A Website for Porcelain License Plate Collectors & Enthusiasts
TOTAL KNOWN PORCELAIN VARIETIES: 5
I: PRE-STATES / CITY & COUNTY PLATES
Idaho is one of those states that never had state-issued porcelains of its own, but
for which a number of city-issued porcelains exist. All of these plates appear to
date from Idaho's pre-state era (prior to 1913), although many of them are undated
so we cannot be entirely certain.
Hailey lies in the South-Central portion of Idaho, due East of Boise. Lying in
Blaine County’s Wood River Valley, the city was founded in 1881 and owes its
existence to the mining boom of that decade. Hailey was always a progressive
city, with the state’s first electric power plant and telephone service, so it’s not
surprising to see the earliest porcelain Idaho plates hailing from there as well.
Very little is known about these plates, but we know that there was a series of at
least two annual dated issues from 1910 and 1911. A third variety with slots
instead of holes and with an illegible date is reported, but remains unverified. Of
the four cities in the state known to have produced porcelains, Hailey is the only
one to have dated its plates and the only one to have issued more than one
Nampa came into being in the 1880s, after the Oregon Short Line Railway was built
through Idaho, connecting Granger, Wyoming and Huntington, Oregon. Nampa
was one of the many towns that sprung up every 10 or 15 miles along these newly
laid tracks. Not long after, the nearby city of Boise was connected to Nampa via
the Idaho Central Railway, further bolstering the town’s importance. The city was
finally incorporated in 1891 after successful irrigation opened up acres of prime
farmland. By 1900, Nampa’s population had reached 800. One variety of porcelain
license plate is known to have been issued in Nampa. It is unclear when this
undated plate was issued, but it probably happened around 1911 or 1912.
Interestingly, just as the Idaho state law of 1913 would fail to call for the
manufacture of distinct plates for different classes of vehicles, the Nampa city
ordinance appears to have been structured the same way, as early photographs
show the quite large Nampa porcelains being attached to motorcycles as well.
The Payette Valley, which lies in the direct route of all northwest travel along the
Oregon Trail, attracted fur trappers and miners who explored the Payette River
basin during nineteenth century. With the arrival of the railroad and then
successful irrigation for farming, homesteaders soon developed irrigation
systems and cleared the land for agricultural production. Payette lies in the far
Western portion of the state near the Oregon border, at the confluence of the
Snake and Payette Rivers. The city was incorporated in 1891 and became the
county seat of Payette County in 1917. During its early growth years, Payette was
the central trading area for the valley. In terms of license plates, Payette is
famous for having one of the most elaborate and attractive porcelain city plates
known. Complete with a red border and ornate characters, there appear to have
been about 200 of these undated porcelains issued. With 3 or 4 known surviving
examples, the Payette plates are the most common Idaho porcelains known –
which says a lot for the sheer rarity of Idaho porcelains!
Weiser lies in rural Southwestern Idaho near the Oregon border, at the
confluence of the Weiser River and the Great Snake River. In 1881, the Oregon
Short Line Railroad helped seal Weiser’s long-term stability by extending its
tracks through the town on its way to Huntington, Oregon. One solitary plate is
the only evidence that porcelain license plates were ever issued in the town of
II: STATE-ISSUED PASSENGER PLATES
III: STATE-ISSUED NON-PASSENGER PLATES
||6" x 12"
||6" x 12"
||4" x 10"
||4 1/4" x 9 1/4"
||4 1/2" x 14"