My 2 Cents
Jon Upton : The Back Bumper


Brrr, itís cold.

The biggest news to come out of the Ontario media about plates, over the past couple of years, is the peeling background, which has drawn the ire of pretty much every motorist in the province. However, it looks like there may be a solution. Newer Ontario plates, going forward, have different sheeting applied to the aluminum, which is hopefully more resistant to the elements. This new sheeting is easily identifiable by its hologram. Up to now, Ontario plates bore a trillium hologram that has either been in the top left corner, or has repeated in a line down the centre of the plate. The new hologram actually contains a lot number, so MTO suits and plate geeks alike can keep a close watch over the peelability of future plates. Also, if the lot number changes, I wonder if there are any hard-core plate geeks out there who will try to narrow down which letter series marks the cutoff between lot numbers. Perhaps a multi-faceted hobby just developed a new facet?

My own plates are personalized with a graphic, and since I use clear plate covers, the plates have been resistant to that terrible peeling, although theyíre starting to let go around the edges. Iím not wild about the idea of re-ordering them, not only because of the high cost of graphic replacement, but also because Iím told you actually have to surrender your old personalized plates to get new ones ordered, and in the meantime, a temporarily-assigned regular passenger plate is issued to you instead. I don't wanna surrender my graphic plates. Maybe Iíll just surrender a couple of my really crappy non-graphic front plates Iíve kept over the years, so I can hang onto my beloved Ontario flag graphic plate. The numbers are all the same, anyway.

This winter, a gal in the GTA contacted me about an inverted set of 1967 Confederation plates. I always bite on these sorts of messages, but I never expect them to go anywhere, because usually people just mine me for value information before moving over to eBay or Kijiji to get absolute top dollar. Itís been probably a couple of years since Iíve been able to negotiate with someone in good faith without them turning away. Anyway, we agreed on a fair purchase price, I paid for Ďem, and they arrived in the mail last week. Theyíre really nice! I generally keep pairs together whenever possible these days, but maybe Iíll bring one to Acton as trade bait. Iíve always wanted a í67 Invert. I have a í73, í69 and a í68, as well as a new reflective one that I won from eBay. (Sir James, this means that Iíll no longer be pestering you to trade one of yours to me.)

On a related note, I was also able to land something else for my collectionÖ a nice matched set of 1916 wire-rimmed tin plates. I have a pair already, but oneís a keeper and the other is just a rusty tagalong with the matching number. The keeper is in lesser condition than either plate of the incoming pair. Upgrading these early plates is really tough. Iím no longer worried about upgrading my depression-era plates by a half-tier. If Iím going to spend new moolah to upgrade something, Iíd prefer to put my eggs in one basket and upgrade one of the toughies.

Speaking of upgrading tough plates, thereís a unique chance to do some of that at the upcoming Acton meet in April. Many of you readers must now be aware of the passing of ALPCA member George Sanders (#205). He was an avid collector of plates from the 1940s as a child. He collected whatever he could from across Canada, the US and around the world. George was an avid traveller and collected plates from all corners of the globe. Georgeís family has come to the decision to disperse the collection, and theyíll be doing much of it by way of silent auction. Bidders can view the various lots and submit written bids via e-mail or snail mail up to Saturday April 23óthe day before the meet. Winning bidders will be able to pick up their loot in Acton. More on the collection and how to make a bid can be found on Georgeís blog.

Late winter is an agonizing time. The sun sets a little later, which perks me up and makes me want to do warm-weather things like drive my VW, or paint plates in the garage with the door open, or check out a local car show. If the weather is like last year, Iíll be able to open my garage to hobby-centric tasks in about a month. It occurs to me that Iím writing this on a leap dayóI donít think Iíve ever posted a 2 Cents article on a leap day before. Iíve been writing these web columns to no one for the past 18-plus years, so Iíve had the chance to do a leap day instalment at least three times before.

To dull the monotony of an already dull time of year, I went to dinner with a group of five other Ottawa-area plate geeks. What began as a one-time event a few years ago has graduated to an annual Christmastime event, but because of bad weather in December, we missed some people and had a do-over this past Saturday. We may do a BBQ in the summer. Could this be the genesis of a local swap meet? Who knows, although itís already a given that thereíll be trading and show-and-tell around the restaurant table, to the bemusement of our servers. Pictured here is Dave Grant, our ďfounder,Ē holding one of his show-and-tell items.

