Selling Old License Plates on eBay – Know What Collectors Want

Not everyone who buys old license plates on eBay is a collector, but if you have a license plate that is of interest to collectors, your profits will increase measurably. So knowing what is attractive to a collector is important to your bottom line as an eBay seller. If space allowed, we could discuss a hundred different types of license plate collections, and that would still just be the tip of the iceberg. Thankfully, there is no need to go into such detail. Being aware of the ten most common core collections will put you on the fast track to eBay success.

Ten Most Common Types of License Plate Collections

  1. All 50 States – The most popular of all collections is the goal to obtain a license plate from all fifty states. Of course, one could simply purchase a complete set online, but a lot of people still prefer to do it the hard way over time.
  2. Birth Year Run – Taking it one step further, many collectors aren’t satisfied with simply owning one plate from every state. To make it more challenging, they seek a plate from each state issued during the year in which they were born. Often, once they’ve accomplished this goal, these individuals will move on to collect a plate from each state for their children’s birth years as well.
  3. Complete State Collection – This is a tough but very popular type of collection. The goal here is to own a tag from every year your state issued license plates. Obviously, with states issuing plates as early as 1904, this can be a daunting task.
  4. County Collections – Some states, Georgia and Mississippi are two popular ones, issue their vehicle registrations by county. The plates have either the county name on the face or a number code indicating the issuing county. Owning a plate from every county in the state is a great challenge and can take years to accomplish.
  5. Unique Numbers – Here’s why the numbers and letters on a license plate are important. There are collectors who seek out particular number sequences. Triple digit plates, such as 777, 666, or 111, are very popular. Then there are people who collect their lucky number, like 13, for example. Others go after plates with their initials on them. The variations here are endless.
  6. Vanity Plates – This is a fun category. We’ve all seen humorous vanity plates in our travels. Vanity collectors seek to own this type of tag. The more humorous or racy, the better.
  7. Special Graphics – Today, almost every state in the union has a multitude of license plates representing different special causes or organizations. Generally speaking, these are colorful plates featuring a wide range of graphics. Some of the more collectible types are wildlife plates (birds in particular), college and university plates, lighthouse plates and plates promoting professional sports teams.
  8. Oddball Collections – Some collectors, myself included, seek out the unusual types that are often referred to as “oddballs”. Included in this group would be plates issued to non-passenger car vehicles like bus, taxi, trailers, tow trucks, farm vehicles, antique vehicles, government vehicles, mobile homes, car dealers and so forth. Again, this is another category with unlimited variations.
  9. Sample Plates – Did you know that many states sell or even give out free sample license plates? Often these plates will have sequences on them like “S A M P L E” or “123 ABC”. This practice has been going on for years, and the older sample plates can fetch you big bucks from an eager collector.
  10. Foreign Plate Collections – Owning an auto tag from a faraway land is the goal of a growing number of collectors. With the availability of the internet, this type of collection has taken off in recent years. The smaller the country, the better, as far as collectors are concerned.

These are just the most common types of license plate collections. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of variations. But at least if you are aware of these basic types, it will help you spot and understand why certain license plates are valuable. With that information in hand, you will be able to make easy profits selling license plates on eBay.