Vehicle registration plates of Kentucky

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Current Kentucky license plate

The U.S. state of Kentucky first started requiring its residents to register their motor vehicles and display license plates in 1910.

Passenger plates 1910 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 Kentucky license plate that complied with these standards.

Image Dates issued Design Slogan Serial format Serials issued Notes
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1910 Black base with white numbers painted on porcelain-coated steel. "KY" above circle containing single letter at right. none 123456 unknown Front and rear plates issued; this practice continued until 1944.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1911 Black base with white numbers painted on porcelain-coated steel. "KY" above circle containing single letter at right. none 123456 unknown
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1912 Black base with white numbers and horizontal stripes at top and bottom, all painted on porcelain-coated steel. "KY" above square encircling single letter at right. none 123456 unknown
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1913 Black base with white numbers and red horizontal stripes at top and bottom, all painted on porcelain-coated steel. "KY" above white diamond encircling single red letter at right. none 123456 unknown
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1914 White base with black embossed lettering. "KY 1914" at right. none 123456 unknown
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1915 White base with red embossed lettering. "KY 1915" at right. none 123456 unknown
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1916 Blue base with white embossed lettering and border. "KY 1916" at right. none 123456 unknown
1917 Kentucky license plate.jpg 1917 White base with black embossed lettering and border. "KY. 1917" at right. none 123456 unknown
1918 Kentucky license plate.jpg 1918 Black base with yellow embossed lettering and border. "KY. 1918" at right. none 123456 unknown
1919 Kentucky license plate.jpg 1919 Green base with white embossed lettering and border. "KY. 1919" at right. none 123456 unknown
1920 Kentucky license plate.jpg 1920 White base with black embossed lettering and border. "KY. 1920" at right. none 123456 unknown
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1921 Brown base with white embossed lettering and border. "KY. 1921" at right. none 123456 unknown
1922 Kentucky license plate.jpg 1922 Orange base with black embossed lettering and border. "KY. 1922" at right. none 123456 unknown
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1923 Gray base with blue embossed lettering and border. "KY. 1923" at right. none 123456 unknown
1924 KY Consecutive plates.png 1924 Black base with white embossed lettering and border. "KY 1924" at right. none 123456 unknown
1925 Kentucky license plate.jpg 1925 Green base with white embossed lettering and border. "KENTUCKY·1925" at bottom. none 123456 unknown First use of the full state name.
1926 Kentucky license plate.jpg 1926 Maroon base with white embossed lettering and border. "KENTUCKY·1926" at bottom. none 123-456 unknown
1927 Kentucky license plate.jpg 1927 Blue base with white embossed lettering and borders. Top third of plate used long rectangular box with "KY" and "27" on either side of county name; Bottom two-thirds divided into three boxes; left and right ones contained registration numbers and center box a white circular sticker. none 123-456 unknown
1928 Kentucky license plate.jpg 1928 Green base with white embossed lettering and borders. Top third of plate used long rectangular box with county name; Bottom two-thirds divided into three boxes; left and right ones contained registration numbers and center box "KY. 28". none 123-456 unknown
1929 Kentucky front license plate.jpg 1929 Kentucky rear license plate.jpg 1929 Pair of plates with blue base with white embossed lettering and border.
Front: top of plate emblazoned with "19 KENTUCKY 29" with county name at bottom. Registration digits in center separated by "FRONT" in small letters in middle.
Rear: top of plate emblazoned with "19 KENTUCKY 29" with "FOR" in center of plate between registration digits and "PROGRESS" emblazoned at bottom.
"FOR PROGRESS" on rear plates (see left) 123-456 1 to 850-000 (see right) A block of serials was assigned to each county in alphabetical order; this practice continued until 1937.[1]
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1930 Pair of plates, each with white base with red embossed lettering and border.
Front: top of plate emblazoned with "19 KENTUCKY 30" with county name at bottom and registration digits in center.
Rear: top of plate emblazoned with "19 KENTUCKY 30" with registration in center of plate and "FOR PROGRESS" emblazoned at bottom.
"FOR PROGRESS" on rear plates (see left) 123-456 1 to 850-000
