Automobile License Plate Collectors Association

Automobile License Plate Collectors Association, Inc. (ALPCA)
Type Membership driven
Industry History, Research
Founded December 22, 1954; 66 years ago (December 22, 1954) in Rumney Depot, New Hampshire, U.S., incorporated December 1957
Founders Dr. Cecil George, Asa P. Colby
United States of America
Area served
Key people
Cyndi McCabe (President and Chairman of the Board)
Products Memberships, magazine, archives, conventions, annual Best Plate Award

The Automobile License Plate Collectors Association (ALPCA) is the largest such organization in the world.[1] Founded in Rumney Depot, New Hampshire, United States, in 1954 and holding its first meeting/convention in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, in 1955 it serves as a way for license plate collectors to trade plates, distribute news, and provide historic information to members.[2]


ALPCA Souvenir license plate

ALPCA currently has approximately 2,800 registered members and over 13,100 registered member numbers,[1] although many of the earlierβ€”and therefore lower-numberedβ€”members are now deceased or are no longer members. When an individual joins, he or she is assigned a membership number, which started with #1 in 1954, and are currently being issued in the 13,200 range. Members treasure their "ALPCA number" and often are known as much by the time period in which they joined than by name or geographic home. The club hosts an annual convention each June or July that attracts several hundred members, and regional meets take place in a number of states, provinces, and countries throughout the year. Due to the COVID 19 pandemic the 2020 convention, originally scheduled for Tulsa, Oklahoma from July 8-11, 2020, was cancelled. The next convention, open to members only, will be in Covington, Kentucky, from June 23 to 26, 2021.[3][4]

Members come from all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, as well as nineteen countries. Most members reside in the United States, followed by Canada, Germany, and Australia. Members receive the bi-monthly full-color publication "Plates;" have full access to the organization's web-based license plate archives for every country around the world; access to back issues of all publications; and can attend both regional meets and the annual convention.[5]

Despite the club's name, many members also collect and exchange license plates from vehicles other than automobiles. Antique vehicle, bus, camper, farm, military, motorcycle, trailer, and truck plates are just a few of the hundreds of other plate types that have been issued and are now collected by members.[6][7]

Since 1972 ALPCA has annually presented a "Best Plate Award" to an American state or Canadian province.[8] To better educate the public regarding genuine license plates the association provides a "Guide to Deceptive and Misleading Plates" for free on its website.[9]

Many ALPCA members maintain their own interests and websites, sometimes overlapping, and sometimes going way beyond the confines of license plate collectors. A subset of them are "Extra-Miler Club" members, who seek to visit every county in the United States, often while picking antique shops and other venue for old tags. One member keeps track of the "highest numbers" issued in each state, and his website records what combinations are the latest to be issued.[10]

ALPCA members often consult the media for stories on issues in automobilia.[11][12][13]


The ALPCA has approximately 2,800 current members. Members choose whether their membership lasts one, two, three, four, or five years. Junior memberships, for those members less than 18 years of age, are also available. The organization's magazine, "Plates," is mailed to all members, and all members in good standing are entitled to vote for officers and the Best Plate Award. Members can research plates with the association's online archives which have been extensively expanded and updated in recent years. Members may also display the ALPCA logo (shield) for personal use.[14]

Executive Board

The ALPCA is run by a seven member Executive Board composed of the President, Vice-President, and five Directors. All members serve two year terms. The President and three of the Directors terms expire in even numbered years, and the Vice-President and two Directors terms expire in odd numbered years. The Administrative Staff, composed of the Secretary, Treasurer, Plates Editor, Webmaster, Regional Meet Coordinator, Complaint Chairman, and Legal Counsel, are appointed by the Executive Board, Similarly, the Project Staff, consisting of the Convention Planner, Convention Administrator, Archivist, Hall of Fame Coordinator, and Best Plate Coordinator, are also appointed by the Executive Board. The President also serves as the Chairman of the Executive Board. Note that prior to the 1977 election of board members there were multiple other elected offices which are not shown here.[15][16]

Executive Board Members
Position Name Location Term Ending
President Cyndi McCable Elyria, OH 7/7/2020
Vice-President Dick Yourga Amherst, MA 6/22/2021
Director Greg Gibson Fenton, MI 7/7/2020
Director Bill Dickerson Manchester, NH 6/22/2021
Director Joel Kimmet Cincinnati, OH 6/22/2021
Director Andrew Pang Arlington, VA 7/7/2020
Director Stephen Tuday Woodstock, GA 7/7/2020

