Vehicle registration plates of Delaware

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Current Delaware license plate

The U.S. state of Delaware first required its residents to register their motor vehicles in 1905. Registrants had to provide their own license plates for display until 1909, when the state began to supply plates.[1]

All license plates issued since 1942 can still be used with current stickers. Authorized reproductions of porcelain enamel license plates can be obtained through a private vendor,[2] provided they fall within the state's guidelines.

In 1956, the U.S. states and Canadian provinces 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.[3] The first Delaware license plate that complied with these standards was issued in 1958.

Passenger baseplates[edit]

1909 to 1942[edit]

No slogans were used on passenger plates during the period covered by this subsection.

Image First issued Design Serial format Serials issued Notes
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1909 White on black porcelain; "DEL. 1909" at top 1234 1000 to 1500
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1910 Black on white porcelain; "DEL. 1910" at top 123 1 to 900
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1911 White on dark blue porcelain; "DEL. 1911" at top 1234 1 to 1500
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1912 White on maroon porcelain; "DEL. 1912" at top 1234 1 to 2000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1913 White on black porcelain; vertical "DEL" and "1913" at left and right respectively 1234 1 to approximately 2000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg As above, but with "DEL 13" at right 2001 to approximately 2500
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1914 Yellow on black porcelain; "DEL 14" at right 1234 1 to approximately 3200
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1915 Blue on white porcelain; "DEL 15" at right 1234 1 to approximately 4700
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1916 White on dark green; "DEL 16" at right 1234 1 to approximately 7000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1917 White on black; "DEL 17" at right 1234 1 to approximately 11000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1918 White on brown; "DEL 18" at right 12345 1 to approximately 13000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1919 White on dark blue with border line; "DEL 19" at right 12345 1 to approximately 12500
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1920 Black on light green with border line; "DEL 20" at right 12345 1 to approximately 16500
1921 Delaware license plate.jpg 1921 Red on white with border line; "DEL 21" at right 12345 1 to approximately 21000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1922 Blue on white with border line; "DEL 22" at right 12-345 1 to approximately
24-000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1923 White on black with border line; "DEL 23" at right 12-345 1 to approximately
25-000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1924 Brown on white with border line; "DEL 24" at right 12-345 1 to 20-000;
30-001 to approximately
39-000
Serials between 20-001 and 30-000 reserved for commercial vehicles.[4]
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1925 Black on orange with border line; "DEL 25" at right 12-345 1 to 30-000;
45-001 to approximately
48-000
Serials between 30-001 and 45-000 reserved for commercial vehicles and tractor units.[4]
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1926 Yellow on blue with border line; "DEL 26" at right 12-345 1 to approximately
37-000
Delaware 1927 license plate.jpg 1927 Red on gray with border line; "DEL 27" at right 12-345 1 to approximately
40-000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1928 Black on white with border line; "DEL 28" at right 12-345 1 to approximately
50-000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1929 Blue on golden yellow with border line; diamond at left and "DEL 29" at right 12-345 1 to approximately
47-000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1930 Golden yellow on blue with border line; diamond at left and "DEL 30" at right 12-345 1 to approximately
45-000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1931 As 1929 base, but with "DEL 31" at right 12-345 1 to approximately
48-000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1932 As 1930 base, but with "DEL '32" at right 12-345 1 to approximately
47-000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1933 As 1929 base, but with "DEL '33" at right 12-345 1 to approximately
48-000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1934 As 1930 base, but with "DEL '34" at right 12-345 1 to approximately
47-000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1935 As 1929 base, but with "DEL '35" at right 12-345 1 to approximately
48-000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1936 Golden yellow on blue with border line; "DELAWARE – 36" at bottom 12♦345 1 to approximately 51♦000 First use of the full state name.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1937 Blue on golden yellow with border line; "DELAWARE – 37" at bottom 12♦345 1 to approximately 53♦000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1938 Red on silver with border line; "DELAWARE – 38" at bottom 12♦345 1 to approximately 55♦000
1939-Delaware-license-plate.jpg 1939 Silver on maroon with border line; "DELAWARE – 39" at bottom 12♦345 1 to approximately 58♦000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1940 Blue on golden yellow; "DEL. EX. 3-31-41" at bottom 12♦345 1 to approximately 60♦000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1941 Golden yellow on blue; "DELAWARE 3-31-42" at top 12♦345 1 to approximately 59♦000

1942 to present[edit]