1931 Kentucky license plate.jpg Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1931 Embossed white numbers on green plate with border line; front plates have "19 KENTUCKY 31" embossed at bottom, while rear plates have "KY" at bottom left, "31" at bottom right and county name at bottom center none 123-456 1 to 850-000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1932 Kentucky license plate.jpg 1932 Embossed white numbers on maroon plate with border line; front plates have "19 KENTUCKY 32" embossed at bottom, while rear plates have "KY" at bottom left, "32" at bottom right and county name at bottom center none 123-456 1 to 850-000
1933 KY passenger plate.jpg 1933 Embossed white numbers on green plate with border line; "KY" and "33" embossed in white block letters at bottom left and bottom right respectively; county name in same letters at bottom center none 123-456 1 to 850-000
1934 Kentucky license plate.jpg 1934 Embossed black numbers on white plate with border line; "KY" and "34" embossed in black block letters at top left and top right respectively; county name in same letters at top center none 123-456 1 to 850-000
1935 Kentucky license plate.jpg 1935 Embossed black numbers on yellow plate with border line; "KY" and "35" embossed in black block letters at bottom left and bottom right respectively; county name in same letters at bottom center none 123-456 1 to 850-000
1936 Kentucky license plate.jpg 1936 Embossed silver numbers on black plate with border line; "KY" and "36" embossed in silver block letters at bottom left and bottom right respectively; county name in same letters at bottom center none 123-456 1 to 850-000
1937 KY passenger plate.jpg 1937 Embossed dark blue numbers on white plate with border line; "KENTUCKY-'37" and county name embossed in dark blue block letters centered at top and bottom respectively none 12345
A1234
1A234
12A34
123A4
Issued in blocks by county
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1938 Embossed green numbers on white plate with border line; "KENTUCKY-'38" and county name embossed in green block letters centered at top and bottom respectively none 12345
A1234
1A234
12A34
123A4
Issued in blocks by county
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1939 Embossed white numbers on green plate with border line; "KENTUCKY-'39" and county name embossed in white block letters centered at top and bottom respectively none 12345
A1234
1A234
12A34
123A4
Issued in blocks by county
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1940 Embossed red numbers on white plate with border line; "KENTUCKY-'40" and county name embossed in red block letters centered at top and bottom respectively none 12345
A1234
1A234
12A34
123A4
Issued in blocks by county
1941 Kentucky license plate.JPG 1941 Embossed black numbers on silver plate with border line; "KENTUCKY-'41" and county name embossed in black block letters centered at top and bottom respectively none 12345
A1234
1A234
12A34
123A4
Issued in blocks by county
1942 KY passenger plate.jpg 1942–43 Embossed silver numbers on black plate with border line; "KENTUCKY-'42" and county name embossed in silver block letters centered at top and bottom respectively none 12345
A1234
1A234
12A34
123A4
Issued in blocks by county Revalidated for 1943 with windshield stickers, due to metal conservation for World War II.
1944 KY passenger plate.jpg 1944–45 Embossed yellow numbers on black plate with border line; "KENTUCKY-'44" and county name embossed in yellow block letters centered at top and bottom respectively none 12345
A1234
1A234
12A34
123A4
Issued in blocks by county Only rear plates issued; this practice continues today. Revalidated for 1945 with windshield stickers.
1946 Kentucky license plate.JPG 1946–47 As 1942–43 base, but with "KENTUCKY-'46" at top none 123-456 Issued in blocks by county Revalidated for 1947 with windshield stickers.
1948 KY passenger plate.jpg 1948 Embossed orange numbers on unpainted aluminum plate; "KENTUCKY-'48" and county name embossed in orange block letters centered at top and bottom respectively none 123-456 Issued in blocks by county
1949 KY passenger plate.jpg 1949 Embossed black numbers on waffle-textured silver plate; "KENTUCKY-'49" and county name embossed in black block letters centered at top and bottom respectively none 123-456 Issued in blocks by county
1950 KY passenger plate.png 1950 Embossed white numbers on waffle-textured green plate; "KENTUCKY-'50" and county name embossed in white block letters centered at top and bottom respectively none 123-456 Issued in blocks by county
Kentucky 1951 562-695.jpg 1951 Embossed black numbers on silver plate; "KENTUCKY-'51" embossed in narrow black block letters at top, offset to right; county name embossed in wide black block letters centered at bottom "TOUR" embossed in narrow black block letters to left of state name, giving "TOUR KENTUCKY" 123-456 Issued in blocks by county Revalidated for 1952 with windshield stickers, due to metal conservation for the Korean War.
1953 Kentucky license plate.JPG 1953 Embossed white numbers on dark blue plate; "KENTUCKY-'53" embossed in narrow white block letters at top, offset to right; county name embossed in wide white block letters centered at bottom "TOUR" embossed in narrow white block letters to left of state name, giving "TOUR KENTUCKY" 123-456 Issued in blocks by county
1954 Kentucky license plate.JPG 1954 Embossed dark blue numbers on white plate; "KENTUCKY-'54" embossed in narrow dark blue block letters at top, offset to right; county name embossed in wide dark blue block letters centered at bottom "TOUR" embossed in narrow dark blue block letters to left of state name, giving "TOUR KENTUCKY" 123-456 Issued in blocks by county
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1955 As 1953 base, but with "-'55" to right of state name "TOUR" as on 1953 base 123-456 Issued in blocks by county
1956 KY passenger plate.jpg 1956 Embossed dark blue numbers on white plate; "KENTUCKY" embossed in narrow dark blue block letters at top, offset to right; county name embossed in wide dark blue block letters centered at bottom; "19" embossed in top left corner and "56" in top right corner "TOUR" embossed in narrow dark blue block letters to left of state name, giving "TOUR KENTUCKY" 123-456 Issued in blocks by county
1957 Kentucky passenger plate.jpg 1957 Embossed white numbers on dark blue plate; "KENTUCKY" embossed in narrow white block letters at top, offset to right; county name embossed in wide white block letters centered at bottom; "19" embossed in top left corner and "57" in top right corner "TOUR" embossed in narrow white block letters to left of state name, giving "TOUR KENTUCKY" 123-456
A12-345
Issued in blocks by county One-letter, five-digit serials introduced in counties that had exhausted their all-numeric allocations.
1958 KY license plate.png 1958 Embossed dark blue numbers on white plate; "KENTUCKY" and county name embossed in wide dark blue block letters centered at top and bottom respectively; "19" embossed in top left corner and "58" in top right corner none 123-456
A12-345
Issued in blocks by county
1959 Kentucky license plate.JPG 1959 Embossed white numbers on dark blue plate; "KENTUCKY" and county name embossed in wide white block letters centered at top and bottom respectively; "19" embossed in top left corner and "59" in top right corner none 123-456
A12-345
Issued in blocks by county
1960 Kentucky license plate.JPG 1960 As 1958 base, but with "60" embossed in top right corner none 123-456
A12-345
Issued in blocks by county
1961 KY passenger plate.jpg 1961 As 1959 base, but with "61" embossed in top right corner none 123-456
A12-345
Issued in blocks by county
1962 Kentucky license plate.JPG 1962 As 1958 base, but with "62" embossed in top right corner; border line added on later plates none 123-456
A12-345
Issued in blocks by county
1963 Kentucky license plate.JPG 1963 Embossed white numbers on dark blue plate with border line; "KENTUCKY" and county name embossed in wide white block letters centered at top and bottom respectively; "19" embossed in top left corner and "63" in top right corner none 123-456
A12-345
Issued in blocks by county
1964 Kentucky license plate.JPG 1964 Embossed dark blue numbers on white plate with border line; "KENTUCKY" and county name embossed in wide dark blue block letters centered at top and bottom respectively; "19" embossed in top left corner and "64" in top right corner none 123-456
A12-345
Issued in blocks by county
Kentucky 1965 561-915.jpg 1965 As 1963 base, but with "65" embossed in top right corner none 123-456
A12-345
Issued in blocks by county
1966 Kentucky license plate.JPG 1966 As 1964 base, but with "66" embossed in top right corner none 123-456
A12-345
Issued in blocks by county
Kentucky 1967 K77-294.jpg 1967 As 1963 base, but with "67" embossed in top right corner none 123-456
A12-345
Issued in blocks by county
1968 Kentucky license plate.JPG 1968 As 1964 base, but with "68" embossed in top right corner none 123-456
A12-345
Issued in blocks by county
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1969 As 1963 base, but with "69" embossed in top right corner none 123-456
A12-345
Issued in blocks by county
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1970 As 1964 base, but with "70" embossed in top right corner none 123-456
A12-345
Issued in blocks by county
Kentucky 1971 39-224.jpg 1971 As 1963 base, but with "71" embossed in top right corner none 123-456
A12-345
Issued in blocks by county
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1972 As 1964 base, but with "72" embossed in top right corner none 123-456
A12-345
Issued in blocks by county
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1973 As 1963 base, but with "73" embossed in top right corner none 123-456
A12-345
Issued in blocks by county
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1974 As 1964 base, but with "74" embossed in top right corner none 123-456
A12-345
Issued in blocks by county
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1975–77 As 1963 base, but with "75" embossed in top right corner none ABC-123 Issued in blocks by county Revalidated for 1976 and 1977 with stickers. Letters I, O, Q and U not used in serials; this practice continues today.[1]