List of ALPCA Presidents

The ALPCA presidents' term of office has changed two times. From 1955 until 1961 their term was two years, from 1961 until 2004 the term was one year, and since 2004 the term is once again two years. To simplify the following chart multiple terms served consecutively are combined in one row. The following list of ALPCA Presidents was compiled from the ALPCA Newsletter, ALPCA Register, and Plates Magazine.[15]

List  of  ALPCA  Presidents
No. Name Dates Terms Notes
1 Dr. Cecil W. George 1955–1957 1 Member #1; Granted life membership in 1988[17]
2 Ralph Perkins 1957 – July 4, 1958 1 Resigned
3 Frank Spinney July 5, 1958 – 1959 1 Appointed
4 Roy A. Carson 1959–1961 1
5 Asa P. Colby 1961–1962 1
6 Clarence Titus 1962–1963 1
7 Carl Sweiven 1963–1964 1
8 Harvey Parkes 1964–1966 2
9 Andrew Young 1966–1967 1
10 Ernie Wilson 1967–1968 1
11 Joe Oliver 1968–1969 1
12 Frank German 1969–1972 3
13 Paul M. Maginnity 1972–1973 1
14 Willie Stahl 1973–1974 1
15 Earl Jenson 1974–1975 1
16 Edward Dietz 1975–1976 1
17 Dick Pack 1976–1977 1
18 Arthur D. Currie 1977–1979 2
19 James A. Crilly 1979–1981 2
20 Robert M. Crisler 1981–1983 2
21 James K. Fox 1983–1985 2
22 Robert M. Crisler 1985–1987 2
23 Jeffrey C. Minard 1987–1989 2
24 James A. Crilly 1989–1991 2
25 Michael C. Wiener 1991–1993 2
26 James K. Fox 1993–1995 2
27 Dale W. Blewett 1995–1997 2
28 Richard Yourga 1997–2000 3
29 Barney Schukraft 2000–2001 1
30 Michael R. Naughton 2001–2006 4 Three single year terms and one two year term.
31 Jeff Francis 2006–2010 2
32 Michael Liscio 2010 – May 30, 2011 1 Resigned
33 Stephen Tuday June 1, 2011 – July 2011 1 Resigned
34 Greg Gibson July 2011 – 2016 3
35 Cyndi McCabe 2016 – 2


International conventions

The ALPCA has held annual conventions since 1955. The four earliest conventions were held at the host members' home. Since 1959 the annual conventions have been held in a larger private or public venue, and those held since 1984 have been at a convention center or other similarly large public venue. Conventions include three days of selling and trading of plates on the convention floor, an auction of license plates donated by members and individual states' department of motor vehicles, member displays that are judged and presented awards in many categories, committee and membership meetings, and social activities. Newly elected Executive Board members are installed just prior to the convention start. Conventions are only open to members and their guests.[18]

