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 had to provide their own plates for display until 1914, when the state began to supply license plates to registrants. Plates are currently issued by the Motor Vehicle Division of the Arizona Department of Transportation (MVD).

The current "Grand Canyon State" slogan first appeared in 1940, appearing on all subsequent issues except for 1945.

Plates began to be county-coded in 1922 and were issued to all vehicle types until 1929, when commercial vehicles were given their own class of plate.[1]

In Arizona, the license plate belongs to the vehicle owner. This allows for the transfer of a license plate from one vehicle to another.[2]

As of FY 2009, the MVD has 6,693,413 license plates registered with the department.[3]

Passenger plates 1914 to 1955[edit]

Image Dates issued Design Slogan Serial format Serials issued Notes
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1914 White on blue; ARIZ embossed vertically along right side; year of issue embossed vertically along bottom none 1234 unknown
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1915 Black om white; ARIZ embossed vertically along right side; year of issue embossed vertically along bottom none 1234 unknown
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1916 Black on copper; ARIZ embossed vertically along left side; year of issue embossed vertically along right side none 1234 unknown
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1917 Silver on black; ARIZ embossed vertically along left side; bull logo embossed along middle; year of issue embossed along bottom none 12345 unknown
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1918 Dark blue on lime green; ARIZ embossed vertically along right side; year of issue embossed along top none 12345 unknown
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1919 White on black; ARIZ embossed vertically along left side; year of issue embossed along bottom none 12345 unknown
AZ 1920 License Plate.jpg 1920 Black on white; ARIZ embossed vertically along left side; year of issue embossed vertically along right side. none 12345 unknown
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1921 White on black; ARIZ embossed vertically along right side; year of issue embossed vertically along bottom. none 12345 unknown
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1922 Green on white; ARIZ embossed vertically along left side; year of issue embossed vertically along right side. none 1-23456 unknown
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1923 Blue on white; ARIZ embossed vertically along left side; year of issue embossed vertically along bottom. none 1-23456 unknown
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1924 White on blue; ARIZ embossed vertically along left side; year of issue embossed along top. none 1-23456 unknown
AZ 1925 license plate.JPG 1925 Black on copper; ARIZONA embossed vertically along bottom right; year of issue embossed vertically along right side. none 1-23456 unknown
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1926 Black on white; ARIZONA embossed along bottom right; year of issue embossed vertically along right side. none 1-23456 unknown
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1927 Black on copper; ARIZONA embossed vertically along bottom right; year of issue embossed vertically along right side. none 1-23456 unknown
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1928 Red on copper; ARIZONA embossed vertically along bottom right; year of issue embossed vertically along left side. none 1-23456 unknown
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1929 Golden yellow on black; 19 ARIZ 29 embossed at bottom. none 12-34-56 unknown
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1930 Black on gray; ARIZONA embossed vertically along top right; county letter embossed vertically at top left; year of issue embossed vertically at bottom. none 12-34-56 unknown
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1931 Black on golden yellow; ARIZONA embossed vertically along bottom right; county letter embossed at top left; year of issue embossed vertically at top. none 12-34-56 unknown
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1932 Gray on copper; ARIZONA 1932 at top. none AB12
1A2B
1AB2
unknown
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1933 Copper on black; ARIZONA 1933 at bottom. none AB12
1A2B
1AB2
unknown
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1934 Copper on turquoise; ARIZONA 1934 at top. none AB12
1A2B
1AB2
unknown
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1935 Black on copper; ARIZONA 1935 at bottom. none AB12
1A2B
1AB2
unknown
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1936 Black on copper; ARIZ embossed vertically along left side; county name embossed at bottom; year of issue embossed vertically along right side. none AB 12
1A 2B
unknown
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1937 Embossed black numbers on copper plate with border line; "ARIZONA-37" and county name embossed in black block letters centered at top and bottom respectively none A1-234 Coded by county of issuance (A)
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1938 Embossed black numbers on yellow plate with border line; "ARIZONA-38" and county name embossed in black block letters centered at top and bottom respectively none A1234 Coded by county of issuance (A)
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1939 Embossed black numbers on copper plate; "ARIZONA" embossed in black block letters centered at top; "1539" and "1939" embossed vertically at left and right respectively "MARCOS DE NIZA" embossed in black block letters centered at bottom A12345 Coded by county of issuance (A) Commemorated the 400th anniversary of the expedition of Fray Marcos de Niza.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1940 Embossed dark blue numbers on white plate; "ARIZONA-40" embossed in dark blue block letters centered at top "GRAND CANYON STATE" embossed in dark blue block letters 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" embossed in black block letters centered at bottom "GRAND CANYON STATE" embossed in black block letters at top A12345 Coded by county of issuance (A)
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1942–44 Embossed black numbers on white plate; "42-ARIZONA" embossed in black block letters centered at top "GRAND CANYON STATE" embossed in black block letters 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.jpg 1945–46 As 1942–44 base, but with "ARIZ. 45" embossed 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" embossed in red block letters centered at top "GRAND CANYON STATE" embossed in red block letters centered at bottom A/B 1234 Coded by county of issuance (A/B)
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1948 Embossed black numbers on unpainted aluminum plate; "ARIZ. 48" embossed in black block letters centered at top "GRAND CANYON STATE" embossed in black block letters 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" embossed in green block letters centered at top "GRAND CANYON STATE" embossed in green block letters centered at bottom A-12345 Coded by county of issuance (A)
AZ 1950 license plate.JPG Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1950–51 Embossed black numbers on white plate; "ARIZONA 50" embossed in black block letters centered at top "GRAND CANYON STATE" embossed in black block letters centered at bottom A-12345 Coded by county of issuance (A) Revalidated for 1951 with aluminum tabs.
AZ 1952 license plate.JPG Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1952–53 Embossed white numbers on black plate; "ARIZONA 52" embossed in white block letters centered at top "GRAND CANYON STATE" embossed in white block letters centered at bottom A-12345 Coded by county of issuance (A) Revalidated for 1953 with black tabs.
AZ 1954.JPG Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1954–55 As 1950–51 base, but with "ARIZONA 54" at top "GRAND CANYON STATE" as on 1950–51 base A-12345 Coded by county of issuance (A) Revalidated for 1955 with aluminum tabs.

