Since the first automobiles in the 1890s, license plates have been along for the ride, registering vehicles and telling historical, and sometimes hysterical, stories about Maine, America, and the world. License plates have been used as state and national symbols, political propaganda, pop culture icons, folk art, deadly tools of war, and even farm animal feed. The audience is invited to bring their favorite license plates to share with the group. On Sunday, March 19th at 2:00 pm, Boothbay Railway Village presents A Moving History, an illustrated talk on license plates from Maine and around the world, by license plate historian, author, and collector Tim Stentiford. The talk will take place inside the Museum’s 1847 Boothbay Town Hall. Admission is free, suggested donation of $5 appreciated.
This lecture includes license plates from three centuries, dozens of examples of some of the world’s most sought after license plates including the earliest Maine license plates from 1905, as well as political plates from governors and presidents, controversial plates that landed in the Supreme Court, award winning plates, and the world’s rarest plate from the smallest country in the world. Maine has the world’s oldest slogan on license plates, “Vacationland.” It has been used continuously since 1936 which is a world record, but there’s a very funny story about how this motto almost didn’t come to be. The rarest Maine license plate isn’t from the turn of last century, but came out in 1999 due to a strange battle between lobsters and chickadees.
Tim Stentiford is from Kennebunk, Maine and is the owner of Motorland, a classic car showroom and service center in Arundel, with over 100 vintage vehicles in inventory (motorlandamerica.com). He has been researching, collecting, and writing about license plates for more than 40 years, and has over 5000 license plates in his collection including tags from every country in the world, all 50 states, and over 110 years of license plates from Maine. Tim has been a member of license plate clubs since the 1970s, was interviewed by Forbes Magazine and the New York Times about license plates, and consulted with film crews and detectives.