Vehicle registration plates of Arizona

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Current Arizona license plate

The U.S. state of Arizona first required its residents to register their motor vehicles in 1912. Registrants provided their own license plates for display until 1914, when the state began to issue plates. Plates are currently issued by the Motor Vehicle Division of the Arizona Department of Transportation (MVD).

Plates were issued to all vehicle types until 1929, when commercial vehicles were issued their own class of plate.[1] County codes were used from 1922 through 1958, while the current "Grand Canyon State" slogan first appeared in 1940, appearing on all subsequent issues except for 1945.

In 1956, the United States and Canada came to an agreement with the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, the Automobile Manufacturers Association and the National Safety Council that standardized the size for license plates for vehicles (except those for motorcycles) at 6 inches (15 cm) in height by 12 inches (30 cm) in width, with standardized mounting holes.[2]

In Arizona, the license plate belongs to the vehicle owner. This allows for the transfer of a license plate from one vehicle to another.[3]

Only one license plate is issued per registered vehicle in Arizona, which is required to be displayed on the rear of such vehicle.

As of 2009, the MVD has 6,693,413 license plates registered with the department.[4]

Passenger baseplates[edit]

1914 to 1955[edit]

Image Dates issued Design Slogan Serial format Serials issued Notes
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1914 Embossed white numbers on blue plate; "ARIZ 1914" at right none 1234 1 to approximately 5000
1915 Arizona License Plate.jpg 1915 Embossed black numbers on white plate; "ARIZ 1915" at right none 1234 1 to approximately 7500
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1916 Embossed black numbers on copper plate with border line; vertical "ARIZ" and "1916" at left and right respectively none 12345 1 to approximately 12500
1917 Arizona license plate.jpg 1917 Embossed white numbers on black plate; embossed steer head graphic at left with "ARIZ" above and "1917" below none 12345 1 to approximately 20000
1918 Arizona License Plate.jpg 1918 Embossed dark blue numbers on olive-gray plate; "1918 ARIZ" at right none 12345 1 to approximately 24000
1919 Arizona License Plate.jpg 1919 Embossed white numbers on black plate with border line; "ARIZ 1919" at left none 12345 1 to approximately 29000
AZ 1920 License Plate.jpg 1920 Embossed black numbers on white plate with border line; vertical "ARIZ" and "1920" at left and right respectively none 12345 1 to approximately 35000
1921 Arizona license plate.jpg 1921 Embossed white numbers on black plate with border line; stylized "ARIZ" and "21" at right none 12345 1 to approximately 36000
1922 Arizona License Plate.jpg 1922 Embossed green numbers on white plate with border line; vertical "ARIZ" and "1922" at left and right respectively none 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)
1923 Arizona License Plate.jpg 1923 Embossed dark blue numbers on white plate with border line; stylized vertical "ARIZ" and "23" at left none 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)
1924 Arizona License Plate.jpg 1924 Embossed white numbers on dark blue plate with border line; "24" and stylized vertical "ARIZ" at left none 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)
1925 Arizona License Plate.jpg 1925 Embossed black numbers on copper plate with border line; "ARIZONA" at bottom, offset to left; vertical "1925" at right none 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10) First use of the full state name.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1926 Embossed black numbers on white plate with border line; "ARIZONA" at bottom, offset to left; vertical "1926" at right none 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)
1927 Arizona License Plate.jpg 1927 Embossed black numbers on copper plate with border line; "ARIZONA" at bottom, offset to left; vertical "1927" at right none 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)
1928 Arizona License Plate.jpg 1928 Embossed red numbers on copper plate with border line; "ARIZONA" at bottom, offset to right; vertical "1928" at left none 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)
1929 Arizona License Plate.jpg 1929 Embossed slanted orange numbers on black plate with border line; slanted "19 ARIZ 29" centered at bottom none 123-456 Issued in blocks by county
1930 Arizona license plate.jpg 1930 Embossed slanted black numbers on white plate; slanted "ARIZONA" and "1930" centered at top and bottom respectively; letter at top left denoting county of issuance none 12-34-56 Issued in blocks by county
