Mid-America Plate Association

Region of ALPCA


Meet a Member

Pat Settanni ALPCA #1441

My license plate story begins in 1967, in a garage in Glenwood, Illinois. We moved from Indiana the year before and it was time to put on the new 1968 Illinois license plates. I ask my Dad if I could keep the 1967 Illinois plate, he said ok. And hence the saga of my plate collecting begins! After that first plate, I would ask neighbors, friends, and relatives if they had any old license plates. I’m not sure what it was about collecting license plates that drew them to me but at that time collecting was what most young kids did. I also collected baseball cards, football cards, bottle caps, coins, and stamps. These were just as hard to obtain as license plates at my age. Although I collected these other items, license plates won over time. Vacations with the family to Colorado, Michigan, and Kansas started my collection by a few plates here and there. Word of mouth continued to bring me license plates. The next door neighbor owned a currency exchange and he gave me quite a few plates. I think his idea was for me to sell the plates and to split the profits!

 I just kept accumulating, amassing, more plates. I really had no rhyme or reason as to what I was collecting. Every year in Illinois up until 1979, the state issued annual license plates as did many other states. And my collection grew. Around 1973, I went to the Chicago Rod & Custom car show at the McCormick Place in Chicago. There I met Ed Zoran, Joliet, Illinois a license plate collector. He had a 1970 GMC Chevy pickup with plates attached to plywood on the bed as you looked up. He ask me if I collected plates and when I answered yes, he was interested in acquiring them. I told him I’m not interested in selling them.  I ask him if he knew what the color was to be picked or how are the colors picked for the next years Illinois license plates. He said he did not know but said he would contact me via a letter with a license plate club where I could write and find out. A few weeks past and I received a letter from Ed, telling me about ALPCA and other plate collectors. Later that year I joined ALPCA and was given #1441. To this day I still have that letter and showed Ed many years later. He couldn’t believe that I would save that. Once a collector also a collector! 

After finding out about ALPCA and regional meets I did start out writing to DMVs for sample plates sending in a few dollars. With these plates I could then trade at the local meets and build up my collection. I attended various ALPCA National conventions and our local Mid-America Plate Association (MAPA). I did finish early on a state run of Illinois license plates. Later over the years my collection began to really accumulate. At one point, a fellow plate collector, Mike Dragas told me that my problem is that I never finish anything. I took his word to heart and finally completed the Kansas state run as you see in the following pictures. 

After 52 years of collecting, I managed to finally sort out my collection during Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. I noticed one theme that remains constant to this day is that I still have no rhyme or reason as to what I collect! Besides fellow collectors from ALPCA and MAPA, junk yards, estate and garage sales, ebay, auctions, friends and family are still ways to increase your collection. Some say collecting is a passion, a disease, the thrill of the hunt.  For me it is all of these. I collect just about anything that is of interest. What does of interest mean? What is it about collecting license plates? Why the attachment? For me, I think the reason was finding plates with different colors, state slogans, numbers. Putting something together from beginning to end always intrigued me. Although, I infrequently did this when I did it was a sense of accomplishment. The people I met, the places I’ve gone to, and the stories about finding plates I truly enjoy. I will always collect license plates and will never, ever outgrow the hobby.


Al Matulis ALPCA #983

When I first walked in to Al’s house in the very first room I was blown away with the impressive display of plates on the wall. From a #1 Mississippi, a #2 Illinois and various runs of 9999 plates. Things would just keep getting better as we made our way through the house room by room. Every wall has a theme, or type, like repeating numbers, numbers that match the year, color themes and more. Al has over 28,000 plates and about 99% documented on when and who he got a plate from and how much he paid, he is a very organized collector, something not always found in our hobby.

He has been a member since August of 1969, is a member of MAPA #111 and Europlate #777. He has been collecting almost 50 years and started when he was just 16 years old. Al has a thing for numbers and likes repeating, ascending, descending and other variations. Nearly every room in his house including the basement and storage place is filled with plates, the garage has hundreds of boards with plates mounted on them. Despite having this many plates it seems Al knows exactly where everything is, which is amazing! If you ever get a chance to visit I would highly recommend it, it is a sight to see.