Passenger plates 1956 to present[edit]

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 1955 (dated 1956) issue was the first Arizona license plate that complied 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" embossed in white block letters centered at top "GRAND CANYON STATE" embossed in white block letters 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" embossed in white block letters centered at top "GRAND CANYON STATE" embossed in white block letters centered at bottom ABC-123 AAA-001 to approximately BDY-999 Revalidated for 1960 with stickers.
Arizona 1961 Plate CGT882.jpg 1961–63 Embossed blue numbers on white plate with border line; "ARIZONA 61" embossed in blue block letters centered at top "GRAND CANYON STATE" embossed in blue block letters 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" embossed in white block letters centered at top "GRAND CANYON STATE" embossed in white block letters 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 white plate with border line; "ARIZONA 66" embossed in black block letters centered at top "GRAND CANYON STATE" embossed in black block letters centered at bottom ABC-123 HAA-001 to
JZZ-999;
NAA-001 to approximately NEF-999
Revalidated for 1967 and 1968 with stickers.
Arizona 1969 MPP-619.jpg 1969–72 Embossed black numbers on yellow plate with border line; "ARIZONA 69" embossed in black block letters centered at top "GRAND CANYON STATE" embossed in black block letters 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 pale orange plate with border line; "ARIZONA 73" embossed in green block letters centered at top "GRAND CANYON STATE" embossed in green block letters centered at bottom ABC-123 PAA-001 to approximately WNJ-999 Revalidated with stickers until 1990.
Arizona license plate 1980 series.jpg 1980–96 Embossed white numbers on maroon plate with border line; embossed white saguaro cactus used as divider between letters and digits; "ARIZONA" embossed in white block letters centered at top "GRAND CANYON STATE" embossed in white block letters centered at bottom ABC-123 AAA-001 to approximately NXG-999 Front and rear plates issued until around the ETT series (1989); rear plates only thereafter. Still currently revalidated.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1996–2008 Embossed dark green numbers on desert scene with turquoise, white and orange gradient sky, white setting sun and purple mountains and cacti; "ARIZONA" screened in wide dark green block letters, with white outlines, centered at top "GRAND CANYON STATE" screened in narrow dark green block letters offset to right below numbers, on orange part of sky 123·ABC 101·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 license plate 2008 series.jpg 2008–present As above, but with numbers screened and security threads added to center of plate ABC1234 AAA0001 to CAB9999 (as of April 1, 2017)