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1931 Embossed slanted black numbers on orange plate; slanted "1931" and "ARIZONA" centered at top and bottom respectively; letter at top left denoting county of issuance none 12-34-56 Issued in blocks by county
1932 Arizona License Plate.jpg 1932 Embossed slanted white numbers on copper plate; slanted "ARIZONA-1932" at top none 1AB1
1A1B
AA12
A1A2
Coded by county of issuance (1 or A)
1933 Arizona license plate.jpg 1933 Debossed slanted copper numbers within embossed black rectangle on copper plate; slanted "ARIZONA-1933" at bottom none 1AB1
1A1B
AA12
A1A2
Coded by county of issuance (1 or A)
1934 Arizona license plate.jpg 1934 Debossed slanted copper numbers within embossed light blue rectangle on copper plate; slanted "ARIZONA-1934" at top none 1AB1
1A1B
AA12
A1A2
Coded by county of issuance (1 or A)
1935 Arizona License Plate.jpg 1935 Embossed slanted black numbers within black rectangular outline on copper plate; slanted "ARIZONA-1935" at bottom none 1AB1
1A1B
AA12
A1A2
Coded by county of issuance (1 or A)
1936 Arizona License Plate.jpg 1936 Embossed black numbers on copper plate; vertical "ARIZ" and "1936" at left and right respectively; county name centered at bottom none 1A B1
1A 1B
AA 12
A1 A2
Coded by county of issuance (1 or A)
1937 Arizona License Plate.jpg 1937 Embossed black numbers on copper plate with border line; "ARIZONA-37" and county name centered at top and bottom respectively none A1-234 Coded by county of issuance (A)
1938 Arizona license plate 02.jpg 1938 Embossed black numbers on yellow plate with border line; "ARIZONA-38" and county name centered at top and bottom respectively none A1234 Coded by county of issuance (A)
1939 Arizona License Plate.jpg 1939 Embossed black numbers on copper plate; "ARIZONA" centered at top; vertical "1539" and "1939" at left and right respectively "MARCOS DE NIZA" centered at bottom A12345 Coded by county of issuance (A) Commemorated the 400th anniversary of the expedition of Fray Marcos de Niza.
Arizona license plate 1940 graphic.png 1940 Embossed dark blue numbers on white plate; "ARIZONA-40" centered at top "GRAND CANYON STATE" at bottom A12345 Coded by county of issuance (A) First use of the "Grand Canyon State" slogan.
1941 Arizona license plate.JPG 1941 Embossed black numbers on copper plate; "ARIZONA-41" centered at bottom "GRAND CANYON STATE" at top A12345 Coded by county of issuance (A)
1942 Arizona license plate.jpg 1942–44 Embossed black numbers on white plate; "42-ARIZONA" centered at top "GRAND CANYON STATE" at bottom A123
1A234
12A345
Coded by county of issuance (A) Revalidated for 1943 and 1944 with windshield stickers, due to metal conservation for World War II.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1945–46 Embossed black numbers on white plate; "ARIZ. 45" centered at top none A1234 Coded by county of issuance (A) Revalidated for 1946 with windshield stickers.
AZ 1947 license plate.JPG 1947 Embossed red numbers on unpainted aluminum plate; "ARIZ. 47" centered at top "GRAND CANYON STATE" centered at bottom A/B 1234 Coded by county of issuance (A/B)
1948 Arizona License Plate.jpg 1948 Embossed black numbers on unpainted aluminum plate; "ARIZ. 48" centered at top "GRAND CANYON STATE" centered at bottom A/B 1234 Coded by county of issuance (A/B)
AZ 1949 license plate.JPG 1949 Embossed green numbers on waffle-textured unpainted aluminum plate; "ARIZONA 49" centered at top "GRAND CANYON STATE" centered at bottom A-12345 Coded by county of issuance (A)
AZ 1950 license plate.JPG Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1950–51 Embossed black numbers on white plate; "ARIZONA 50" centered at top "GRAND CANYON STATE" centered at bottom A-12345 Coded by county of issuance (A) Revalidated for 1951 with aluminum tabs.
AZ 1952 license plate.JPG 1953 Arizona license plate.jpg 1952–53 Embossed white numbers on black plate; "ARIZONA 52" centered at top "GRAND CANYON STATE" centered at bottom A-12345 Coded by county of issuance (A) Revalidated for 1953 with black tabs.
AZ 1954.JPG Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1954–55 Embossed black numbers on white plate; "ARIZONA 54" centered at top "GRAND CANYON STATE" centered at bottom A-12345 Coded by county of issuance (A) Revalidated for 1955 with aluminum tabs.

1956 to present[edit]

In 1956, the United States and Canada came to an agreement with the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, the Automobile Manufacturers Association and the National Safety Council that standardized the size for license plates for vehicles (except those for motorcycles) at 6 inches (15 cm) in height by 12 inches (30 cm) in width, with standardized mounting holes.[2] The 1955 (dated 1956) issue was the first Arizona license plate to comply with these standards.

