All You Need to Know About Collectible Tennessee License Plates

Whether you're a resident of Tennessee, a lover of The Volunteer State or simply enjoy collecting rare and interesting license plates and memorabilia, collectible Tennessee license plates have something to offer you. When choosing collectible Tennessee license plates, easily found for sale on eBay, it helps to know whether you're buying them for aesthetic or objective collector's value so you can better choose between all the options available. Whatever your vintage Tennessee license plate collecting goals, remember that, all else being equal, condition always matters.

Types of Tennessee license plates

When collecting Tennessee license plates, you can choose between passenger plates, commercial plates, and motorcycle plates. Antique Tennessee license plates are over 100 years old, which include the first-ever Tennessee license plates made in 1915. You can also choose from vintage Tennessee license plates made at least 20 years ago.

What graphics are printed on Tennessee license plates?

Many vintage Tennessee license plates for sale include no graphics at all. Those that do contain graphics bear one of the following images:

  • The seal of the state of Tennessee in yellow
  • The Tennessee capital building spire
  • A blue circular logo containing three white stars
  • An orange sunset over a green field in the shape of the state of Tennessee
  • The Smoky Mountains of Tennessee
What are some particularly noteworthy old Tennessee license plates?

Some Tennessee license plates for sale are rarer and more valuable to collectors than others. Certain non-profit organizations over the years have issued their own commemorative Tennessee license plates, including the wildlife conservation group Ducks Unlimited, bearing the organization's logo, and the Freemasons, bearing its famous Square and Compasses symbol. Tennessee license plates made before 1957 were designed in the shape of the state of Tennessee rather than the standard shape designated by the National Safety Council, Automobile Manufacturers' Association and American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators. Prior to 1976, Tennessee license plates bore no slogans. Those that bore slogans after that date usually bore the slogan, "The Volunteer State," but from January 2000 to December 2005, Tennessee license plates also bore the phrase, "Sounds good to me." Other noteworthy old Tennessee license plates include:

  • 1941 Tennessee license plate - Black Tennessee-shaped license plate with embossed white lettering
  • 1951 Tennessee license plate - Orange Tennessee-shaped license plates with embossed white lettering
  • 1955 Tennessee license plate - White Tennessee-shaped license plate with embossed red lettering
  • 1970 Tennessee license plate - White standardized plate black lettering and border line and the letter "TENN" outlined in the shape of the state