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1977–83 Embossed dark blue numbers on white plate; "KY" embossed in dark blue block letters in top left and top right corners; debossed box for expiration sticker centered at top; county sticker centered at bottom none ABC-123 AAA-000 to approximately GFZ-999
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1983–88 Embossed white numbers on dark blue plate; "KENTUCKY" and county name embossed in white block letters centered at top and bottom respectively none ABC-123 JAA-000 to approximately RNV-999
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1988–97 Embossed blue numbers on white plate; twin spires of Churchill Downs racetrack screened in blue at the top and a mare and foal screened in light blue in the center; "Kentucky" screened in blue serifed letters centered between spires; county name on blue sticker between state name and numbers "Bluegrass State" screened in blue serifed letters centered at bottom ABC 123 TAA 000 to ZZZ 999; AAA 000 to approximately EBP 999 Mare and foal based on the photo The Soul of a Horse, taken by Peter Thomann. The base was withdrawn when Thomann threatened to sue for copyright infringement.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1997 Embossed blue numbers on white plate; "KENTUCKY" and county name embossed in blue block letters centered at top and bottom respectively none ABC-123 EBR-000 to approximately FAE-999 Interim plates based on truck plates of the time, with county name in place of weight class.
Kentucky Plate 2003.jpg January 1998 – November 2002 Embossed blue numbers on graphic plate with light blue sky, white state-shaped cloud and green rolling hills; "Kentucky" screened in black italic serifed letters centered at top; county name on green sticker in debossed box centered at bottom "BLUEGRASS STATE" screened in black italic serifed letters below state name 123 ABC 000 AAA to approximately 700 HYJ
Blank License Plate Shape.svg November 2002 – January 2003 Embossed dark blue numbers on white plate; "KENTUCKY" embossed in dark blue block letters centered at top; county name on green sticker in debossed box centered at bottom none 123 ABC 701 HYJ to 999 HZZ Interim plates manufactured when stocks of cloud plates ran out before the smiling sun base (below) was introduced.
Kentucky Plate 2005.jpg January 2003 – July 31, 2005 Embossed dark blue numbers on graphic plate with blue, white and red gradient sky, green rolling hills, and an anthropomorphic rising yellow sun with a red smile; "KENTUCKY" screened in white serifed letters centered above numbers; county name on green sticker in debossed box centered at bottom "The Bluegrass State" and "It's that friendly." screened in blue serifed letters above and below state name respectively 123 ABC 000 JAA to approximately 999 PSX Awarded "Plate of the Year" for best new license plate of 2003 by the Automobile License Plate Collectors Association, the first and, to date, only time Kentucky has been so honored. Despite the honor, the plates were widely derided and defaced by residents.[2]
Kentucky 2006 plate.jpg August 1, 2005[3] – June
2008
Embossed dark blue numbers on white and light blue gradient plate; state icon screened in the center; screened blue and red Kentucky Tourism logo centered above numbers; county name on blue sticker in debossed box centered at bottom "BLUEGRASS STATE" and "UNBRIDLED SPIRIT" screened above and below Kentucky Tourism logo respectively 123 ABC 000 AAA to approximately 900 JCB
2011 Kentucky License Plate.jpg June 2008 – present 901 JCB to 999 XAT (as of June 23, 2017) Narrower dies. S not used as first letter in serials.
KY 2013 IGWT.jpg January 2011 – present As above, but with smaller Kentucky Tourism logo As above, plus "In God We Trust" screened in blue serifed letters centered between logo and numbers No-cost alternative plate; first issues were in the LRG series.

Optional types[edit]

Image Type Dates issued Description Serial format Notes
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Nature's Finest—monarch butterfly 12 345
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Nature's Finest—wren 12345

Non-passenger types[edit]

Image Type Dates issued Design Serial format Serials issued Notes
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Motorcycle 2003–09 Embossed dark blue numbers on white plate; "KENTUCKY" and "MOTORCYCLE" embossed in dark blue block letters centered at top and bottom respectively 1234A 0000A to 9999Z
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 2009–
present
AB123 AA000 to present

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Kentucky License Plates". allaboutlicenseplates.com. Retrieved December 3, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Kentucky Frowns on Smiley License Plates". MSNBC.com. July 16, 2005. Retrieved October 4, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Governor Ernie Fletcher unveils new Unbridled Spirit license plate". Kentucky.gov. July 19, 2005. Retrieved January 10, 2015.