Mark Gregory

What were all these License Plate toppers for ? ?

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This is not mine .

But why did people have these ?  Was it for emergencies or been able to park anywhere ?

This one is for a Pharmacist . It must of just sold it was very colour co - ordinated .

 

https://www.ebay.ca/itm/Original-vintage-nos-50s-RPH-Pharmacist-license-plate-topper-gm-auto-parts-amc/312017652792?hash=item48a5b38c38:g:BpgAAOSwFb5aJcY7&vxp=mtr

Edited by Mark Gregory (see edit history)

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Many were for personal recognition, but most were for pride of having visited an attraction, or pride in a town or state.

 

The one displayed above our 1941 Cadillac's rear license plate displays:

 

"NEW ORLEANS

Most Interesting City"

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The Medical Toppers MD RX DDS RN were kind of permission to speed. If you were driving a brand new Cadillac in 1950 and had a MD topper chances are you would not get pulled over if you were speeding and headed towards the hospital. Some of the gas station related toppers let the station attendant know your choice of fuel and that you were in the club for what ever promotion was going on. Other toppers are just fun, they let the rest of the world know where you have been. There are Fire department toppers as well as Military base pass toppers. Some of the most interesting are related to the ARMY AIR CORPS. Keep Em Flying and Remember Pearl Harbor are popular WWII era toppers. Toppers are a neat way to personalize your car. They are the predecessor or the bumper sticker.

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Pharmacies made deliveries in those days. A topper like that might act as a ticket repellent if you parked illegally, or exceeded the speed limit. You could claim you were on an errand of mercy delivering medicine to a sick baby. A wise cop would offer you a police escort and check out your story and slap a ticket on you if you were lying. But, it might be worth a try.

 

Other than that guys put lodge insignia, or veterans had military toppers etc to indicate membership in some group or fraternity.

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After the popularity of the license plate toppers, but before the bumper stickers came a period of about ten years, say the mid fifties to the mid sixties, when window decals were the rage. You collected them from tourist stops along the way and proudly displayed them in your rear and side/rear windows. They told the world that you had seen the Grand Canyon, the Everglades or Wall Drug. Where in the world is Wall Drug, you ask?

Edited by Hudsy Wudsy (see edit history)

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I have been collecting city booster tags, like the one Marty mentioned above, since around 1980 when I bought my first one at Hershey for $5. Now it seems that you can't find any for less than $40.

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I love these tags.  Really indicative of an era.  I am putting a couple toppers on my car when it is done.  A Safety Pays Route 66 (because I am also obsessed with Route 66) and a V for Victory WWII topper.

 

The city ones are also really neat to me. 

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Some of the toppers were for car clubs, night clubs, or even souvenirs that you bought in gift shops of places like steam ships!

Here are a few I have, the Stork Club was on 53rd St in NY City, the place to be and be seen from the early 1930s until the 1950s.

All the "celebrities" ( when they earned that title) went there, famous columnist Water Winchell has a special table there where he held court and gatherd

information for his newspaper column. The Stork Club owner Sherman Billingsely would give out the enamel topper to important customers and if they double parked

their car in front of his club and a policeman came along and saw the topper, he kept on walking and didn't give the illegally parked car a ticket!

They had two types as seen here, one for the license plate and the other was from the 1940s and bolted through the grille with a stud at the back.

Lower left is for Cunard steamship lines, lower right for a multi year driver/car club member and top right was for a society of French Chauffeur's.

the single photo is a badge for the Brooklands race track, is numbered on the back, Brooklands was a concrete paved surface track (as opposed to gravel, dirt or wood)

that lasted form 1907 to 1939. this badge has 7 colors in enamel. Very difficult to make when new, and even more difficult now, as all the colors go in in powdered form

then are heated in a kiln to melt, trouble is they all melt at different temperatures so the surface does not lay nice and smooth and all then have to be ground flat and polished.

I restored this 25 years ago from a really poor bent up  original and will never ever do enamel work again (I taught art for 35+ years and had experience at doing this process) .

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3 hours ago, Walt G said:

Some of the toppers were for car clubs, night clubs, or even souvenirs that you bought in gift shops of places like steam ships!

Here are a few I have, the Stork Club was on 53rd St in NY City, the place to be and be seen from the early 1930s until the 1950s.

All the "celebrities" ( when they earned that title) went there, famous columnist Water Winchell has a special table there where he held court and gatherd

information for his newspaper column. The Stork Club owner Sherman Billingsely would give out the enamel topper to important customers and if they double parked

their car in front of his club and a policeman came along and saw the topper, he kept on walking and didn't give the illegally parked car a ticket!

They had two types as seen here, one for the license plate and the other was from the 1940s and bolted through the grille with a stud at the back.

