What to Know About Collectible California License Plates

Collectors of vintage California license plates have the opportunity to add the black and yellow license number plates to their collections. Other collections are also available, such as specialty and antique plates on qualifying cars. Consider adding high-quality collectible California license plates to your collection of cars, trucks, or motorcycles.

What specialty and collectible number plates are available?

In addition to the special black vintage edition, you can find legacy plates for:

  • Education - Teachers, parents, and other educational staff will often purchase these tags to support their local school system. If you're involved in education, you may want to consider collecting an educational license plate.
  • Emergency services - Collectors of police, firefighter, and paramedic plates will find these available. Some of the license plates will have badges and other emergency medical service symbols and logos on display.
  • Special dates - You may be interested in collecting a state of California license plate honoring dates such as Veterans Day, Memorial Day, or 9/11. These state license plates are available from vehicle owners who no longer use them on their car.
  • Athletics - Whether you're interested in collecting specialty plates from current teams or teams from the sport's early days, you can show off your team spirit.
When were the California black license plates used?

The California DMV initially released the classic black license plates with yellow numbers and issued them for vehicles in the 1960s. The black plates were discontinued in the 1970s in favor of a new color. The California DMV announced a new issue of the black plates in 2015 and made them available for all drivers, regardless of vehicle year. These black collectible legacy plates from the DMV, as well as the tags from the 1960s, will make a good addition to your collection.

Are there license plates with single- or double-digit registration numbers?

You can find legacy plates with single digit numbering for motorcycles registered back in the late 1920s and early 1930s. These plates are taller than those for automobiles. They will feature the county code of the registration as well as the actual registration information.

When were the California World's Fair collector plates issued?

In 1939, California issued license plates advertising the California World's Fair plates, which were discontinued the following year. The plates were designed to celebrate the new Golden Gate Bridge as well as the Bay Bridge. These California specialty plates were blue with gold lettering and are highly prized by collectors of vehicle accessories.