ATTLEBORO, Mass. (AP) — To some it might be just an old license plate. And it is old — almost 101 — to be exact.
It dates back to the dawn of the automobile — 1912.
It was a time when horse-drawn carriages were more common than horseless carriages.
Owned by city resident Ted Leach, Massachusetts license plate number 23998 was among the first issued in the state back in 1907, and reappeared on subsequent plates.
According to information on the state’s Department of Transportation website, Massachusetts issued its first automobile license plate on Sept. 1, 1903.
Leach’s plate was issued a little more than four years later.
His grandfather, Edwin F. Leach, owned the plate, which was attached to either a Stanley Steamer or a Hupmobile. Leach, 65, isn’t sure which.
Nonetheless, it holds an honored place on Leach’s garage wall decorated with other automobile memorabilia, including license plates Leach was issued when he lived in Germany and Italy.
The 1912 plate is special, though.
To Leach, it represents an important constancy, something both the state and nation could use more of.
While Leach’s grandfather gave up the plate at some point, he never gave up his association with what was once the O.P. Richardson Ins. Agency and is now the Richardson-Cuddy Insurance Agency.
The Leach family has been buying auto insurance there for a century now.
And they bought it from Travelers Insurance Co., which is represented by Richardson-Cuddy, and was the first company to offer auto insurance in 1897.
‘‘It’s worth commemorating the fact that people stay in Attleboro for generations and businesses stay in Attleboro. If more businesses stayed in America the American people might not be facing the fiscal cliff,’’ he said referring to the federal financial crisis.
Mark Cuddy, the executive vice president of Richardson-Cuddy, said the license plate number once used by Leach’s grandfather is still in use today and is on a plate owned by a resident of Nantucket.