State Plates: All 50 States in Convenient Souvenir Plate Form

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You've definitely seen them: commemorative state plates featuring landmarks and slogans from a particular state. I call them "state plates," but the official term among collectors is "souvenir state plates." They're often displayed in kitchens, and the designs range from kitschy to classy to impossibly bizarre -- see below for examples of each. According to CountryHome (in their "What's Hot Now" feature!), state plates have been around since the 1870s:

Souvenir state plates date back to the 1870s. When travel became more accessible thanks to cars, they became increasingly popular with jet-setting travelers. There are tons of unsigned, flea-market-type plates out there, but keep your eyes open for some big-name manufacturers, including Vernon Kilns, Homer Laughlin, Salem China Company, and even Wedgwood.

In the post below, I (with the able assistance of Sadie Eck, standing in as Mental_Floss State Plate Research Assistant for this post) have collected plates for ALL FIFTY STATES. I've picked out some favorites first, then the rest are in alphabetical order. Fun things to do while looking through them: count the states you've visited, count the states you've lived in, spot the craziest designs.

South Carolina

New Mexico

new_mexico

Ohio

ohio

West Virginia

west_virginia

Oregon

oregon

South Dakota

south_dakota

Alaska

alaska

Click the little numbers below to see the rest!

Alabama

alabama

Arizona

arizona

Arkansas

arkansas

California

california

Colorado

colorado

Connecticut

connecticut

Delaware

delaware

Florida

florida

Georgia

georgia

Hawaii

hawaii

Idaho

idaho

Illinois

illinois

Indiana

indiana

Iowa

iowa

Kansas

kansas

Kentucky

kentucky

Louisiana

louisiana

Maine

maine

Maryland

maryland

Massachusetts

massachusetts

Michigan

michigan

Minnesota

minnesota

Mississippi

mississippi

Missouri

missouri

Montana

montana

Nebraska

nebraska

Nevada

nevada

New Hampshire

new_hampshire

New Jersey

new_jersey

New York

new_york

North Carolina

north_carolina

North Dakota

north_dakota

Oklahoma

oklahoma

Pennsylvania

pennsylvania

Rhode Island

rhode_island

Tennessee

tennessee

Texas

texas

Utah

utah

Vermont

vermont

Virginia

virginia

Washington

washington

Wisconsin

wisconsin

Wyoming

wyoming

Acknowledgements

This post is dedicated to Mr. Clinton Bowie, a gentleman and scholar who has dedicated much of his life to the study of State Plates whilst residing in The Beaver State, Oregon. Today also happens to be Mr. Bowie's thirtieth birthday. Happy birthday, Clint!

This post would not have been possible without research assistance by Sadie Eck. Thank you Sadie!

What Did I Leave Out?

Each state has many plates, and often a city or landmark will have its own plate. If you have a favorite plate, leave a link in the comments!

Want to buy a state plate? Tons of these are available on eBay and other places online. I recommend searching for, eg, "oregon state place -license" (to remove license plates from the search).

See also: list of state mottos, list of state slogans, and list of state nicknames.

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November 6, 2009 - 3:15am
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