Prefix number plates - introduced after Suffix number plates - and a complete reversal of the format- provided the DVLA with many more millions of possible combinations.
Literally a reverse of the Suffix system, prefix number plates begin with a letter from the alphabet (excluding me, Q and Z) which identifies the year of registration.
After this letter there can be up to 3 numbers and then 3 random letters.
Prefix number plates really took off with the introduction of the sale of marks scheme by the DVLA.
For the first time ever the public could buy number plate combinations directly from the DVLA- this opened the door to many thousands of motorists and continues to represent millions each year in revenue for the DVLA.
Unfortunately due to the popularity of Prefix number plates, the market has become somewhat flooded with look a like and near perfect combinations.
Typically a combination costs £250 from the DVLA with nothing more to pay. The DVLA auction off choicer plates which they deem to be more valuable.
Shorter combinations tend to fetch higher prices- with "number 1" plates achieving circa £1000 but as with all number plates the meaning / combination are the deciding factor to value.
If the DVLA's figures are anything to go by- just about everybody (!) The DVLA make tens of millions of pounds each year retailing prefix number plates to the public and via DVLA resellers.
Prefix number plates are good value and have no hidden extra charges so their purchase has been a safe bet for many motorists- there is no typical purchaser of prefix registrations.
That said- prefix plates do make great birthday / wedding gifts and many businesses now use them for promotion on their vehicles.
The most expensive and "famous" prefix number plate would have to be K1NGS.
Purchased by an anonymous bidder- thought to be the sultan of Brunei but never confirmed- was purchased at a DVLA auction for £233,000 (including VAT+charges) in 1993.