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.