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Vintage License plate price guide

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by SinastirSpeedShop, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. It might be good to narrow the collection down early. Maybe one plate from each state the year he was born. Maybe one plate for each state regardless of year. Single plates are cheaper than pairs. Refinished plates look good but are probably frowned upon by the real collectors.

    Charlie Stephens
  2. kyvetteman
    Joined: May 13, 2012
    Posts: 759


    Great hobby, and something cool to do with your son. My son and I did the same thing when he was young.

    I've always had a thing for old license plates, and they seem to turn up in the strangest places. Last year I was at a junkyard and was looking in the cab of an old Chevy truck and found a cherry '53 Tennessee plate under the seat.

    Today I was at one of those "antique" shops that's just a "junk hole" as my wife calls it; a little bit of everything with barely enough room to walk through it. I was digging through some old tools and junk and found a matched pair of 1922 Ohio plates in great shape! Someone had painted or primed them but they are nearly perfect.

    Like anything else, the "chase" is part of the fun. Enjoy!
  3. We just won this one. I really like this one.

    Attached Files:

  4. FORDY 6
    Joined: Oct 8, 2002
    Posts: 1,558

    FORDY 6

    There was a license plate value guide put out by Bob and Chuck Crisler in the early 2000's...covering both American and Canadian plates from 1903 to 2000.

    The contact info I have is...

    King Publishing Co. P.O. Box 114 Ponchatoula, LA 70454-0114 www.LPI.COM
  5. El Gordo
    Joined: Aug 20, 2007
    Posts: 432

    El Gordo

    Got to see the largest collection in Canada.
    He's in a little village in North-East Alberta with the collection in a large garage beside his house.
    He had dozens of 4'x8' plywood mounted on hinges out from the wall like stores display posters. On each side he had "theme" collections; all provinces & states disabled plate, dealer plate, government plate. All ending in 001, 002, 003 etc. All of one year, then the next year, etc. Rather mind blowing!
    He has lots for sale, we were there for a matched set of Alberta '29.
    He's on Ebay as "MarshVe6mp"
    I have his email & phone #

  6. thanks for the information, I checked out his ebay store. Alot of them listed on there.
  7. TBone69
    Joined: Aug 21, 2007
    Posts: 833

    from NJ

    My 9 year old son is doing the same thing and we have been picking them up from $5-$10 for a single to $25 for a pair. We dont care if they are repaints or originals, he has them hanging on the wall in his Kid Cave.

    The pairs we split up, he gets one for his wall, I get one for the garage. WE have had a lot of fun and he is learning to speak up and bargain on items, he also gets better deals than I do. Must be the kid factor.

    We started with NJ plates but have a few PA and NY also.
  8. That cool. How many plates you have so far?
  9. Gman0046
    Joined: Jul 24, 2005
    Posts: 6,256


  10. Swifster
    Joined: Dec 16, 2006
    Posts: 1,455


    I just saw this doing a seach...

    I started collecting plates in 2004 after buying my Studebaker. I bought a matching set of '64 MI plates ('62 plates, '64 tabs). Since then, I've been working to collect a birthrun (I was born in '64). If states required matching pairs, that is what I collected. So far I have 40 of 51 US plates and 9 of 12 Canadian. The bad part is, most of these plates are the more expensive ones. And all remaining plates require matching pairs. Certain states also have seperate plates for station wagons and SUV's.

    I was advised to work on collecting what you like and where your interests lie. I've lived in MI & FL and have now started state collections for both. I also like WWII era plates from '42 to '45.

    Some states required windshield decals along with the plate for the plate to be valid (Hawaii and New Jersey). I have reproduction decals for the two states that used these in 1964.

    Each state has there own requirements for YOM use. MI says nothing about having them restored and will let you use only a single plate. Others have restrictions over restoration and will make you use a matched set if that's how they were issued.

    After moving to Florida and living at the border between Polk and Hillsborough counties, I have YOM plates for both counties. Back in the day, the state also had weight codes on the plates. Mine are correct for the county and the weights of my cars.

