Decoding the Secrets: 6 Interesting Facts About The License Plates

License plates are more than just metal tags attached to the back of vehicles; they are canvases of identity, status symbols, and sometimes, subjects of intense bidding wars.

Collection of old vintage license plates on a wood wall
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From the first decorative plates to the most coveted numbers, here are six amusing facts about car license plates that showcase their unique place in automotive and cultural history.

1. Idaho’s Pioneering Design: Idaho was the first state to introduce a stylized license plate, making a statement in 1928 with a large potato emblem emblazoned on their plates, celebrating the state’s rich agricultural heritage.

2. Artistic Appropriation in Alaska: The bear on Alaska‘s license plates, first released in 1976, was sketched by artist Douglas Allen who drew inspiration from a bear at the Bronx Zoo. Interestingly, Allen’s artwork was used without his permission, and he remained unaware of its use for nearly four decades.

3. Florida’s License Plate Variety: In Florida, drivers can express themselves with over 260 different license plate designs, offering a wide array of choices to showcase personal interests, affiliations, and causes.

4. Delaware’s Tradable Numbers: In Delaware, license plate numbers, particularly low-digit ones, are tradable commodities. Numbers 4 and higher are eligible for trade, often fetching substantial sums, exemplified by the number 6 plate that sold for $675,000 in 2008.

5. Record-Breaking Auctions: The pursuit of exclusive license plates reaches its peak at auctions, with Dubai holding the record for the most expensive plate sold – “7” fetched a staggering $15 million. This trend of auctioning rare numbers is also seen in places like Hong Kong and contrasts sharply with the standard $60 fee in the U.S.

6. Ohio vs. North Carolina – A Flight of Fancy: The rivalry between Ohio and North Carolina over the Wright Brothers’ legacy is etched on their license plates. Ohio plates read “Birthplace of Aviation,” honoring the Wrights’ construction of their plane in the state, while North Carolina plates boast “First in Flight,” commemorating the Wrights’ historic flight at Kitty Hawk.

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