Big hopes for online vanity plate auctions
If you’ve ever wanted the Colorado license plate that reads “POT,” you may be in luck.
A small number of vanity plates will soon be auctioned off to the highest bidder to support Colorado disability charities.
The Colorado Disability Funding Committee is launching the first of perhaps many auctions Saturday as a unique way to raise money for disabled programming in Colorado.
“The (Colorado) Legislature in 2016 passed a law giving us the rights to a limited number of these vanity configurations,” said Doug Platt, communications manager for the disability committee.
That “limited number” of reserved plates is more than 13,000, Platt said. The committee has them listed online, and selected five to attract car enthusiasts to the first live auction Saturday.
Plates like BENTLEY, MCLAREN, C8 (a Corvette model), and 911 (for the Porsche 911), will be auctioned to the highest bidder at the Vehicle Vault, an auto museum, in Parker.
Vanity plate sales are the sole source of funding for the committee, besides residuals from the existing fund.
The committee has done some tests to make sure the auction technology works – and to make sure there is a demand for vanity plates – but Platt said he isn’t sure how much to expect from the first auction.
In January, one test resulted in nearly a half-million visits to the auction website, but zero bids. In May, another auction sold three license plates, proving the technology worked, according to committee meeting minutes.
“We’re as excited as anybody else to find out how much this earns,” Platt said.
A 2015 attempt at a live auction failed to produce significant funds, according to The Denver Channel. But the Saturday live auction and the one online seem to be attracting attention.
The online auction lists 20 configurations, including JAGUAR, ITSFAST and HANGON.
The ITSFAST plate had 80 bids as of Friday morning, the highest bid was $3,505. HANGON had 40 bids, with the top bidder offering $755, Platt said.
“We’ll take that money we’ve raised and issue grants to benefit Colorado’s disability community,” Platt said.
Right now the auctions are aimed at car enthusiasts, but the committee has the rights to a number of plates that should see high interest.
Some plates, like single-digit or single-letter plates, have never been available before, and the committee has exclusive rights to auction them.
Eventually, cannabis-themed license plates like HIGH, POT and SMOKE may come available through the auction process. The committee also has the plate BRONCO reserved.
People can view active auctions online at ColoradoPlates.org.
“As soon as this auction closes, people will be able to see the next auction within a day or so,” Platt said.
The next auction will also focus on the car community, but visitors to the website can vote on the plates they’d like to see in future auctions.
Not only is participating in the auction exciting, it also helps the disabled community, Platt said.
“The money folks spend for the rights of these configurations is going to go to a great cause of helping disabled Coloradans,” Platt said.
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