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I have "ALFA FEM" on my wife's car for the same US$10/yr fee. I haven't heard of plates being sold here, but I suspect there is a mechanism. It might not be state-sanctioned, but it's probably possible. Even if not state sanctioned, it might be possible to coordinate release of your plate with the next guy reserving it.

Michael
 

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One thing that the videotape industry found worldwide is that you can sell $200 tapes to a very few people. You can sell $100 tapes to maybe a few times as many people, but not all that many more. Then they found that you can sell $10 tapes to darned near anyone. Make a $3 margin on a million tapes and you get much more money at the bottom line than if you sell $200 tapes to a thousand people, or even ten thousand. And all those people who bought $200 tapes won't be interested in having a 100 tape library like the folks who bought $10 tapes might.

You see the "vanity plates" everywhere in this state. At $10/yr extra fee, it's a _serious_ money maker. Your authorities should look at the economics of this. I personally would never buy a $500 plate. But I have two vanity plates (wife and daughter), and in the few years we've had them I have spent most of $100, and climbing. Sell to 0.2% of the driving public once, or to 5% every year? You make the numbers.
 

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In California, plates go with the car, don't they? Here in Virginia, they do not transfer to the new owner at all - they remain with the seller and he can transfer them to any of his other vehicles. I don't know what happens with a personalized plate that has its vehicle sold. If you cancel the registration, you get a refund of part of the fee, but if you don't cancel it maybe you can keep the plate in your name with a bit more breathing room before it goes back on the block. If your special plate is not attached to a car, I think it's effectively freed up for someone else to request.
 
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