Vehicle registration plates of New Mexico

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The U.S. state of New Mexico first required its residents to register their motor vehicles and display license plates in 1912. New Mexico is the only state that specifies "USA" on its licence plate, so as to avoid confusion with Mexico, the country.

Passenger baseplates 1912 to 1960[edit]

In 1956, the U.S. states and Canadian provinces came to an agreement with the Automobile Manufacturers Association that fixed 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 New Mexico license plate that complied with these standards.

Image Dates issued Design Slogan Serial format Serials issued Notes
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1912–13 Embossed green numbers on white plate; "NM" embossed diagonally in green at right none 1234 1 to approximately 2100
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1914 Embossed white numbers on green plate; "N M 14" embossed vertically in white at right none 1234 1 to approximately 3100
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1915 Embossed white numbers on red plate; "N M 15" embossed vertically in white at right none 1234 1 to approximately 4700
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1916 Embossed silver numbers on dark blue plate; "N M 16" embossed vertically in silver at right none 1234 1 to approximately 8300
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1917 Embossed black numbers on orange plate with border line; "N M 17" embossed vertically in black at right none 12345 1 to approximately 14500
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1918 Embossed light blue numbers on gray plate with border line; "N M 18" embossed vertically in light blue at right none 12345 1 to approximately 19000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1919 Embossed black numbers on white plate with border line; "N M 19" embossed vertically in black at right none 12345 1 to approximately 17500
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1920–23 Dark blue numbers on white porcelain plate; vertical "NM" in dark blue at right none 12345 1 to approximately 49000 Revalidated for 1921 with red diamond-shaped tabs, for 1922 with silver octagonal tabs, and for 1923 with yellow star-shaped tabs.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1924 Embossed black numbers on orange plate with border line; "N.M. 1924" embossed in black block letters centered at bottom none 12-345 1 to approximately 39-000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1925 Embossed white numbers on black plate with border line; "N.M. 1925" embossed in white block letters centered at bottom; "FRONT" or "REAR" embossed vertically at left none 12345 1 to approximately 47000 Issued in pairs, for the front and the rear of the vehicle respectively.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1926 Embossed red numbers on gray plate with border line; "NM" and "26" embossed vertically at left and right respectively none 12345 1 to approximately 51000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1927 Embossed black numbers on yellow plate with border line; embossed black Zia sun symbol at left with "27" in the center; "NEW MEXICO" embossed in black block letters centered at bottom none 12-345 1 to approximately 55-000 First use of the full state name and Zia sun symbol.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1928 Embossed beige numbers on dark blue plate with border line; embossed beige Zia sun symbol at left with "28" in the center; "NEW MEXICO" embossed in beige block letters centered at bottom none 12-345 1 to approximately 65-000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1929 Embossed red numbers on light yellow plate with border line; embossed red Zia sun symbol at left with "29" in the center; "NEW MEXICO" embossed in red block letters centered at bottom none 12-345 1 to approximately 75-000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1930 Embossed golden yellow numbers on black plate with border line; embossed golden yellow Zia sun symbol at left with "30" in the center; "NEW MEXICO" embossed in golden yellow block letters centered at bottom none 12-345 1 to approximately 71-000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1931 Embossed black numbers on golden yellow plate with border line; embossed black Zia sun symbol at left with "31" in the center; "NEW MEXICO" embossed in black block letters centered at bottom none 12-345 1 to approximately 70-000
1932 New Mexico license plate.jpg 1932 Embossed white numbers on green plate; embossed white Zia sun symbol used as separator; "NEW MEX 32" embossed in white block letters at left "SUNSHINE STATE" embossed in white block letters at bottom, offset to right 12-345 1 to approximately 65-000
