How Much Are Old License Plates Worth?

Updated on October 15, 2019
doodlebugs profile image

I have an old license plate collection and believe that life is lived to the fullest when you share your knowledge with others.

Antique license plate collecting can be a lucrative hobby.
Antique license plate collecting can be a lucrative hobby. | Source

Among the many things that people collect are antique license plates. People collect them for a variety of reasons: to remember states and countries that they have visited, to make money, or as a reminder of the golden age of motoring. It is a hobby that I dabble into whenever I get a chance. I acquire interesting plates as souvenirs when I visit a new place.

What Is the Value of Old License Plates?

As with any collectible item (such as coins), the value of old license plates depends on a number of things, including

  • the date of manufacturing,
  • the total number of plates made,
  • the number of plates surviving,
  • and the physical condition of the plate.

In a 2008 story in Forbes Magazine, it was noted that a 1921 Alaska license plate was estimated to be worth over $60,000. It had been bought only a couple of years earlier for the amazing sum of $40,000, in a transaction that, unbelievably enough, happened in a parking lot.

While such an amount represents the extreme value of an antique license plate, it is enough to cause anybody who is cleaning out their garage to take a second look at what they may find.

You'd be surprised by how high the value of some old license plates can be.
You'd be surprised by how high the value of some old license plates can be.

How Much Are the Most Valuable Antique License Plates Worth?

The amateur license plate collector may not pay attention to things like rust and dents and may just want an interesting plate to hang on the wall. More serious license plate collectors often belong to the ALPCA, or the Automobile License Plate Collectors Association, and they visit antique auctions in search of valuable license plates. Their plates are stored in elaborate display cases and are treated gently, as if they were rare coins. These collectors are often seeking to complete their state or country collections and are very aware of how antique license plate values are calculated.

In the video below, you can see some of the exhibits from the 2010 ALPCA convention. There are antique license plate collectors in almost every country in the world, and the hobby is growing at a surprisingly fast rate. Because it is a growing hobby, the value of antique license plates is likely to continue to increase due to demand.

How Much Is My License Plate Worth?

The main way that both amateur and expert antique license plate collectors determine how much old license plates are worth is by referring to books like License Plate Values by Bob Crisler. They also pay attention to what similar plates are selling for at auction and on sites such as eBay.

Can You Make Money Collecting and Selling Antique License Plates?

There are a few die-hard antique license plate collectors who actually make a living from their hobby. Again, these are the people most likely to belong to the ALPCA. These collectors spend a lot of time searching online and elsewhere for nice specimens to add to their collection and trading with others who share the same hobby.

One reason that license plate trading is so popular is that many people try to put together collections of as many plates as they can get from one state or country. Many active license plate collectors maintain online stores and are power sellers on eBay. They dedicate many hours a week to selling and acquiring rare antique license plates. Though you probably won't be able to quit your full-time job, you may be able to make a little extra income by picking up old license plates worth a few dollars at garage sales for pennies on the dollar.

Even if you can't sell your old license plates, they make great decorations.
Even if you can't sell your old license plates, they make great decorations. | Source

Where to Buy and Sell Old License Plates

Online. A mechanic friend of mine who has almost every old Texas license plate ever made frequently searches Craigslist for entire collections of valuable license plates for sale. Sadly, often enough, the widow or child of a license plate collector will be found selling an entire collection for much less than it is worth.

Salvage Yards. You can also find old license plates at automobile salvage yards. If you find the kind of junk yard that will allow you to walk around and pick parts, you may be able to find license plates worth a few dollars each, but pay only a few cents for them. It helps to have a resource such as a license plate value book along during your search and an idea of what you are looking for ahead of time.

Even if you never make a dime collecting old license plates, it's a hobby that can pay you back in other ways. You can decorate your garage walls with old license plates and celebrate the glorious past of the automobile age. I enjoy sharing my collection of old license plates with visitors. It's a hobby you might enjoy as well.


Submit a Comment
  • profile image

    Heidi Lynn 54 

    2 weeks ago

    Wondering if the old "YD" (Yankee Division) plates are worth anything. Thanks!

  • profile image

    Larry Reeves II 

    8 months ago

    How much is the 1957 one dollar Silver Certificate Worth

  • profile image

    Jennifer Heagen 

    9 months ago

    I have a 1934 plate in decent condition, what is something like this worth?

  • profile image

    Norm Nicholls 

    19 months ago

    A Wyoming set of license plates # 500, from 1944 to present would be worth how much? Early ones are cardboard.

  • profile image


    21 months ago

    I have a 1915 New Mexico License Plate and state-issued envelope with corresponding Numbers. This plate has never been on a vehicle. I don’t even know where to start on a price. And I do believe I have the owner certificate for the vehicle that the plate goes on. Any Information will help.

  • profile image

    Edward bruce 

    21 months ago

    I have a license plate from Beverly Hills, CA dated: 1941. Plate # 13

    It Looks like:


    Beverly Hills

    General Delivery


    I’ve had this plate for 40 years.

    It’s a small plate 6” x4”.

    I can’t find another and would like to know it’s value and where to sell it.

  • profile image


    2 years ago

    I have Wisconsin license plates 1911, 1912-, 1913, 1914, 1915, all in pretty good shape. Any idea of the value of these or who to contact?

  • profile image

    Georgann Valdez 

    2 years ago

    My family restaurant of 49 years just sold, we had old license plates donated to us from our customers. I have inherited these plates, 127 of them from every state and three from out of the country. I would like to know the value of these and how I can get in touch with collectors to sell them. I have a list of them but no pictures at this time.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)