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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 March, 2004, 06:52 GMT
F1 number plate to be auctioned
'F1' numberplate
There has already been interest in the number plate
A Formula One fan is expected to snap up a 100-year-old vehicle number plate bearing the registration F1 when it goes under the auctioneer's hammer.

The plate is being sold by Essex County Council which is hoping to get a six-figure sum for such a rare number.

The County Council first issued the plate in 1904 when it was a licensing authority.

The money raised will go towards road safety improvements.

British Grand Prix

Council leader Lord Hanningfield said: "This number plate is a valuable asset and, given the rising enthusiasm for Formula One, it seems an appropriate time to make the most of it.

"Obviously what we do with the money received will depend upon just how much we raise, but I think it would be appropriate to use money raised on keeping children and young people safe on the county's roads".

The council said there had already been interest in the licence plate, but it was too early to say whether this was from anyone involved in Formula One.

Offers must be in before the deadline of 9 July, 2004 - the opening day of practice for the British Grand Prix.

A spokeswoman said it had yet to decide whether to hold the auction on the Internet or in an auction house.

Andrew Johnstone is thought to have been the first county chairman to use the plate on his four-seater Panhard Levassor in 1904.

Recently it has adorned the Volvo S80 of the current chairman, Anthony Peel.

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