Non-passenger types[edit]

1997 to present[edit]

Image Type First issued Design Serial format Notes
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg Alternative Fuel – Government Blue on sky and clouds graphic GA·12345
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 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.jpg Alternative Fuel – hybrid vehicle 2008 Blue on sky and clouds graphic 12L N34 Issuance ceased at 99L N99.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 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" The plate number is the FCC assigned call sign One of the earliest special plates that is still available as February 2013.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg Apportioned As passenger base, but with "APPORTIONED" in place of slogan AA·12345 Began at AA·00001; currently issuing AG 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.jpg Commercial October 1997 As passenger base CA·12345 Began at CA·00001; currently issuing CJ series. Serials became screened early in the CF series.
AZDisabled2.JPG Disabled Person 1997 As passenger base ABC12 Small wheelchair embossed to left of serial. First series used older dies.
AZDisabled.JPG 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.jpg Historic Vehicle All-embossed red on copper 1A2
ABC1
Dated-1977 base issued continuously through the present.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg Manufacturer As passenger base MT-1234
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg Motorcycle M/C1ABC
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 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.jpg Transporter As passenger base XP-123A

1980 to 1996[edit]

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

Optional types[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.jpg 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.jpg Arizona Diamondbacks April 4, 2007 DB12345
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg Arizona Highways Magazine early 2009 1AH2345
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg Arizona Historical Society June 2007 AH123
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg Arizona State University A1234
C1234 (series halted early for Pet plates)
D1234
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg Choose Life early 2009 12CL34
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg Conserving Wildlife W/A12345
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg Donate Life/Be an Organ Donor B1ABC
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg Early Detection Saves Lives March 26, 2006 JK1234
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg Environmental E1234
1234E
123E4
12E34
1E234
EA·1234 (counting up from EV)
Azpow.JPG Former Prisoner of War A12
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg Fraternal Order of Police L/E1234
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg Freedom January 14, 2007 1FR2345
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg Gold Star Family May 2009 B123[citation needed] Serials are surface-printed.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg Historic Route 66 December 19, 2016[4] 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.jpg Home of the Apache March 2007 C123E4
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg Honoring Fallen Officers November 2007 FP12345 Serials are surface-printed.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg It Shouldn't Hurt to Be a Child AC·12345
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg It Shouldn't Hurt to Be a Child—Disabled Person AC·1234 Wheelchair embossed to left of serial
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg Live the Golden Rule November 2007 LM12345 Serials are surface-printed.
Azcmoh.JPG Medal of Honor 123
Azng.JPG National Guard N1234
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg Navajo Nation September 2003 B/A1234
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg Northern Arizona University V1234
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg Pets Enrich Our Lives May 2005 C1234
1234C
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg Phoenix Suns May 5, 2009 1PS2345 Serials are surface-printed.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg Professional Fire Fighters F/F1234
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg Purple Heart 1234
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg A State of Good Character September 2005 A12B34
Ariz02Veteran.jpg Veteran V/T1234
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg Veteran—Disabled Person V/T123 Wheelchair embossed to left of serial.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg University of Arizona P1234

S1234

Blank License Plate Shape.jpg University of Phoenix F/A1234
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg White Mountain Apache November 2007 WM123
123WM
Serials are surface-printed.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Arizona License Plates
  2. ^ Motor Vehicle Division
  3. ^ http://www.azdot.gov/mvd/statistics/documents/PlatesFY2009.pdf Plate Key Counts of Currently Registered Vehicles accessed 3 April 2009
  4. ^ Ricca, Aaron (December 29, 2016). "Arizona gives Route 66 a license plate". The Kingman Daily Miner. Retrieved April 8, 2017. 

External links[edit]