British Columbia Antique License Plates

With Antique plates, you are allowed to drive a vehicle for special occasions such as exhibitions, parades, car club activities, public events such as the opening of a new highway, weddings, and graduations. A vehicle must be: at least 30 years old, owned as a collector's item, maintained as close as possible to its original condition with original parts and mechanically sound.
Two Digit Plates
At the time of their introduction in 1966, British Columbia was celebrating the centennial anniversary of the unification of the Colony of Vancouver Island with the mainland Colony of British Columbia, and was one year away from celebrating the centennial of Canadian Confederation. B.C.'s federation with Canada would not occur until 1871 - which is duly noted on the 1971 validation decal. According to the province, many of the public occasions that would be held over the next two years would be enlivened through the participation of vintage cars. As such cars were not on the road everyday, a permanent plate was designed - in part, at the suggestion of the owners of these cars.
Three Digit Plates
The plates also marked a first, of sorts, for British Columbia. For years, the province had been seeking some method in which to introduce a form of "lifetime plates." While the nature of these Antique plates obviously limited their applicability as a general issue, for those who qualified, the $20 fee brought with it a license plate that would never need to be re-validated; they would be permanent and would stay with a car till it could go no more!
Four Digit Plates
A minor design change occured in the four digit range (somewhere between 1500 and 2500) as the antique car was fitted with a different set of rims. While interesting, this is considered to be an insignificant modification ...
At the time of their introduction in 1966, British Columbia was celebrating the centennial anniversary of the unification of the Colony of Vancouver Island with the mainland Colony of British Columbia, and was one year away from celebrating the centennial of Canadian Confederation. B.C.'s federation with Canada would not occur until 1871 - which is duly noted on the 1971 validation decal. According to the province, many of the public occasions that would be held over the next two years would be enlivened through the participation of vintage cars. As such cars were not on the road everyday, a permanent plate was designed - in part, at the suggestion of the owners of these cars.
The plates also marked a first, of sorts, for British Columbia. For years, the province had been seeking some method in which to introduce a form of "lifetime plates." While the nature of these Antique plates obviously limited their applicability as a general issue, for those who qualified, the $20 fee brought with it a license plate that would never need to be re-validated; they would be permanent and would stay with a car till it could go no more!

Sample, Prototype & Paint Test Plates

At the time of their release, Antique plates were reported to be starting at number 101, to be issued in sequential order thereafter (Vancouver recieved plates 101-199, and Victoria 200-299). The die type for all three-digit plates is noticeably larger than for the four-digit plates (such as the one pictured at right). They all display the word 'Vintage' on top-center, with British Columbia along the bottom center. The plates are also adorned with an embossed image of an old motor carrier.
It is thought that after this, Vancouver area motorists receiving these plates received pairs from the bloc starting at 400.
An interesting, and as yet unexplained issuance appears to have occurred in the early 1970s. An authentic Motor Vehicle Branch box (used for storing plates), and labeld "Vintage" with the date 7/5/1973, that yielded plates numbered: 51-75 has been brought to this writer's attention. Employing the original, bigger die type, is it possible these were produced at the end of the 101-999 run before the switch to the smaller dies? Does this series technically start at No. 1, or was a No. 1 even prodcued? These are questions that remain to be answered ....
In this image, taken in May of 1970, a number of antique vehicles are assembled for what is believed to be either a parade or car show. Shown prominently on the vehicle in the foreground (at centre) is Antique plate No. 489.
Single Digit Plates
The illusive single digit Antique vehicle license plate! After years of searching a specimen has finally been spotted (2013-03-31) and submitted to the BCpl8s.ca labs for further examination.

Decaled Plates
As is evident from these plates, at some point in the mid-1970s the province appears to have required that validation declas be attached to Antique plates, which is very odd as these were always intended to be permanent plates that would not require revalidation. Or, possibly, some collector was up to no-good with some left-over decals ...

 A month after their release in 1966, nineteen Victoria residents had applied for the plates, and today the series is roughly into the high four digit range, and can also be seen, on occasion, as motorcycle plates. One of the more amusing quotes from the early days of this issue came from the Attorney-General, who felt compelled to state that the plates were not meant to be displayed by, or denote the Liquor Control Board. A misconception that was obviously being fueled by the word 'Vintage' displayed at the top of the plate.
Antique Motorcycle License Plates

Redesigned Antique Motorcycle License Plates


Sources
Vancouver Province Newspaper
Victoria Colonist Newspaper
Victoria Daily Times Newspaper
Dan Howlett, "Decoding British Columbia License Plates", http://www.kasumirecords.com/bcplates/index.htm (October 28, 2001).
Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, http://www.icbc.com (Ocotber 28, 2001).
Bill Hobbis, personal correspondance (December 2001), image credit Vintage plate No. 70.
Ron Garay, image credit; Vintage Motorcycle plate.

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