License plates: hot commodity in Delaware

April 19, 2011 3:43:53 PM PDT
There was a line outside the DMV today made up of those looking to be the first to get newly reissued 4 and 5 digit license plates which for $100 can be made into black and white plates.


Why would someone want a license plate that looks like it should be on something with running boards and a rumble seat?

Oddly, the little plates are status symbols.

"These things are passed down through families from generation to generation," Kathy Stevenson of Delaware DMV said.

"It's a part of history, a part of Delaware, everyone wants a low digit tag, everyone wants a black and white tag," Lisa Spitelli of the DMV said.

Bob Rehbach waited 90 minutes this afternoon to claim four plates.

"I think it makes you look more like a long term resident," Rehbach said.

Dave Miller's firm, Delaware Historic Plate Company, makes the tags and whether it's porcelain or stainless steel, he says the appeal is scarcity.

"Because there's a limited number of people that can have them, that's what makes them popular, just like any collectible," Miller said.

Just how collectable?

Well, the lower the number, the greater the worth, single and double digits date back a century.

Frank Vassallo's company bought license number 6 in 2008 for a jaw dropping sum of $675,000.

Crazy? No, he says, 17 years ago the firm bought license number 9, he figures its value has increased more than three-fold, making low number plates a solid investment.