Shaeflower

To Paint Or Not To Paint?

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A friend of mine has a quite a few vintage Tennessee license plates and is curious if having them restored effects the value (if any).  

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yep, paint them and they are pretty much worthless.

 

on the other hand, none are very valuable to begin with.

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A very good original plate (but not rare) is perhaps typically worth $30-$50 locally (and perhaps $80 if a pair) if pre WWII, and $15-$25 post WWII. A rough plate like the top 2, maybe $5-$10 regardless of year. A restored repainted plate pre WWII sells for perhaps $25-$40. So the answer is not much $ is to be gained by spending 2-3 hours restoring them,  but I have a friend who routinely does this, enjoys the pass time and never has a problem selling the finished product. So I suggest restore top 2, leave 3rd alone (perhaps minor touch up of lettering only), and hang on a wall. Before you blink, someone will offer to buy the 2 restored ones, guaranteed! 

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In Oregon they have to be original to be put on the car for YOM.

I have several that are registered and couple got approved in pretty rough shape.

After they got approved I worked on them some. One set I painted to match the car. Not legal but its been many years with no issues.

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1 hour ago, JACK M said:

In Oregon they have to be original to be put on the car for YOM.

I have several that are registered and couple got approved in pretty rough shape.

After they got approved I worked on them some. One set I painted to match the car. Not legal but its been many years with no issues.

 

Same in NY if they are see that they have been restored they will not allow you to use them, might be the same for Florida. I had to physically send the plate before they would issue the registration, last time I did one in NYS was several years ago and the required photos

Edited by John348 (see edit history)

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If those plates were in a lot nicer shape I would say no to a restoration. The shape that they are in I would have them done. As Jack and John point out, many states want the plate to be original, so what most people do is have them approved by the DMV and then restore them.

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Ah, the joy of living in Tennessee. Restore the plates, take them to the clerks office, register them to your car. No fuss, no hassle. 
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2 hours ago, John348 said:

 

Same in NY if they are see that they have been restored they will not allow you to use them, might be the same for Florida. I had to physically send the plate before they would issue the registration, last time I did one in NYS was several years ago and the required photos

 

John,

 

Yes, it's the same for Florida.  The plate has to be sent to Tallahassee for assessment, since the State of Florida DMV will not accept either restored or excessively rusty antique plates.  Whether or not one's plate fits between the two extremes is up to whomever examines the plate in Tallahassee.  So far, I've submitted two "antique" plates for registration, and the process has been relatively pain free.  The State website indicates 4-6 weeks will be required for the process; however, I've received my plates in 10 days or less.

 

I believe the reason that restored plates are not accepted for registration is that they would be very difficult to differentiate from ones recently manufactured in China ... or other places.  This would cause chaos resulting from the duplication of numerous license plate numbers.

 

Cheers,

Bob

Edited by capngrog
add a sentence (see edit history)

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2 hours ago, John348 said:

 

Same in NY if they are see that they have been restored they will not allow you to use them, might be the same for Florida. I had to physically send the plate before they would issue the registration, last time I did one in NYS was several years ago and the required photos

 

 

Interesting. In my state (NE) the DMV will allow you to restore plates prior to licensing (or so the staff there have told me.) Our states old plates were pretty basic colors, though - white, black red and yellow. With a wider range of colors I could see how some people might use paint that wasn't the correct shade, and that might create problems.

 

What our DMV gets picky about are plates that are even slightly suspected of being reproductions. They get the magnifying glass out and start looking at the embossing on the numbers and letters. They rejected the nice looking set of plates I bought off ebay for my T-Bird earlier this year. (I wasn't aware there were people out there who made reproduction plates.)

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44 minutes ago, capngrog said:

 

John,

 

Yes, it's the same for Florida.  The plate has to be sent to Tallahassee for assessment, since the State of Florida DMV will not accept either restored or excessively rusty antique plates.  Whether or not one's plate fits between the two extremes is up to whomever examines the plate in Tallahassee.  So far, I've submitted two "antique" plates for registration, and the process has been relatively pain free.  The State website indicates 4-6 weeks will be required for the process; however, I've received my plates in 10 days or less.

 

I believe the reason that restored plates are not accepted for registration is that they would be very difficult to differentiate from ones recently manufactured in China ... or other places.  This would cause chaos resulting from the duplication of numerous license plate numbers.

