Saturday Morning Flea Market Haul

Flea market season is gearing up in the Midwest (in between tornadoes), and I, for one, could not be happier. We hit the road over the weekend and found some interesting pieces. Do you recognize anything?

The radio face in the middle of the pile is for a ’56 Ford, and next to that is a ’69-’73 Firebird parking light bezel, and then a Plymouth radio delete. Just above those is a great GM B-31 backup light, and a truck mirror with just the right amount of wear. We found a number of vintage license plate frames including a couple from a dealership in Pomona, which is a long way from Nebraska.

The Chevrolet speaker grille on the lower left is from a ’39 radio, and it has amazing patina.

This is how it appeared in the 1939 accessories booklet:

1939 Chevrolet

The item on the far left is a light from a ’57 Chrysler.

It is an interior map and indicator light found just above the gauges. In this photo you can see it through the top half of the steering wheel:

Photo credit: Greg Gjerdingen from Willmar, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The top piece is a dash panel with a clock, and it goes with those amazing vents to the far right in the first photo.

They are original to some ’63 Pontiac models, like this Grand Prix that is for sale on eBay right now:

Finally, the small book is a license plate directory for Dawson County, Nebraska, published in 1960 by the local VFW Post. On the last page there is a list of the plates issued to ham radio operators that year.

That made we wonder how long it has been a practice to issue plates personalized with the call signs of amateur ham radio operators, and looking for the answer led me to this comprehensive discussion by Mike Ludkiewicz that states they were first issued in Michigan in 1939. These were not official ham plates, but personalized plates limited to a maximum of three letters and three numbers. Apparently, they were discontinued the following year due to administrative problems, and the first “true” ham plates were then issued in 1950 in Florida. This drawing appeared in an issue of the Miami News that same year.

In recognition of the valuable service provided by amateur radio operators during emergencies, the personalized plates were eventually offered in every state in the union.

Finally, look at these amazing vintage photos I found online that depict a 1963 Plymouth Valiant equipped with a ham radio. The car was owned by Harry Garland of Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan, and the photographs were taken there in 1963.

Photo credit: GarlandFamily, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Photo credit: GarlandFamily, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons