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Low digit surf tag auction starts next week, 14 plates up for grabs


Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control auctions off 14 low digit surf fishing tags starting November 22.

The online auction goes until December 9th, and bidders can choose from numbers 32, 58, 143, 226, 355, 488, or eight different “choice” categories, which if won, winners can choose any number between 50 and 9999, as long as the number isn’t already taken.

Delaware State Parks director Ray Bivens says this is the first time these numbers have been rolled out.

“The numbers that we have here are a result of some that we’ve held back because we knew we would roll them out over time," Bivens says. "But the majority of it is numbers that have not been selected by someone yet in a choice auction.

Delaware State Parks are 65-70% self-funded through visitor fees - and Bivens says money raised through the surf fishing tag program adds to that.

“From seasonal staff like lifeguards and naturalists," Bivens says. "It helps support programs like day camps and nature walks and hayrides, things like that.”

Bivens notes an active surf fishing permit is still required to access the beach, but there are lots of reasons why people vye for a certain plate number.

“And it’s a black and white so sometimes people like it to match the number on the back of their vehicle," Bivens says. "Sometimes it's a badge number, sometimes it’s a lucky number, I’ve heard NASCAR drivers, I’ve heard all sorts of different things.”

The minimum bid is $250 for a surf tag, but the plates can go for thousands of dollars. In 2016, the number 1 plate sold for $26,000.

Plates numbered 1-200 can only be displayed on a Delaware-registered vehicle. Bivens says there is no limit on how many plates someone could win, as long as each plate is registered to a separate vehicle.

The bid starts next Tuesday the 22nd at 9 a.m. at 9 a.m., at

Rachel Sawicki was born and raised in Camden, Delaware and attended the Caesar Rodney School District. They graduated from the University of Delaware in 2021 with a double degree in Communications and English and as a leader in the Student Television Network, WVUD and The Review.