Image Dates issued Design Slogan Serial format Serials issued Notes
AZ 1956 license plate.JPG 1956–58 Embossed white numbers on black plate with border line; "ARIZONA 56" centered at top "GRAND CANYON STATE" centered at bottom A-12345 Coded by county of issuance (A) Revalidated for 1957 and 1958 with stickers.
Arizona 1959 ATC-886.jpg 1959–60 Embossed white numbers on blue plate with border line; "ARIZONA 59" centered at top "GRAND CANYON STATE" centered at bottom ABC-123 AAA-001 to approximately BDY-999 Revalidated for 1960 with stickers. Letters I, O and Q not used; this practice continued until 1966.[5]
Arizona 1961 Plate CGT882.jpg 1961–63 Embossed blue numbers on white plate with border line; "ARIZONA 61" centered at top "GRAND CANYON STATE" centered at bottom ABC-123 CAA-001 to approximately DMC-999 Revalidated for 1962 and 1963 with stickers.
Arizona 1964 license plate FGM-258.jpg 1964–65 Embossed white numbers on blue plate with border line; "ARIZONA 64" centered at top "GRAND CANYON STATE" centered at bottom ABC-123 EAA-001 to approximately FMJ-999 Revalidated for 1965 with stickers.
Arizona 1966 license plate.jpg 1966–68 Embossed black numbers on reflective white plate with border line; "ARIZONA 66" centered at top "GRAND CANYON STATE" centered at bottom ABC-123 HAA-001 to
JZZ-999;
NAA-001 to approximately NEF-999
Revalidated for 1967 and 1968 with stickers. Letters I, O, Q and U not used; this practice continues today.[5]
Arizona 1969 MPP-619.jpg 1969–72 Embossed black numbers on reflective yellow plate with border line; "ARIZONA 69" centered at top "GRAND CANYON STATE" centered at bottom ABC-123 KAA-001 to
MZZ-999;
YAA-001 to approximately YDF-999
Revalidated for 1970, 1971 and 1972 with stickers.
Arizona license plate 1973 series.jpg 1973–80 Embossed green numbers on reflective pale orange plate with border line; "ARIZONA 73" centered at top "GRAND CANYON STATE" centered at bottom ABC-123 PAA-001 to approximately WNJ-999 Revalidated with stickers until 1990.
Arizona license plate, 1980–1996 series with March 1998 sticker.png 1980–96 Embossed reflective white numbers on maroon plate with border line; embossed white saguaro cactus used as separator; "ARIZONA" centered at top "GRAND CANYON STATE" centered at bottom ABC-123 AAA-001 to approximately NXG-200 Front and rear plates issued until around the ETT series (1989); rear plates only thereafter. Still currently revalidated.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1996–2008 Embossed dark green numbers on reflective graphic plate with desert scene featuring turquoise, white and orange gradient sky, white setting sun and purple mountains and cacti; "ARIZONA" screened in turquoise, with white outlines, centered at top "GRAND CANYON STATE" screened in dark green below numbers, offset to right 123·ABC 001·AAA to 999·ZZZ Awarded "Plate of the Year" for best new license plate of 1996 by the Automobile License Plate Collectors Association, the first time Arizona was so honored.
Arizona 2008 license plate.jpg 2008–present As above, but with numbers screened and security threads added to center of plate ABC1234 AAA0001 to CKS9999 (as of November 7, 2018)

Non-passenger plates[edit]

1997 to present[edit]

Image Type First issued Design Serial format Notes
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Alternative Fuel – Government Blue on sky and clouds graphic GA·12345
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Alternative Fuel – Passenger Blue on sky and clouds graphic AF·1234
AF·123A
AF·12A3
AF1A23
Early plates had lighter-colored background. Serials became screened at around AF·00P1, then unspaced (without a separator after the AF prefix) at around AF00S1.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Alternative Fuel – hybrid vehicle 2008 Blue on sky and clouds graphic 12L N34 Issuance ceased at 99L N99.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Amateur Radio As passenger base. Starting in 1955, a radio tower graphic appears to the left of the serial, and "GRAND CANYON STATE" is replaced with "AMATEUR RADIO OPERATOR" FCC call sign One of the earliest special plates that is still available as February 2013.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Apportioned As passenger base, but with "APPORTIONED" in place of slogan AA·12345
AA12345
Began at AA·00001; currently issuing AJ series. AC reserved for optional It Shouldn't Hurt to Be a Child plate, and AF skipped to avoid confusion with Alternative Fuel passenger plates. Serials became screened midway through the AD series.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Commercial October 1997 As passenger base CA·12345
CA12345
Began at CA·00001; currently issuing CL series. Serials became screened early in the CF series.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Disabled Person 1996 As passenger base -1ABC Large wheelchair embossed to left of serial with hyphen. First series used older dies.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Disabled Person 1997 As passenger base ABC12 Small wheelchair embossed to left of serial. First series used older dies.
1977 Arizona Historic Vehicle License Plate.jpg Historic Vehicle 1977 All-embossed red on copper 12A
1A2
1234
ABC1
12AB
123A
12A3
1A23
Dated-1977 base issued continuously through the present. Current serial is 12AB.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Manufacturer As passenger base MT-1234
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Motorcycle 1996 Similar to passenger base M/C ABC1
M/C 1ABC
M/C AB1C
M/C A1BC
M/C 1A2B
M/C A12B
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Trailer 1997 As passenger base A-12345
12345-A
Letters J through Y (excluding O, Q and U) were used in the A-12345 format. Serials became screened late in the T series.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Transporter As passenger base XP-123A

