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Style #6, Gold on Blue Silk-Screened: 1968-Present

The change to Delaware's plates with which collectors are most familiar took place in late 1968 (Carson says August, the State says October) with the introduction of the flat silk-screened style of tag still being issued today. The adoption of this style has not resulted in the complete abandonment of the riveted variety; these are still issued as replacement plates for lost or damaged older tags, or for any in-state title transfer where the original plate is missing. The riveted variety is much less prevalent; the ratio is perhaps 1 in 100, or less. The first of the flat screened plates had a thin outline in the lower right corner to indicate sticker placement. A few years later the gold outline was expanded to a solid square with the words "PLACE STICKER HERE" inside. In spite of this admonition, it is popular in Delaware to decorate all four corners with the colorful stickers, or to place them anywhere legibility will allow.

Collectors may argue as to what constitutes a true 'variety' of a baseplate; this hobbyist recognizes those that are "visually evident" as legitimate varieties; changes in metal thickness are not are included. Thus, there are four notable variations of Delaware's flat screened passenger plates. These are: a) sticker box: b) "PLACE STICKER HERE" c) the "Folio" typeface variety, detailed in the 2/89 Newsletter, p.26, in which the printed legends vary slightly from standard; d) -a "pale scotchlite" variety created by a recent changeover in the production process to an industrial grade of gold background material as a cost cutting maneuver. This last variety has not been reported yet in the Newsletter, and is quite noticeable as the paler undercoat allows the thin topcoat color to show a truer blue. Sometime during the mid to late 1980's, a thinner, untempered grade of aluminum was phased into production, again as a cost cutting move. This, and the several variations of holographic images that hide in the base material, are not considered major varieties.

The riveted plates with gold border, issued concurrent with the flat plates, should probably be considered separately as Style 7. These have a complexity akin to the hybrids of 1958-59 although not as extensive. The first of these had older 'rough' glass-bead-type gold digits applied, the same ones as were in use on the previous 'FIRST STATE' base. Again, Delaware was apparently using up old stock. When digits were produced from the newer smooth-style scotchlite, they were mixed in with the older ones in the supply bins, resulting in the creation of a new hybrid, a plate with mixed digits, quite noticeable to the eye. This has happened again during the past couple years as Delaware has switched to the paler color gold material.

There is a new variety that will soon make its appearance on Delaware passenger plates (it has already on P/C's and RV's) and you can tell 'em you heard it here first. Periodically the question arises, "What will Delaware do when the end of the 900 thousands is reached in the States all numeric passenger registration system"? The answer is, they are going into seven digits. around the middle of this year. This combination was introduced in the P/C (passenger/combination, or station wagon) series and also for recreational vehicles, RV plus five digits. And believe me, it looks crowded. Nevertheless, this change was the easiest to adapt to Delaware's established system, and it will allow for a virtually unlimited expansion of registration figures. Long before this system is again squeezed, there will be no place between Wilmington and Dewey Beach left to park.

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