St. Lucie County porcelain license plate (1913)

PetesPockets55

Bronze Member
Apr 18, 2013
1,481
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Indian River Co., Fl
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OldFortPak-1913-StLucieForHireLicensePlate-CleanedUp-Front-Full-1VNice.JPG

I got out to a riverside beach this weekend in Ft. Pierce after the torrential rain last week. I've been detecting an area where a creek empties into the river and the shore always changes after a gully washer.
I thought my timing was terrible since it was high tide when I got there. Turns out it just got me to look closely along the new high tide line.
OldFortPak-ExposedPalmTreeRootBalls.JPG


I managed to find multiple NA pottery shards, as well as a brass hinge with the screw still attached (in a washed-out palm tree root ball), and a porcelain license plate.
OldFortPak-1913-StLucieForHireLicensePlate-Insitu-3.JPG

OldFortPak-1913-StLucieForHireLicensePlate-AsFound-Front-Full-2VNice.JPG

As you can see from the image I couldn't make out much on the plate at first because of the staining and rusting.
I was able to see ("St. Lu"), tag # 20(8?), and "FOR". Not much to go on but I was hoping that the porcelain protected more of the info if I could get the rust off without damaging it.

Here is what I was able to coax after a little phosphoric acid bath (not much help) and some elbow grease with a piece of pine fat-wood. Not a valuable find at all but very satisfying to pull a date off the plate.
OldFortPak-1913-StLucieForHireLicensePlate-CleanedUp-Front-Full-1VNice.JPG



BTW- It looks like the black paint was the last color to go on because of the light "bleeding" of the black onto the yellow on the base of the 2.

And here are some of the hinge with fastener attached.
(I like this because it goes well with a jewelry box hinge I found in 2018 (LINK) with a retained fastener, although not nearly as old.)
OldFortPak-ExposedPalmTreeRootBalls-2-DecorativeBrassHinge-Close.JPG OldFortPak-ExposedPalmTreeRootBalls-2-DecorativeBrassHinge-Close-Back-withScrew.JPG
Thanks for looking and enjoy your day.

EDIT: Well, my attempt at an edit deleted multiple images. Lets see if I can resurrect them.
 

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Upvote 22

Digger RJ

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Aug 24, 2017
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View attachment 2057850

I got out to a riverside beach this weekend in Ft. Pierce after the torrential rain last week. I've been detecting an area where a creek empties into the river and the shore always changes after a gully washer.
I thought my timing was terrible since it was high tide when I got there. Turns out it just got me to look closely along the new high tide line.
View attachment 2057859

I managed to find multiple NA pottery shards, as well as a brass hinge with the screw still attached (in a washed-out palm tree root ball), and a porcelain license plate.
View attachment 2057851
View attachment 2057860
As you can see from the image I couldn't make out much on the plate at first because of the staining and rusting.
I was able to see ("St. Lu"), tag # 20(8?), and "FOR". Not much to go on but I was hoping that the porcelain protected more of the info if I could get the rust off without damaging it.

Here is what I was able to coax after a little phosphoric acid bath (not much help) and some elbow grease with a piece of pine fat-wood. Not a valuable find at all but very satisfying to pull a date off the plate.
View attachment 2057849


BTW- It looks like the black paint was the last color to go on because of the light "bleeding" of the black onto the yellow on the base of the 2.

And here are some of the hinge with fastener attached.
(I like this because it goes well with a jewelry box hinge I found in 2018 (LINK) with a retained fastener, although not nearly as old.)
View attachment 2057861 View attachment 2057862
Thanks for looking and enjoy your day.

EDIT: Well, my attempt at an edit deleted multiple images. Lets see if I can resurrect them.
Nice!!! Congrats!!!
 
OP
PetesPockets55

PetesPockets55

Bronze Member
Apr 18, 2013
1,481
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Indian River Co., Fl
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AT MAX & Carrot, Nokta Pulse Dice (:
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  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #5
Thanks for the comments DRJ, E-Trac, and WD3687.
Thanks also to many others for the views & likes.

Here's a link to a license plate site I just came across that seems like it could be useful. I haven't had a chance to look it over in much depth.


The main reason for going through all the trouble to try to clean it up was to help others that may come across a similar one and help them to ID a date if it wasn't legible for some reason.
Initially, I had managed to locate one plate that was set up differently with 4 numbers and the last number had chipped away. That person thought it was 1913 or 1918 (and now I know theirs was 1918).

EDIT: In looking over the site I linked, it has a plate from 1913 (#133) which would have been neat to find initially.
One thing I forgot to mention is how "beefy" the plate is. Not pressed and formed, but flat and almost 1/8" thick.
 
OP
PetesPockets55

PetesPockets55

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Apr 18, 2013
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Indian River Co., Fl
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I just thought I'd add an update to this thread.

