raises another kind of bumper crop
FRANKLIN - Allen Gentry
knows they're out there, probably collecting dust in a garage or covering a hole in an outhouse.
, 53, has found a way to make hunting for vintage plates a little easier, at least for himself.He's
hosting a tag show and swap meet at his
Franklin farm today and Saturday.He's
hoping to bring in dealers, collectors and people who might just have what he's
"I've got truck and farm plates from all 50 states," Gentry
said."I'm changing them over to the year I was born - '52.It might take me 10 years, but I'll eventually do it."Gentry, who manages the family-owned Gentry Farm on New Highway 96 West, said he got into collecting when he was looking for an authentic antique plate to put on the 1948 Chevy pickup truck he restored.He
located a dealer who had a 1948 Tennessee plate and ended up buying plates from '48 to 1972.
has about 200 plates.Nailed to gray, weathered wood, they make rustic decorations on barn walls and doors at his
"Tennessee plates are among the most highly collected because they are in the shape of the state," Gentry
Tennessee plates were pressed into the trapezoid shape of the state from 1936-56.Plates issued in 1951 were painted orange, after the University of Tennessee's
football team won the national championship.
"I bet Vandy fans hated it," Gentry
The oldest plate Gentry owns is from 1918.Some old and rare plates can be worth hundreds of dollars.Many are being sold on Web sites like eBay, or at swap meets across the country.Among the most sought-after plates is the 1915 Tennessee tag, which has sold for more than $1,000.Gentry
hasn't put too much money into his
didn't want to give an exact amount, "because my wife might get mad."He
spent around $300 to acquire plates from all 50 states.
"I do it mainly for the historic value," he
said."When I look at a plate from 1942 I think, 'This could have been my dad's plate or somebody I knew.' There's a lot of nostalgia in collecting these."Gentry
is hoping to amass a collection of Williamson County plates that could be displayed at local libraries, schools or the county archives.Gentry
hoping that people with old Williamson County plates might bring them to his
wants to include them in his
collection and may offer to buy or borrow a plate he
is calling his
plate show the Middle Tennessee Tag Show.He
wants it to be an annual event.He's
hoping to have dealers and collectors from across the region, plate restorers and people who want to buy, sell or just talk about plates.
says a search for a 1948 license plate for this '48 Chevy pickup got him started collecting old truck plate.He
now displays them on his
farm in Franklin.He
will be hosting a tag/swap event there May 5 and 6. (STEVEN S. HARMAN / STAFF)
, stands in the doorway of a barn at his farm in Franklin Tuesday.