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What few people are aware of is that it’s not just the name of the company such as moorcroft, rookwood, worcester or doulton that may be there, but also a number of other things used by the manufacturer, designer or artists and placed in or around the mark itself. The company name itself only gives the appraiser a rough timeline of when the company was known to operate.Other factors such as the colour of the mark, how it’s applied or the numbered codes within the design can often date a piece to the exact year it was produced and tell you where or who the specific artist was.Alternatively if you are looking for the perfect number plate we have over 50 million private plates for sale which can be found at the click of a button.You can easily work out how old a vehicle is once you understand the way the 'age identifier' changes over time. New registrations changed from annual to twice yearly in 1999.Shortly after, in September 2001, the current format number plate was introduced, made up of three parts: Under rules introduced in April 2009, drivers in England, Scotland and Wales can display the Union flag, Cross of St George, Saltire or Red Dragon of Wales.This amendment to the Road Vehicles (Display of Registration Marks) Regulations 2001 means that drivers in England, Scotland and Wales can display the Union flag, Cross of St George, Cross of St Andrew (also known as the Saltire) or Red Dragon of Wales as well as one of the following identifiers: GREAT BRITAIN, Great Britain, GB, UNITED KINGDOM, United Kingdom, UK, CYMRU, Cymru, CYM, Cym, ENGLAND, England, ENG, Eng, SCOTLAND, Scotland, SCO, Sco, WALES or Wales.

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A search through this section of the oldclassiccar site should help with researching an older car's history.

For more information on the rules visit the official DVLA website.

The old 'prefix' system with a leading single letter to show the year of first registration began on 1 August 1983 with the introduction of the 'A' prefix and ended with 'Y', which ran from 1 March 2001 until 31 August 2001.

So, for example, if you selected an N reg prefix plate (1995), you'd only be able to display it on a vehicle first registered on or after that date. The golden rule is that you can't make a vehicle look younger than it is!

On this page: Suffix Letter Identifier Prefix Letter Identifier New Style Number Identifier To navigate to important DVLA content please visit our main areas of DVLA Information, DVLA Registrations, drivers, and vehicles.