Lower left is for Cunard steamship lines, lower right for a multi year driver/car club member and top right was for a society of French Chauffeur's.

the single photo is a badge for the Brooklands race track, is numbered on the back, Brooklands was a concrete paved surface track (as opposed to gravel, dirt or wood)

that lasted form 1907 to 1939. this badge has 7 colors in enamel. Very difficult to make when new, and even more difficult now, as all the colors go in in powdered form

then are heated in a kiln to melt, trouble is they all melt at different temperatures so the surface does not lay nice and smooth and all then have to be ground flat and polished.

I restored this 25 years ago from a really poor bent up  original and will never ever do enamel work again (I taught art for 35+ years and had experience at doing this process) .

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Hummmm. that looks familiar. Even the same dents and one sorta droopy wing.

 

Paul

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Thanks Paul for the "before" photo, I never took one! The before photo shows a lot of areas that had been dabbed in with paint to replace the missing enamel.

Walt

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Hey West, That  Wisconsin #13 shorty plate is a nice piece. I really like the AUBURN topper if you ever come up with a spare I would be interested.

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3 hours ago, Walt G said:

Thanks Paul for the "before" photo, I never took one! The before photo shows a lot of areas that had been dabbed in with paint to replace the missing enamel.

Walt

 

Close as a twin, but not your original, Walt.  Yes, it's paint, but it's Bulls Eye one-shot sign paint that I put on it those many years ago.

 

You forgot that right after your original was stripped clean of the remnants of glass, we made a plaster cast of it. Then I cast the one in my picture to put on my Austin. The plaster also copied the  dents in yours.   That enamel sign paint has held up very well for over 35 years. 

 

Glad to see you still have your BARC badge after all you went through to find and restore it !

 

Paul

Edited by PFitz (see edit history)

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1 hour ago, Curti said:

Hey West, That  Wisconsin #13 shorty plate is a nice piece. I really like the AUBURN topper if you ever come up with a spare I would be interested.

Very rarely do I ever see a duplicate to stuff I have in my collection. When I found the Auburn piece at Hershey, I couldn't believe that someone else hadn't already snatched it up. There are a lot of towns named Auburn,

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My 1925 Buick coupe was purchased new by a doctor, so I thought the "M D" topper would be appropriate.It's even stamped 1925 on the back ! The second one was acquired by my mother in 1939 when the British royals visited London,Ontario.Number 3 is a Canadian Red Ensign flag (pre-1957) on my 1940 Packard.

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Here's a few I have.  The Hershey one I bought at Hershey a few years ago.   Old guy at the top of the Green Field had them.  His grandfather was a Ford dealer in Hershey in the teens & twenties and he had a whole bunch of brand new ones wrapped in the original paper.  I bought two for $15 each.     I figure if I ever get a car restored & show it at Hershey I'll put it on the car & maybe the judges will go easy on me.   

 

 

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Edited by K8096 (see edit history)

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I saw a few "Hershey" plates this year with a vendor in the Orange field. They weren't as nice as yours, the paper was still stuck to them, and I passed on buying them because the price was too high.

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I bet they were from the same batch.   The paper was stuck to mine too, but it wasn’t too hard to get off.   I bet that vendor bought them from the same guy I did, and then just raised the price.  

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I have this topper from the 1964-65 Worlds Fair in NYC. Probably any 64 1/2 or 65 Mustang owner would love to have since the Mustang was debut in April at the 1964 Worlds Fair.  

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26 minutes ago, 65GT350 said:

I have this topper from the 1964-65 Worlds Fair in NYC. Probably any 64 1/2 or 65 Mustang owner would love to have since the Mustang was debut in April at the 1964 Worlds Fair.  

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I'd like to have one, too, because I was at the fair as a young lad of 14!  My parents and I drove up from Louisiana, stayed in Short Hills, New Jersey, where my aunt and uncle lived.  He was the epitome of the get up, get to the station, ride the train into NYC, back on the train and picked up by the wife life.

 

I'd be interested if you want to sell it, if not, now I know what to look for!  thanks...I don't know why my pictures went sideways on me, the Chrysler exhibit, and one of the dinosaurs guarding the globe!

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My Dad had a "Win With Willkie" topper hang in his shop for years when I was growing up. When I looked for it when we were getting ready to clean out the shop it was nowhere to be found. Oh well.

 

I wanted one safety tag for my 50 F1, till I saw what they were going for and figured I wouldn't put it on a plate where it could break off or be walked off with. Ford was giving them away in 1950 if you filled out a short survey (and probably got a sales pitch on a new Ford).

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So I bough a sort of repo.

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After a friend saw the repo he said he had sold a real one at a local flea market for a few dollars. Not sure who was more upset when I told him what it was worth. I told the same guy that made the repo he should do an I like Ike version, I couldn't justify paying for a real one of those either. He said he didn't think there would be a market, then it showed up on his site a few months later.

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So I bought one for the back of my truck.

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