July 20, 2018


(NL) KM-73-20  —  Dutch Sint Maarten has a few Royal Netherlands Navy vehicles in service.    This pick-up/ute/bakke was seen by Philipsburg dock in 2016.     We assume the military plates which go abroad are not specially coded.   (Koninklijke Marine)                                                  Brumby archive.



(F)  224 WAL 24  —  Also at the dockside  there but destined for FRENCH St. Martin was a heavy truck using French temporary exit plates from the 1990s(?)

(F)  224 WAL 24


(PAK) PALITANA 1  —  Prince Shiv of Palitana was a lively socialite in the London scene in 1955.       His new, scarlet Ford Thunderbird was photographed by the Daily Mail newspaper and three nascent plate-spotters jumped on a train from the English midlands, to search for the subject of this photo.      And we found it, in Berkeley Square!

Neither Terry Gray, Ivan Thornley nor the Blog  had a camera in those times and in the intervening 63 years, notebooks lost, we have wondered if we had dreamed it all, as we had no evidence – until a modern web search found the very shot.

Silver-on-red plates, as was the way with the Indian (and later, Pakistani) royal households’ plate style.



(GH)  GR 1000 E  —  Guy Lewis, stringer for the Blog ,spent a year in Nigeria in 2017 masquerading as an international banking plenipotentiary, and captured this Jaguar E-Type which had made its way over from Ghana – a rare sight in either country, one would think.

There was never anywhere to mount a front plate on an E-Type, so some enlightened countries permitted an adhesive Fablon format, which didn’t disfigure the aesthetics of that beautiful car.     Ghana seems to have become such a kindly place.

GR 1000 E

G 1000 E


(USA)  T-687  ==  Jim Fox Eu 0095 is extending his deep historical researches in to US state and federal government-issued plates           (Fox archive)

Jim – would you care to fill us in with the background of this very unusual issue?     (Responses below.)

US/FWA   T-687



This looks suspiciously like Karel Stoel’s 1940s bedroom and perhaps his mother wondering how best to tidy it up!

Later the whole collection went on public display at a small transport museum in Holland.    In the 1960s, the museum had to close BUT the plates were, we believe, saved in the nick of time.    Who has the story?

STOEL  ==  Many of these classic, obsolete plates have found their way in to modern collections, fortunately.    If YOU have one or more, why not send in the current picture, for us all to share your pleasure?    (What’s the R/I X 5154???)


BN 1627  ==  When this picture first came to light in the Stoel albums which were acquired from careful long-term storage by Europlate in 2016, we defined it as a Libyan Benghazi plate of a previously unrecorded format.      Later, we came to recognise it as an Anglo-Egyptian Sudan issue from the Blue Nile registration office.        Wonders will never cease!

Fortunately, THESE wonders didn’t come singly.     Another four evocative shots from Sudan, pre-independence.

(ET)  BN 1089  —  Blue Nile province on a Morris Minor (sidevalve) convertible, suspected 1949, is shot in London.

K 4206 —  Khartoum, Sudan 1920s-58 series.

c.1947 Vauxhall HIX-type 12hp


(ET)  E 1100  —  and this 1950s Morris-Commercial LD5 minibus was registered in Equatoria Province of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan.========================

(ET)  K.35  —  Hard to believe, but this enamelled 1920s Khartoum Dealer plate survives in a collection somewhere………


Khartoum 4KH 22477  —  And, though this is predominantly a Historic plate site, as the Blog got a shot of a current-issue  Sudani in Ethiopia in 2017, we might as well display it.     It’s a poor shot, because I was being arrested during the filming – apparently tourists cannot take pictures in Addis Ababa…..



For more plate photos, be sure to visit The Europlate Historic Archive:

TEHA website

African Oddities

November 22, 2013

African checkout

A recent run round southern, central and northern Africa unearthed a few unexpected plate sightings, which Bloggers may like to share.     A car-park in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga (formerly Northern Transvaal) presented the remarkable photo opportunity to compare the latest Mozambique plate with the current MP local plate.     The background colours of the MOC Maputo Province help to identify them from the mainly black on white South African MP series – but remembering that the two places share a national border, it does seem odd that such similar formats were adopted.

Mpumulanga at left and Mozambique (Maputo Province to the right.

MP and MP  –  Mpumulanga at left and Mozambique (Maputo Province) to the right.