    I've found that license plate collecting is extremely enjoyable, and that they all have a history. Some are painted in school colors, for tourism or other such thing. And I think if kids are young enough, they can also teach geography.

    Most US territories like the Canal Zone, Guam, the Virgin Islands, etc also had their own plates. I'd buy them if I could find them. Mexican plates, Central American plates and most South American plates were the same size as our plates. But they are also hard to find.

    The only rule to plate collecting? Have fun!
  11. I'll second that some plate collectors aren't the most honest people out there. I discovered guys would try to buy one plate of a pair for the cheap price and leave me with one worthless plate, so now I zip-tie the pairs all together in the tub I take to swaps.

    A junkyard is actually a good place to go for plates, even out of state, one yard we cleaned out I picked up a CA and some VA and NJ plates right here in NY. When I went to a you-pick in SC last year, I saw a bunch of out of state plates, including one of the ones I picked stuff off from.
  12. So-Cal Speed Sacramento
    Joined: Sep 6, 2008
    Posts: 459

    So-Cal Speed Sacramento
    Alliance Vendor
    from Sacramento

    not to digress from the main topic at hand buuuut ...

    I saw a picture of a license plate on here a few years ago from the 1920s or 1930s from a midwestern state. The plate said 'Dangerous Driver' across the top and had a skull and crossbones on it. I have not been able to find a picture of it since. Is anybody familiar with it?
  13. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 8,892

    from Oregon

    I have a friend who's a very advanced license plate collector, and I'm sometimes shocked at what he shows me, when he tells me the prices! He has more money tied up in old Oregon plates than I have in all three of my cars!
    I think the people who collect plates just learn what the going prices are by buying them, or missing out on them to another collector. Don't think there's any accurate guide to look them up, like a Bluebook of Values.
  14. Swifster
    Joined: Dec 16, 2006
    Posts: 1,455


    Rusty, I actally had to win two seperate auctions on Ebay for a matched set of South Carolina plates. I paid less than $20 for both, but I was worried I'd win one, but not the other. The only plates I spent semi big money for was my South Dakota plates. They are in very good condition and were $50. Everything else was $20 or less. I bought a group of 10 plates from PA between '58 & '64. I was only looking for one plate. I've already made my money back selling two or three.

    The 1964 matched sets I'm looking for are;


    The Canadian plates I'm missing are;

    NF, NWT and YT

    I doubt I'll ever find the Northwest Territories or the Yukon Territories.
  15. I was out at my local wrecking yard looking around, he has 25 to 30 boxes full, mostly CO & WY some other though. He said take what you want (no colo 46 truck plates). I was at the dump 6 months ago and a fellow was tossing 3 big crate fulls away, yea I hauled all home. PM an address & Ill send some from way out west.
  16. dlshady
    Joined: Jun 5, 2009
    Posts: 236


    Send me a PM if you want OP. I'm also an ALPCA member and a resident of Alabama, so I might be able to help. Unfortunately (if you want to collect Alabama stuff), you gotta keep in mind that the southern states were much less populated back in the early days than some of the northern and midwestern states. As an example, Alabama had 3950 registrations in 1912 (covering the whole state) whereas a big northern city like Columbus, OH probably had 10 times that many in their city alone. That makes early plates from the southern states like Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Tennessee a great deal higher than states like New York, Ohio, etc...

    And like everything else, condition is everything when determining value. A plate with good original paint is always gonna be worth more than a repainted or rusty plate.

    To answer your original question, Chuck Crissler (might have the spelling wrong) and his father have published license plate "price guides" for many years, but you have to take the values with a grain of salt. Some are spot on, and some aren't. The father passed away a few months ago so I don't know when/if Chuck is planning another edition.

