Collectible Maryland License Plates

For connoisseurs of trinkets in vintage condition, you can find a bevy of collectible Maryland state license plates here. Many of these plates date back as far as 50 years or more, and some can be found in pristine shape while others wear their age with pride. If you're looking to adorn the doors, tables, or walls of your living quarters with a piece of history or limited-edition license plate, you can find various styles, colors, and types here for your choosing.

What are the traits of collectible plates?

There are different ways to define a collectible Maryland license plate. A specialized plate is generally defined as any license plate with unique graphics that represent support for or recognition of a cause, event, or person. These types are common and can be seen as collectible for their variety and limited availability. Another key identifier of a Maryland collectible license plate is its age, and those that bear engraved date information are quite old and considered collector's items for this reason.

What types of specialized plates are there?

Because Maryland is always coming up with new, limited-edition designs for license plates, the list of available designs is never fixed. However, there are common themes to look for if you're a collector of specialized license plates, and they are listed here:

  • Organizations for wildlife preservation
  • Historic people and events that Maryland is known for
  • Generalized designs that celebrate the United States as a country
  • "Support Our Troops"
  • Positions of civic duty, such as medical technician, police officer, or firefighter
  • Organ donation
Does Maryland formerly recognize collectible license plates?

Yes, but not in the way that you'd expect. In the eyes of the Maryland Department of Motor Vehicles, a "collectible plate" is considered any plate that's issued for a vehicle that's 25 years or older. The terms "antique" or "vintage" are normally used instead, but in the context of the DMV's definition, these only refer to the car instead of the plates themselves. Said plates aren't administered as antiques but rather brand-new tags with an aged typeface to match the older appearance of the vehicle.

At what age does a license plate become vintage?

While the DMV doesn't formally define the age of a vintage license plate itself, an automobile is generally considered vintage when it reaches 25 years of age. This is used by collectors as a rough basis to determine whether a Maryland plate should also be defined as vintage, which is one distinct trait of a collector-worthy addition.

Is it legal to use collectible plates on a vehicle?

In the context of a vintage Maryland license plate that's collected for its antiquity, these plates often cannot be used because they've been cycled out of commission or originally belonged to someone else who can't authorize the transfer of plates from the original car to your own. In the Maryland DMV's traditional context of a "collectible plate", these are legal to use for vehicles that are deemed 25 years or older by the state.