I have a sad collecting hobby to confess.
I like collecting car number plates. Its started with a visit to the US in 2001 (LA, Las Vegas and Arizona) so I bought a Nevada state plate from a store on the Las Vegas strip, and progressed onto getting the other states I have been to, and also Florida, New York and New Jersey which I went to in 1998.
They are more fun than collecting stamps as you can hang them on the wall, its just an interesting challenge for a car nut to collect automotive history from different nations.
To look for plates to buy online, you really have to look on ebay Germany’s site, as the UK site doesn’t really have them. Some people just get the US ones and aim to get all 50 states, after then you can get the Canadian ones and then go for Mexico and southwards. Here in the UK, almost all large articulated trucks I see delivering things are all foreign, mostly from Poland or Eastern Europe, its sometimes fun on a long journey to spot the more unusual ones, just around were I live and work in Portsmouth and Southampton, I have seen Turkey (letters TR on blue band but not EU logo) Morocco (white letters on green, no symbols – I think) Estonia (blue band with letters EST) and a car seen outside my old house from the Ukraine (UA on pale blue/yellow band)
I only collect the ones from countries I have been to. My collection is a bit lame as I really only have the easyish ones. When I went to Iceland on a lads road trip with Ian H, Rich T and Peter O, we got to the gates of a scrap yard near Akureyri only to find the place locked up and close and the piles of stacked cars appeared to have their plates missing. In a used car spares warehouse in Talpiyot, near Jerusalem, they had car parts neatly labelled on shelves, and stripped out shells of dead cars waiting to be disposed in a building close to one of my workplace their where I volunteered, when I tried to ask if they would sell me some plates, they refused (although maybe as their English wasn’t good enough) I am guessing in some countries its possibly illegal to buy plates from junk yards, maybe as it could be used for some kind of criminal activity.
Of course the other challenge is car scrap yards in most countries tend to be in fairly dodgy parts of town and therefore going shopping for a plate as a tourist with no much knowledge of the language might be quite unsafe experience. When I visited Jordan and the Palestinian territories, bringing a plate through checkpoint would be probably land me in lots of trouble so I didn’t want to try that.
Of course particular nice ones to get are often small countries like Monaco (narrow plate with 4 numbers, white or blue with royal diamond emblem) San Marino (another tiny EU nation popular for motor racing) Isle of Man (part of UK, but has its own government, plates have red band with three legged Manx emblem) also various different Caribbean nations and some obscure places like Bermuda, Tuvalu etc. For this reason the more rarer and aesthetically interesting plates might cost 50 Euros or a lot more on ebay like this one.
Some plate design change with the political eras. Poland and Romania now have the EU logo with the letters PL or RO where as before they had their own flag, or prior to that no symbols at all.
If someone reading this would like to swap, ie: maybe I could source English or Israeli plate as a swap for something I want for my collection,
This is my wish list 🙂
Monaco (ok bit ambitious maybe!)
Finland (blue band with FIN)
Jordan (with blue or green band)
Iceland (later blue letters on white background with IS logo of possible)
Palestinian territories (green on white or white on green)