Jump to content

1951 Tennessee License Plate is being presented as in original condition - but, is it?


Recommended Posts

I am considering buying this license plate from someone I know quite well.  The seller says that the plate is 100% original and has never been repainted.  After expressing interest in the plate, he told me to take it home and we'd work out the price for the plate.  

 

His house is quite dark, interior lighting is terrible.  His eyesight is, I suspect, not all that good, as he is in his mid '80s.  After getting the plate into some decent lighting, I'm having doubts about the claim of originality with this plate.  I see what appear to be fingerprints in the whitish paint on the numbers.  

 

After mentioning this to him, he claims that it is common to see smudges on these old plates, and that the things I'm seeing are normal, to be expected.  I don't want to argue with him, and I'm certainly no expert on these items.

 

So, I'm throwing it out here.  I'd like opinions are whether or not this is likely to be an original plate, and whether or not smudges/fingerprints like this are to be expected on an un-restored one.

IMG_0277.JPG

IMG_0278.JPG

IMG_0279.JPG

IMG_0280.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites

In the first place, those in spite of the appearance, are not fingerprints. They are the result of the painting process leaving thick spots of wet paint that wrinkle as the volatile vapors evaporate out of the drying paint. Certain paints including some "sign painter's" paints are made to be fairly thick so as to not run. The paints used for license plates in those days were similar. 

It most likely is very original. (However, I am not a license plate expert either?)

  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, wayne sheldon said:

In the first place, those in spite of the appearance, are not fingerprints. They are the result of the painting process leaving thick spots of wet paint that wrinkle as the volatile vapors evaporate out of the drying paint. Certain paints including some "sign painter's" paints are made to be fairly thick so as to not run. The paints used for license plates in those days were similar. 

It most likely is very original. (However, I am not a license plate expert either?)

Yes, I agree 100% with Wayne.  Looks original to me.  (Not a license plate expert either)

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Years ago I had a pair of 1924 Mass dealer plates I picked up that were still in the original wax envelope, they put a piece of card-paper Between the plates and it also left a similar impression in the paint. I too believe it looks original, and in new condition which is astounding... GR8-PLT as our state says about the vanities.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don’t claim to be an expert in License plates but have collected them for a fair amount of years along with my father who has collected them for many many years and who is in my opinion an expert in license plates. So to add my humble opinion I would say they are certainly original paint. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

During manufacturing (at the prison...) the paint may have been applied by dipping the plate in paint and the lines resulted from pulling the license plate out of the vat.  A friend is into old Lionel trains and he showed me similar-looking lines on the toy railroad cars.

Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, ejboyd5 said:

Why don't you ruin its originality by touching up the rust spots on the white border?

My reason for the original post was to gather some opinions regarding the originality of the plate.  I'm not sure what your comment implies, but I have no intention of altering the plate in any way.  My primary interest in the plate was due to the seller's claim of originality.

 

I have no idea where you're coming from with your comment.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Desirable plate, one of the most sought after. As the story was told to me, it was the only year they used orange and white. The governor picked the colors to honor UTenn it is their schools color. Then they won the football championship that year.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 The one "expert" that you will have to convince is the lady at the counter at the DMV that is having a hard time all day telling customers why she can't process an application because of many different reasons.

 My plate was rejected by such a lady. When I asked for the supervisors opinion, she said "what did the other lady say', I told her that she said it was no good. Then it's no good came the reply.

Edited by Roger Walling (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

As a license plate restorer, and collector, I would say, that plate appears to be original.

I've seen several plates, with the same defects, as that one has.

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Austin Stooksberry said:

If this plate is available I am very interested in it and yes it is original

The plate is not for sale, but I appreciate your input.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...