Very Early California Leather & Mesh License Plate SOLD A1188

This is a terrific rarity and a fascinating curiosity.

Price on request.

In the first decade of the century, the most common means of making a license was through the local harness shop. And that’s where leather comes into the picture. Tack shops could see that their trade – and business – was ending rapidly as the automobile began replacing the horse and buggy. Demand for saddles, buggy whips and other horse-related goods was disappearing, so businesses looked to the automobile trade. Seats and tops were obvious goods they could provide, and so were registration plates.

The first individual to realize that auto tags could be made of leather is long lost to history – but it was a good choice. Leather was supple and pliable, would not easily rip or tear, and could be drilled, stitched and punctured by the rivets used to secure the registration numbers. It was a natural, and by the middle of the decade house-numbers-on-leather became the dominant materials for making license plates.