Brrr, it’s cold.
The biggest news to come out of the Ontario media about plates, over the past couple of years, is the peeling background, which has drawn the ire of pretty much every motorist in the province. However, it looks like there may be a solution. Newer Ontario plates, going forward, have different sheeting applied to the aluminum, which is hopefully more resistant to the elements. This new sheeting is easily identifiable by its hologram. Up to now, Ontario plates bore a trillium hologram that has either been in the top left corner, or has repeated in a line down the centre of the plate. The new hologram actually contains a lot number, so MTO suits and plate geeks alike can keep a close watch over the peelability of future plates. Also, if the lot number changes, I wonder if there are any hard-core plate geeks out there who will try to narrow down which letter series marks the cutoff between lot numbers. Perhaps a multi-faceted hobby just developed a new facet?
My own plates are personalized with a graphic, and since I use clear plate covers, the plates have been resistant to that terrible peeling, although they’re starting to let go around the edges. I’m not wild about the idea of re-ordering them, not only because of the high cost of graphic replacement, but also because I’m told you actually have to surrender your old personalized plates to get new ones ordered, and in the meantime, a temporarily-assigned regular passenger plate is issued to you instead. I don't wanna surrender my graphic plates. Maybe I’ll just surrender a couple of my really crappy non-graphic front plates I’ve kept over the years, so I can hang onto my beloved Ontario flag graphic plate. The numbers are all the same, anyway.
This winter, a gal in the GTA contacted me about an inverted set of 1967 Confederation plates. I always bite on these sorts of messages, but I never expect them to go anywhere, because usually people just mine me for value information before moving over to eBay or Kijiji to get absolute top dollar. It’s been probably a couple of years since I’ve been able to negotiate with someone in good faith without them turning away. Anyway, we agreed on a fair purchase price, I paid for ‘em, and they arrived in the mail last week. They’re really nice! I generally keep pairs together whenever possible these days, but maybe I’ll bring one to Acton as trade bait. I’ve always wanted a ’67 Invert. I have a ’73, ’69 and a ’68, as well as a new reflective one that I won from eBay. (Sir James, this means that I’ll no longer be pestering you to trade one of yours to me.)
On a related note, I was also able to land something else for my collection… a nice matched set of 1916 wire-rimmed tin plates. I have a pair already, but one’s a keeper and the other is just a rusty tagalong with the matching number. The keeper is in lesser condition than either plate of the incoming pair. Upgrading these early plates is really tough. I’m no longer worried about upgrading my depression-era plates by a half-tier. If I’m going to spend new moolah to upgrade something, I’d prefer to put my eggs in one basket and upgrade one of the toughies.
Speaking of upgrading tough plates, there’s a unique chance to do some of that at the upcoming Acton meet in April. Many of you readers must now be aware of the passing of ALPCA member George Sanders (#205). He was an avid collector of plates from the 1940s as a child. He collected whatever he could from across Canada, the US and around the world. George was an avid traveller and collected plates from all corners of the globe. George’s family has come to the decision to disperse the collection, and they’ll be doing much of it by way of silent auction. Bidders can view the various lots and submit written bids via e-mail or snail mail up to Saturday April 23—the day before the meet. Winning bidders will be able to pick up their loot in Acton. More on the collection and how to make a bid can be found on George’s blog.
Late winter is an agonizing time. The sun sets a little later, which perks me up and makes me want to do warm-weather things like drive my VW, or paint plates in the garage with the door open, or check out a local car show. If the weather is like last year, I’ll be able to open my garage to hobby-centric tasks in about a month. It occurs to me that I’m writing this on a leap day—I don’t think I’ve ever posted a 2 Cents article on a leap day before. I’ve been writing these web columns to no one for the past 18-plus years, so I’ve had the chance to do a leap day instalment at least three times before.
To dull the monotony of an already dull time of year, I went to dinner with a group of five other Ottawa-area plate geeks. What began as a one-time event a few years ago has graduated to an annual Christmastime event, but because of bad weather in December, we missed some people and had a do-over this past Saturday. We may do a BBQ in the summer. Could this be the genesis of a local swap meet? Who knows, although it’s already a given that there’ll be trading and show-and-tell around the restaurant table, to the bemusement of our servers. Pictured here is Dave Grant, our “founder,” holding one of his show-and-tell items.
Acton is new less than two months away, and there’s nothing for me to do for now, hobby-wise, but wait. I’ll bring this cobbled-together article to a close by posting a really cool plate spotting I made in Ottawa, the Saturday afternoon before our group dinner.