Registry Home1903 Leather Plates1905-10 Rubber Plates1911 Porcelain Plates1912-20 MC Plates

 


Ontario was the first province in Canada that passed a law in 1903 that required motorists to pay $2 for a leather licence shield adorned with aluminum numbers. John C. Eaton bought the first two — one for his 1903 Winton (likely pictured above), and the second for his National electric vehicle.

Dr. Perry Doolittle, who would later found CAA, bought the third of what would eventually be 178 plates issued that year. The fourth plate, issued to Howard Chandler still exists today and is held by his descendants. As of this writing only a handful are known to survive.

I’ve also listed in the second chart below all the known fake leather plates to help novice collectors avoid a potential costly mistake. By no means are the fake plate sections below and on subsequent pages meant to “out” collectors – it is simply a registry. For example, I own fake #80 leather in my own collection!

Skip to: Fake Leather Plates

Passenger

YearPlate NumberOwnershipDetailsPicture
19034Chandler familyIssued to Howard Chandler of Toronto. Still owned by Chandler's descendants.
19039MTO ArchivesImage courtesy of Jim Becksted (2000). Also pictured, page 47 Ontario License Plates – A Century of History by (Sallmen)
1903126Known Private CollectionImage courtesy of owner.
1903508Known Private CollectionDiscovered in 2012. Image courtesy of Jon Upton.
1903568Unknown Private CollectionSold in 2010 on ebay, formerly Plunkett collection. Ebay Image.
1903591Unknown Private CollectionSold privately in 2009. Pictured, page 10 Ontario License Plates – A Century of History by (Sallmen)
1903702Known Private CollectionImage courtesy of Terry Ellsworth. Also pictured on cover of Ontario License Plates – A Century of History by (Sallmen)
1903744Known Private CollectionImage courtesy of Terry Ellsworth. Also pictured, page 10 Ontario License Plates – A Century of History by (Sallmen)
Total Known8

 

 

 

1903 Ford Model A

 

Fake Leather Plates

YearPlate NumberOwnershipDetailsPicture
1903 ReplicaBMTO ArchivesImage courtesy of Jon Upton. Likely assembled by using Ministry's spare parts in 1920.
1903 ReplicaBUnknown Private CollectionImage courtesy of Jon Upton.
1903 ReplicaBUnknown Private CollectionImage courtesy of Terry Ellsworth - 2013. Taken during Belleville Musem closing.
1903 ReplicaBBUnknown Private CollectionImage courtesy of Jon Upton.
1903 Replica4Unknown Private CollectionFormerly in Hayes collection, current whereabouts unknown.
1903 Replica9Unknown Private CollectionDifferent style from #9 below (narrow vs. wide shield). Ebay Image.
1903 Replica9Unknown Private CollectionInternet image.
1903 Replica9Unknown Private CollectionImage courtesy of Jon Upton. May be the same as above however screws are black in above picture.
1903 Replica25Mounted on 1905 Northern carImage courtesy of Autofocus.ca
1903 Replica35Unknown Private Collection. Likely from the Hamilton area.Image courtesy of Jon Upton. Photo taken of a picture.
1903 Replica44Automobile License Plate Collectors Association (ALPCA)Image from ALPCA archives.
1903 Replica55Unknown Private CollectionSold on ebay mid-2000's. Ebay Image.
1903 Replica65Unknown Private CollectionImage courtesy of Jon Upton.
1903 Replica80Eric Vettoretti CollectionAcquired from eBay in 2012.
1903 Replica595Unknown Private CollectionImage courtesy of Jon Upton.
1903 Replica846Mounted on 1905 Queen Model B carImage courtesy of Flickr
Total Known17

 

 

1910, Air Show, Ontario (image: Toronto Achives, Fonds 1244, Item 67)

 

Ontario Early Years Plate Registry, Eric Vettoretti 2017

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