Vehicle registration plates of Connecticut
|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (March 2012)|
The U.S. state of Connecticut began requiring its residents to display license plates on their motor vehicles in 1905. Since then, Connecticut has used a variety of license plate designs, and has issued different designs for passenger, non-passenger, and, more recently, optional plate types that often require an additional fee.
Plates are issued in pairs, one each for the rear and front of the vehicle, for most classes of vehicles. For most classes of vehicles, plate validation stickers, or metal date tabs in earlier decades, were discontinued in favor of windshield stickers beginning in September 2006. (Windshield stickers were no longer required beginning in 2010.) Vehicles that do not have a windshield, or are part of fleets that frequently rotate plates among vehicles, continue to receive plate stickers.
Connecticut, as a rule, skips the number 0 as the leading digit in its plates, with the exception of dealer plates.
Passenger plates 1905 to 1956
1905-1936: Annual dated plates.
1937-1947: First multi-year base: black on natural aluminum with "CONN" embossed at lower right. Validated annually with metal tabs.
1948-1956: Black on reflective off-white with "CT" embossed at lower right. Validated annually with metal tabs.
|Image||First issued||Description||Slogan||Serial format||Serials issued|
|1914||White lettering on green background; CONN on left side, 1914 on right side.||none|
|1926||Black lettering on dark yellow background, CONN. 1926 at bottom.||none|
Passenger plates 1956 to present
In 1956, the U.S. states and Canadian provinces came to an agreement with the Automobile Manufacturers Association that standardized the size for license plates for vehicles, except those for motorcycles, at six inches in height by twelve inches in width, with standardized mounting holes. The 1956 (dated 1957) issue was the first Connecticut license plate that complied with these standards.
1957-1974: White on blue with "CONNECTICUT" embossed at bottom left, the first time the full state name has appeared on plates. Validated annually with metal tabs from 1957 through 1963 and with stickers from 1964 through 2001, although issuance of this base ceased in 1974.
1974-1976: Blue on reflective white. The slogan "Constitution State" made its debut on this base, but the plates did not hold up well and were recalled in 1990. Validated with stickers.
1976-1987: Reflective white on blue with "CONNECTICUT" at bottom and "Constitution State" at top. These plates were retired during the period September 2000 through August 2002. Validated with stickers.
1987-2000: Reflective white on blue with "CONNECTICUT" at top, slogan at bottom, and a silhouette of Connecticut in the top left. These were retired during the same period as their predecessors. Validated with stickers.
2000–present: Navy on screened blue, white, and navy with "CONNECTICUT" at top, slogan at bottom, and a silhouette in the top left. Validation stickers issued through August 2006 for expiration dates through August 2008. Windshield stickers were issued beginning September 2006 through September 2010. Connecticut has the technology able to scan the registration plates which is the reason for no more windshield registration stickers. The current Connecticut base plate was issued beginning in January 2000 to new registrants. In September 2000, motorists with existing white-on-blue plates were issued new plates bearing their plate permutation, meaning that permutations issued 1957 can be seen on the current base plates.
From 1980 through 1987, all passenger plates were issued as a rear-only plate. Since then, all passenger plates have been issued in pairs.
|Image||First issued||Description||Slogan||Serial format||Serials issued|
|1956||White reflective (glass beads) on blue with border line; CONNECTICUT embossed in rectangular font starting at lower left; registration number in same font at bottom left||none||123·456
|100·000 to 999·999
AA·1000 to NZ·9999
|1957||White reflective (glass beads) on blue with border line; CONNECTICUT embossed in rectangular font starting at lower left; registration number sticker at bottom left||none||123·456
|100·000 to 999·999
AA·1000 to NZ·9999
|1974||Embossed blue on reflective white with border line; CONNECTICUT embossed in wide rectangular font centered below numbers; registration sticker at top right||CONSTITUTION STATE embossed in smaller version of plate letters above numbers||AB·12341||PA·1000 to TM·9999|
|1976||Embossed white reflective (glass beads) on blue with border line; CONNECTICUT embossed in plain font centered below numbers; registration sticker at bottom right||CONSTITUTION STATE embossed in same letters as CONNECTICUT above numbers, spanning entire top of plate||AB·12341||TM·1000 to ZZ·9999|
|1980||123·ABC1||100·AAA to 999·EVX, excluding C series|
|1987||Embossed white reflective (glass beads) on blue with border line; CONNECTICUT embossed in plain font centered above numbers; state icon embossed in top left corner; registration sticker at top right||CONSTITUTION STATE embossed in same letters as CONNECTICUT below numbers, spanning entire plate||123·ABC1||100·EVY to 999·NZM, excluding I and L series|
|2000||Dark blue embossed numbers on reflective sky blue gradient fade with embossed border line; dark blue Connecticut screened in serifed font centered at top, with state icon screened at top left corner; registration sticker at top right (until 9/2006)||Constitution State (same letters as Connecticut but slightly smaller, centered at bottom)||123·ABC2||100·NZN to 999·ZZW, excluding O, Q, and V series|
|New license plate format
Started issue in July 2013 at 0AAAA0. (zeroes) The dot has returned, resulting in a 1AB·CD2 format. Current low is 5AG·RS4.
