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First started as "My 2 Cents" in 1997, I have written posts numbering into the hundreds. It will take some time to resurrect the older posts, so keep checking back. They will include meet reports, travelogues, and news of interest to Ontario licence plate collectors.

Back to Basics in Lindsay

It’s official – Lindsay is the new Barrie.

A few years ago, I mused that the AACA automotive flea market event in Lindsay might eventually overtake the Barrie events. It certainly seems to have happened, especially now since the Lindsay market has been moved to a new weekend, which is only 10 days before the spring Barrie market. I don’t go to Barrie anymore because the auto-related content is heavily diluted with off-topic vendors. But every vendor in Lindsay has auto-related stuff front and centre. Lindsay isn’t as large of a market, but when you separate the wheat from the chaff, there’s much more car-related stuff to find.

Eric Vettoretti and I did an express trip, heading out after work Friday, doing the market early Saturday morning, and then heading back home. It’s the third Saturday away from home for me in five weeks, which is a tough sell to my family, so I don’t dawdle on the way home.

Don't restore if you don't know what you're doing. The nicest paint can still be applied poorly.

Our first stop was a pre-arranged visit with a vendor who had agreed on a sale price for a 1922 Ontario dealer plate. Eric already has one in better condition, so I took this one. We were his first customers of the day, so we pawed through the plates on his table. He did have a 1911 porcelain, but it sold to a fellow vendor the night before. To my surprise, he had a 1955-era Ontario military plate. These were reused for multiple years, and this one had been touched up with brown and white paint somewhere along the way. We knew Dave Steckley (then on vacation in Europe) was still in need of one for his collection, so we bought it for eventual handover to him. I also bought a one of those little “gross weight” truck plates in good shape, hoping it was an upgrade (turns out it wasn’t, so into the trade box it goes).

Eric spotted a rarity on the field, but it wasn’t for sale, nor was it going to be. A highly customized VW Beetle had been turned into a rust rod pickup, and the owner had made part of the bed out of old plates. Trouble was, one of them was a 1933 doctor plate. There it was, peeking out from behind some salvaged barn board, and we were helpless to save it. Both Eric and I have 1933 doctor plates in our collections, but it hurt to see an important plate “crafted” in this way.

We saw the usual smattering of traffic signals and road signs, but held back. I consider myself to be a plate collector, but I have about 25 King’s Highway signs, so I guess that makes me a sign collector. And I also have three traffic signals, so I guess further that makes me a signal collector. They’re hard to store and display in my home, plus I already have one of the Canada-made Fortran / GE signals.

We came upon “tarp guy” again, as we christened him in Lindsay several years ago. He has about half as many plates now, but we always stop to pick, because there are always a couple of new sleepers in the rough. I found 1980-issued truck plate, one of the first of the then-new permanent plates. I also found 30-year-old passenger plate from the reverse TWO series, which came from around Sault Ste. Marie. I remember seeing TWO on the road around the time I left for university.

I experienced the same “YOM-free” relief in Lindsay as I did in Stirling. I didn’t have to look out for possible YOM permutations and have enough cash ready to stock up. There were some potential items on the field that would have given me pause before moving to the next vendor. Granted, Eric is still hunting for YOM stuff, and I helped him check numbers, but it was nice to be financially removed from that. I didn’t have to use my time in the field to restock a business. The pressure, for me, was off, and I enjoyed the hunt all the more. Eric will be in the YOM game for a few more years yet, and I wish him well, but I myself have nothing left in the tank. Getting older, I suppose.

1917 Model T for sale, complete with cool-numbered 1917 plate. Unfortunately, the plate is a repaint. There's no telling if that's actually the number it had.

We roved the field for about three hours before moving to the car show. I didn’t see any of my previous clients, but we did see two of Eric’s, including a really great ‘57 Fairlane, restored to like-new stock condition, right down to the grocery-getter hubcaps. I prefer my classic cars without all the current-day aftermarket toys. Mag wheels, flames, or neon yellow paint jobs don’t do it for me. I like to see what was actually in the shopping plaza parking lot in 1957. It took us about ten minutes to get pictures of it because people kept stopping to look. It was a real attention-grabber, that's for sure!

The '67 Shelby belongs to one of Eric's clients. Neither of us have a clue about the '53 Chevy, but it's a great-looking car!

My last purchase of the day was a 1968 motorcycle plate with a 2012 sticker, which could mean it was YOM-registered, and thus, a unique vehicle type. YOM plates come with an ownership that actually says “YOM” as the vehicle type. Sometimes, people will slap a sticker on an old plate for reasons unknown, but for five bucks, it was worth the gamble. (I brought it home and spent $12 on an unofficial vehicle report through ServiceOntario, which—unfortunately—showed that my 1968 cycle plate was never YOM-registered. I peeled the incorrect sticker off and cleaned the plate; it’s still worth a $17 price tag in my trade box!)

I spotted a really cool plate just as we got back to the car. A pickup truck had an older set of plates with the green “volunteer firefighter” decal in the lower right, thus denoting a collectible type that—like YOM—is distinct from commercial or passenger plates. The front plate featured a stack of stickers that must have been a quarter-inch deep; they stuck out further from the plate than the bolt heads!

I had a good time in Lindsay, just like I did in Stirling. Back to basics: Picking and collecting just for the fun of it. We stopped at the Highway 7 rest stop near Arden to take a breather, photograph our loot, and enjoy the sights on a cool spring afternoon.

My '22 dealer after a 40-minute bath in oxalic acid. Not much paint left, but she is what she is.

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