New Mexico 1933 License Plate.jpg 1933 Embossed red numbers on golden yellow plate; embossed red Zia sun symbol at left with "33" in the center; "NEW MEXICO" embossed in red block letters centered at bottom none 12-345 1 to approximately 65-000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1934 Embossed yellow numbers on red plate; embossed yellow Zia sun symbol at left with "34" in the center; "NEW MEXICO" embossed in yellow block letters centered at bottom none 12-345 1 to approximately 67-000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1935 Embossed white numbers on dark blue plate; embossed white Zia sun symbol at left with "35" in the center; "NEW MEXICO" embossed in white block letters centered at bottom none 12-345 1 to approximately 76-000
1936 New Mexico license plate.jpg 1936 Embossed dark blue numbers on white plate; embossed dark blue Zia sun symbol at left with "36" in the center; "NEW MEXICO" embossed in dark blue block letters centered at bottom none 12-345 1 to approximately 86-000
1937 New Mexico license plate.jpg 1937 Embossed maroon numbers on turquoise plate; embossed maroon Zia sun symbol at left with "37" in the center; "NEW MEXICO" embossed in maroon block letters centered at bottom none 12-345 1 to approximately 91-000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1938 Embossed black numbers on yellow plate; embossed black Zia sun symbol at left with "38" in the center; "NEW MEXICO" embossed in black block letters centered at bottom none 12-345 1 to approximately 92-000
1939 New Mexico license plate.jpg 1939 Embossed black numbers on orange plate; embossed black Zia sun symbol at left with "39" in the center; "NEW MEXICO" embossed in black block letters centered at bottom none 12-345 1 to approximately 93-000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1940 Embossed yellow numbers on red plate; embossed yellow Zia sun symbol at left with "1540" above and "1940" below; "NEW MEXICO" embossed in yellow block letters centered at bottom "CORONADO CUARTO CENTENNIAL" embossed in yellow block letters at top 12-345 1 to approximately 96-000 Commemorated the 400th anniversary of the expedition of Francisco Vázquez de Coronado.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1941 Embossed red numbers on golden yellow plate; embossed red Zia sun symbol at left with "41" in the center; "NEW MEXICO" embossed in red block letters centered at bottom "THE LAND OF ENCHANTMENT" embossed in red block letters at top 12-345 1 to approximately 99-000 First use of the "Land of Enchantment" slogan.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1942–43 Embossed black numbers on white plate; embossed black Zia sun symbol at left with "42" in the center; "NEW MEXICO" embossed in black block letters centered at bottom "THE LAND OF ENCHANTMENT" embossed in black block letters at top 12-345
123456
1 to approximately 102000 Revalidated for 1943 with windshield stickers, due to metal conservation for World War II.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1944 Embossed white numbers on black plate; embossed white Zia sun symbol at left with "44" in the center; "NEW MEXICO" embossed in white block letters centered at bottom "THE LAND OF ENCHANTMENT" embossed in white block letters at top 12-345 1 to approximately 79-000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1945 Embossed white numbers on blue plate; embossed white Zia sun symbol at left with "45" in the center; "NEW MEXICO" embossed in white block letters centered at bottom "THE LAND OF ENCHANTMENT" embossed in white block letters at top 12-345 1 to approximately 88-000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1946 Embossed red numbers on yellow plate; embossed red Zia sun symbol at left with "46" in the center; "NEW MEXICO" embossed in red block letters centered at bottom "THE LAND OF ENCHANTMENT" embossed in red block letters at top 12-345 1 to approximately 94-000
New Mexico 1947 License Plate.jpg 1947 Embossed yellow numbers on maroon plate; embossed yellow Zia sun symbol used as separator with "47" in the center; "NEW MEXICO" embossed in yellow block letters centered at bottom "THE LAND OF ENCHANTMENT" embossed in yellow block letters at top 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance
(1 or 10)
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1948 Embossed white numbers on azure plate; embossed white Zia sun symbol used as separator with "48" in the center; "NEW MEXICO" embossed in white block letters centered at bottom "THE LAND OF ENCHANTMENT" embossed in white block letters at top 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance
