Collectible Alaska License Plates

For the avid license plate collector, Alaska features some of the most valuable and rare vintage license plate varieties. Since Alaska Territory plates weren't manufactured for vehicles until 1921, collectible license plate enthusiasts have their pick of rare car and truck plates. Many hobbyists seek antique sets of all 50 states from their birth year, by license plate number, or by car and motorcycle special designation. Alaskan plates draw much attention from the vintage license plate community.

What Makes Alaska Vehicle License Plates Valuable?

The value of an Alaskan antique license plate comes down to a few factors. As with all antiques, the scarcity and condition primarily dictate its cost. The unique history of Alaska also makes for a rare set of plates.

  • Scarcity: Many of Alaska's plates have low issue numbers due to a small population and a relatively recent US state status. If the DMV released a special license plate, as Alaska often did, these plates are also considered more valuable.
  • Age: Old license plates or those with low registration numbers bring in larger values due to their scarcity and novelty.
  • Condition: Any past information on the use of the plate helps dealers determine its value. Depending on whether the license plate was used on a motor vehicle or simply displayed determines its current condition and therefore its additional worth.

Which of Alaska's License Plates Are Most Rare?

Of all Alaska's license plate varieties, several license plates stand out above the rest.

  • Territory-Issued Plates: Vehicle plates were first issued to the Alaska Territory in 1921, making these motor vehicle plates the most valuable. Alaska did not become a state until 1959.
  • Alaska's Slogan and Graphic Plates: In 1966 and 1968, two different slogans were added to the plates for the first time. Early "North to the Future" and "The Last Frontier" plates remain on most lists. 1948 and 1977 plates also began the use of specialty graphics including the Kodiak bear, mountain ranges, flags and totem polls.
  • World War II: License plates in Alaska during the end of World War II (1945-1947) were printed on fiberboard. Since so few vehicle plates were made, they remained among the most sought out historical plates.

How Do I Collect Alaskan License Plates?

License plate organizations recommend how to display, register, and find rare plates.

  • Vehicle Usage: Most antique plates cannot be used on the street, but certain states allow them to be displayed on collector cars, motorcycles, and trucks. Drivers should speak with their DMV office for more information.
  • ALPCA: Many join the Automobile License Plate Collectors Association, or the ALPCA, for registration information, collector's meet-ups and new vehicle plate announcements.
  • License Plate Frames: License plates can be displayed in a variety of ways, including collectible license plate frames from different eras and unique spots around the world.