View Full Version : Found plate

Jeff W
11-28-2015, 06:59 PM
A few weeks ago I was running some new Romex in my basement and found this nailed to the ceiling (subfloor). This 103 year old house is still giving up secrets.

11-28-2015, 11:00 PM
Nice. That's pretty cool how the 57 is stuck on there. I've never seen them like that.

11-29-2015, 05:43 AM
A few weeks ago I was running some new Romex in my basement and found this nailed to the ceiling (subfloor).

Why was it put there?

11-29-2015, 10:47 AM
The plate can still be used on a current vehicle today. My father-in-law purchased a '57 Belair recently and wanted plates that were correct for '57. He searched locally until he found a '57 plate in an antique store. Paid a fortune for it but then took a photo and submitted with his collector car application. New plates came with the old number and I believe looked very similar.

Jeff W
11-29-2015, 10:57 AM
Why was it put there?

The basement ( for you Florida folk, that is a level under the house that is below grade) goes under the front porch. It looks like the plate was covering a small gap where the porch floor meets the wall. Since it is a covered porch, it stayed dry and the plate is in good shape and straightened out well.

I had repaired the gap from the top years ago when I painted the house and porch floor.

In 1957 the Gunderson twin girls were living here with their mom. They were not very handy and rarely hired anyone to do repair or maintenance. The plate was nailed up with four tiny upholstery tacks. The Gunderson women lived here from 1922 until 1980 when the last of them died. The house was condemned and sat vacant until 1987 when it was saved and poorly rebuilt into a pot grow operation. We have been here since 1996 (bought it from the DEA) and just like my Falcon, nearly every piece of this house has been repaired, or replaced.

11-29-2015, 10:58 AM
Cool plate. Wonder what its history is. Like what the A stands for. I liked the metal fold-over year tags back then.

Jeff W
11-29-2015, 11:24 AM
Cory, yes, the year of manufacture plate is pretty easy to do and only a one time charge so the cost of the plate quickly pays for itself without the annual registration. I have a pair of 1963 plates on the Falcon.

Roger, the "A" signifies it was issued in King County. Apparently and strangely this was a one year issued plate for 1957. Although it says 54 under the 57 tab, the actual 1954-1956 plates were longer. In 1957 Washington decided to adopt the National plate size. They must have reused parts of the earlier die (including the part with the 54) until they could revamp the entire design in 1958.

There is a whole subculture of plate collectors that are over the top.

Here is an awesome website about Washington Plate History worth a few minutes of browsing.


11-29-2015, 07:21 PM
Really cool write up on all this. Liked the home info and enjoyed learning about the license plates. Hopefully you find a good home or wall or something for your 57 plate. Can't believe the condition. Larry

11-30-2015, 07:00 AM
When was your house built?
And what's this about no annual registration costs with a vintage plate? How does that work?

Jeff W
11-30-2015, 10:28 AM
Hi Don, my house was built 1913.

Here are the details on using restored plates:


Currently the cost of the one time registration if $56.75 plus the cost of your plate(s).

You only need one on the rear of the car - but I liked the look of front and back so the search for plates in good shape took a bit longer. I think I paid around $50 for a matched pair in good shape (ebay).

Although the site says "Restored Plates", mine were just good shape originals - my "restoration" involved a rag and a squirt of Windex.

I am pasting the website contents below - it is irritating when looking at a very old post that likely contains the info you think you need, and the link given is broken- This was accurate as of Nov 2015:

Restored plates


Restored plate requirements.
Vehicle requirements.
Find out the initial cost for a plate.
Visit an office, bring your application, plates, title and payment.
Update your Good-to-Go! account, if you have one.

1. Restored plate requirements

The plate must have been restored to it’s original design. It can’t be a reproduction. The plate must match the year of the vehicle.
For example: If you have a 1967 Mustang, it must have a 1967 restored WA license plate.
Before you can use restored plates bring them into a vehicle licensing office (http://www.dol.wa.gov/vehicleregistration/vehicleofcs.html) so we can make sure they’ve been correctly restored and are the correct plates for the year of your vehicle.
The restored license plates...

Must be displayed on the rear of the vehicle. If you have a set of plates, you may put them on the front and back.
You don’t need to display month/year tabs on the plates.
Are good for the life of vehicle (Don’t need to be renewed yearly).

2. Vehicle requirements

The vehicle must be over 30 years old, see Collector Vehicle plates (http://www.dol.wa.gov/vehicleregistration/spcollector.html), or an antique (horseless carriage) over 40 years old, see Horseless Carriage plates (http://www.dol.wa.gov/vehicleregistration/sphorseless.html), and

Must have a current registration.
Owned and operated as a collector vehicle.
Capable of driving on the highway.
May be driven:

To and from auto shows, circuses, parades, displays, special excursions, and antique car club meetings.
For testing purposes.
For the pleasure of others without compensation.

May not be used for:

Commercial purposes or to carry a load.
Regular transportation in the manner of a fully licensed vehicle.