(1 or 10)
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1949 Embossed azure numbers on waffle-textured white plate; embossed azure Zia sun symbol used as separator with "49" in the center; "NEW MEXICO" embossed in azure block letters centered at bottom "THE LAND OF ENCHANTMENT" embossed in azure block letters at top 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance
(1 or 10)
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1950 As 1948 base, but with "50" in the center of the Zia sun symbol "THE LAND OF ENCHANTMENT" as on 1948 base 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance
(1 or 10)
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1951 As 1949 base, but on smooth metal, and with narrower dies and "51" in the center of the Zia sun symbol "THE LAND OF ENCHANTMENT" as on 1949 base 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance
(1 or 10)
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1952 Embossed red numbers on white plate; embossed red Zia sun symbol used as separator; "NEW MEXICO" embossed in red block letters centered at bottom; "52" embossed in top left corner "LAND OF ENCHANTMENT" embossed in red block letters at top, offset to right 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance
(1 or 10)
1953 New Mexico License Plate.jpg 1953 Embossed white numbers on red plate with border line; embossed white Zia sun symbol used as separator; "NEW MEXICO" embossed in white block letters centered at bottom; "53" embossed in top left corner "LAND OF ENCHANTMENT" embossed in white block letters at top, offset to right 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance
(1 or 10)
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1954 Embossed red numbers on white plate with border line; embossed red Zia sun symbol used as separator; "NEW MEXICO" embossed in red block letters centered at bottom; "54" embossed in top left corner "LAND OF ENCHANTMENT" embossed in red block letters at top, offset to right 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance
(1 or 10)
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1955 Embossed golden yellow numbers on maroon plate with border line; embossed golden yellow Zia sun symbol used as separator; "NEW MEXICO" embossed in golden yellow block letters centered at bottom; "55" embossed in top left corner "LAND OF ENCHANTMENT" embossed in golden yellow block letters at top, offset to right 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance
(1 or 10)
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1956 Embossed white numbers on maroon plate with border line; embossed white Zia sun symbol used as separator; "NEW MEXICO" embossed in white block letters centered at bottom; "56" embossed in bottom left and bottom right corners "LAND OF ENCHANTMENT" embossed in white block letters centered at top 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance
(1 or 10)
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1957 Embossed green numbers on white plate with border line; embossed green Zia sun symbol used as separator; "NEW MEXICO" embossed in green block letters centered at bottom; "57" embossed in bottom left and bottom right corners "LAND OF ENCHANTMENT" embossed in green block letters centered at top 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance
(1 or 10)
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1958 Embossed red numbers on golden yellow plate with border line; embossed red Zia sun symbol used as separator; "NEW MEXICO" embossed in red block letters centered at bottom; "58" embossed in bottom right corner "LAND OF ENCHANTMENT" embossed in red block letters at top 1-12345
1/0-1234
Coded by county of issuance
(1 or 1/0)
Single-digit county plates had the slogan centered, while double-digit county plates had the slogan offset to the right. This practice continued until 1972. Single-digit county plates additionally had "19" embossed in the bottom left corner.
1959 New Mexico license plate.jpg 1959–60 Embossed golden yellow numbers on maroon plate with border line; embossed golden yellow Zia sun symbol used as separator; "NEW MEXICO" embossed in golden yellow block letters centered at bottom; "59" embossed in bottom right corner "LAND OF ENCHANTMENT" embossed in golden yellow block letters at top 1-12345
2-A1234
1/0-12345
Coded by county of issuance
(1 or 1/0)
Single-digit county plates additionally had "19" embossed in the bottom left corner. One-letter, four-digit serials issued in Bernalillo County after 2-99999 was reached. Revalidated for 1960 with white stickers on maroon tabs.

