Wizard
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Wizard
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July 5th, 2012 at 9:32:44 AM permalink
For those who don't know, I'm a pretty avid license plate collector. Some may not know that I lived in Maryland from 1992 to 2001. Thus, I have a near complete collection of Maryland passenger license plates. I believe the only one I'm missing is the illusive 1910.

Maryland was a little late getting on the ball with license plates, compared to most states on the east coast. The first year the state provided a license plate (before you were responsible to make your own) was 1910. They used what is probably the most feeble excuse for a license plate in the U.S. history. The metal was barely thicker than aluminum foil, a cheap quality at that, and paint equally as bad.

Because of this, very few 1910 Maryland license plates exist to this day. I would roughly estimate about 100 might be in the hands of collectors. What few there are are usually terribly ugly and an eyesore to look at. Today is the first time I've ever seen one come up at Ebay. As is typical for plates like this, it was repainted. Amateurs usually think that if you repaint an antique it goes up in value. NOT TRUE! With license plates even the best repaint job on top of the worst original paint causes it to go down in value, significantly. This point is made over and over on such shows at Pawn Stars and Antiques Roadshow about any kind of antique. Like many tag collectors, I won't even touch repaints, as I don't consider them to be a legitimate license plate any longer.

I apologize for boring the forum with a post on license plates, but I check Ebay for license plates almost daily, for at least a decade, so this is newsworthy to me at least.
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pokerface
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July 5th, 2012 at 9:44:05 AM permalink
How sure are you that the one (and similar ones on ebay) is repainted, not a fake?
folks can make one like that for less than $20 and sell for over $1000.
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DJTeddyBear
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July 5th, 2012 at 10:54:49 AM permalink
Quote: pokerface

How sure are you that the one (and similar ones on ebay) is repainted, not a fake?

Well, for one thing, it says so right in the listing description:
Quote: eBay

It is used condition with an older repaint on it.

For another, you can zoom in on the photo and see that there are parts that look fishy.


Wiz -

Before I saw that comment in the description, my own untrained eye decided that you're right about the repaint, but was wondering if it had been repainted back in the day, while it was still attached to a car.

If THAT'S the case, then wouldn't it be considered part of the normal usage and wear and tear rather than a misguided antique owner's attempt to clean it up?
Superstitions are silly, childish, irrational rituals, born out of fear of the unknown. But how much does it cost to knock on wood? 😁 Note that the same could be said for Religion. I.E. Religion is nothing more than organized superstition. 🤗
Ayecarumba
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July 5th, 2012 at 11:31:04 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard

For those who don't know, I'm a pretty avid license plate collector. Some may not know that I lived in Maryland from 1992 to 2001. Thus, I have a near complete collection of Maryland passenger license plates. I believe the only one I'm missing is the illusive 1910.

Maryland was a little late getting on the ball with license plates, compared to most states on the east coast. The first year the state provided a license plate (before you were responsible to make your own) was 1910. They used what is probably the most feeble excuse for a license plate in the U.S. history. The metal was barely thicker than aluminum foil, a cheap quality at that, and paint equally as bad.

Because of this, very few 1910 Maryland license plates exist to this day. I would roughly estimate about 100 might be in the hands of collectors. What few there are are usually terribly ugly and an eyesore to look at...



What are the laws regarding taking plates off wrecks, yard "art", or salvaged vehicles? If you come across an abandoned vehicle, can you just take the plate and sell it, or are there laws about them having to be returned as property of the state?

Several years ago, I bought a car that had vanity plates, and when I went to register it, the DMV lady said I had to return them to the person I bought the car from since they "owned" them. I told her that I bought the car with the plates on it, so I assume they were mine to keep. They gave me new license plates, and I kept the vanity set. Is this a typical practice?
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Wizard
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Wizard
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July 5th, 2012 at 11:36:28 AM permalink
Quote: DJTeddyBear

If THAT'S the case, then wouldn't it be considered part of the normal usage and wear and tear rather than a misguided antique owner's attempt to clean it up?



It doesn't matter what the motive is or when it was done, a repaint completely ruins the plate. At least for me and most collectors. New collectors are often fooled by them and tend to buy a lot because the prices on them are low and they do often look good.