Note: These plates are not available for trailers.
3. Find out the initial cost for plates

Vehicle type Fee Passenger/truck $56.75 Motorcycle $50.75 4. Visit an office, bring your application, plates, title and payment.

Visit a vehicle licensing office (http://www.dol.wa.gov/vehicleregistration/vehicleofcs.html) and bring:

Special Background, Personalized, or HAM Operator License Plate Application (http://www.dol.wa.gov/forms/420499.pdf),
The restored plates,
The original title, and

5. Update your Good To Go! account

If you have an account, update it with your new plates:

Online: www.wsdot.wa.gov/goodtogo/ (http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/goodtogo/)
By phone: 866.936.8246

11-30-2015, 08:27 PM
Very cool Jeff. I was looking for the info on this when I first got the falcon but never found it. I'll keep my eye out for some nice 61 plates! Any idea what the official colors are (other than just green and white) in case I need to touch them up?

Here's some other interesting plate info I found when I was poking around:

Washington license plate history:

Colors: (but nothing exact):

A collector...apparently people are faking these old Washington plates!
(This guy has 14403 plates in his collection!)

What the??? There is a collectors association for license plates! I've been missing out!

Yes, quite a subculture...[AGREE]

11-30-2015, 09:21 PM
This probably isn't for everybody..... But this guy does a beautiful job repairing and repainting plates. He will repair even a small tear in the metal in the basic price. I know. I had him do mine (I used a truck plate found at a local swap meet). Pretty timely too, though he's in Marysville and I took it to him and picked it up. He even sells the stickers if you need them (mine did, as it's a 1963 stamping and requires a sticker).


11-30-2015, 09:35 PM
Wow, the amazement continues. Darn, there goes my hobby business idea. :bicker:
This is almost embarrassingly fascinating.
So what's the deal with the 58-62 plates and the stickers?
You can use any 58-62 plate but you have to have a 61 sticker in order to register as a 61? And I assume the sticker has to be original too?

11-30-2015, 09:43 PM
I believe it's refered to as YOM (Year Of Manufacture) program. You can only use whatever was the legal plate when your vehicle was manufactured/registered. For 1965 this was a plate stamped in 1963 with a 1965 sticker. Only the rear plate is required as this is a replacement for your collector plate. Supposedly, when the gendarme plugs in the plate number, he gets back your collector plate number.

12-01-2015, 01:30 PM
Don, I believe one of the links you posted showed what is up for your year. I clicked on the image and saved it from that page. You would probably need to find that style plate and get a '61 sticker for it.


Keep in mind you can also just get collector plates issued by the state. That's what I have on my wagon.


I would also warn - though I'm not 100% sure what would happen in this case - if you locate and buy only one plate, there is a possibility that the other plate is already owned and installed on somebody else's car. I doubt the State will issue the same plate number on two cars. But you might not find out until you are at DMV. I bought a pair of plates at the swap meet for my Ranchero ($50) to negate the potential of this.

12-01-2015, 08:06 PM
So there are some driving restrictions for these plates (at least in theory...) what is the cost savings of these as opposed to regular plates?

12-01-2015, 11:30 PM
One time cost and no annual renewal. You'll not be driving it enough to worry about any restrictions either, I'm sure.

Jeff W
12-02-2015, 12:04 AM
Depends on how long you are going to keep the car. I don't remember my details, but I think my plates and one time registration broke even on the second year. After that it's basically putting money back in my pocket. It was the same for my classic car insurance. The cost of appraisal paid back on insurance savings on years 2.

12-06-2015, 09:37 AM
Holy Cow Jeff, it seems like the really nice pairs are now going on eBay for $200 and for $50 you get a single plate that's kind of beat up. :WHATTHE:
It's almost right out of an econ text book...$100 for a pair of beat up ones, $140 to pay for restoration...so good pairs are now $200-220.
If anyone has a nice pair they are interested in selling cheaper...

12-06-2015, 02:53 PM
I don't think the state requires two plates on collector cars. They only issue one collector plate (rear). I only have one YOM plate. Am I illegal? That leaves a GREAT place for the club plaque [thumb].

12-06-2015, 06:20 PM
Only one required on the rear. I have the "Rainier Falcon" plate on the front of mine. Larry

12-06-2015, 11:47 PM
ahh....a club plaque on the front. great idea [AGREE][BOW]

12-07-2015, 08:52 AM
Classic car plates issues from the state are only rear plates too if I recall correctly. Will need something on the front and that's a good excuse for the club plate.

As mentioned earlier, I'd still look for a pair if purchasing them - just to make sure you are not buying a single plate the mate of which is already in-use by someone else. Maybe find a pair where one that looks real good and the other is [perhaps more] mangled.

12-08-2015, 07:11 PM
Looks like you'll have a plate for when you get that "Kids are off to college now" AMC Rambler


Jeff W
12-08-2015, 11:10 PM
Looks like you'll have a plate for when you get that "Kids are off to college now" AMC Rambler


Yes, I will need to live in the back so I can afford the tuition.
Nice looking rig.