List  of  ALPCA  International  Conventions
No. Year Venue Location
1 1955 Property of Cecil George No. Attleboro, MA[18]
2 1956 Property of Cecil George No. Attleboro, MA[18]
3 1957 Property of Robert Oliver Setauket, NY
4 1958 Property of Frank Spinney Bristol, NH[19]
5 1959 Yorklyn Gun Club Yorklyn, DE
6 1960 Odd Fellows Hall Adamsburg, PA
7 1961 Giroux Motor Company Phillipsburg, NJ[20]
8 1962 American Legion Hall North East, MD
9 1963 American Legion Hall Canastota, NY
10 1964 Grange Hall, Hancock County Fair Grounds Findlay, OH[21][22]
11 1965 Natural Bridge Hotel Natural Bridge, VA[23][24]
12 1966 Campus Center, Otterbein College Westerville, OH[24]
13 1967 Franklin County Fair Grounds Greenfield, MA[25]
14 1968 Merchants Building, Hancock County Fair Grounds Findlay, OH[26]
15 1969 Memorial Gymnasium, Juniata College Huntingdon, PA[27]
16 1970 Kane County Fairgrounds St. Charles, IL
17 1971 Youth Center, Ohio State Fairgrounds Columbus, OH
18 1972 Utah National Guard Armory Salt Lake City, UT
19 1973 Lakeside Gardens, Britannia Park Ottawa, ONT, CAN[28]
20 1974 Hoover Community Building, Garfield Fair Grounds Enid, OK[29]
21 1975 Acadia Community Hall Calgary, ALB, CA[30]
22 1976 Juniata College Huntingdon, PA
23 1977 Salem Community High School Salem, IL
24 1978 Lehigh Resort Motel Lehigh Acres, FL
25 1979 Lakeland Community College Mentor, OH
26 1980 Oklahoma State Fairgounds Oklahoma City, OK[31]
27 1981 Central Cabarrus High School Concord, NC
28 1982 Lake Michigan College Benton Harbor, MI
29 1983 Dulaney Senior High School Timonium, MD[32]
30 1984 Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Rapid City, SD
31 1985 Asheville Civic Center Ashville, NC[33]
32 1986 Springfield Convention Center Springfield, IL[33]
33 1987 Abuquerque Convention Center Albuquerque, NM
34 1988 Arthur Ashe Center Richmond, VA
35 1989 Riverside Convention Center Rochester, NY
36 1990 Rapid City Convention Center Rapid City, SD
37 1991 Kansas City Market Center Kansas City, MO
38 1992 Peoria Civic Center Peoria, IL
39 1993 Hammons Trade Center, Aurora Denver, CO[34]
40 1994 Chattanooga/Hamilton County Conv. & Trade Ctr. Chattanooga, TN
41 1995 Sea Gate Convention Centre Toledo, OH
42 1996 Peoria Civic Center Peoria, IL
43 1997 Tucson Convention Center Tucson, AZ
44 1998 Niagara Falls Convention and Civic Center Niagara Falls, NY
45 1999 Chattanooga/Hamilton County Conv. & Trade Ctr. Chattanooga, TN
46 2000 Hammons Trade Center, Aurora Denver, CO
47 2001 Peoria Civic Center Peoria, IL
48 2002 Niagara Falls Convention and Civic Center Niagara Falls, NY
49 2003 Tucson Convention Center Tucson, AZ
50 2004 Rhode Island Convention Center Providence, RI
51 2005 Sioux Falls Convention Center Sioux Falls, SD
52 2006 Ontario Convention Center Ontario, CA
53 2007 Von Braun Center Huntsville, AL
54 2008 Salt Palace Convention Center Salt Lake City, UT
55 2009 Bayfront Convention Center Erie, PA
56 2010 Arlington Convention Center Arlington, TX
57 2011 Charleston Convention Center Charleston, WV[35]
58 2012 Iowa Events Center Des Moines, IA
59 2013 Grand Sierra Resort Reno, NV
60 2014 Rochester Riverside Convention Center Rochester, NY
61 2015 Northwest Arkansas Embassy Suites Rogers, AR
62 2016 Grand Wayne Convention Center Fort Wayne, IN[36]
63 2017 Ontario Convention Center Ontario, CA
64 2018 Valley Forge Casino Resort Valley Forge, PA
65 2019 Knoxville Convention Center Knoxville, TN
---- 2020 Cox Business Center Tulsa, OK (cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic)[37]
66 2021 Northern Kentucky Convention Center Covington, Kentucky[38]

Regional meets

Regional meets provide the opportunity for members to sell, trade, or barter plates with other members between annual conventions. The dates for officially sanctioned meets are published in the organization's magazine "Plates." These meets often include auctions, regional meetings, awards, and a social event such as a lunch meal. Like the annual conventions, regional meets are only open to members and invited guests. The number of regional meets varies each year, but recent years have seen 15 – 25 regional meetings. Some regional groups hold a single meeting, while others may host quarterly meetings. A list of upcoming regional meetings is also maintained at the ALPCA website.[39][40]

Independent meets

Although these meets are not sponsored by ALPCA they provide some of the same collecting opportunities that the ALPCA annual convention and officially sanctioned regional meets provide. The independent meets also allow the general public a way to meet ALPCA members, help members learn about plates by talking to sellers, and begin or add to their collections of license plates. A list of upcoming independent meetings is maintained at the ALPCA website.[41]


From its inception ALPCA has distributed a publication to all active members. Unofficially, the primary publication was titled the ALPCA Newsletter, but it was many years before this was formalized. The name first appeared on the masthead in April 1972, but the name had appeared in the newsletter itself many times before this date. The ALPCA Newsletter changed names in February 2000 to the ALPCA Register, and since December 2004 has been known as Plates Magazine or informally as Plates. Back issues of these publications are available to active members on the association's website.[42][43][44]

Plates Magazine

Plates Magazine is full color and regularly features articles relating the history of a topic, such as an individual state, province, or country's plates; provides information about newly issued plate; convention, regional, and independent meet details; photo histories of plates and related ephemera, such as validation stickers or tabs; topical histories such as motorcycle, special event, ham radio, personalized plates; articles on individual collectors or collections; annual base plate information for North American jurisdictions; etc.[45][46][47][48]


The online archives provide members an extensive research tool for information regarding the year a license plate was issued, serial numbers issued, colors, dates issued, slogans, plate material, and other plate characteristics. Originally relatively static, the archives have been greatly expanded, become an online database that is much easier to search, sort, and provides much improved photos over the original archives.[49]