Regarding the question about outright forgeries, that is a problem, mainly with "pre-states." Before the states gave you a license plate for your car they just told you your number and you had to make your own license plate or order one from a private company. These can be quite valuable, but given that fact that some where homemade, are very subject to counterfeiting. For later plates it is not as much of an issue. The fact that any given number is supposed to happen no more than twice is a good deterrent to mass producing them. The values are not enough to make creating them one at a time worthwhile.
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DJTeddyBear
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July 5th, 2012 at 11:37:07 AM permalink
Quote: Ayecarumba

Several years ago, I bought a car that had vanity plates, and when I went to register it, the DMV lady said I had to return them to the person I bought the car from since they "owned" them. I told her that I bought the car with the plates on it, so I assume they were mine to keep. They gave me new license plates, and I kept the vanity set. Is this a typical practice?

The seller should have removed them and turned them in himself.

Failure to do that means that he could be in trouble when he fails to renew the registration, or if the plates turn up on a different car somehow.
Superstitions are silly, childish, irrational rituals, born out of fear of the unknown. But how much does it cost to knock on wood? 😁 Note that the same could be said for Religion. I.E. Religion is nothing more than organized superstition. 🤗
Wizard
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Wizard
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July 5th, 2012 at 11:44:16 AM permalink
Quote: Ayecarumba

What are the laws regarding taking plates off wrecks, yard "art", or salvaged vehicles? If you come across an abandoned vehicle, can you just take the plate and sell it, or are there laws about them having to be returned as property of the state?



I think in some states the license plates are technically property of the state. So even an old rusty one on an abandoned car would belong to the state. However, in practice, that is one of those things where "finders keepers" is the order of the day. There are license plate shows in all 50 states and I've never once heard of the police raiding a show to take their license plates back.

Quote:

Several years ago, I bought a car that had vanity plates, and when I went to register it, the DMV lady said I had to return them to the person I bought the car from since they "owned" them. I told her that I bought the car with the plates on it, so I assume they were mine to keep. They gave me new license plates, and I kept the vanity set. Is this a typical practice?



That would have been the case in Maryland too. There the plates are associated with the owner, not the car. So when a used car is sold the plates are not supposed to transfer along with it. The opposite is true of California. When you sell a car the plates generally stay with it. I can't speak for any of the other 48 states.
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Nareed
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July 5th, 2012 at 1:09:48 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard

Like many tag collectors, I won't even touch repaints, as I don't consider them to be a legitimate license plate any longer.



I guess that's like finding the pair of shoes that perfectly match the dress, only they don't have them in your size :(

Good luck finding a good one.
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Wizard
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Wizard
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July 6th, 2012 at 4:13:56 AM permalink
Quote: Nareed

I guess that's like finding the pair of shoes that perfectly match the dress, only they don't have them in your size :(



It seems you brought the discussion to a crashing halt with that comment. Probably not the kind of thing that has happened to most guys on the forum, including me.
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AZDuffman
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July 6th, 2012 at 5:06:23 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard

I think in some states the license plates are technically property of the state. So even an old rusty one on an abandoned car would belong to the state. However, in practice, that is one of those things where "finders keepers" is the order of the day. There are license plate shows in all 50 states and I've never once heard of the police raiding a show to take their license plates back.



Some of this depends on what the state does with current plates. When I left NY I wanted to keep my plates. AZ didn't request a turn in when I registered the vehicle there, they just handed me new plates and said to put them on when I got home. Well, my insurnace company was having a cows, said I had to get the plates to NY. I eventually convinced them they were lost. Caused me an issue when I went for new insurance since it was a "policy cancel by carrier" but I got around that too.

NY requires plates be turned in, unless they are issuing a new plate. Then it is allowable to keep them though the state makes the nonsense claim that you shoud "deface" them so nobody else can use them. Just liability nonsensespeak.


Quote:

That would have been the case in Maryland too. There the plates are associated with the owner, not the car. So when a used car is sold the plates are not supposed to transfer along with it. The opposite is true of California. When you sell a car the plates generally stay with it. I can't speak for any of the other 48 states.



I remember reading that in one New England State (NH IIRC) there is a status to a "low number" plate. To keep your old plate you have to keep the old car, even if you transfer the plate. People would buy near junk cars to get the plates! This was as late as the 1980s.
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