Passenger baseplates 1961 to present[edit]

Image Dates issued Design Slogan Serial format Serials issued Notes
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1961–64 Embossed red numbers on white plate with border line; embossed red Zia sun symbol used as separator; "NEW MEXICO" embossed in wide red block letters centered at bottom "LAND OF ENCHANTMENT" embossed in narrow red block letters at top 1-12345
2-A1234
1/0-12345
Coded by county of issuance
(1 or 1/0)
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1965–69 Similar to 1961–64 base, but yellow rather than white "LAND OF ENCHANTMENT" as on 1961–64 base 1-12345
2-A1234
1/0-12345
Coded by county of issuance
(1 or 1/0)
Single-digit county plates had "65" embossed in the bottom left corner.
New Mexico 1971 2V8122.jpg 1969–71 As above, but with "NEW MEXICO USA" embossed in narrow red block letters centered at bottom Single-digit county plates initially had "19" embossed in the bottom left corner.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1972–74 Embossed red numbers on white steel plate with border line; red Zia sun symbol embossed in the center; "NEW MEXICO USA" embossed in red block letters centered at bottom; "72" embossed in bottom left corner "LAND OF ENCHANTMENT" embossed in red block letters centered at top ABC-123 AAA-001 to BCT-999 Letters I, O, Q, U and V not used in serials from 1973 onwards.[1]
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1974 Red numbers on white paper plate; red Zia sun symbol in the center; "NEW MEXICO" in red serifed letters centered at bottom; "74" in bottom right corner "LAND OF ENCHANTMENT" in red serifed letters centered at top ABC-123 BCW-001 to BFC-999 Temporary plates issued due to steel shortage.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1974 As 1972–74 plates, but aluminum rather than steel, and with "74" embossed in bottom left corner "LAND OF ENCHANTMENT" as on 1972–74 plates ABC-123 Replacements for paper plates.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1974–76 As 1972–74 plates, but aluminum rather than steel "LAND OF ENCHANTMENT" as on 1972–74 plates ABC-123 BFD-001 to BTM-999
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1976–78 Embossed red numbers on white plate; red Zia sun symbol embossed in the center; "NEW MEXICO" embossed in red block letters centered at bottom; "72" embossed in bottom left corner; stamped indentation at top center for county-name sticker "LAND OF ENCHANTMENT" embossed in red block letters centered between numbers and state name ABC-123 BTN-001 to approximately CCW-999
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1978–82 Similar to 1976–78 plates, but yellow rather than white, and with no embossed year "LAND OF ENCHANTMENT" as on 1976–78 plates ABC-123 CCX-001 to approximately EGZ-999
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1982 – mid 1988 Embossed red numbers on yellow plate; red Zia sun symbol embossed in the center; "New Mexico" screened in wide red serifed letters centered below numbers; stamped indentation at top center for county-name sticker "Land of Enchantment" screened in narrow red block letters centered below state name ABC-123 EHA-001 to approximately KAJ-999
Blank License Plate Shape.svg mid 1988 – late 1990 As above, but with "USA" added after state name KAK-001 to approximately LKL-999
New Mexico Plate 1997.jpg late 1990 – early 1991 Embossed red numbers on yellow plate; red Zia sun symbol embossed in the center; light blue yucca graphic screened at bottom left corner and Native American zigzag bands screened at top corners; "New Mexico USA" screened in red serifed letters centered below numbers; stamped indentation at top center for county-name sticker "Land of Enchantment" screened in light blue block letters centered below state name ABC-123 LKM-001 to approximately LLL-999 Replaced all 1972–90 plates. Letter E not used in 123-ABC serial format (in addition to I, O, Q, U and V).[1] County-name stickers discontinued sometime after 1996.
early 1991 – mid 1997 123-ABC 001-AAA to approximately 999-KFG
NM 1999 Error.jpg mid – late 1997 As above, but without yucca graphic and slogan none 123-ABC 001-KFH to approximately 999-KHM Erroneously made on trailer base.
New Mexico 1998 896LBK.jpg late 1997 – early 1999 As 1990–97 plates "Land of Enchantment" as on 1990–97 plates 123-ABC 001-KHN to approximately 999-LRK
NM 2009.jpg early 1999 – present As above, but with smaller dies and no stamped indentation at top center 001-MAA to 999-TYJ (as of May 14, 2017)

Optional types[edit]