The ZANZIBAR Post from this trip  is already up on the Blog and the ETHIOPIAN page will come shortly.


BELOW:  Non. 2013.    Just leaving Zanzibar for Ethiopia, I glimpsed a new Range Rover parked off-road  in a secure compound, carrying a quite new plate type,     T 312 CCI  .    Unusually, the guards on the gate  didn’t display the usual paranoia and let me slip in to get a shot.    Later, The Venerable Neil found a Google reference to CCI  under, which seems to pin this hundred-thousand-dollar car to a homeless persons’ charity in Tanzania.     Nice design, anyway.

T 312 CCI  -  Identified by Neil Parker and Google, as an NGO in Tanganyika.

T 312 CCI – Identified by Neil Parker and Google, as an NGO in Tanganyika.


One of the first oddities seen in Addis Ababa – and not surrounded by spooks – was this military vehicle with a good condition plate.

Ethiopian Defence Force 2013

Ethiopian Defence Force 2013

At the former palace of Emperor Haile Selassie, now the University Ethnological museum in Addis, was a photo of his 1940s Ford V-8 convertible, on Harar plates.    A rotten shot of an old photo, but a rare image of an Abyssinian plate of the period – and from a jurisdiction other than  the capital.

HA 14ll - The characteristic font of early Ethiopian plates.....

HA 1411 – The characteristic font of early Ethiopian plates…..

(ETH 36-41)_HA 1411_cu_VBmuseum2013

BELOW:    This was a costly shot.     A plate seen up a side-street,  from the corner of my eye, through the vibrating window of my 17th.-century LADA taxi,  I commanded my driver to stop for a photo-opportunity, believing it to be a Saudi plate in Addis Ababa.    Up-close, the delight at identifying my first current-system Sudani was unbounded!

However, a bod in a dish-dash thought there might be a security issue with a western pensioner flashing his camera at a parked car, and with many a warning in Amharic (which is not a strong card in my pack of languages) and much waving of his night-stick, he did all he could to obstruct my photo-capture.       Within a few minutes, the local police force was upon me, sporting their side arms and arresting both myself and my poor cab-driver, who had come over to try to spring me.

Frog-marched a kilometre or so across some open waste ground  we reached the police station, a few ramshackle tents with an open fire for the ubiquitous Ethiopian coffee pot.   Officers of ever-increasing rank were brought to judge me and my ridiculous story and none were convinced of the innocence of our noble pursuit, although they couldn’t quite see what we might be up to.   Eventually, in a fit of diplomatic legerdemain, I presented them with an opportunity to release us without loss of face – or  paying the usual dash which overcomes all in most places.    I can’t remember how.

Here, then, for your amusement, is the result of that hour’s investment in time and fear.    (Noting that the ‘4’ is the 100,000’s prefix to the serial no. 22477, making this Khartoum car 422477, isn’t it unbelievable that this poorest of all countries should have registered so many cars in the four years this series has been extant?  Over a hundred-thousand a year!!!!)

(SUD 2009~)_4 KH 22477_cu_VB2013


Meanwhile, other snippets from recent times and varied sources:

(AFG 74-04)(ndes)_M 673_f_weeTG

Mowqati’ 673KBL  –  (temporary/foreigner) in Afghanistan between 1974 and 2004.   Among the users of this plate type, were non-diplomatic embassy staff.       Note this Merc 180, seen in UK, sports an overseas AA badge, once a frequent sighting on used imports to GB.        Terry Gray archive.

Here is a typical overseas British Automobile Association radiator badge of the type created for all or most of the Commonwealth countries.

Here is a typical overseas British Automobile Association radiator badge of the type created for all or most of the Commonwealth countries.   These make a good collector’s subject.     Brumby archive

(B)(cd)_CD AD715_weeVB2013

The new dip. through the windscreen in Belgium during September 2013.      Brumby archive

(IND5)_TN22CY 0648_c_VBmo2013

Mike Oldham saw this Tamil Nadu in Cyprus during October 2013!!!

Someone important in Malaya.

United Nations in Afghanistan, but identical to other theatres of operation, too.

UN 00438  –  United Nations in Afghanistan, but identical to other theatres of UN operation, too……..     Brumby archive

here's a pretty similar UN in Sudan...

