Antique NJ Auto License Plate 1908 WEIRD WRAP-AROUND Before NJ State Made Them!
Antique NJ Auto License Plate 1908 WEIRD WRAP-AROUND METHOD – 1908 before the state itself made them!
Our earliest NJ 1908 with Odd Separate Numbers on Frame with 2x5” steel panels
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ITEM CONDITION & DESCRIPTION:
Right now I’m starting our offering of our extensive collection of Auto License Plates, with the earliest plate I found – except for ‘do-it-yourself’ plates made of leather, wire grids, and wood to display the state-directed numbers. Those hand-mades in the museum Bicentennial display were extremely valuable, and we were honored that their owners loaned them for display. Needless to say, we returned those!
We show our personal NJ Courtesy Licenses for personal identification. We are not selling them, but knew you would find them intriguing.
We are honored to offer this 1908 NJ license 43907, in over-all good condition for a number of reasons beside its age, now a sprightly 109 years! And a very clever, unique way to do the job! The areas around the top-only bolt slots are understandably worn. They and the edges have some wear and rust, but we think very good for a 109 year old steel representative of The Garden State!
HERE’S WHERE IT GETS WEIRD ---
First of all, the unusual measurements: 13 ¼” wide by almost 6” tall. Too wide for our scanner, so we show both left and right ends.
This is what I describe as a WRAP-AROUND license plate. The front numbers are made of 5½” tall printed thin steel rectangles. The series starting digits 43 panel is about 4½” wide, the remaining three 2” wide plus the 2¼” wide right end with NJ and 08 flanking the state required maker’s 3-dimension non-ferrous unusual number A152 (all the others we’ve seen have no letters).
The numbers are blue and gold, the NJ state colors, taken from the NJ State Flag. The back was painted gold originally, but has had splashes of other paint colors for some unknown reason. Colorful, but messy! From Wikipedia: in March 1896 (only a dozen years before this plate), the NJ Assembly approved its state flag with a background buff color, due to George Washington, who had ordered in 1779 in Morristown NJ (my home town) that the NJ uniform coats be dark Jersey Blue, with buff facings.
This license reverse was originally shiny steel painted buff, of roughly a half-inch larger size over-all, whose 4 edges are folded over the front to hold the 5 vertical rectangles quite clever. The back was yellow, but has all kinds of paint smeared on it over the many decades!
I’ve never seen similar manufacture plates of any but 1908 issue. After that for some years 1909-1914, NJ licenses are porcelain, not produced by the state, but which display similar makers’ seals. To me this is the rarest and oddest type of plate, except for the previous driver-made ones. We are proud to make it available at this time for one fortunate winning bidder. Some state including NJ allow auto owners to have original-year numbers registered on the owner’s personal automobile IF it is of the correct year, and will fit in the DMV computer system. Plus, there is the other difficulty - that New Jersey – unlike our retirement home of Florida – requires both front and rear license plates. Darn!
I have been an ardent collector most of my lifetime, in many fields: Recorded Sound, Motion Pictures, Radio, Television, Stage, Antique Automobiles and License Plates, Mechanical Music, Thomas Edison, and San Francisco. Now we are selling collectables from all.
It was not easy to accumulate a complete run of New Jersey automobile licenses from their onset until the new national 6x12” standard in the 1950s and beyond. My collection was displayed on the walls of Yesteryear Museum outside Morristown, along with a different group of sample plates for the Bicentennial Year 1976 - at least those from states which issue such, and didn’t charge a fortune – most states sent them gratis.
When we moved to Florida, the plates were in several heavy boxes. It wasn’t until after we had changed from one storage place to another that I discovered that the movers brought only one box to us – infuriating, but too late to do anything about it! We will soon be offering many more plates up into the 1950, when the new national standards set in. Keep watching! ---Lee Munsick
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ABOUT US ---
Charlotte and Lee Munsick - Octogenarians on the Florida Treasure and Space Coast, we experience frequent power outages and strong storms which bring web, phone and PC problems. Should we ever again be unable to ship or communicate promptly, please be patient and please do not advise . That would simply delay things and cause all involved additional difficulties. Thank you!
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Sale Price: US $308.08