I sent a thank you email to the site I linked about the Florida Lic Plates and let him know about this find. I wanted him to know his efforts to have his site available as a reference for research were appreciated. When he asked if it would be ok to forward my email to a couple of collectors he knew, I said by all means.

Well, that same day I heard from a collector that made a very generous 4 figure offer!!! ... which I accepted.
My understanding is that the part that made this license plate most desirable was the "FOR HIRE" designation, on an early porcelain lic. plate. His earliest "FOR HIRE" plate was from 1914 if I remember correctly.

As I understand it, license plates started locally in 1912. They weren't state-issued at first. (1913 was when Henry Ford started in earnest, which would have driven the need for state lic. plates in later years.)
"FOR HIRE" plates were commercial in nature so there would have been fewer of them, which would affect supplies today. (The old "Supply" vs. "Demand" conundrum.)

The gentleman has a really nice collection and wants to encourage people to find more plates. (Hence the offer.)
So don't just throw those rusty old iron lic. plates away. Post them for the collectors to see and add to their collections. (I guess "All Metal" mode is the way to go. LOL)
 

pepperj

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Feb 3, 2009
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I just thought I'd add an update to this thread.

I sent a thank you email to the site I linked about the Florida Lic Plates and let him know about this find. I wanted him to know his efforts to have his site available as a reference for research were appreciated. When he asked if it would be ok to forward my email to a couple of collectors he knew, I said by all means.

Well, that same day I heard from a collector that made a very generous 4 figure offer!!! ... which I accepted.
My understanding is that the part that made this license plate most desirable was the "FOR HIRE" designation, on an early porcelain lic. plate. His earliest "FOR HIRE" plate was from 1914 if I remember correctly.

As I understand it, license plates started locally in 1912. They weren't state-issued at first. (1913 was when Henry Ford started in earnest, which would have driven the need for state lic. plates in later years.)
"FOR HIRE" plates were commercial in nature so there would have been fewer of them, which would affect supplies today. (The old "Supply" vs. "Demand" conundrum.)

The gentleman has a really nice collection and wants to encourage people to find more plates. (Hence the offer.)
So don't just throw those rusty old iron lic. plates away. Post them for the collectors to see and add to their collections. (I guess "All Metal" mode is the way to go. LOL)
Just a query regarding the four figured offer.
$10.00
$1000.00
4 figures in total or the 4 figures before the .
Learning the history/date of the plate is cool.
 
OP
PetesPockets55

PetesPockets55

Bronze Member
Apr 18, 2013
1,481
2,566
Indian River Co., Fl
Detector(s) used
AT MAX & Carrot, Nokta Pulse Dice (:
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #8
.... $1000.00
... or the 4 figures before the .(dot) ....
This one. It sure surprised the heck out of me.
(thanks for asking)

He wanted to make sure the offer grabbed people's attention so they would see the value and not just toss an important one.

And I'm posting the amount so others attention will be grabbed as well and keep an eye out. He didn't ask me to post the amount but IMHO it benefits plate collectors and detectorists to know the potential value.

(BTW- That Florida license plate site has a trove of information in each section. One guy walking through the woods came across one in an old trash heap that was valuable.)
 

Casey13

Sr. Member
Sep 17, 2021
251
683
Primary Interest:
Metal Detecting
View attachment 2057850

I got out to a riverside beach this weekend in Ft. Pierce after the torrential rain last week. I've been detecting an area where a creek empties into the river and the shore always changes after a gully washer.
I thought my timing was terrible since it was high tide when I got there. Turns out it just got me to look closely along the new high tide line.
View attachment 2057859

I managed to find multiple NA pottery shards, as well as a brass hinge with the screw still attached (in a washed-out palm tree root ball), and a porcelain license plate.
View attachment 2057851
View attachment 2057860
As you can see from the image I couldn't make out much on the plate at first because of the staining and rusting.
I was able to see ("St. Lu"), tag # 20(8?), and "FOR". Not much to go on but I was hoping that the porcelain protected more of the info if I could get the rust off without damaging it.

Here is what I was able to coax after a little phosphoric acid bath (not much help) and some elbow grease with a piece of pine fat-wood. Not a valuable find at all but very satisfying to pull a date off the plate.
View attachment 2057849


BTW- It looks like the black paint was the last color to go on because of the light "bleeding" of the black onto the yellow on the base of the 2.

And here are some of the hinge with fastener attached.
(I like this because it goes well with a jewelry box hinge I found in 2018 (LINK) with a retained fastener, although not nearly as old.)
View attachment 2057861 View attachment 2057862
Thanks for looking and enjoy your day.

EDIT: Well, my attempt at an edit deleted multiple images. Lets see if I can resurrect them.
Super cool plate!
 

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