Fairfax man has hundreds of license plates

FAIRFAX-If you have a question about license plates, especially unusual ones, Everett Hanson is a good person to ask. He has collected more than 400 plates over the past 70 years.

Hanson who lives in Fairfax has had a deep passion for license plates for a long time – since he bought his first car more than 50 years ago, a 1928 Chevrolet two-door coupe.

Since then, with a little help from his friends, he’s been collecting license plates, mostly from the State of Minnesota. But he’s got plates from all 50 states plus the U.S. Virgin Islands and other places, including a plate used by a U.S. soldier in Germany.

“I’ve got lots of personalized plates,” Hanson said. His collection includes commemorative wartime plates for World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War and Iraq Wars, plus plates used by police, sheriff’s offices and the Minnesota State Patrol.

Hanson’s license plates date back to 1911.

Some of his favorite personalized plates are “NVRREST” and “31SRFUN” (1931 cars are sure fun).

Hanson said license plates have been made of tin, copper, aluminum, leather and soy beans. “A farmer drove his pickup truck in the hog yard and a pig pulled it off and ate it, so it must be good,” he added.

“Meeting (license plate) collectors and trading was a big help,” Hanson said. “Salvage yards are another place to look if they let you in. Some don’t. People that go South for the winter are very helpful too. I am looking for four plates for my 000-100 group.”

A Korean War veteran, stationed on the 38th Parallel, Hanson also served in Germany. Part of the 328th Ordinance Division, working as a mechanic and clerk typist, he became a sergeant in less than 13 months and received the Army Commendation Medal.

For many years, Hanson, 88, was a mechanic at Nelson Implement in Fairfax. He later drove a gravel truck. These days, he belongs to the Fairfax Honor Guard and continues to farm with his family. In the back of his truck, he has large tool boxes with nuts, bolts, washers and a compressed air tank, ready to repair whatever is broken.

Retiring from full-time work in 1990, Hanson taught himself to play a concertina.

Hanson recently posted a question in Farm Collector magazine about information about clutch hold-out levers on Farmall F-12 and F-14 tractors. He is interested in talking to anyone who has used a level described a 1/4-inch thick, one inch wide and 25 inches long.