $33,000 average achieved at Shannons’s previous auction of 100 special RTA plates in November 2006.

The top-selling lot of the night was the black and white three-digit plate ‘215’ that made $93,000. It was followed closely by ‘214’ ($89,000) and ‘229’ ($76,000).

Three ‘Choose your own’ plates where purchasers could select a personal numeral-only combination sold for $49,000, $27,500 and $24,000.

However the result that captured most attention was the sale of the New South Wales Pink Plate ‘922’, with 25% of the sale price going to the McGrath Foundation to help fund breast cancer care nurses and raise awareness in young women in NSW.

Sydney lawyer Stephen Aroney was the successful bidder, paying $60,000 for the unique plate, which he plans to keep in the family and ultimately give to his daughter, now aged 3.

”I went to the auction with my brother-in-law who is a passionate collector intending to buy a three digit plate as an investment, but missed out of several I bid for,” he said.

“Then the Pink Plate came up; I made a couple of bids; and then the hammer fell – I was thrilled to get it. It’s the only pink number plate in NSW and I’m planning to keep it in the family.”

This morning Mr Aroney was proudly showing miniatures of the plate to colleagues at his Sydney law firm.

“We have previously held small staff functions to raise money for breast cancer awareness and men’s health and so I’m delighted that some of the proceeds from this plate are going to the McGrath Foundation,” he said.

Shannons National Auction Manager, Christophe Boribon, said he was “delighted” with the result. “We were astounded with the outcome from our 2006 RTA plate auction, but this sale has easily surpassed that in average sale prices,” he said.

“There were around 250 people in the auction room and they were all there to buy.

“It’s great to see plate values bounce back and it would seem that we are now truly shedding the recession blues.”

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