Image First issued Design Slogan Serial format Serials issued Notes
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1942 White on black porcelain; "DEL." at top with tab slots to left and right none 12♦345 1 to approximately 87♦0001 Measures 5.5" x 9.5". Month/day tab (3/31 in black on white, 6/30 in white on green, 9/30 in white on red, or 12/31 in white on brown) fitted at top left and year tab (even-numbered years in blue on gold and odd-numbered years in gold on blue) at top right until 1963, when sticker revalidation commenced. Issued in pairs until 1945; only rear plates have been required ever since. Authorized modern reproductions allowed.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1947 Polished stainless steel numbers riveted on black painted stainless steel base plate. Base embossed with Delaware on top. Insert space at bottom. Insert format continued as original. none 123456 1 to 2000001 plates varied in size:
5-digit 9.5 x 5.5 in
6 digit 11 x 5.5 in
renewed with metal tabs
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1951 Reflective white scotchlite painted stainless steel numbers riveted on black painted stainless steel base plate. Base plate embossed with Delaware on top. Insert spaces at bottom. Insert format continued as original. none 123456 1 to 2000001 plates were smaller than the 6 digit plates if they were 5 digits or lower.
renewed with metal tabs
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1958 Riveted gold numbers on reflective dark blue plate; "DELAWARE" centered at top; tab slots at bottom none 123456 4 to approximately 2130001-2 First 6" x 12" plate. Validated with tabs until 1963, and with stickers thereafter.
1969 Delaware License Plate.jpg 1962 Riveted gold numbers on reflective dark blue plate; "DELAWARE" centered at bottom "THE FIRST STATE" centered at top 123456 4 to approximately 2620001-2 Validated with stickers.
Circa 1990s-2000s Delaware License Plate.jpg 1969 Screened gold numbers on reflective dark blue plate with gold border; "DELAWARE" centered at bottom "THE FIRST STATE" centered at top 123456 4 to 9999991-2 Several variations of the font used for the serial exist. Some replacement plates have riveted numbers.
2013 Delaware License Plate.jpg 2008 Plates have a beveled edge around the plate as opposed to the previous all-flat plates.

Notes:
1 The state recycles serials, so they can be found on any base.
2 Serials 1, 2 and 3 reserved for the Governor, Lieutanant Governor and Secretary of State respectively. Plates with these serials are blue on gold with the state's coat of arms at the left.

Non-passenger types[edit]

Delaware does not use leading zeros on its plates, so serials are composed of a variable number of digits.

Image Type Slogan Serial format Notes
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Commercial The First State C123456
C/L123456
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Dealer The First State D12345
Delaware handicap plate HP32076.jpg Disabled The First State HP12345 International Symbol of Access at left.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Farm Truck The First State FT1234
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Motorcycle none 12345 "M/C" at bottom left.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Pleasure Commercial The First State P/C123456 Issued to station wagons and sport utility vehicles.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Recreational Trailer The First State RT1234
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Recreational Vehicle The First State RV12345
Blank License Plate Shape.svg State-Owned The First State S1234
Delaware temporary tags (2015).jpg Temporary Registration The First State XC123456; XP123456 Delaware started issuing temporary tags with an all-numeric format, then moved to the letter X as a prefix, then XA, XB, XC, XD, then XP as of April 16, 2015
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Trailer The First State T123456

Optional types[edit]

Delaware does not use leading zeros on its plates, so serials are composed of a variable number of digits.

Image Type Serial format Notes
Delaware 2009 Centennial license plate-.jpg Centennial of Delaware License Plates Remakes of passenger serials:
123456
Remakes of pleasure commercial serials:
P/C123456
Issued from October 1, 2008 through December 31, 2009.[5] Awarded "Plate of the Year" for best new license plate of 2008 by the Automobile License Plate Collectors Association, the first and, to date, only time Delaware has been so honored.[6]
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Disabled American Veterans 123DAV
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Duck Remakes of passenger serials:
123456
A portion of the proceeds from this license plate's sales benefit Delaware's two National Estuary Programs: the Center for the Inland Bays[7] and the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary.[8] These funds are used to improve the health of Delaware's coastal waterways and bays, or "estuaries."
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Lighthouse Remakes of passenger serials:
123456
Remakes of pleasure commercial serials:
P/C123456
A portion of the proceeds from this license plate's sales benefit Delaware's two National Estuary Programs: the Center for the Inland Bays[7] and the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary.[8] These funds are used to improve the health of Delaware's coastal waterways and bays, or "estuaries."
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Lighthouse—Personalized various A portion of the proceeds from this license plate's sales benefit Delaware's two National Estuary Program's: the Center for the Inland Bays[7] and the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary.[8] These funds are used to improve the health of Delaware's coastal waterways and bays, or "estuaries."
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Passenger—Personalized various
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Purple Heart P/H1234
Delaware Whip Plate.jpg State Legislators Legislators' initials:
A. B. C.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Telephone Pioneers TP1234
Blank License Plate Shape.svg University of Delaware UD1234
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Volunteer Firefighter V/F1234

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Old Delaware License Plates". LeatherLicensePlates.com. Retrieved June 30, 2017. 
  2. ^ http://www.dehistoricplate.com/ Delaware Historic Plate Company
  3. ^ Garrish, Christopher (October 2016). "Reconsidering the Standard Plate Size". Plates. Vol. 62 no. 5. Automobile License Plate Collectors Association. 
  4. ^ a b "Delaware License Plates". allaboutlicenseplates.com. Retrieved April 12, 2017. 
  5. ^ "Centennial License Plate". Delaware Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on November 7, 2008. Retrieved November 25, 2008. 
  6. ^ "State Receives "Best Plate of the Year" Award Honors For Limited Edition Centennial Plate". Delaware.gov. May 20, 2009. Archived from the original on May 22, 2009. Retrieved May 26, 2009. 
  7. ^ a b c [1].
  8. ^ a b c [2].

External links[edit]