- 1 Plus remakes of serials issued on previous bases: 123-456 and AB-1234[clarification needed]
- 1 Plus remakes of serials issued on previous bases: 123-456, AB-1234, and 123-ABC (serials from 100-AAA to 999-NZM)[clarification needed]
- 2 Plus remakes of serials issued on previous bases: 123-456, AB-1234, and 123-ABC (serials from 100-AAA to 999-NZM)[clarification needed]
Current plate types
|Amateur Radio||(various)||Embossed lightning bolt divider in serial. These plates are issued to amateur (ham) radio operators.
This type started in the 1950s. The operator's callsign is the registration number, with the neat lightning bolt separator.
|Preserve the Sound||(various)||"Constitution State" legend;|
|Apportioned||12345·A||Red serial. This type seems to have started in Connecticut in the mid-1980s, in the 1000-A series. Eventually the numbering format moved to 12345-A.|
|Camp Trailer||123·456||"Camp Tr." legend.||This type started in 1924, with plates similar to regular commercial plates except for a 'B-' prefix. This continued until 1932 when "Camp Tr." was spelled out for the first time, and the 'B-' was dropped.|
|Combination||1000·CA||"Constitution State" legend; "COMB" embossed vertically at right. This type started in 1922, with the same size, colors and format as regular passenger plates but with a 'C' prefix.||Previously CA·1234, C·12345, 12345, 123·CAB, 1C·2345, 12C·345 on past bases remade on the current base; 12345·C, 1CA·234, and 12C·A34 on the current base.|
|Combination - Handicapped||123·R
|"Constitution State" legend. Wheelchair embossed to right of serial; "COMB" embossed vertically to right of wheelchair.|
|Commercial||A·12345||"Constitution State" legend with "COMM" embossed vertically at left. Red serial.|
|Connecticut News Photographer||12·C/N/P||"Constitution State" legend.|
|Construction||1234||Red serial. These plates are generally used on heavy equipment with limited to no highway use.
This type appears to have started sometime in the late 1960s or early 1970s.
|Early American - Motorcycle||1234||Black on white.|
|Early American - Passenger||1A-123||Black on white.||Early American plates are issued for use on collectable vehicles at least 20 years old. The earliest of the "Early American" plates were issued in 1952. These were porcelain plates, black on a white background. Previous sequence of 12345 has reached 99999 and shifted to the new format.|
|Factory||1234||Blue serial through at least 1821; red serial from at least 2399.||This type started in the mid-1920s, with a "FAC" legend slanted downwards on the right side of the plate after the serial number.|
|Red serials through at least 37638; blue serials by at least 44132. This type started in 1933.|
|Fire Apparatus||1234||Red serial.|
|Handicapped - Passenger||123·A
1234·Y (backwards issue)
|"Constitution State" legend. Wheelchair embossed at right.|
|Medical Doctor||MD·1234||MD·0001 to MD·0999 followed MD·1000 to MD·9999|
|New York Press||NYP·123||NYP·001 to NYP·099 followed NYP·100 to NYP·999.|
|Livery||L1234L||These plates are used on limousines and for-hire cars (but not taxis).
The 'Livery' type started in 1910 and was used on vehicles which transported people for a charge.
|Medal of Honor||1|
|Motorcycle||123·456||This type started in 1903. From 1903 through 1911, the registrant supplied their own (homemade) plates.|
|Motorcycle - Handicapped||123·M||Wheelchair embossed to right of serial.|
|These plates are used on town/city government vehicles - police cars to dump trucks.
This type started in the mid-1970s. Prior to this, vehicles such as police cars used regular run-of-the-mill passenger car plates.
|Letters signify municipality.|
|Municipal - Preserve the Sound||1·AB
|Uses a "MUNICIPAL CT" sticker in place of validation sticker.||Letters signify municipality.|
12A34 *Prior to this, school buses used Serv. Bus plates. School Bus plates launched in 1995 decals.*
|School Bus/Livery Bus||1SL23|
|Service Bus||12345||This type started sometime in the 1940s.|
|State Service Bus||123||These plates are typically used on buses belonging to the State Vocational schools, the State University system, and prisoner transport buses.
This type started sometime in the 1970s.
|Taxi||T1234T||This type started in 1931, with a "TAXI" legend.|
|Trailer||V·12345||Red serial. I am not sure when this type started. Others have reported examples as early as 1932. Generally the size and colors have been the same as Commercial plates.|
|Transporter||1234||All-embossed red on yellow. This type is believed to have started in the late 1940s. The plates have an all-numeric serial, and are captioned 'Trans.'.|
|All-embossed black on orange. These plates are used on tow trucks. A shop must first have Dealer or Repair plates in order to obtain Wrecker plates. Non-dealer or repair tow trucks use regular Commercial plates.