1980 to 1996[edit]

Image Type Design Serial format Notes
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Apportioned As passenger base, but with "APPORTIONED" in place of slogan 12A-345
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Commercial As passenger base 1AB-234
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Trailer As passenger base, but with "TLR." to left of state name A-12345 Letters D, E, F and G were used.

Optional plates[edit]

Arizona offers its motorists a number of optional issue designs that are available upon the payment of an additional fee.

Image Type First issued Serial format Notes
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Arizona Centennial October 30, 2011 A1234Z
A1234C
Awarded "Plate of the Year" for best new license plate of 2011 by the Automobile License Plate Collectors Association, the second time Arizona was so honored.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Arizona Diamondbacks April 4, 2007 DB12345
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Arizona Highways Magazine early 2009 1AH2345
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Arizona Historical Society June 2007 AH123
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Arizona State University A1234
C1234 (series halted early for Pet plates)
D1234
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Choose Life early 2009 12CL34
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Conserving Wildlife W/A12345
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Donate Life/Be an Organ Donor B1ABC
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Early Detection Saves Lives March 26, 2006 JK1234
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Environmental October 1, 1992
December 27, 1994 (redesigned version)
E1234
1234E
123E4
12E34
1E234
EA·1234 (counting up from EV)
Originally had yellow numbers which were replaced due to poor visibility. Replaced with the black letters still in use today.[6]
Azpow.JPG Former Prisoner of War A12
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Fraternal Order of Police L/E1234
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Freedom January 14, 2007 1FR2345
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Gold Star Family May 2009 B123[citation needed] Serials are surface-printed.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Historic Route 66 December 19, 2016[7] RT1234 Awarded "Plate of the Year" for best new license plate of 2016 by the Automobile License Plate Collectors Association, the third time Arizona was so honored.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Home of the Apache March 2007 C123E4
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Honoring Fallen Officers November 2007 FP12345 Serials are surface-printed.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg It Shouldn't Hurt to Be a Child AC·12345
Blank License Plate Shape.svg It Shouldn't Hurt to Be a Child – Disabled Person AC·1234 Wheelchair embossed to left of serial
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Live the Golden Rule November 2007 LM12345 Serials are surface-printed.
Azcmoh.JPG Medal of Honor 123
Blank License Plate Shape.svg National Guard N1234
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Navajo Nation September 2003 B/A1234
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Northern Arizona University V1234
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Pets Enrich Our Lives May 2005 C1234
1234C
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Phoenix Suns May 5, 2009 1PS2345 Serials are surface-printed.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Professional Fire Fighters F/F1234
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Purple Heart 1234
Blank License Plate Shape.svg A State of Good Character September 2005 A12B34
Ariz02Veteran.jpg Veteran V/T1234
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Veteran – Disabled Person V/T123 Wheelchair embossed to left of serial.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg University of Arizona P1234
S1234
Blank License Plate Shape.svg University of Phoenix F/A1234
Blank License Plate Shape.svg White Mountain Apache November 2007 WM123
123WM
Serials are surface-printed.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Arizona License Plates
  2. ^ a b Garrish, Christopher (October 2016). "Reconsidering the Standard Plate Size". Plates. Vol. 62 no. 5. Automobile License Plate Collectors Association.
  3. ^ Motor Vehicle Division
  4. ^ http://www.azdot.gov/mvd/statistics/documents/PlatesFY2009.pdf Plate Key Counts of Currently Registered Vehicles accessed 3 April 2009
  5. ^ a b "Arizona License Plates". allaboutlicenseplates.com. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
  6. ^ Carson, Ron, and John Northup. "Arizona Non-Passenger Plates." ALPCA Newsletter 43 (1 June 1997): 138-139. Print.
  7. ^ Ricca, Aaron (December 29, 2016). "Arizona gives Route 66 a license plate". The Kingman Daily Miner. Retrieved April 8, 2017.

External links[edit]