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$10M Battle of the States for Rare ‘Unicorn’ Heritage Plates

Lloyds Auctioneers and Valuers 2 mins read
Queensland Heritage Plates Q1

Introducing the first Queensland Heritage Plate ‘Q1’, that hasn’t been seen for auction for almost 40 years and set to go under the hammer alongside ‘NSW 1’ at Lloyds Auctions in January 2024.

With the current bid for the blue unicorn #1 being at just over $10 million, within 12 hours of the maroon unicorn #1 being published it is almost at $3 million. The race to the finish line on the traditional state vs state battle between QLD and NSW has begun to kick off 2024.

The Q1 plates are the very first plates issued in Queensland, which have been owned by the current custodian for nearly 40 years and is believed to only have 2 owners in its lifetime.

“This is an extremely rare occurrence for 1, let alone 2, heritage plates with such history and rarity to be offered at auction ever in a single auction, it is unheard of in Australian history ever,” said Mr. Lee Hames, Chief Operations Officer for Lloyds Auctions.

“The amount of enquiry from right around the country of people wanting to sell their heritage plates after the ‘NSW 1’ was listed is phenomenal and out of that came this ‘Q1’ heritage plate, who knows what else might be brought forward to auction between now and the end of January,” said Mr. Hames.

The ‘Q1’ plates have been listed, less than a week after ‘NSW 1’ was listed for auction which surpassed $10 million within the first 72 hours being online.

The ‘Q1’ plates first date of issue was in 1921 to Q plate owners who were prominent Queenslander who helped to shape the state as we know it today.

According to an article published by Personalised Plates Queensland, the plates were first purchased by James Thomas McGuire, founder of the McGuire hotel empire. At present, McGuires' group is the largest family owned and operated chain of hotels in Queensland with four generations contributing to its ongoing success. After his passing in 1949, his son Richard Kelly McGuire inherited the plate, where 64 years later it was purchased at the Great Queensland Plate Auction of 1985. It has been held tightly by the current custodian since that time.

“The history and provenance of these heritage plates speak for themselves regarding Australia’s evolution of history and the great value the current custodian has treasured for the last 38 years, and the great importance of the forthcoming custodian to preserve and ultimately pass down history to generations of the future,” stated Mr. Hames.

This rare heritage plate among many others listed online, will feature as a part of a massive Grand Carmada Classic Car Auction.

Who will win the great plate showdown? Will it be NSW or will QLD rise up; against the odds and take the title? The bidders will decide come January 2024 on the Australia day weekend to much anticipation of spectators right around the country.

Footage of the NSW 1 Heritage plate is available HERE.

Footage of the Q1 Heritage plate is available on request.

You can view the auction here.

For more information visit

Contact details:

Taylah Gray

Public Relations

0488 288 178


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