This type appears to have started in 1954
|Optional Issues - Passenger||123·ABC
|Types confirmed as using 1ABC2 format: Blue Knights, Combat Wounded, Ducks Unlimited, Fraternal Order of Police, Garden Clubs, Greenways, Laos War Veteran, Meriden, Norwich, Olympic Spirit, Silent Service, UCONN. Letters I, O, and Q are used in any letter position. Elks previously used 123-ELK; UCONN 1999 NCAA National Champions: 123·PEP; Olympic Spirit: 123·WIN; Penn State University: 123·PSU.|
|Special issues - Combination||1CAB2|
|Caring for Pets||123·PET
|Keep Kids Safe||123·ZZY||Previously 123·KID, 123·TOT, 123·ZZZ.|
|Preserve the Sound - Passenger||123·LAA||LAK, LAL, LAM, LAN, LAO, LAP, LAR, LAS, and LAT series use Maine dies.|
|Preserve the Sound - Camp Trailer|
|Preserve the Sound - Camper||123·LA||"CAMP" embossed vertically.|
|Preserve the Sound - Combination||123·LA||"COMB" printed vertically to left of serial.||Serials issued in descending order from 999·LZ.|
|Preserve the Sound - Combination Handicapped||123L||"COMB" printed vertically to left of serial.|
|Preserve the Sound - Commercial||123·CA||"COMM" printed vertically to left of serial; red serial.||Previously 000·LA, for which the high is 269·LC.|
|Preserve the Sound - Handicapped||123L|
|United We Stand - Passenger||1BAC2||Original format was 000·USA.|
|United We Stand - Combination||1BCA2||"CO" and "MB" embossed vertically above and below separator dot.||Original format was USA·123.|
|Veteran - Passenger||123·VAA||Originally 123·VET, then VAA and up.|
|Veteran - Camper|
|Veteran - Combination||123·VSA||"CO" and "MB" embossed vertically above and below separator dot.||Originally 123·VET.|
|Veteran - Combination Handicapped||1V·23||Wheelchair embossed at right of plate. Format of 1V23 followed by "COMB" embossed vertically through at least 1V13; switched to format of 1V·23 with "CO" and "MB" embossed vertically above and below a separator dot at 3V·56 or lower.|
|Veteran - Commercial||123·VZA|
|Veteran - Handicapped||1V·23||Wheelchair embossed to left of serial.||Previously 000·V|
|Veteran - Motorcycle||"Veteran - MC" legend.|
|Veteran with V/E/T||123 V/E/T|
|Veteran - POW||123 P/O/W|
|Volunteer Firefighter - Passenger||123·AB||"Constitution State" slogan with small logo at right.|
|Volunteer Firefighter - Combination||123·CA||"Constitution State" slogan with small logo at right.|
|Dealer - Motorcycle New||MXA·0, MXAA·0, MXA·00, MXAA·00, MXA·000||"Dealer" legend.||Numerical suffix signifies the dealership, which receives plates with sequential letters following the X.|
|Dealer - Motorcycle Used||MDA·0, MDAA·0, MDA·00, MDAA·00, MDA·000||"Dealer" legend.||Numerical suffix signifies the dealership, which receives plates with sequential letters following the D.|
|Dealer - Passenger New||XA·0, XAA·0, XA·00, XAA·00, XA·000, XAA·000, XA·0000||"Dealer" legend.||Numerical suffix signifies the dealership, which receives plates with sequential letters following the X.|
|Dealer - Passenger Used||DA·0, DAA·0, DA·00, DAA·00, DA·000, DAA·000, DA·0000||"Dealer" legend.||Numerical suffix signifies the dealership, which receives plates with sequential letters following the D.|
|Dealer - Special||SX·0000||"Dealer" legend.||Issued sequentially, not coded by dealership.|
|Repair||RA·000, RA·0000||"Repair" legend.||Numerical suffix signifies the repairer, which receives plates with sequential letters following the R.|
On both flat blue on white and Preserve the Sound bases:
- Assistant Majority Leader
- Assistant Minority Leader
- Deputy Majority Leader
- Deputy Minority Leader
State agency plates
Most state agencies in Connecticut register their vehicles with state plates. The plate starts with a number to represent the agency that owns the vehicle. Some agencies, such as the Connecticut State Police, register some vehicles using regular passenger or combination plates.
|1-||Department of Motor Vehicles|
|2-||Department of Transportation|
|5-||Department of Administrative Services - Fleet vehicles, leased to other agencies|
|9-||University of Connecticut (UCONN)|
|36-||Western Connecticut State University - Police|
|46-||Eastern Connecticut State University - Police|
|50-||Department of Energy and Environmental Protection|
|56-||Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection - State Police special vehicles (mobile crime lab, fire investigation unit, etc.)|
|58-||Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security - CT-TF1 Urban Search & Rescue|
- Wasielewski, Joe. "Illustrated History of Connecticut License Plates". Retrieved 12 September 2013.
- http://www.flickr.com/photos/triborough/6793883938/. Retrieved 12 September 2013. Missing or empty
- "Media Parking in NYC". Retrieved 12 September 2013.
- Wasielewski, Joe; Barnes, Mike. "Connecticut Municipal License Plate Codes". Retrieved 12 September 2013.