UN 334  –  ……’s a pretty similar UN in Sudan…

Historic corner

This Austin A35 circa 1960, hails from Northern Rhodesia.   L and 3 numbers in the GB style could just as easily come from Aden or Cyprus, or Fiji or Labuan.....

L 219  –  This Austin A30 circa 1958, hails from Livingstone, then Northern Rhodesia and now Zambia.      In the 1950s,  L and 3 numbers in this GB style could just as easily have come from Aden or Cyprus, or Fiji or Labuan!

For example:

Another Austin, an A40 model, retired to an outdoor museum in Kota Kinabual, Sabah, but sporting 1960s plates from Labuan Island.

Another Austin, an A40 model, retired to an outdoor museum in Kota Kinabulu, Sabah, but sporting 1960s plates from Labuan Island.

Four numbers this time, but three were issued in Aden Colony in the 1960s.

(ADN60-63)_L 8820_TG_resize

A Keith Marvin Aden  image from his 1960 book, 'License (sic) Plates of the World' - possibly the first volume dedicated to xeno-autonumerology!

A Keith Marvin Aden image from his 1963 *book, ‘License (sic) Plates of the World’ – possibly the first volume dedicated to xeno-autonumerology!

Ah – AND Turkish Northern Cyprus (still current)

(CYN2)(83-97)_L 312_weeVB

Keith Marvin's rare book, which brought mant worldwide collectors to each others notice, and helped to form associations.

 *Keith Marvin’s rare book, which brought many worldwide collectors to each other’s notice, which in turn,  helped to form long-standing associations.   A famed and very prolific writer on automobilia in the US, he died only about 2011, aged over 90.


Spotting notes from 1956/58 (No.2)

June 13, 2013

The second and third tranches of John Pemberton’s plate records cover the years 1956 Aug. to 1958 Aug.    Many extra details have been added to John’s basic entries of these selected from about 5,000 total entries for those years – but if  any reader can add details which are not yet showing, or correct errors, that will help to improve the science!     Even plate colours would be of interest in some cases.    Please just  ‘Comment’  below.

The selections were made from the thousands noted,  based on rarity at the time, interesting numbers, or unusual vehicles, but are otherwise arbitrary.      As European plates were predominant in John’s sightings, only odd examples and unusual series have been selected for these sheets.       We hope you will enjoy delving into these pages of history!

Copy these links in to your browser to view.    (Printable)


In this 1956-58 batch of  plates, two of the records which JP notes were also seen by EU38  and captured on film – quite a coincidence, you may agree.    Here are those common sightings:

Buick Eight in London during 1958, also noted by member Pemberton.   Brumby archive

55559 – Lebanese Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight in London during June 1958, was also noted by member Pemberton in July 1958.                    Brumby archive

When I saw this, I had to visit the library to find out where 'Aruba' was to be found on an atlas!.    Some weeks after seeing the Ford 100E Anglia at Hyde Park Corner, I saw VXD 44 parked in Fulham from the top of my RT double-decker.     Swiftly dismounting, I hunted the owner, in the sure belief it was the Aruban, recently re-registered in Britain.   It was, and the amused owner handed me one of his plates, which I still value among the most unusual plates in my collection.

When I saw A-6147  passing me, I was flummoxed.     I had to visit the library to find out where ‘Aruba’ was to be found on an atlas!   Some weeks after seeing it on the grey Ford 100E Anglia at Hyde Park Corner, I saw, from the top deck of my passing double-decker, an identical car bearing shiny, brand-new VXD 44 British plates, parked in Fulham.    Swiftly dismounting, I hunted the owner within nearby houses, in the sure belief it was the Aruban car, recently re-registered in Britain.   It  WAS – the previous week – and the amused owner handed me one of his Netherlands Antilles plates, which I still value among the most unusual plates in my collection.     Sadly, no picture ‘on the car’.       Brumby archive.

On the same day A-6147 was first sighted, I made another ‘country-catch’ on Ford Consul Mk.1 A 4167, which carried a cast-alloy black ET oval with ‘Anglo-Egyptian Sudan‘  printed round the perimeter.   (How bizarre that the registration was an anagram of the Aruban Ford! )    John Pemberton also saw this vehicle on another day visiting London, but neither of us got photos, unfortunately – particularly as the ‘A’ registration format did not match what I know of Sudan plates of the period.   Any thoughts?

There were to be several more joint sightings as the years progressed, which we will share with you as the Pages proceed…….