ALPCA Chesapeake Region

The regional chapter of the Automobile License Plate Collectors' Association in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and Washington, D.C. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about ALPCA and the ALPCA Chesapeake Region

1972 Maryland passenger
Q:  How do I join the Chesapeake Region?
A:  Assuming that you're already an ALPCA member, you don't have to do anything.  We don't keep a regional membership roster or charge membership dues, and we don't issue our own regional membership numbers or membership cards.  It's just easier for everyone that way. 

We consider any ALPCA member who lives in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, or Washington, D.C. to be a part of our region without having to do anything on their part.  Any ALPCA member from outside of our territory who attends one of our meets, we also consider to be a part of our region. 
Q: How do I get added to your mailing list?
A:  Again, if you're an ALPCA member who lives in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, or Washington, D.C., you're already on our mailing list.  If you live outside of our territory but within the past two years have attended one of our meets (or one of the independent meets in our territory that preceeded our re-activation), you're also already on our mailing list.  We'll also send meeting notices to ALPCA members who live outside of our territory but are within about 100 miles of of a given meet. 

Otherwise, you may contact us and request to be added to our mailing list. 
Q:  If I'm not an ALPCA member, can I attend a Chesapeake Region plate meet?
A:  Our meets are not open to the public.  As a regional chapter of ALPCA, our meets are intended for current ALPCA members and their guests only.  However, we do want to also accommodate license plate collectors who are prospective ALPCA members, so that they can see what we're about.  However, please understand that we do not allow non-members to sell or trade plates, or compete for display awards at our meets. 

If you know an ALPCA member who's coming to one of our meets, you may attend as their guest.  Otherwise, contact us in advance of the meet so that we can determine whether you're a viable prospect. 
Q:  How do I join ALPCA?
A:  We thought you'd never ask.  Everything you need to know can be found here
Q:  I'm already an ALPCA member, but I don't live in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, or D.C.  Can I attend a Chesapeake Region plate meet?
Q:  I'm an ALPCA member, but I'm already a member of another region.  May I still participate in Chesapeake Region activities? 
A:  Absolutely!  All current ALPCA members are welcome and encouraged to attend our meets and be involved with our region in any way they choose, regardless of where they live or what other regions they may also be involved with. 
Q:  Do you accept donations?
A:  Absolutely!  Read more here. 

For other questions about ALPCA, and for any questions about license plate collecting in general, please see ALPCA's FAQs page

Questions about old license plates

1943 Delaware passenger
Q:  I have an old license plate.  Can you tell me what it's worth? 
Q:  I have an old license plate I want to sell.  Do you buy plates? 
Q:  I'm searching for a certain old license plate.  Do you have one? 
A:  Sorry, but we can't help you with any of these requests.  We're not a business, but rather are a regional chapter of a non-profit association, staffed by part-time volunteers and operating on a shoestring budget.  We're not equipped to either buy plates or provide appraisals, and we don't carry an inventory of plates for sale. 
Q:  Will you forward a message to your members about a plate I'm trying to find, buy, sell, restore, or determine the value of? 
A:  No, sorry.  We do not want to bombard our members with these sorts of messages. 
Q:  Can you advise where or how I can find, buy, sell, restore, or determine the value of a license plate? 
A:  We can give you some general suggestions, but that's all. 

If you collect license plates, or would like to start, we strongly encourage you to join ALPCA, which gets you a subscription to Plates magazine, and allows you to attend our regional meets.  These provide ready venues for for buying, selling, and trading plates, and networking with other collectors.  Also consider joining one or more of the larger online license plate collecting discussion groups, such as the Yahoo! PLATES group.  These provide an online method of connecting with other collectors and license plate fans. 

For a list of some people who restore and repaint old license plates, check this out

As far as obtaining an appraisal or determining the value of old plates goes, well, we know lots of license plate collectors, but don't know of anyone who will give you a specific appraisal. 

Here are some suggestions for finding, buying, and selling plates, as well as seeing how much they go for.  (However, keep in mind that an asking price or an offer price isn't necessarily what a plate is actually worth.) 
  • Look on eBay.  The eBay license plates category usually 10,000 or more license plate listings at any point in time.  Use the search feature to zero in on what you're looking for.  If you don't find what you're after on eBay, check back regularly, because the inventory turns over quickly. 
  • Search the web or check out various license plate collecting links pages for individual web sites that sell old license plates. 
  • Visit large antique or classic car shows where they have booths with people selling parts and accessories.  A really huge one with lots of old license plates for sale is the AACA Eastern Regional Fall Meet held in Hershey, Pa. each October. 
  • Look for old license plates at flea markets, antique stores, and yard sales, and if you don't see any, ask.  There may be a whole box of them that just haven't been put on display. 
  • Ask everyone you know if they have any old plates laying around.  You'd be surprised at how many people do and will give them to you for free.  Even if you don't get plates that you specifically want, you can use these to trade for what you do want. 

Questions about this web site

Virginia 'Friend of the Chesapeake' sample
Q:  What is that horrid creature at the top right corner of each page on your site?
Q:  Why do you have an image of a spider on your title banner?
A:  That's actually a blue crab, indigenous to the Chesapeake Bay, and easily one of the species most associated with the bay.  Steamed blue crabs are a favorite summertime treat in the Mid-Atlantic states.  Anyway, we've adopted this little guy as our regional mascot. 
Q:  I thought crabs were a reddish-orange color. 
A:  They turn reddish-orange when they're cooked.  The color shown is approximately their natural color in the wild, hence their name. 
Q:  Will you add a link to my plate-related web site on your links page? 
A:  Maybe.  We want to keep it manageable and relevant, so we're very selective about what we're going to list on our links page.  But go ahead and let us know about it, and we'll see. 
Q:  May I link to your site from my own web page? 
A:  Sure.