Brett Kittredge's License Plates
A Little Bit About Me
You Mean You Pay Money For Those Plates?!?
I have added this page to tell a little more about me and what I collect as well as information that may be helpful to prospective collectors.
A Little Bit About Me--
My name is Brett Kittredge and I am a 21 year college student at the University of Mississippi majoring in history and political science.
I was born and raised in Hamden, Conn. (some 21 hours from Oxford, Miss.) and continue to spend my summers in New England. People frequently ask why I wanted to go so far from home and I usually say something like when you see Ole Miss you will understand why.
At Ole Miss, I stay busy by writing for the school newspaper, The Daily Mississippian. I am also an active member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity where I currently serve as the President. No doubt this has taken away time from researching plates.
Everybody Needs A Hobby--
When I was a younger kid I collected baseball cards, not to sell them but just to have and be able to open a new pack. I later picked up temporary hobbies such as collecting NASCAR Die Cast cars and political buttons. My hobby has now moved on to a 6 by 12 inch piece of aluminum.
In terms of license plate collecting, I am a very new member of the hobby. My interest in plates does not go far before the summer of 2005. Like most kids I would check out the different plates when my family would go on road trips; but living in Connecticut you do not see much besides those white on blue plates.
I remember putting up old family plates on my wall at school because I thought it looked cool, but I never invested any money on plates.
While at a flea market in Connecticut I ran across an older blue on white CT combo plate from the late 1990s. Connecticut is one of a handful of states that issues Combination plates to pick-up trucks (I think it serves no purpose other than getting more money for the tags). But anyways, I bought the plate because it was the style plate I wanted for my first truck- however I bought my truck shortly after Connecticut began issuing the blue fade plates (and they were the same style for trucks but with a COMB on the side). At the time of the purchase I had no intention of buying any more plates. However, as we were getting ready to head home one dealer was giving away what he had left- so I decided to pick up (for free) a pair of 2000 CT white on blue plates that he had not sold.
Following that adventure I headed to eBay where I soon discovered thousands of license plates for sale. I quickly became addicted to how easy it was to be able to purchase plates from all over the country and the world. Unfortunately, I had no real goal in mind and ended up with a number of plates I should not have bought and no longer have. I soon learned from my mistakes and realized I need to focus my collection.
My Current Collection--
There are some collectors who have been in the hobby for 30+ years that have thousands of license plates; at the current time I would say I have a few hundred plates in my permanent collection. This is a far cry from some of the largest collections but I understand I can not buy thousands of plates a year- so who knows what my collection may look like in 30 years.
With that said these are the areas I am most focused on right now:
98 Base Miss. College Plates- I am currently about half the way through this run. For the previous tri-color large magnolia base Mississippi issued 30 college plates- some more popular than others. When the state changed bases in 2003 many of these unissued plates found their way into the hands of collectors, making many of these plates fairly common. I thought this would be a fun run not because of how hard or easy it would be to accumulate the plates but because I am currently a college student in Mississippi. I initially sought an SEC run, but decided against that after I saw the prices for plates like Univ. of South Carolina, Georgia or LSU.
The plates that I have are the easiest to find, being the larger colleges in the state. I am missing most of the community colleges, which were issued in much scarcer numbers (for obvious reasons) than the large four year schools. As an example, I was told that a Mary Holmes College plate has sold for around $100. I might pay that price a few years down the road if it is the only school I am missing, but for now I would rather get a number of plates for that kind of money.
The schools that I currently have are: Alcorn St, Belhaven, Blue Mountain, Coahoma CC, Delta St, Jackson St, Millsaps, Mississippi College, Miss State, Miss University for Women, Miss Valley State, Ole Miss, Rust, Southern Miss, Tougaloo and William & Carey.
The schools that I am missing are: Copiah-Lincoln, East Central CC, East Miss CC, Hinds CC, Holmes CC, Itawamba CC, Jones CC, Magnolia Bible College, Mary Holmes, Miss Delta CC, Miss Gulf Coast CC, Northeast Miss CC, Pearl River CC and Southwest Miss CC.
Mississippi County Run- This is one of the first specific runs I began to focus on. I figured that I would give this a shot last fall since I had fairly easy access to current Miss. plates, but this is still an on-going process. Right now I am just interested in obtaining my first 82 counties- on either the previous or the current base. I figured when I get those first 82 done I will split them up and then go about getting the 82 counties on those two different bases.
While I mainly started this because I was in Mississippi and many local junk yards are easy to get into, I found out that many collectors are interested in these runs because of the uniqueness of Miss. plates being the last in the country to issue embossed county names on all their plates. While they probably will not be able to make that claim shortly, it is still a nice looking collection and I am looking forward to seeing it completed.
Completing this run is not that easy. There are a few counties in the Southwestern part of the state that have very small populations, and these small numbers of plates drive the prices way up.
