The Great British Columbia License Plates Runs!
#4

The No. 4 run pictured belowed is probably the best collection of a single digit British Columbia license plate series ever assembled that still remains fully in-tact.
This run was put together by Len Garrison, a Victoria area collector known for the sheer size of his collection (estimated at one point to be in excess of 50,000 plates!), as well as the overall quality of that collection.

TITLE: 1921-1922 Packard touring car in front of British Columbia Packard dealership

Oddly enough, the photo at left comes from the collection of "The Making of Modern Michigan" - a collaborative project involving 52 Michigan libraries headed by Michigan State University.

It seems that the photo is part of a collection related to Packard Dealerships across North America.  For our purposes, however, the significance of the photo is the 1935 No. 4 license plate being attached to the front of the vehicle.

It is known that a Mr Fred W. Jones of 1630 Rockland Avenue in Victoria is reported to have had No. 4 registered to his vehicle "for about 25 years" in 1940 - and it is assumed that he is one of the individuals in this photo. Len Garrison would later acquire the plates from Mr Jones.

It is thought that the Packard Dealership was likely that of Thomas Plimley found at either 1010 Yates Street or at the corner of Broad Street and Broughton in Victoria.

Only one word can describe this photo - Fantastic!

As an aside, we here at BCpl8s.ca applaude the enlightened approach adopted by the "The Making of Modern Michigan" project of making this digital image freely "available for all educational uses worldwide."

Garrison recounted how he got into collecting license plates in a 1993 article that appeared in the Vancouver Sun: "'My dad tells me he was changing his 1943 B.C. plate to put on his 1944 plate. Instead of throwing it in the garbage, I hung the old plate on my tricycle. I was three years old.' His father later built and operated a service station on the Grandview Highway in Vancouver, where young Garrison claimed every discarded plate. These days, he haunts auto wrecker's yards in search of his treasures."

Len was unable to track down the No. 4 plate for the Totem series in 1952 when the province briefly flirted with the numbering system on the plates, and the way in which they were distributed. When the plates returned to the all-numeric series in 1955, Len was, again, unable to immediately track down the new owner of #4. The plates were eventually found, except the year 1956.

Delacote Collection

Delacote Collection

Len Garrison and his collection of No. 4 BC License Plates (circa 1990)

Jon Ilnytzky Collection
Jon Ilnytzky Collection

1952
MISSING
1953
MISSING
1954
MISSING
1956
MISSING


(That is not me in the picture! I don't know who that dude is.)
Above are two pictures representing only part of the collection (approx. 32,000 plates) after it was broken up following Len's death.

Apart from his famed No. 4 run, Garrison also attempted to try and obtain a plate for each one-thousand increment in a particualr year. So, taking 1958 as an example, it is possible to see where Len had a plate for each 1,000 increment between 70,000 and 80,000. Unfortunately, these particular pictures of the 1958 plates were only acquired by BCpl8s.ca years after Len had died and his collection broken up and auctioned off in pieces on eBay. It is quite probable that he had many moe of the increments for this year than what is shown below - which is indicative only ...

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