For the 50th anniversary of ALPCA two members wrote a book detailing the associations history. This publication, "A Moving History, 50 Years Of ALPCA, 100 Years of License Plates" was written by Jeff Minard & Tim Stentiford, and published by Turner Communications. In addition to the ALPCA history the book details 100 years of license plate history, and over 275 profiles of a cross section of ALPCA members.[50][51]

Best Plate Award

Since 1972 members have voted each year to name one United States or Canadian license plate design, and in some years two such designs, introduced during the previous year as the "Best Plate."[52] The first award went to Pennsylvania for their early Bicentennial plate which featured the Liberty Bell in the center.[52] The award to the 1970 Northwest Territories for their polar bear-shaped license plate was made by Executive Board action between December 1973 and February 1974.[53]

Members votes are based on both the plate's legibility and its aesthetics. For 1995, 1997, and 1998, the club recognized one standard-issue plate and one optional-issue plate, while in 1985 and 1989, two jurisdictions' designs tied for first place.[8] The presentation of the award each year is usually covered by media outlets in the state that wins the award.[54][55]

ALPCA  Best  Plate  Award  Winners
Image Year Jurisdiction Times
Design Type
Northwest Territories 1970 license plate.jpg 1970 Northwest Territories 1 Centennial general
1972 Pennsylvania license plate - ATC-347.jpg 1971 Pennsylvania 1 Bicentennial State general
1972 Wyoming license plate.jpg 1972 Wyoming 1 Bucking Bronco general
1973 Prince Edward Island license plate 75-921.jpg 1973 Prince Edward Island 1 The Place To Be ... In 73 general
South Dakota 1974 license plate - Number 1-32334.jpg 1974 South Dakota 1 Mount Rushmore general
1975 Colorado license plate - Number YF 2076.jpg 1975 Colorado 1 Centennial general
1976 Sample Michigan License Plate.jpg 1976 Michigan 1 Bicentennial[56] general
Mississippi license plate, 1976–1981 series with March 1981 sticker (Monroe County).png 1977 Mississippi 1 The Hospitality State general
Wyoming license plate, 1980.png 1978 Wyoming 2 Wooden Fence general
Indiana 1980 license plate.jpg 1979 Indiana 1 1779 George Rogers Clark general
Kansas 1986 license plate.jpg 1980 Kansas 1 Wheat general
1984 South Dakota license plate.jpg 1981 South Dakota 2 Mount Rushmore general
1981 North Carolina license plate DXT-4752.jpg 1982 North Carolina 1 First in Flight general
California Golden State license plate 1982-1987 2GAT123.png 1983 California 1 The Golden State optional
Maryland 1986 license plate.jpg 1984 Maryland 1 350th Anniversary[32] optional
Nevada sample license plate, 1984–2000 series with May 1992 sticker.png 1985 Nevada 1 Bighorn Sheep general
Blank License Plate Shape.svg North Dakota 1 Theodore Roosevelt optional
Utah license plate, 1985–1990 series with August 2001 sticker.png 1986 Utah 1 Greatest Snow on Earth general
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1987 Idaho 1 Centennial optional
Oregon License Plate3.jpg 1988 Oregon 1 Fir tree general
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1989 Nova Scotia 1 Canada's Ocean Playground general
1989 Oklahoma license plate RRS-447.jpg Oklahoma 1 OK! general
1994 South Carolina license plate - ADJ 630.jpg 1990 South Carolina 1 Wren[57] general
2000 Idaho License Plate.jpg 1991 Idaho 2 Famous Potatoes[58] general
1998 Mississippi license plate - KVK 763.jpg 1992 Mississippi 2 Blue Gradient general
North Dakota 1992 license plate - DAK 367.jpg 1993 North Dakota 2 Discover the Spirit general
Kansas 1995 license plate.jpg 1994 Kansas 2 Wheat[59] general
1995 Texas license plate VYM 93S 150 Years of Statehood.jpg 1995 Texas 1 150 Years of Statehood[60] general
2012 Pennsylvania license plate Flagship-Niagara-Governor.jpg Pennsylvania 2 Flagship Niagara optional
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1996 Arizona 1 Grand Canyon State general
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1997 Manitoba 1 Friendly general
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Wisconsin 1 Sesquicentennial optional
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1998 Alaska 1 Gold Rush Centennial general
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Idaho 3 Wildlifeβ€”elk optional
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1999 Virginia 1 George Washington Bicentennial optional
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 2000 Wyoming 3 Devils Tower general
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 2001 Arkansas 1 Game and Fish β€” Hummingbird optional
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 2002 Oregon 2 Crater Lake Centennial optional
Kentucky License plate 2006.jpg 2003 Kentucky 1 It's That Friendly[61] general
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 2004 Oklahoma 2 State Parks β€” Pavilion optional
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 2005 Kansas 3 Home on the Range optional
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 2006 South Dakota 3 Great Faces. Great Places. general
2009 Mississippi license plate LBR 813.jpg 2007 Mississippi 3 Biloxi Light general
Delaware 2009 Centennial license plate-.jpg 2008 Delaware 1 Centennial Plate 1909–2009[62][63] optional
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 2009 Oklahoma 3 Sacred Rain Arrow[64][65] general
New Mexico Passenger Vehicle Plate - Centennial 1912 - 2012.jpg 2010 New Mexico 1 Centennial 1912–2012[66][67] general
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 2011 Arizona 2 1912 Centennial 2012[68][69] optional
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 2012 Nebraska 1 Union Pacific Railroad Museum[70][71] optional
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 2013 Michigan 2 The Mackinac Bridge[72][73] optional
Alberta 2014 license plate.jpg 2014 Alberta 1 Support Our Troops[74] optional
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 2015 Alaska 2 Grizzly bear[75][76] general
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 2016 Arizona 3 Historic Route 66[77][78] optional
New Mexico Passenger Vehicle License Plate - "Chile Capital of the World".jpg 2017 New Mexico 2 Chile Capital of the World[79] optional
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 2018 Maryland 2 Protect The Chesapeake optional
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 2019 Oregon 3 Smokey Bear optional

