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License Plates Grading

If you found this page surfing the internet, you can visit our license plates store by clicking on the license plates or the motorcycle license plates categories at the left. At Deer Run Mercantile we stock better quality license plates for collections and Year of Manufacture, YOM, for your antique cars. Thanks for stopping by our store. The Six different grades of license plates are listed below.


To be honest there are just not that many older license plates that fall into the Mint category. There are a very few, but expect to pay a considerable amount of money for these when you do find them. Mint license plates show absolutely no wear and must be unused. A factory flaw as made can be present.


License Plates in this category can show some slight imperfections and signs of use such as very minor wear around the bolt holes, or a small scratch or so. These will be very nice looking license plates and are very suitable for Year of Manufacture for use on your antique automobile or muscle car. Unused license plates in the excellent category can show some scuff marks or slight paint damage from being in storage. I try to find a lot of this category for your year of manufacture tags. Older license plates in even excellent condition are still scarce and getting harder to find.

Very Good

These license plates can show more moderate wear, bolt holes can look used, there can be small spots of paint that are gone or faded. Even with all the wear that is permissable, this category of tags must still have an overall good appearance. License Plates in very good plus can still be suitable for year of manufacture, but if you can find plates in excellent, these are more recommended for YOM use on your antique automobile. There can be no extra holes yet in this grade. Unused plates can have very slight rust along the outer edge from improper storage, but no big rust spots on the face of the tag.


This group of plates will show considerable wear and can have rust on the front, they can also have a small extra hole or two in them. All metal must be intact with no tears or rips, there must also be a good bit of the original paint left on the tags. These license plates will still be presentable enough to put up on your garage wall for a collection but these will not be good enough to put on your car for year of manufacture.


These license plates can have damaged bolt holes, larger nail holes, moderate rust and will not have a very nice appearance. The numbers, dates and information should still be visible and you should be able to see the original paint colors with some of the original paint left. I stock very few license plates in this category.


Heavy Rust, tears, missing corners, large holes, are all attributes of the Poor Grade. These are pretty much junk and only collectible in the extremely rare dates of license plates. I do not stock any Poor license plates.
The main thing is to study the pictures, most of our license plates are individually photographed and buy the license plates of which you like the appearances.