A Lifetime of Collecting License Plates: A Written Sunday Post Because I Am a Little Bit Off

When I went to grab my computer this morning, naturally my mind went to my blog as when I am having “normal” days, writing my blog is one of the first things I do after I get up each day.  However, today I realized that I am really off……I posted my Silent Sunday post a day early – yesterday!  Being “off” is the result of traveling, a holiday with the kids home on break, and a visiting relative. I am really not sure of the date, or I guess, given the circumstances, the day!

So, after I realized this I thought I would expound on one or two of the photographs featured in my post yesterday, Scenes from a Visit Home.  There are two photos of license plates. Most countries in the world have plates that identify vehicles in which the associated human drives.  My Dad has collected plates from across the U.S. and Canada for as long as I can remember.  Right now he estimates that he has about 1,000 different plates. This number has recently been reduced down from 2,000, which in truth, had probably been reduced from a larger number years before.


He found plates at garage sales and flea markets such the one outside Antique World in Clarence, New York. He received plates as gifts, such as some of the ones we found in Wisconsin after we moved here. Those plates were found in similar spots like the Antique Center of La Crosse or Caledonia Street Antique Market.  We also visited a large Flea Market in Oronoco, Minnesota called Gold Rush Days where we found many plates.

Many years ago, when we lived in Maryland and travelled North and South to visit family, there were many places to find used license plates along the old Rt. 15 that traversed through the area between Lewisburg and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  Now that area has been circumvented by a highway to make traveling faster for busy commuters.

My husband remembers buying a bushel of plates somewhere in Maryland or Pennsylvania that had a whole series of Maryland plates encompassing twenty years. We bought the whole bushel. It was fun for all of us to hunt for the plates that were usually inexpensive, but have become more costly in recent years.

There are license plate collector groups that I know my Dad has joined and belonged to over the years. He found these on his own and I know he has been able to buy and/or exchange plates in these groups with other collectors. There is even a license plate collector convention!


It has been a great hobby and even better conversation piece. My Dad has recently organized the plates he has decided to keep in categories in which he displays them in the utility room of their house. He has grouped vanity plates, all 50 U.S. States, all Canadian provinces, and then some specialty plates – such as one used on a vehicle that belonged to a worker when the Panama Canal was being built. Plates have been made to commemorate Presidential Inaugurations, charitable causes, and specific events such as the Challenger disaster.

Older plates sometimes have porcelain coatings or were stamped out of leather.  I know my Dad has enjoyed this hobby and it is always fun to see a new addition to his collection. When I see license plates, whether it is out at a flea market, or even a specialty plate on a new vehicle, I always think of my Dad.

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