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Decorative License Plates

Shrinivas Kanade
For some people collecting decorative license plates is an important hobby. To know more about them, read on.
Man by nature is a collector of unique, rare, and interesting things. Some people collect rare and unique stamps, while some collect diamonds and precious stones. And some collect decorative license plates.
  • Idaho: World Famous Potatoes
  • Oklahoma: Is Ok!
  • Ohio: Seat Belts Fastened?
  • Kentucky: Bluegrass State
  • Kansas: The Wheat State
  • Maryland: Drive Carefully
These are a few witty license plate slogans.

A License Plate as a Medium of Expression

France was the first to introduce license plates. In the United States of America, Massachusetts was the first to make it mandatory for motorists to hold a license and register their vehicle. The first picture to adorn a license plate was that of a 'codfish'. Nowadays, they are used mostly to decorate a vehicle.
When it comes to customizing a license plate, there are infinite options available to you. The following are the different uses a personalized license plate has:
  • Decorative plates are used as a medium of expression by dedicated fans of a sport or a sports club to air their support.
  • Occasionally, these plates can also be purchased to be presented as gift.
  • Few people also use customized plates to express their sentiments for their 'cherished one' by displaying their images.
  • Zodiac plates is a category that is specially made to display 'zodiac signs'.
  • Plates depicting smiley face symbols, are known as 'Smiley plates'.
  • There is a class of decorative plates known as 'Yin-Yang' plates, that display Taoist symbols.
The Department of Motor Vehicle sells license plates that are valid for only a short period of time, and the collectors consider them valuable collectibles.
These license plates are sold to finance a worthy cause. A percentage of the money raised from this activity, may go to organizations working in the field of wildlife protection or flood relief or to those working in hurricane affected areas.

Antique License Plates

The old license plates that were made before 1900 still exist and some of them are still active. The first such plate issued in Massachusetts carries the registration number "1" and was issued to Mr. Frederick Tudor in 1903. This license plate is still held as an active registration by one of his family members and is invaluable in terms of making history.
What are the attributes of an antique license plate? Color, size, shape and condition of the antique license plate and the history associated with it. A 1921 Alaskan license plate with a registration number "270" on it, is the costliest antique license plate in the United States of America. In 2000, it was auctioned for $60,000 in the state of Maine.
If you want to acquire an antique license plate you may have to visit scrap dealers or antique shops which specialize in such items. If you find one, in good condition, then make sure that it belongs to a car because truck or trailer plates aren't in much demand.
If you want to display a decorative license plate on your vehicle, it is suggested that you are well versed with the state laws regulating its use. In some states it is mandatory to display state issued license plates in the front, and at the back of the vehicles or cars.
If you really want a plate with a particular number, then you must be ready to pay through your nose. These plates do not come cheap.
A license plate well-known as "M1" was auctioned for $660,000 in England. However, "M1" is not the most costly of license plates. A person from Dubai paid around $14 million to acquire a vanity license plate at an auction. Now, can you believe that?