A piece of Australian automotive history is up for sale after more than 100 years and is attracting record bids. The New South Wales number plate ‘NSW 1’ is being sold by Lloyds Auctions and has already attracted a bid of more than $10 million, with more than five weeks left until the auction closes.
Single-digit number plates are highly sought-after by collectors and investors. In 2017 ‘NSW 4’ sold for $2.45m at auction and in 2022 ‘VIC 14’ sold for $2.27m. However, given this is plate #1 and it hasn’t been available for over a century it’s not surprising that bids have already well exceeded those figures.
The history of ‘NSW 1’ is fascinating itself, with it originally issued to the state’s first police commissioner before being bought by Sir Frederick Stewart in the 1930s. Stewart was a prominent businessman of the time, establishing 2CH radio station and Australian National Airways, and was an investor in an Australian attempt to set the world land speed record in the early 1930s, with racing driver and engineer, Donald Harkness.
Stewart used the #1 plate on his Oldsmobile until he passed away in 1961. After that the plates passed to his wife, Lady Majorie Stewart, who used them on her cars, including a 1981 Ford Fairmont LTD. According to the website, numberplates.com.au, Lady Stewart rejected an offer for $200,000 in the 1980s for the plate and instead kept it until her death in 2000.
Since then the plates have been held privately but are now on the market ready for the highest bidder to snap up this incredible piece of memorabilia.
Visit Lloyds Auctions to learn more and follow the bidding.