License plates have a rich history and have earned a spot in our cultural significance. They continue to evolve and diversify in terms of design, materials, and functionality. Here are five interesting trivia facts about license plates:
First License Plate
The world's first official license plate was issued in Paris, France, in 1893. It was made of iron and had the number "1." These early plates were not attached to vehicles but were instead hung on the walls of the vehicle owners' homes.
Massachusetts and the First State-Issued Plates
Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to issue government-produced license plates in 1903. These plates were made of iron and porcelain enamel. Before that, vehicle owners often had to make their own plates.
Vanity plates, also known as personalized or custom plates, allow vehicle owners to choose a combination of letters and numbers to express a message, name, or personal sentiment. They have been popular since the 1920s and have provided a source of revenue for many states.
Most Expensive License Plate
In 2008, a businessman in the United Arab Emirates paid a staggering $14.3 million for the license plate "1." Vanity plates with single-digit or unique combinations are highly sought after in some parts of the world and can command incredibly high prices at auction.
License Plate Art
License plates have been used in various forms of art and creative projects. Some artists create sculptures and artwork entirely from discarded license plates, and there are even businesses that specialize in crafting custom license plate art pieces for decoration. Many themed restaurants have license plates from around the world adorning their walls.