 

Cheers,

Bob

 

I have all of my old cars titled in Florida and I was surprised that they wanted the plate in their physical possession prior. NYS is in the process of changing the every day plates/tags. According to a friend of mine in law enforcement he said the reason is that there is an abundance of counterfeit NYS tags on the road  

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I guess I'm stupid. How can they issue a plate where there is a duplicate number out already the computer should confirm that number is not used. Also what difference would it make if it was a reproduced plate the state will get the same amount of money in Indiana you still will get a current plate it must be in the car but not on it  what difference does it make if the color is not perfect match are they going to use a paint chip to determine if it a match ? The bottom line is $$$$$$$$$. No one working would know what colors for each year .  Just my opinion.  Mike

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11 hours ago, JACK M said:

In Oregon they have to be original to be put on the car for YOM.

I have several that are registered and couple got approved in pretty rough shape.

After they got approved I worked on them some. One set I painted to match the car. Not legal but its been many years with no issues.

I lived in Oregon in the 80’s and bought a restored set of plates at the Portland swap meet. Used them on my car too. Did they change they law? I remember the guys name; A. Wayne Andrus. Perfection in workmanship. What’s to gain by going backwards?

 

Edited by Steve9 (see edit history)

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I'll give you $25 or the 1951 plate as is. I have a car it could go on but I would probably just hang it on the wall. The 51 plate is a hard to find and in good condition is more than I'm willing to pay for a license plate.

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Wow, thank you so much, guys. My friend has tons of these old plates and is in the process of going through them all. I received an offer of 75 for the 1951 plate already, and I believe my friend has several more just like it. I’ll probably post more pictures as we go through them. And any tips of what to look for would be greatly appreciated. 

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 I have a friend with a 1932 Ford that has original '32 plates, approved by the New York DMV. The issue is, that the plates are almost not readable, but in spite of that fact were approved by the DMV. In fact he has been stopped by the police for that reason and was almost cited for "Unreadable Plate", until he argued with the police officer and explained the approval by the DMV. If he painted the plate and made it readable, the DMV might not approved it, it just doesn't make sense.

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20 hours ago, mercer09 said:

and John, what if you paint them after recving the reg?

 

20 minutes ago, 46 woodie said:

 I have a friend with a 1932 Ford that has original '32 plates, approved by the New York DMV. The issue is, that the plates are almost not readable, but in spite of that fact were approved by the DMV. In fact he has been stopped by the police for that reason and was almost cited for "Unreadable Plate", until he argued with the police officer and explained the approval by the DMV. If he painted the plate and made it readable, the DMV might not approved it, it just doesn't make sense.

 

That's an interesting situation.  I would think that if you painted (restored) your antique plate after having registered it, you would have satisfied the intent of the law, which, I believe, is to ensure that fake or reproduction plates aren't registered.  I'll bet that your State DMV will just recite the law to you, but if you restored your registered antique plate, the authorities would neither notice nor care ... as long as it's a legally registered plate.

 

Well, I'm no lawyer, that's just my untutored opinion.  What do I know, I didn't even sleep in a Holiday Inn Express last night (remember those old TV commercials?).

 

Cheers,

Grog

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15 hours ago, Steve9 said:

I lived in Oregon in the 80’s and bought a restored set of plates at the Portland swap meet. Used them on my car too. Did they change they law? I remember the guys name; A. Wayne Andrus. Perfection in workmanship. What’s to gain by going backwards?

 

Its been this way for at least 40 years that I am aware of.

You may have slipped thru somehow. Or could be I am wrong. But I have eight cars this way and they wanted original condition to get registered.

As mentioned they don't want repro plates, could be that you had a good day with whomever you worked with at DMV.

 I have to bring the plates to the DMV for approval. They photograph them and I suppose they keep these pics in the system somewhere.

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On 11/24/2019 at 11:28 AM, capngrog said:

 

 

That's an interesting situation.  I would think that if you painted (restored) your antique plate after having registered it, you would have satisfied the intent of the law, which, I believe, is to ensure that fake or reproduction plates aren't registered.  I'll bet that your State DMV will just recite the law to you, but if you restored your registered antique plate, the authorities would neither notice nor care ... as long as it's a legally registered plate.

 

Well, I'm no lawyer, that's just my untutored opinion.  What do I know, I didn't even sleep in a Holiday Inn Express last night (remember those old TV commercials?).

 

Cheers,

Grog

 

 

Seems to me if a plate is restored after registration, the only way DMV could tell is if they have a "before"picture - that may be why they require the plate be sent for assessment.

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Well the number on the plate is what it is   the color is not important  I have yet to see a registration certificate that states the colors on the plate just my 2¢

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