Frequently Asked Questions about license plate collecting


Note: Although I'm no expert in the hobby, I hope this page will help those of you who may be interested in license plates get more comfortable with what it's all about.
1.1. What do I need to get started with collecting?
1.2. Do I need to do a lot of research first?
1.3. How can I trade with other collectors?
1.4. How do I clean my plates?
1.5. What are the plates made of?
1.6. Where can I sell my plates?
1.7. Where do I go for more questions/answers?


1.1. What do I need to get started with collecting?

For the beginning collector, all you need is an active interest in the hobby, and the desire to improve your collection. There are really no special tools, but if you have a method of transportation to get you to and from your local post office, that would help. Also since you are reading this web page, then you have a computer. The computer is going to be a great tool for you to get in contact with other collectors (and is much faster than having to write letters via snail mail).


1.2. Do I need to do a lot of research first?

Research may be done once you have gotten yourself more familiar with the hobby. If you have a strong desire to collect certain (specific) types of license plates, then you may have to do some research. You may want to join your state historical society; they often provide interesting pictures and literature on older buildings, people, and yes even vehicles (where you might even see a license plate on them). Joining a club/organization where they exclusively collect license plates is also a good idea. I would recommend you start with the ALPCA. The annual dues are very reasonable, and they send you lots of information about the organization.


1.3. How can I trade with other collectors?

Many people get on-line and via the internet, they set up their own personal web pages. From here, trading can be as simple as placing a text description of your plates you have available and wait for the trades to start coming in! NOTE: people will want to get in contact with you, so you will want to set up an email address if you don't have one already. Then, you will need to post that email address on your web page so they can easily send you email about what they are interested in. I have both a trade list, as well as a "wanted" list.


1.4. How do I clean my plates?

Simple window cleaner works pretty good for me. I've also heard that mild dishwashing detergent and water works pretty well also. There is a whole page dedicated to how you can clean your license plate on the ALPCA web site. Here is the link: Cleaning Tips


1.5. What are the plates made of?

Most all the current US license plates are made of aluminum. However many of the older plates were made of steel. The real early plates were made of porceleain, and it's hard to find one in excellent condition, because just like a porcelean bathroom sink, they sometimes get chipped over the years. I have also heard that a few states have issued a "cardboard" type of license plate (this could be during the WWII era) to help conserve on metal needed to support the military.


1.6. Where can I sell my plates?

A common place to sell your license plates is at a flea market or garage sale. Once in a while you may find other collectors in your neighborhood that may have an interest in your plates. However to get a really good price for them you could also either sell them on your personal web page, or list them for sale in an on-line auction. There are several auctions on the internet, however my personal preference is with one called EBAY. Check it out, and look what is out there for sale, you would be amazed at what you find. Many collectors have direct links (as I do) to EBAY.


1.7. Where do I go for more questions/answers?

I may not be able to answer all your questions, however there is another FAQ page that you can go to that the ALPCA has. Here is the link:FAQ.

If you have anything you would like added to this FAQ list, please feel free to Email Me!


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