Michael Wiener

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Michael Wiener and I currently reside in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I am one of the most active license plate collectors and researchers in the world.

I supply thousands of other collectors unique, rare, and collectible plates for their collections or antique cars. I also provide plates to gift shops worldwide or for decorating bars, restaurants, and clothing store. License plates have also become a huge collectible sensation for tourists.

I also assist those doing television and motion picture production who need to know the correct formats, colors, and numbering systems of license plates that were used for a specific time period to ensure accuracy in their film productions. Lastly, I assist artists worldwide in obtaining the desired plates to complete their many unique and creative art projects.

What has been one insight or lesson that has been most helpful in your career?

Persistence and follow-through. Always reply to all inquiries and see what can be done to help others promptly. So many people fail to be persistent and to understand their clients’ needs.

What has been your favorite mistake? A mistake that in retrospect led to a great lesson and progress.

We’ve all made mistakes; the best lesson is to learn from them. When I first started this hobby (which has now morphed into a successful business) I had an opportunity to claim thousands of California 1956 – 1962 plates that were being taken to the landfill. I had no idea that 30 years later these would have been worth a fortune, as most states allow classic car collectors to re-use original vintage plates from the same year as their vehicles. These now bring a very high price. At that time, I never envisioned what a “gold mine” I was passing up. I wish I could go back in time!

Project forward ten years. How will your industry or field be fundamentally different then? What opportunities do you see?

It’s hard to predict the future, but with the soaring interest in license plates–especially by tourists and artists–the sky is the limit for those of us who have a significant inventory and the right connections. I think I’m well-positioned to be successful for years to come.

What are some bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

I’m always very positive, and I try not to surround myself with negative people or pessimistic thoughts. I’ve heard from others that young people today are not appreciative of antiques or collectibles. Although that concerns me, I’m still very sure that I will always have a receptive audience who appreciate what I have available.

In the last two years, what have you become better at saying no to?

I’ve learned to say no to things that waste my time. I try hard to be aware of “dead ends” and “time wasters”.

What is the one book you recommend most often and why?

The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People by Stephen Covey is an excellent guide to life!

What advice would you give a smart and ambitious recent college graduate? What advice should they ignore?

Pursue something that you genuinely enjoy as a career as it will ensure a lifetime of enjoyment! And be sure to Travel as much as you can. Travelling broadens your horizons and opens your eyes to so much! Ignore pursuing a career in a field that you feel obligated to follow – much better to chart your own course and be engaged in an area you love and enjoy!

What is your favorite quote, one you aim to live by?

Persistence pays! Nothing is more important than not giving up.


I’m always willing to talk to anyone who needs a shot of inspiration; I’m very approachable
and easy to talk to. The best way to contact me is via email at bestplates@aol.com.