Reference Section


The club shall be called: Michigan License Plate Collectors Association (Acronym: MLPCA).

OBJECTIVE: To fraternize and promote interest in the collecting of license plates.

PLACE OF BUISNESS: As designated by the Board of Directors.

CAPITAL STOCK: The amount of capital stock is none.

OFFICERS: The officers of this corporation shall consist of the: President, Treasurer, Secretary/Editor, Board of Directors (4) and alternate Board member. Those officers shall constitute the voting body at the Board of Directors meetings.

ELECTIONS: Elections shall occur, by secret ballot, at the fall business meeting in each odd numbered year. All terms shall be 2 years.

PRESIDENT: The president shall preside over the Board of Directors meetings and the general business meetings. In the absence of the President, the highest membership seniority member of the Board of Directors shall preside over said meetings. The office of the President shall be elected.

TREASURER: The Treasurer shall be responsible for all matters relating to finances, membership in the MLPCA, swap meet registration, and roster arrangement. The office of Treasurer shall be appointed by the Board of Directors.

SECRETARY/EDITOR: The Secretary/Editor shall be responsible for all matters relating to the publication of the Newsletter, recording the minutes of the Board of Directors meetings, the general business meeting, and retaining pertinent information. The office of Secretary/Editor shall be appointed by the Board of Directors.

DIRECTORS: The Board of Directors shall act as representatives of the membership, and shall execute that responsibility by addressing membership concerns at the Board of Directors meetings and by voting on all motions and resolutions brought before the Board. The office of Board member shall be elected.

ALTERNATE DIRECTOR: The alternate member of the Board of Directors shall take the place of an absent member of the Board of Directors with all of the rights and responsibilities. The office of alternate Board member shall be elected, having attained the highest number of votes for the Board of Directors below the Board member receiving the lowest number of votes or as prescribed by the Board of Directors.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETINGS: The Board of Directors meeting shall be held in January and June of each year, at a place designated by the President. Except for amendments, all legal and procedural matters shall be voted on and executed at said meetings. The voting officers shall decide which items shall be brought before the membership for a vote, however any member may call for a membership vote on any item passed or rejected by the Board of Directors, at a general business meeting. All matters shall be decided by a majority vote. It shall also be within the purview of the Board of Directors to appoint interim officers, as is needed, at the Board of Directors meetings.

BUSINESS MEETINGS: The business meetings shall take place in the Spring and Fall of each year, at a place voted upon from nominations submitted to the Board of Directors. The business meetings shall include a swap meet, display competition, and other activities, as are voted upon by the Board. Admission to the swap meet portion of the business meeting shall be open to the public, however all vendors must be members of the MLPCA. Awards for display competition will be voted on by the membership present at the meeting. as voted upon by the membership. Only those displays meeting category criteria will be considered for awards. There shall be four display categories offered at each business meeting: Michigan and General, with criteria determined by the Board, Junior and Ladies Choice, which will have no criteria. In addition, there shall be an award given for the longest distance traveled and to the host(s) of each meet. At a time prescribed by the Board of Directors, swap meet activities shall be suspended and the general business meeting shall commence. During the general business meeting, the membership may discuss, motion for, and vote on pertinent issues. The membership may also call for a vote on measures passed by the Board of Directors. Voting on award categories shall also occur at the general business meeting. Only members may cast votes on all matters requiring a vote. Swap meet activities shall resume upon the closing of the general business meeting.

MEMBERSHIP: Any person over the age of seventeen may become a full member, and any person aged seventeen and under may become a junior member, upon his or her submission of an application for membership and payment of current dues. Junior membership includes all privileges afforded full membership except voting. There shall be half-year memberships available for those persons applying after June of each year, full membership shall be described as from January through December of each year. Membership may be suspended or revoked because of: non-payment of dues, violation of the by-laws, or conduct unbecoming a member. Suspension for non-payment of dues shall be executed by the Treasurer, all other suspensions or revocations shall be determined by the Board of Directors. Complaints, which may lead to suspension or revocation, will first be assessed by the President, then presented or not presented to the Board of Directors for action. Full lifetime memberships shall be available to any member having accrued fifteen paid years of membership, at a cost as set by the Board of Directors.