Image Dates issued Design Slogan Serial format Serials issued Notes
New Mexico Plate 2004 Balloon.jpg 1999–2010 Embossed red numbers on white, yellow and orange gradient plate; green, yellow, orange and red hot air balloon graphic screened at far left with red Zia sun symbol on yellow section; "NEW MEXICO USA" screened in yellow serifed letters centered at bottom "Land of Enchantment" screened in yellow serifed letters between numbers and state name NM1234 NM0001 to NM9999
1NM234 0NM001 to 9NM999
12NM34 00NM01 to 99NM99
123NM4 000NM1 to 999NM9
1234NM 0001NM to 9999NM
AB 123 AA 001 to BZ 999
ABC123 CAA001 to LGP999
New Mexico Centennial License Plate 2010.jpg 2010–16 Embossed yellow numbers on turquoise plate with border line; yellow and red Zia sun symbol embossed in the center; "NEW MEXICO" and "CENTENNIAL 1912-2012" screened in white block letters centered below and above numbers respectively "LAND OF ENCHANTMENT" screened in yellow block letters centered below state name ABC-123 LGR-001 to NZS-999 Awarded "Plate of the Year" for best new license plate of 2010 by the Automobile License Plate Collectors Association, the first time New Mexico was so honored.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 2016–present As above, but with "NEW MEXICO USA" below numbers, and without Centennial legend "LAND OF ENCHANTMENT" as above, but at top NZT-001 to PFX-999 (as of May 14, 2017)

Non-passenger plates[edit]

Image Type Dates issued Design Slogan Serial format Serials issued Notes
1963 New Mexico license plate.JPG Truck 1961–63 Embossed green numbers on reflective white plate with border line; embossed green Zia sun symbol used as separator; "NEW MEXICO" embossed in wide green block letters at bottom "LAND OF ENCHANTMENT" embossed in narrow green block letters at top 1-12345
1/0-12345
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 1/0)
1964 New Mexico license plate.JPG 1964–65 Embossed black numbers on reflective yellow plate with border line; embossed black Zia sun symbol used as separator; "NEW MEXICO" embossed in wide black block letters at bottom "LAND OF ENCHANTMENT" embossed in narrow black block letters at top 1-12345
1/0-12345
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 1/0)
1968 New Mexico license plate.JPG 1966–70 Embossed navy blue numbers on reflective white plate with border line; embossed navy blue Zia sun symbol used as separator; "NEW MEXICO" embossed in wide navy blue block letters at bottom "LAND OF ENCHANTMENT" embossed in narrow navy blue block letters at top 1-12345
1/0-12345
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 1/0)
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1971–74 Embossed white numbers on reflective pale green plate with border line; embossed white Zia sun symbol used as separator; "NEW MEXICO USA" embossed in narrow white block letters at bottom "LAND OF ENCHANTMENT" embossed in narrow white block letters at top 1-12345
1/0-12345
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 1/0)

County coding, 1947–74[edit]

New Mexico established a numeric county-code system for its passenger and truck plates in 1947. Santa Fe County was assigned code 1, while the remaining counties were assigned codes 2 through 31 in order of the number of registered vehicles in the county. Following shifts in these numbers, codes 2 through 31 were re-allocated in 1948, after which they remained constant.[1] Los Alamos County was created in 1949, and subsequently assigned code 32.

The codes were discontinued on passenger plates in 1972, and on truck plates in 1975. From 1976 until sometime after 1996, the county of issuance was displayed on a sticker at the top of the plate.

County 1947 1948-74
Santa Fe 1 1
Bernalillo 2 2
Eddy 7 3
Chaves 3 4
Curry 5 5
Lea 4 6
Doña Ana 6 7
Grant 8 8
Colfax 10 9
Quay 11 10
Roosevelt 9 11
San Miguel 13 12
McKinley 12 13
Valencia 15 14
Otero 14 15
San Juan 18 16
Rio Arriba 19 17
Union 17 18
Luna 16 19
Taos 21 20
Sierra 22 21
Torrance 20 22
Hidalgo 24 23
Guadalupe 27 24
Socorro 25 25
Lincoln 26 26
De Baca 23 27
Catron 28 28
Sandoval 29 29
Mora 31 30
Harding 30 31
Los Alamos 32

Cibola County was created in 1981, after the codes had been discontinued.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "New Mexico License Plates". allaboutlicenseplates.com. Retrieved August 16, 2016. 

External links[edit]