Top 10 Reasons Why People Collect License Plates
Posted by Terry Hammer on 3/26/2021 to News
So many people collect license plates of all kinds, from vintage and antique license plates, to newly designed, used and expired license plates. From the neighbor who hangs these in a garage or a barn, to celebrities like Jay Leno who collects both rare and one-of-a-kind vehicles and old license plates.
The reasons are so varied and fascinating enough that we thought we would share the top 10 reasons that people collect license plates.
- YOM or Year of Manufacture, to run on old vehicles. People buy old license plates to register and run on their vintage, classic and antique vehicles. This includes automobiles, trucks, motorcycles and even commercial vehicles. Some of these are “daily drivers”, while others are destined for vehicle shows and competitions. The way each State governs and manages this process varies, and most have Year of Manufacture or YOM Laws. Most of the 50 States allow some variety or flavor of this type of use. Some States base their decision to allow the use of vintage and antique old license plates in this manner based on the number of years old as a minimum. Others are defined under Antique Vehicle, Historic Vehicle or Horseless Carriage Laws that the State has on the books that specify a manufacture date for the vehicle. The State of Illinois actually allows a license plate from ANYWHERE to be displayed as long as it is from the YEAR OF THE VEHICLE without requiring the license plate be from Illinois! This was due to an oversight by the State Legislature and adds an interesting twist there. Oops! Other States are very strict and require inspection of the actual plates and availability of that digit combination – in other words – that digit combination cannot be on a license plate of any kind that is on the road in that State at the time you want to register your vehicle and vintage license plates. Some folks have waited for many years for that specific combination to “become available” after the one in use expires, so that they can rush over to the DMV and get their old license plate registered to their vehicle!
- To decorate. Old license plates are also bought by countless people in order to decorate garages, sheds, barns and mancaves of all kinds. These cool displays become a focal point of interest and invoke a lot of conversation, where everyone can relax and have a cold one! Displays of old license plates are a time honored tradition and are typically shared with friends and family when folks gather for activities like sports games, shooting pool, or working on cars. The types of plates selected for displays like this vary - because some may prefer to show new graphic designs, while others may want to have genuine and authentic old license plates. Others want specific vibrant colors on the old license plates in order to form complex patterns on a wall. This is truly only limited by ones’ imagination!
- To promote a business. License plates are often bought in order to promote a business. There are countless restaurants, bars and barbeque joints across the US, Canada, Mexico and the World where real, expired and collectible old license plates are focal points and elicit visions of travel, good food and awesome experiences. Some farms collect old farm license plates in order to display the history of their farm and to promote organic farming, which is referred to as agritourism. Movie production companies and even Actor Josh Hutcherson from Hunger Games fame buys these to have authentic license plates for shooting their films in order to add an element of realism to the place, time or vehicles used for the scenes. Some Companies including Ralph Lauren promote a product line with “American Values” or “Canadian Values” and have displays of their products surrounded by authentic old license plates. Auto dealers have purchased license plates in order to make a map out of old, used and expired license plates from the States that they operate in and hang this prominently in their showrooms.