Grading License Plates
All license plates, regardless of age,
reputation, or infirmity, should be graded using equal standards. For
an excellent 1920 plate must be in the same condition as an excellent 1990
plate. This practice maintains a continuity from which all grades will
emanate, and will avoid bias from the opinion of the owner of a given plate.
Unused plate, or one having no visible
marks of usage, in original condition. No rust, fading, or deterioration
of any kind. Often found in original envelope.
May show bolt marks, very slight scratches
confined to area near bolt holes or corners, but no rust or discoloration.
For porcelains, in addition to the above: Less than one square inch
total chipping around bolt holes, corners, and edges only.
- Very good
May show minor discoloration, few scratches.
Very slight rust on edges acceptable. For porcelains, in addition
to the above: Less than 2% background chipped and less than 1% foreground
chipped. No single chip larger than one square inch. No retouching.
General slight rust, some fading or discoloration,
but still acceptable for display. Small but inconspicuous holes or dents
acceptable. For porcelains, in addition to the above: May have up
to 3% background chipped, but no more than 2% foreground. Minor retouching.
Moderate to severe fading or discoloration,
damaged corners, torn bolt holes, light to moderate rust on numbers and
background, heavy rust on edges and bolt holes. May have large nail holes
or dents that cannot be easily repaired. For porcelains, in addition
to the above: Up to 20% porcelain missing. Seals may be missing.
Normally a "filler" used until a better
replacement can be found. May have complete rust, be painted over, and
have large holes or missing portions.
Supplementary grading classifications:
- Needs Repainting
Must be suitable for repainting. Solid
and relatively flat. Surface rust only.
A repainted plate. Exceptional or poor
repaints should be specified.
This grade does not describe the condition
of a plate. It should be used only in conjunction with one of the above
For all grades, unusual or extraordinary
defects should be mentioned separately. The grade assigned should describe
the overall appearance of the plate. Any touch-up on porcelain plates should
This guide for grading license
plates was originally assembled by Dave Hollins (#3847).
Last updated: Wednesday, 11-Jan-2012 10:50:25 EST