COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine unveiled the new standard Ohio license plate at a news conference Thursday morning, and observant Ohioans quickly pointed out that the “Birthplace of Aviation” banner streaming from the Wright Brothers’ plane flying atop the new design is attached to the front of the plane, not the back. Shortly after the mistake was pointed out, the Ohio BMV confirmed the error in the design and said that the correct design will be reflected on all new plates issued to drivers.
The original design was unveiled by Gov. DeWine Thursday at about 10 a.m.
The new “Sunrise in Ohio” design draws heavily from the state seal, but at the top of the plate is an element inspired by a previous plate: an illustration of the Wright Brothers’ historic plane, which made its first flight from Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in 1903.
In the Wright Brothers’ design, the plane’s elevators are on the front of the plane, not the back, as they would be in future plane designs. The banner reading “Birthplace of Aviation” – recognizing Ohio as the Wright Brothers’ home state – streamed out from the plane as if it was behind it, but was actually attached to the front.
A few hours after the presentation for the new plate, and after many on social media pointed out the mistake, the Ohio BMV posted an image of the corrected design, stating that it will be reflected on all new plates issued to Ohio drivers.
On Friday, a BMV representative confirmed that the 35,000 plates that had already been printed at the Lebanon Correctional Facility will be recycled. They said it is too early to know if there will be any additional cost due to the mistake.
This incident may remind stamp collectors of one of the most famous errors in American philately — the “Inverted Jenny,” a 1918 U.S. postage stamp in which the image of a Curtiss JN-4 airplane was printed upside-down. One such stamp was sold at auction in 2016 for $1.35 million.
Time will tell if any “Inverted Wright Flyer” plates see the light of day, and if they too end up garnering high value on the auction block.
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