A Website for Porcelain License Plate Collectors & Enthusiasts
Gallery - Unexplained Mysteries
For the archive of porcelains from unknown issuers, please click on the following
For other interesting porcelain mysteries culled from the state and provincial
archives, please see below. The plates presented in this gallery are divided into
two sections - entirely different plates from the same place and year without any
known explanation for the difference, and porcelains which just should not exist.
If you can help solve any of these mysteries, please email me and help keep
PorcelainPlates.net as current and authoritative as possible!
WHY THE DIFFERENCE?
THESE SHOULDN'T EXIST!
KANSAS, UNDATED PLATES
KENTUCKY, 1912 ON 1913 BASE
NEW BRUNSWICK, 1915
NEW YORK, 1915
WEST VIRGINIA, 1914-15 on 1915-16 BASE
FORT SMITH, AR 1911
In at least 1910 and 1911, the city
of Fort Smith, Arkansas issued
two different varieties of plate,
each expiring on the same
month and year. These
variations most likely indicate
two different classes of vehicle
that were separately licenses.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA 1916 JITNEY
These two plates, manufactured
on exactly the same sized base,
clearly by the same company at
the same time, both purport to
be from San Francisco. Why two
different Jitney variations for
the same year? Is the red one a
ALTON, IL 1922
These plates are complete
mysteries. We don't know what
sort of vehicle they licensed or
why in the world there would
have been the need for two
LOUISVILLE, KY 1909
The blue plate is thought to be a
formally issued vehicle license.
The white one is a mystery.
Unlike the blue plate, it bears no
maker's mark. Furthermore, it
has an oddly even number
reminiscent of a sample or
prototype. And yet, it too may
well be a regular Louisville issue
whose use is unknown.
INDEPENDENCE, MO 1914
From 1912 through 1914,
Independence issued large
porcelains reminiscent of the
early Kansas City & St. Joseph
plates. But there is one odd
1914 (#371) that is unlike all the
rest. Perhaps it was a late issue
or a replacement, but nobody
knows for sure.
KANSAS CITY, MO 1913
Like the Independence
porcelain above, there is one
Kansas City plate (#88898) unlike
all the others. It is more akin to
the later Kansas City plates in
terms of appearance, but is a
large plate like the 1911-1913
issues. The purpose of this
obscure plate is unknown.
CHICKASHA, OK 1914
For some unknown reason, the
city of Chickasha issued two
different porcelains in 1914.
Much like the Fort Smith plates
above, these probably
represented different classes,
sizes or weights of vehicle. For
instance, they might represent
passenger vs. for hire.
SASKATCHEWAN 1914 CYCLE
In 2003, the red plate pictured at
left showed up on EBAY. It
completely mystified collectors,
as it is the only Saskatchewan
motorcycle porcelain that does
not conform to all the rest.
Dated 1914 like the normal
yellow one, could this be a
different type of cycle plate -
dealer, official, etc.?
|One fascinating issue that repeatedly pops up regarding
porcelain license plates is confusion as to the original usage
of a plate. This becomes an even greater mystery when two
completely different plates are known from the same year. In
many cases, it might be the difference between passenger
and for hire, or perhaps it illustrates a difference in the
weight class of a vehicle. The only real evidence we have
about these issues comes from archival research conducted
on the differing varieties of 1908 & 1909 Pittsburgh plates.
This research has revealed documentary evidence that it was
the class of vehicle that made the difference - one type for
one-seaters, the other for two-seaters. Until similar evidence
can be found to clarify the mysteries presented below, they
|The plates presented in this gallery are
plates that should not rightfully exist.
In some cases, like those of the Iowa
and Arkansas, the plates closely mimic
the normal metal issues in use at the
time. In these cases, it is reasonable to
conclude that they are perhaps
replacement plates. In other cases, the
mysteries below don't conform to
anything known - not size, nor color,
nor format - and possibly represent
samples or prototypes which may have
been made by porcelain manufacturers
to win a contract to supply plates.