REPRODUCTION LICENSE PLATES: Reproduction license plates and other forms of vehicle licensing, and license plates that have been altered in order to falsely enhance their value, shall not be offered for sale or trade. A member who knowingly offers for sale or trades a license plate that is not authentic shall be subject to suspension or revocation of his or her membership.

COMPLIANCE: By applying for and receiving membership in the MLPCA, the recipient agrees to abide by all stipulations as set forth in the by-laws, and by any additional rules and requirements that shall be set forth by the Board of Directors.

AMENDMENTS: Amendments to the by-laws shall require a majority vote of the membership present at the general membership meeting at which the amendment is proposed.

AMENDMENT #1: If the President should be unable to complete his term, then the longest sitting board member will assume the position. The open position of board member will then be filled by the alternate board member.

License Plate Grading Guide

For many years, buying license plates through the mail has been an uncertain experience, because there has been no accepted grading system in place. The following is a grading guide, as adopted by the MLPCA, to be used in evaluating the condition of license plates. Although a certain amount of subjectivity is inevitable, it is hoped that useable grading guidelines will be found in this system. As adopted by the MLPCA, members will in no way be required to observe or adhere to this system. Rather, this guide should serve as a reference benchmark, available to those who wish to have his or her grading universally understood, (i.e. prefacing an advertisement with “Graded by MLPCA standards”). This guide is the only grading system officially adopted by any organization.

Before any individual grading parameters are discussed, there is one salient point that cannot be open to individual discretion. That point is that all license plates, regardless of age or reputation of infirmity, must be graded using equal standards. This means that an excellent 1920 plate should be in the same condition as an excellent 1990 plate. In addition, a plate such as a 1915 Michigan plate, known to be rare with much paint intact, must be graded equally with, say a 1919 Michigan plate, easily found in excellent condition. This precept must be observed in order to maintain a solid continuity from which all grades emanate. Without such an unalterable foundation, grading will remain the result of the opinion or the caprice of the seller, which will doom any related system to failure.

It has become common procedure to assign a plus, (+), designation to superior examples of any given grade of plate. While that practice is helpful in all grades except “mint”, use of a minus, (-), sign is redundant and is not recommended, except in the case of the mint category. For example, how could one denote the difference between a VG+ and an EXC– plate, given the margin of subjectivity that is unavoidable? A minus designation may be useful when used with the mint grade, as described below. Grading painted plates require different standards than those used for porcelain plates. Therefore, two individual guides are presented here.

Painted Plates

Besides the grade levels listed below, any extra ordinary conditions should be noted. Those include: extra hole(s), torn bolt holes, pronounced contour damage, “shadows” from removed date tabs or stickers, and clipped corners or other invasions of plate materials. Also, scrub marks on natural metal plates and warping of fiber plates should be noted. On plates having date tabs or stickers, a separate grade should be assigned to that tab or sticker, if it differs from the base plate. Plates that are “naturals” are those plates that were issued originally in the year indicated by its tab or sticker, may be noted to enhance their desirability.

Porcelain Plates

Porcelain plates also require special notice of unusual condition factors. Extra holes are less common on porcelain plates, but should be noted. Severe warping, even if the result of manufacturing processes, should be indicated. Porcelain plates that have been dug from the ground are usually identified, because the special problems resulting from chemical contact. Conspicuous defects, such as scratches from auto cranks, bullet depressions, and plow depressions should be noted, at least in the higher grades. Many plate collectors indicate a percentage of porcelain remaining on a plate as a means of grading them. That practice is acceptable, when used as an adjunct to conventional grades. On its own, percentage grading is insufficient, because the location of chips is often more important than quantitative assessment.

Accepted Abbreviations