Monday, February 18, 2008


You have probably heard by now about the license plate that was sold in Dubai for about a trillion dollars. Well, here in the first state, the smallest state, Delaware, we have a record sale price for a license plate also.

When I first moved to Delaware in 1992 I learned that it is a BIG DEAL to own a low number license plate. They are handed down through families, they are bought and sold for high prices, they are coveted and proudly displayed. My question was -- "what if someone steals it?". I now know that it does not matter if someone steals the tag off the vehicle, because it is the registration NUMBER that matters, not necessarily the tag itself (although this can have some value as I will explain).

Here are some facts:

The old tags were black and white.

Many people with newer registrations with longer numbers have the new tag made to look like the old black and white ones.

I know people who have the old real tags and I know people who have the new imitation old plates. It is a big deal here in Delaware.

The Governor of Delaware's tag is #1; the Lt. Governor is #2. I guess they have to give this up when they leave office.

I will never understand why these tags are so important to some Delawareans. Some say it is patriotic. I don't get it.

Yesterday there was a big multi-estate auction in Rehoboth Beach. I love these auctions. A friend and I went at 9:30 and stayed until 6:30. We had breakfast, lunch and dinner there and had front row seats. The big event was the sale of a #6 license plate which was to occur at 2:00. There had been a rumor for months that Katie Couric was going to be there to televise this unusual sale. Katie was not there, but there was a cameraman and other New York types from CBS. There was a model from "Deal Or No Deal" (tv show) to hold up the precious license plate. The family of the deceased prior owner was there and were interviewed. The room was packed -- more than standing room only. At 2:00 you could have heard a pin drop. Bidding commenced. Anyone interested had to leave a deposit of $50,000 in order to register to bid. It was down to two people -- one from Sussex County (the home team) and one representing someone from New Castle County (Wilmington, DE). As bidding became more intense the audience rooted and cheered for the home team guy. He eventually gave up and the plate was sold to the other guy for.....................$675 ,000!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! UNBELIEVABLE.

As bidding on more license plates continued, an old #6 unregistered (or "dead") license plate came up on the block. Someone had found it in his yard. It was dirty, rusted and barely readable. But it definitely said 6. It sold for around $50,000. UNBELIEVABLE.


Lynne said...

I can't imagine paying $675,000 for a license plate - or even $50,000. Some people have WAY too much money!

So what did you get?

Donna and I went to a model home auction a couple of weeks ago - big bust. Everything was going for super high prices. A vase that had a store sticker of $25 on it (in an obvious place) went for $55. And the furniture bidding was out of line too. Donna was looking at a leather sectional, but it was way out of her price range. I guess some people just get really carried away.

Lynne said...

You need to visit Linda at Somewhere in Time (on my blogroll). She did a post today about violets!

Linda said...

I just commented on your violet post. I generally keep up on my vists...but I have missed a couple of day.

Your auction outing sounds like it was great day. Did you bid or buy a treasure? I can't imagine spending that much money for plates, but to each their own.

Have a nice day. Linda

Jo said...

This just convinces me of what I have often thought to be true.... Some people just have more money than brains.

Glad you had a good time. I would have enjoyed being there just to laugh at those fools.

Lynne said...

I just noticed the picture of you and Linda. I love it! You both look so cute!

Jillian said...

That's crazy, but what fun that must have been!

Lynne said...

Tina - I just tagged you for a meme. Check my blog.

Nan - said...

Aw, you couldda had it if you had just bid, 675,001. :<) Low numbers were a big thing in my childhood, but I don't know anymore. I know the officials all have them. Now that there are vanity plates, I think they are a lot more fun.

Doc said...

HA! - I read about this two and my first thought was the same... why would you ever try and put that on your car? Someone would rip you of in the blink of an eye...

BClark said...

Wow, I am with you "I just don't get it". When I see numbers like that I keep thinking how many warm jackets or pairs of shoes it would have bought for some little kids. How many new school books for schools using beat up out of date books to educate our kids. As Jo said more money then brains. How many trees they could have planted, I don't know something useful. Seems to me would have brought more satisfaction then a piece of tin. Thank you for a glimpse into another world. Have a super duper day, Barbara

kris said...

Whoa - that is serious money. I don't get it either. (But kind of wishing I had a low number DE plate to sell right about now!!!!)

I loved your post about violets. I've always loved violets too - I have a May birthday, and they're usually blooming here at that time. I don't think I've ever seen a bouquet of them for sale though.

Mark in DE said...

I live in Lewes too, and can't understand the big deal over the low number black & white plates. I guess its a status symbol because locals know how expensive the plates are to purchase. Personally, I don't get it.

Mark :-)