    Being that you're in Alabama, you might appreciate these:



  17. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 31,288


    I'll send him one from Connecticut if you PM your address. I asked for old plates for Christmas when I was 11, that was 51 years ago. Still have them a 1910 and a 1912. I did get a 1912 T to attach it to, hope your son enjoys collecting stuff. Bob :)
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2013
  18. Lil32
    Joined: Apr 4, 2012
    Posts: 2,598


    I bought a mint 1932 plate from an Antique Shop in Virginia City last year when visiting and only paid $20. 1B6645 was the number. The recent L.A.Roadster Show had plenty of plates in the swap area ranging from $1 to $100s
  19. Depends on the state, condition, porcelain or stamped steel, AZ. copper from 32 to 34 bring high $$$. The fewer digits bring more than higher number digits, pre-state and county's are higher, consecutive and same number sets are rarer. Dealers and motorcycle bring higher $$$$$$$$. First year plates bring more than second year plates, the list goes on with lots of variations but it is a fun hobby, especially for a kid. You can collect a birth year from every state, all dealers plates, all years from your state, I'm doing all 3-digit from my state. I sold a perfect 5-digit for $1000 and bought a very rare war tag motorcycle for 25 cents in a box of bungie cords and sold it for $500, those are the extremes you can get a lot of plates for $2 to $5. But probably the best bet is check out E-bay. Have fun.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 4, 2013
  20. dlshady
    Joined: Jun 5, 2009
    Posts: 236


    Hey SinastirSpeedShop, something else to consider is hunting plates from the years you and your son were born. That's how a lot of folks get started, and since he's only 10 plates from the early 2000's will be reasonable inexpensive. Heck, I've probably got a handful of different states from that era that I'd gladly send down to get him started! What year were you born?

    And no6, that's a killer collection of early PA porcelains. Low numbers make me smile! :D
  21. Swifster
    Joined: Dec 16, 2006
    Posts: 1,455


    Something was mentioned above. If plates are bought to collect, do not restore them. Collectors look at that as a decrease in value. Now for my birthrun, I am restoring some plates and others are NOS. These are the only plates that I'll do that with. These are my restored South Carolina plates...


    I have roughly 10 that I've had restored. When I took in my Michigan plates, I also took in my Idaho and Vermont plates because they were all white with green numbers. I just think restored/new plates look so good.

    My Michigan and Florida runs are 'as is' and untouched. My plates that I'll use as YOM will be restored after the state OK's them.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2013
  22. It really depends on what State you want to concentrate on, as well as the years, condition, and whether your State has single or two-tags. Also, does the State you are interested in allow for YOM registration? The plates for states that do tend to be a little more expensive that for the states that don't. Even the number sequence affects the price. As an example, if you have AA-1, that is worth more than SY-5821, assuming the condition is the same.

    In Oklahoma, anyway, if a tag number is not currently being used and that sequence shows as being available for YOM use, that tag will be worth more to an Okie versus a tag whose number sequence is in use on another plate. When that happens, that cannot be used for YOM.

    Lots of variables out there, but basically it boils down to - what's that plate/tag worth to you, and what are you willing to pay for it?
  23. tbill
    Joined: Oct 21, 2007
    Posts: 303

    from central ny

    This is the '42/'43 plate I have ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1372981094.498670.jpg
    Little rough, but it was free, and for it's age I didn't think it was too bad off.

    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
  24. hotrodarchaeologist
    Joined: Dec 4, 2007
    Posts: 655

    from Maine

    Same here...
  25. worthop
    Joined: Sep 19, 2005
    Posts: 441


    anybody know what these are going for? I need some cash, and will be selling them....
  26. Paul Holbrooks
    Joined: Dec 10, 2016
    Posts: 1

    Paul Holbrooks

  27. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 31,829

    Jalopy Joker

    Old Thread - trying to find out what special symbols mean on 1937 California plates - done a lot of searches with no results that cover all - any sites offer this info? 20190808_101840.jpg
  28. Any chance you could get your son interested in photography and then collect pictures of plates? The problem you are facing is that with almost any "type" of plate there will be a couple of rare ones that he could never afford.

    Charlie Stephens
  29. mgtstumpy
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 9,228


    I'm not a collector however I picked up these NOS plates in OEM wrapping on that website.
    lothiandon1940 likes this.

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