As a life-long resident of the Washington, DC area, I have been fortunate to find quite a few interesting diplomatic plates in my area. This led me to focus on diplomatic plates, with a special interest in those used by American foreign service members. Enjoy!



Botswana - this plate, cut to fit an American-spec vehicle, belonged to a Voice of America representative attached to the US Embassy in Gaborone, Botswana. I obtained this plate from the daughter of the original owner, who lives in the DC area, in 2018.

Cyprus - this plate was obtained from a fellow collector in Cyprus in 2017. It was used by a representative of the Greek Embassy in Nicosia.

Czechoslovakia - this plate dates to the period when Czechoslovakia was one country. The required metal ovals were sometimes attached to the plates rather than the back of the car. This plate was found in the Maryland suburbs of DC in 2016.

Ecuador - this is believed to be a consular plate from the province of Guayas, in Ecuador. Guayas issued local registrations until 1976, hence the lack of the country name on this plate. This was found in the Northern Virginia suburbs of DC in 2000.

France - this plate was used by a representative of the US Embassy in Paris. It was obtained from the original owner, who happened to live 3 blocks from me at the time, in 2007.

Germany - the "0" prefix indicates a diplomatic issue. This was used by a US Embassy representative in Bonn and was obtained at a Northern Virginia estate auction in 2016.

Germany - this US-sized plate is a "semi-diplomatic" issue - they used the "BN" prefix code for Bonn rather than the "0" diplomatic code. This plate had been in my collection for over 30 years before I realized what it was!

Ghana - this plate was obtained from a collector in Ghana in 2018. It was used by the US Embassy. The "Z" suffix shows it was issued in 2008.

Guatemala - this example was just obtained in 2019 from a Maryland resident. At the time, this was the oldest known surviving Guatemala diplomatic plate.

Iran - this plate was found in Northern Virginia in 2018. The text at upper left shows that this plate was used by non-diplomatic embassy personnel. The text at right says "America."

Italy - this diplomatic issue was obtained at a Northern Virginia auction in 2018 and was used by a US Embassy official in Rome.

Kenya - this plate was used by a representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. It was obtained in 2018 from a British resident who saw my BBC article and contacted me.

Laos - this plate was issued to a diplomat in Vientiane. It was obtained in 2015 via a Pacific Northwest estate auction and is assumed to have been used by a US Diplomat.

Lebanon - this plate was obtained in 2019 from the son of a Voice of America representative who was stationed in Beirut 3 times in the 1960s and 1970s.

Mexico - this plate was issued to a diplomat in Mexico City, though the embassy is unknown. It was obtained in 2016 from a fellow collector in California.

Morocco - this plate was issued to an American diplomat and is an older, cast aluminum style. It was obtained in 2019 at a Northern Virginia auction.

Morocco - this plate was issued to an American diplomat and is a newer, embossed aluminum style. It was obtained in 2012 from a local collector.

Nepal - this plate was issued to a diplomat in Kathmandu. I obtained this about a mile from my home when a resident discovered it in a house he just bought. Further research revealed that the home had been previously owned by the US Ambassador to Nepal!

Netherlands - this plate was obtained from a Dutch collector in 2016. It is not possible to determine what embassy used this plate as they are not coded.

Niger - this plate was obtained in 2015 via a Pacific Northwest auction with a number of other plates. This was used by an American non-diplomatic representative in Niamey.

Palau - this plate was obtained in 2019 from a fellow collector in California. It is not coded, but since there are only 3 embassies in Palau (US, Japan and Taiwan), one can narrow it down pretty quickly!

Panama - this plate was obtained in 2019 from a fellow collector in California. It is not coded to a specific embassy, so we will never know.

Philippines - this older plate was obtained in 2017 from a fellow collector in Maine. To the best of my knowledge, this plate is not coded to a specific embassy.

Philippines - this newer plate was obtained in 2019 from a fellow collector in Virginia. There is certainly no confusion which embassy used this plate!

Romania - this plate was used by an American diplomat in Bucharest. I obtained it from a fellow collector in Washington (State) in 2018.

Senegal - this plate was obtained in 2015 via a Pacific Northwest auction with a number of other plates. This was used by an American non-diplomatic representative in Dakar.

Serbia - this plate was obtained in 2017 from a Serbian collector. This was used by an American diplomat in Belgrade.

South Vietnam - this plate was obtained in 2015 via a Pacific Northwest auction with a number of other plates. This was used by an American non-diplomatic representative in Saigon, before Vietnam was unified.

Spain - this beautiful plate was obtained in 2019 from a Spanish collector. It is not possible to determine which embassy it was assigned to. I once had 3 other examples of these plates that I found in the Northern Virginia suburbs of DC, but I foolishly traded them away.

Swaziland - this plate was obtained in 2006 from the original owner, who lives 2 blocks from me in Arlington, VA. He worked for the US Embassy in Mbabane.

Syria - this plate was obtained in 2019 from the son of the original owner, who was stationed in Damascus in the 1960. This plate came from the same family as the Lebanon above.

Tchad - this plate was obtained in 2015 via a Pacific Northwest auction with a number of other plates. This was used by an American diplomat in N'Djamena.

Tunisia - this plate was obtained in 2017 from a European collector. It was used by a respresentative of the French Embassy in Tunis.

unknown - this plate was obtained in 2001 at a local flea market. I have no idea where it's from, or indeed if it's even diplomatic. Numerous other collectors have seen the plate, and no one knows where it's from. HELP!







Email: alpca3877@comcast.net

2019 Andrew Pang
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