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Vehicle registration plates of the United States for 1902

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At this early point in the history of license plates in the United States of America, none of the 45 states, territories, or the District of Columbia, was issuing its own plates.[1][2][3][4] The state of New York remained the only state that required vehicle owners to register their automobiles. The system of using the owner's initials as the registration number, begun in 1901, remained in effect. This would change in 1903 when a number was assigned to each owner to display on their vehicle. Across the country the increases in the number of automobiles was being noticed, and there were many cities, like Chicago, that had already begun to require their owners to register their vehicles.[5][6]

Passenger baseplates[edit | edit source]

In the table below, a light green background indicates that the owner of the vehicle was required to provide their own license plates. These plates are called "prestate" by most collectors. In the prestate era many states only provided the license plate number on a small disc or on paper, and the owner was required to have their license plate(s) made. These early license plates were created from kits that could be purchased at a hardware store, may have been available from automobile clubs or associations, they were forged by blacksmiths or other tradesmen, or the owner may have made their own plate with whatever materials they had on hand. Prestate plates were made from a variety of materials, but most often were made of leather, steel, or wood.

Legend: Regular state issue plate(s) Prestate era plate(s) No plates issued by state or territory
Image State Design Slogan Serial format Serials issued Notes
Blank License Plate Shape.svg New York Owner's initials None AB or ABC None Registrations continued from 1901 and were numbered 955 to 2036 (1082 registrations issued).

State registrations[edit | edit source]

The following chart shows the year each U.S. state, territory, and the District of Columbia began to require license plates (prestate) and when they started to provide license plates. In some cases locations did not issue any prestate plates or no prestate plates are known, and this is indicated by the table cell not having a date. Clicking on a state name or a year in the table will take you to those articles.

State Prestate year First year State Prestate year First year
Alabama 1912 Montana 1913 1915
Alaska 1921 Nebraska 1905 1915
American Samoa 1924 Nevada 1913 1916
Arizona 1914 New Hampshire 1905
Arkansas 1911 New Jersey 1903 1908
California 1905 1914 New Mexico 1905 1912
Canal Zone 1910 New York 1901 1910
Colorado 1913 North Carolina 1909 1913
Connecticut 1903 1905 North Dakota 1911
Delaware 1905 1908 Northern Mariana Islands 1944
District of Columbia 1903 1907 Ohio 1908
Florida 1905 1918 Oklahoma 1915
Georgia 1910 Oregon 1905 1911
Guam 1916 Pennsylvania 1903 1906
Hawaii 1922 Puerto Rico 1912
Idaho 1913 Rhode Island 1904
Illinois 1907 1911 South Carolina 1917
Indiana 1905 1913 South Dakota 1905 1913
Iowa 1904 1911 Tennessee 1905 1915
Kansas 1913 Texas 1917
Kentucky 1910 U.S. Virgin Islands 1917
Louisiana 1915 Utah 1909 1915
Maine 1905 Vermont 1905
Maryland 1904 1910 Virginia 1906
Massachusetts 1903 Washington 1906 1915
Michigan 1905 1910 West Virginia 1905
Minnesota 1903 1909 Wisconsin 1905
Mississippi 1912 Wyoming 1913
Missouri 1907 1911

See Also[edit | edit source]


Others articles of the Topic United States : List of companies of the United States, Beverly Hills, California, FedMyster, Statistics of incarcerated African-American males, Italian American, Mexican American, WWE United States Championship

Others articles of the Topic Cars : Lurento, 2018 Schoharie, New York limousine crash, Fiat Freemont

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Fox, Jams K. (1997). License Plates of the United States: A Pictorial History 1903-To the Present. Jerico, New York: Interstate Directory Publishing Company. ISBN 9781886777002.
  2. Minard, Jeff; Stentiford, Tim (2004). A Moving History, 50 Years Of ALPCA. 100 Years Of License Plates. Paducah, Kentucky: Turner Publishing Company. p. 58. ISBN 1-56311-975-7.
  3. Crisler, Bob; Crisler, Chuck, eds. (2007). License Plate Values (7th ed.). King Publishing Company.
  4. Martells, Jack (1980). Antique Automotive Collectbles. Chicago, Illinois: Contemporary Books, Inc. pp. 128–145. ISBN 0-8092-7205-9.
  5. Fox, Jams K. (1997). License Plates of the United States: A Pictorial History 1903-To the Present. Jerico, New York: Interstate Directory Publishing Company. p. 75. ISBN 9781886777002.
  6. Huizingh, Barry (December 1996). "Early Chicago Registrations". ALPCA Newsletter. Vol. 42 no. 6. Rumney Depot, New Hampshire: Automobile License Plate Collectors Association. pp. 185–186.

External links[edit | edit source]

Template:North America in topic


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