A Website for Porcelain License Plate Collectors & Enthusiasts
TOTAL KNOWN PORCELAIN VARIETIES: 6
I: PRE-PROVINCIALS / CITY & COUNTY PLATES
There are no known pre-provincial porcelains from Alberta. There are also no
cities in the Province that are known to have issued porcelain plates.
II: PROVINCIALLY-ISSUED PASSENGER PLATES
Alberta first began issuing standardized
license plates in 1912 with a large blue &
white plate in the format of a number of
Canadian first-issue plates. These plates
are unmarked as to manufacturer, but the
remnants of a paper sticker on the reverse
of one surviving example proves that
these plates were manufactured by the
Montreal-based Thomas Davidson
Manufacturing Company, the same
company which produced the early Quebec
porcelain license plates and dashboard
plaques. The 1912 plates were issued in
pairs and numbers range up to about 2,000.
There are a number of Canadian porcelains which were produced in smaller
quantities,but for whatever reason, very few of the Alberta 1912 plates have
survived, making it the rarest and most sought after passenger porcelain from
The only other porcelain issue from Alberta was issued in 1913. Substantially
different in size, color and layout from the 1912, the red 1913 plates were
patterned after the Manitoba plates, complete with the provincial crest fired into
the porcelain. Also issued in pairs, registrations in 1913 are known to have
reached nearly 4,000. It is notable that the 1913 porcelains were also issued as
blanks with the provincial crest only but no numbers. These appear to have been
used for replacements and possibly high numbers, and are also known with
painted-in dealer numbers.
In 1914, Alberta abandoned its use of porcelain after two years, switching to flat
painted plates on the distinctive wire-framed base made popular by the
MacDonald Manufacturing Company of Toronto. However, a porcelain version of
the 1914 plate exists as well. The most likely explanation for such a plate would
probably be that the porcelain manufacturer produced a prototype in an
unsuccessful effort to gain the Provincial contract to produce license plates in
III: PROVINCIALLY-ISSUED NON-PASSENGER PLATES
There are no known non-passenger variants of the first issue Alberta, but the
1913 is known in both dealer and motorcycle versions - both of which are
Dealers come in two varieties. In some cases, porcelain blanks are known with
the number painted on, often in silver characters. These bases have the “ALTA
1913” and the Provincial crest in porcelain just like the normal plates, but they
have no plate number. I have seen a couple of these with “D” prefix dealer plate
numbers painted on them. Seemingly more rare is a full porcelain dealer plate, of
which I have only ever seen two examples. The dealer class appears to have
begun at #D1, but so few have survived that the range of issued numbers cannot
really be estimated
Even rarer than the dealer plates are 1913 porcelain cycle plates from Alberta, of
which I am aware of a grand total of one example in collectors’ hands. It is a
miniature version of the 1913 passenger plate, except for the fact that it lacks the
provincial crest. The only surviving example is #204, suggesting that there might
just be more of these little plates out there waiting to be found.
IV: ODDBALL PORCELAINS
There are a few odd Alberta porcelains known to exist which don't fit the pattern
of known plates at all. The province used porcelain plates in 1912 and 1913
before abandoning it in favor of flat metal plates beginning in 1914. The regular
1914 plates are black and cream and were made of flat metal. However, there are
three surviving 1914 plates that are made of porcelain. One of these is a white
plate with the #5000. This number falls outside of the range of 1914 plates and
the most logical explanation for the existence of this plate is probably that the
manufacturer of the 1913 plates submitted this as a sample plate in an
unsuccessful bid to win the contract to produce plates for the province in 1914.
The other two surviving porcelains for 1914 are a pair of yellow plates. Notably,
one half of the pair is in notably poor condition, while the mate, which showed up
at a Marietta, Ohio auction in 2018, is in exceptionally nice shape. These plates
have a valid number for 1914, so the question about just why they exist is a
mysterious one. Perhaps this was a replacement pair made up at the discretion
of the owner.
||6 1/2" x 12"
||Range: 1 - Approx. 2,000
||4 1/2" x 10"
||Range: 1 - Approx. 3,800
||4 1/2" x 10"
||Range: Approx. D1 - ???
||2 3/4" x 6"
Note that there were blank
1913 porcelains produced
on which hand-painted
passenger and dealer
numbers were written in
||4 1/2" x 10"