The counties that I am missing are: Adams, Amite, Benton, Calhoun, Choctaw, Copiah, Forrest, Franklin, George, Greene, Jefferson, Lamar, Lawrence, Newton, Perry, Simpson, Smith and Wilkinson.
Ole Miss Plates- By Ole Miss plates I do not mean just the regular Mississippi issued plates, but any vanity plate throughout the country that has to do with the school. Besides simply saying "Ole Miss," these plates might say (or in some abbreviated form) OXFORD, COLONEL REB (COL REB), HOTTY TODDY (HTY TDY), REBELS, BEAT STATE (BEAT ST8), etc. If you have anything that you think may be related to Ole Miss, contact me and I will let you know if it works.
Other Miss Plates- I am also interested in any kind of odd-ball Mississippi plates. While this is one part of my collection that I am probably least dedicated to I always like random Mississippi plates. There is no rhyme or reason to this collection but I am just interested in anything that is obscure.
Regular Issue U.S. Graphics- This may sound kind of broad but it really isn't in all actuality. Basically, I am trying to collect a plate of each base that each state has issued since they began issuing multi-year plates. To give you an example, this means for California I am interested in the '56 base black on gold, the '63 base gold on black, the '70 base yellow on blue, the '83 Golden State base, the '87 block letter base, the '92 base lipstick and the Sesquicentennial base. The year, dies or numbering of the plate does not matter to me (at least not right now).
I decided to go after these plates to have a broad U.S. run and not try to worry myself with nit-picky details or expensive special issues. Most of these plates (there are always a few exceptions) can be purchased for only $3 or $4 which made this run more attractive to me.
1986 Plates- I am slowly but surely working on a 1986 run. While I am not actively pursuing these plates, I like to pick them up when I have the opportunity. Although I was born in 1984, I chose to collect plates from '86 because it was girlfriends birth year. Most of these plates also fit into my recent graphics collection.
Choose Life Plates- I chose to collect 'Choose Life' plates because of my interest in the pro-life movement. I feel very strongly about this subject and while I do not want to "shove it down your throat," it would not feel right to me if I did not mention it. 'Choose Life' plates give me the opportunity to combine my hobby of license plate collecting and my interest in the pro-life movement. I currently have a Connecticut 'Choose Life' plate on my truck.
While I would love to have a run of all the states that offer these plates, they can be very expensive. They are very new in most states and except for a few states they have yet to be issued in large numbers.
The states I am missing are: AR, HI, MD and SD.
If you want further information on Choose Life plates and their availability in your state, please check out my Choose Life plates page or Choose-Life.org for complete information.
One might wonder how much knowledge and advice a collector who has only been at it for about a year has, but there are some valuable lessons I have learned when it comes to license plate collecting and I wish to pass them on to other young collectors.
The first thing I have to say is have a goal. Instead of a bunch of random plates, collectors usually try to complete "runs." A state run would be every year plate from that state since they first issued plates. Some of the pre-WWII plates can be very difficult to find and awfully expensive when you come across them. A year run would be a plate from every state from a particular year. Often this is your birth year (or your girlfriends' birth year in my case). For people young like me this can be done pretty easily and inexpensively. You can also look for your interest and chose a run of plates you like. This could be college plates, bird plates, lighthouse plates, etc. Like anything else it can be as expensive or inexpensive you chose to make it.
My next advice is when you have a set goal do not go out and buy the first plate you see. Most plates have been produced thousands of times over (while some are obviously more obscure). Search the internet, you can find other collectors websites by clicking here, and browse the completed listings on eBay to see what you are looking for is going for.
If you find a fellow ALPCAn, or plate collector, from your home state (or state that you wish to obtain a plate)- contact them even if they do not say they have what you are looking for. Often times if they can not locate a plate they can find someone who can. And if they do come through and give you a good deal, do not go and re-sell it on eBay- this puts a very sour taste in a collector's mouth.
Finally, look for ways to get free plates. EBay could get very expensive if you are buying single plates and having to pay shipping for each of them. Go to a local junkyard- this is where I have had most of my success. While some junkyard owners do not want anyone on their property, others do not care and many times I have walked away with a number of free plates. I have also had luck at used car dealers. They often buy cars at auctions and take the plates off at the dealership when they are cleaning the cars up. They usually will not have as many as a 200 acre junk yard, but it beats spending hours in the sun walking through mud twisting off 20 year old bolts. And if they turn you down, or say they can not give away plates, just say "thank you" and head back to your car- there is no need to get upset about it or take it personally.
I would like to extend a personal thanks to everyone for taking the time to check out my page, viewing my collection and reading what I have to say. I hope you enjoyed it and if you have any further questions, don't hesitate to e-mail me.
Send me an e-mail with any questions, comments or suggestions.