The following are average representations of license plate grades, and are only averages. Many collectors will grade higher, and many more will grade lower. It's always best to get a photo or photocopy of a plate up front, if you want to be sure. It is important to remember however, that a plate grade is a plate grade, no matter how RARE a plate is. A 1929 Alaska plate with fair paint, extra holes and rust and a 1929 Pennsylvania plate with fair paint, extra holes and rust are BOTH in "FAIR" condition. Plate rarity has no bearing on plate grading.


A flawless example - unused and perfect, with no marks on the bolt holes.  In porcelain, no bending, no rust, no dullness, no chipping - Mint is "perfect", not "very nice for it's age".


Superior condition, marks on the bolt holes, but no major flaws overall. Near perfect, but minor signs of use.

VERY GOOD - EXCELLENT (vgex, ex- or vg+)

Nice looking plate, some flaws, fairly straight, minor paint wear, light edge rust.


An above average condition plate, moderate amount of flaws, some wear and rust, but still nice.

GOOD - VERY GOOD (gvg, vg- or g+)

Average condition plate, good paint, various flaws, light surface rust or edge rust, light dents.

GOOD (g)

A little below average, displayable, with dings, nicks, rust and flaws. Not terrible, but will upgrade.

FAIRLY GOOD (fg, g-, f+)

Below average condition, at least half of the paint intact, somewhat straight and solid.

FAIR (f)

Well below average condition, approx 50% paint, rust, creases, dents, extra holes.

POOR (p)

The lowest grade, little or no paint, rust to the point of cancer, torn bolts - a filler only.


Any plate without the original paint. Runs from average quality (above) to professional rp (pro rp)


A plate in need of repainting/restoration, that isn't in poor condition. Restorable.


A plate that has had some or all of the number/background paint replaced by the original car owner, in an attempt to extend the usable life of the plate.  Common in many third-world nations.

BOOSTER (or Mickey Mouse)

A non-official used plate, usually a front plate, as in a promotional or dealership tag.


A bolt hole that has been completely torn away, resulting in a missing piece.


Hairline cracks found around bolt holes, usually seen on motorcycle plates.

NAIL HOLE (nh, nhs)

Small extra holes, usually from the plate being tacked to a barn wall. Metal is intact.

EXTRA HOLE (xh, xhs)

Any extra hole not originally found on a plate, usually drilled.


Indicates amount of orig.porcelain on a plate, in this case, 95% numbers, 94% background.



Crackling of surface paint from age.

LACQUERED (laq or lacq)

An original paint, or repainted plate, that has been sprayed or dipped in lacquer, resulting in yellowing.

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