Hall of Fame

The ALPCA Hall of Fame was approved by the Board of Directors in 2002, but it did not officially induct any members until 2004. "The goal of the Hall of Fame is [to] provide a vehicle to learn about our founding fathers and the legacy of leaders throughout the years who have embodied the fraternal spirit of our hobby."[80]

"To be considered for the Hall of Fame, candidates must have served the club or hobby unselfishly for the good of all without concern for praise, compensation, or reward; promoted membership; provided guidance to fellow members; and taught others the value of collecting."[80] Any member in good standing may nominate any ALPCA member for induction into the hall that they feel is deserving of the honor. The Hall of Fame Committee reviewes all initial nominations, and the past presidents of the association vote to determine who on the list would be inducted in the Hall of Fame.[80]

Hall of Fame Members
  • 2004
  • Roy Carson
  • Asa Colby
  • Cecil George

  • 2005
  • Conrad Hughson
  • Gary Brent Kinkade
  • Don Merrill

  • 2006
  • James A. Crilly
  • Dr. Roy Kotz, Jr.
  • Paul Maginnity

  • 2007
  • Rich Dragon
  • Jeff Minard
  • G. B. Moore
  • 2008
  • Bob Crisler

  • 2009
  • Earl Jenson
  • Robert Ward
  • Verdon Rustine

  • 2010
  • James Fox
  • Keith Marvin
  • Richard Yourga

  • 2011
  • Roger Haynes
  • Stephen Raiche
  • 2012
  • Ned Flynn
  • Jim Finley

  • 2013
  • Corb Moister
  • George Sammeth
  • Rick Schofield

  • 2014
  • Chuck Sakryd
  • Ted Cline
  • Marty Mozille

  • 2015
  • Mick Naughton
  • Dick Pack
  • 2016
  • Eric Tanner

  • 2017
  • Tom Boyd
  • Leo Good
  • Dave Kuehn

  • 2018
  • John Boal

  • 2019
  • Neil Parker
  • Jeff Francis

Notable members

  • Robert M. "Bob" Crisler, of Lafayette, Louisiana, served as an officer of ALPCA and was inducted as one of the first members of its Hall of Fame. He is a retired geography professor from the University of Louisiana, and authored "License Plate Values," the first collector price guide in the hobby.[81]
  • Jim Fox, drummer of the James Gang; served as an officer of the ALPCA and authored one of the most prominent published works within the hobby, License Plates of the United States.
  • Ernest R. Hemmings, of Quincy, Illinois, the founder of Hemmings Motor News.
  • Keith Marvin, of Menands, New York, wrote three books about license plates and seven books total. He wrote over 3,000 articles on automotive history, and his work appeared in more than 70 different publications.


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  37. ^
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  53. ^ Carson, Roy A., ed. (February 1974). "Seventeen Sez". ALPCA Newsletter. Vol. XX no. 1. Chandler, Arizona: ALPCA. p. 24.
  54. ^ Department of Revenue & Regulation
  55. ^ Kansas Department of Revenue – Kansas Personalized License Plate Re-Issue Archived 22 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine
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