Acton is new less than two months away, and thereís nothing for me to do for now, hobby-wise, but wait. Iíll bring this cobbled-together article to a close by posting a really cool plate spotting I made in Ottawa, the Saturday afternoon before our group dinner.

Some previous instalments of My 2 Cents  

Credit Where Credit Is Due (Jan 31/09) 
YOMPlates (Mar 29/09) 
...A Man Alone... (Apr 26/09) 
Stir-Crazy (May 10/09) 
Watson, Steam, Nash and Fun (May 31/09) 
Oro Express (June 14/09) 
Weary in Erie (June 29/09) 
Weary in Erie 2 (July 6/09) 
Weary in Erie 3 (July 15/09) 
Walking the Walk (Aug 19/09) 
Gettin' My Fillia in Orillia (Sep 20/09) 
Destination Super (Oct 29/09) 
Auction in the Country (Dec 31/09) 
Wintertime Update (Feb 20/10) 
Plates and Parenting in Acton (Apr 25/10) 
Ketchup (Aug 17/10) 
Mileage May Vary in Barrie (Oct 2/10) 
Grim Pickings (Nov 2/10) 
Oppression (Nov 27/10) 
Virtual Display (Dec 26/10) 
Variable Virtual Value (Feb 27/11) 
7 2 1 3 (Mar 6/11) 
Police Thyself (Apr 17/11) 
Twofer One (May 12/11) 
100 / 1000 (Jun 8 /11) 
Cruising and Shopping in Merrickville (Jul 11/11) 

Bert's Barn & Bug (Aug 1/11) 
Hot & Bothered in Bothwell (Aug 23/11) 
Summer's Last Gasp (Sep 16/11) 
Some Facts About Fakes (Oct 24/11) 
You Had To Be There (Nov 4/11) 
Load Runners (Dec 24/11) 
Load Runners - The Sequel (Jan 16/12) 
In Search of the Canadian Car (Feb 20/12)
Passing Time (Apr 1/12)
These Magic Moments (May 19/12)
Seller 57, Where Are You? (June 16/12)
Moseying in Merrickville (July 11/12)
Doors Open 2012 (Aug 13/12)
Let It Rain, Rain, Rain (Sep 15/12)
Volksfest 2012 (Oct 1/12)
Why I Skipped Grimsby (Nov 11/12)
December '95 (Dec 2/12)
Five Oh Eight (Dec 31/12)
Ontario Leather Plates: Fake or Not? (Jan 26/13)
Photobox (Feb 24/13)
Half Acton (May 7/13)
Kids' Day Out (May 26/13)
Overcharged in Oro (Jun 16/13)
Merrickville 2013 (Jul 19/13)

Bugging (Aug 27/13)
Opengo-Monck Travelogue (Sep 11/13)
Friday Night in the Garage (Sep 29/13)
Long Time Coming (Oct 29/13)
August '97 (Nov 23/13)
Behind the Bars (Dec 28/13)
Peoria '96 (Jan 18/14)
Bleak Midwinter (Feb 15/14)
Photobox '14 (Mar 12/14)
Lightning Striking Again (Apr 5/14)
Acton in the Arena (May 5/14)
A Gran Torino Day Out (May 28/14)
Daddy - Daughter - Barrie (Jun 8/14)
Rochester 2014 - The Monday (Jul 21/14)
Rochester 2014 - The Tuesday (Jul 27/14)
Rochester 2014 - The Wednesday (Aug 3/14)
Rochester 2014 - The Thursday (Aug 10/14)
Rochester 2014 - The Friday (Aug 29/14)
Rochester 2014 - The Saturday (Sep 8/14)
G-R-I-M-S-B-Y Spells Relief (Oct 28/14)
Peel-O-Matic (Dec 21/14)
Is It Spring Yet? (Jan 25/15)
My 1952 Type Set (Feb 22/15)
Evolution (Mar 27/15)
Acton 2015 (Apr 28/15)
Landing in Lindsay (May 2/15)
Field of Dreams (June 11/15)
Summer of '89 (Aug 11/15)
Stories For the Sake of Telling (Sep 30/15)
The Grimsby Shuffle (Oct 24/15)
Behind The Bars - An Update (Dec 20/15)

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