HOUSTON - You see the vanity license plates on the roads, as drivers stamp their personality on their rides.
Some of them are more valuable than you might think. The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators says there are 9.7 million personalized plates in the U.S. Some of them are worth thousands, or even millions of dollars.
"This one here, the word CASH," plate collector and seller Michael Modecki held up a California plate.
The word CASH could turn this aluminum license plate into gold.
"We're asking two million dollars for it. Yah, and we think it’s a reasonable price for it," said Modecki. He says a California driver has asked him to sell it on his site ThePlateBroker.com.
Some states, such as Texas and California, allow plates to be legally transferred to a new owner and vehicle.
The record in the United States right now is $675,000 for the number 11 on a Delaware plate. Unique numbers, letters, and phrases make the plates RARE. The Texas plate reading RARE, by the way, sold for $2,400 last year.
"It’s quite unique. It's RARE. It’s one of a kind. That’s one of the rarest plates you can get on a Texas license plate," explained Steve Farar, CEO of MyPlates.com, the official specialty plate vendor in Texas.
He says the Texas number 3 plate sold for $10,500. The plate HOUSTON sold for $25,000.
"The most expensive we’ve ever sold in Texas was done in 2013, and that was the 12THMAN on a Texas A&M license plate," Farar added. "That sold for $115,000."
People are buying in as collectors and investors.
"I’m trying to get all the M iterations. I have 3 M's, then I have 4 M's," Modecki showed us his collection.
"I have this plate, which is actually the plate I had in California," he said, showing us a California plate reading MM.
And that's not all. Modecki has posted his California MM plate for sale on his website for over $20 million. The plate has stopped traffic, after all.
"People would stop and talk to me and I had people offer me money for the plate," Modecki told us.
The highest price ever paid was $14.3 million for a plate with the number 1 in Abu Dhabi. In fact, rare plates in the Middle East often cost more than the sports cars that wear them.
Farar says bids right now are up to $6,000 for 0001 and $3,600 for 0007 on Texas plates in an auction on MyPlates.com.
It's a chance for drivers to leave a lasting impression.
"This is GO VIRAL, which is essentially any YouTube creator's mantra, right?" said Modecki, showing us a California plate he is selling.