Vehicle registration plates of Rhode Island

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A low-numbered three-digit plate in the current design

The U.S. state of Rhode Island first required its residents to register their motor vehicles and display license plates in 1904.

Passenger baseplates 1904 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 1956 (dated 1957) issue was the first Rhode Island license plate that complied with these standards.

Image Dates issued Design Slogan Serial format Serials issued Notes
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1904-07 White on black; REGISTERED IN RI on top none 1234
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1908-11 As above but with "RI" on right of serials none 1234
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1912-17 Black on white; "RI on left of serials none 1234
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1918 White on black none 1234 First plate with year of issue on bottom
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1919 Black on white none 1234
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1920 White on black none 1234
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1921 Black on white none 12345 First embossed plate
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1922 White on black none 12345
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1923 Black on white none 12-345
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1924 White on black none 12-345
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1925 Black on white none 12-345
1926 Rhode Island license plate.jpg 1926 White on black none 12-345
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1927 Black on white none 12-345
1928 Rhode Island licence plate.jpg 1928 White on black none 12-345
1929 Rhode Island license plate.jpg 1929 Black on white none 12-345
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1930 Embossed white letters on black base, with border; "RHODE ISLAND 1930" embossed at bottom. none 12-345 First use of full state name on passenger plates.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1931 Embossed black letters on white base, with border; "31 RHODE ISLAND" embossed at bottom. none 12-345
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1932 Embossed silver letters on black base, with border; "RHODE ISLAND 1932" embossed at top. none 12-345
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1933 Embossed black letters on silver base, with border; "33 RHODE ISLAND" embossed at top. none 12-345
1934 Rhode Island license plate.JPG 1934 Embossed gray letters on black base, with border; "1934 RHODE ISLAND" embossed at bottom. none 12-345
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1935 Embossed black letters on white base, with border; "35 RHODE ISLAND" embossed at bottom. none 12-345
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1936 Embossed white numbers on black base, with border; "1636 RHODE ISLAND 1936" embossed at top and "300th YEAR" embossed at bottom. none 12-345
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1937 Embossed black numbers on white base, with border; "1937 RHODE ISLAND" embossed at bottom. none 12-345
1938 Rhode Island license plate.JPG 1938 Embossed white letters on black base; "R.I. 1938" embossed at bottom. none A1234
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1939 Embossed black numbers on white base; "R.I. 39" embossed on top. none A1234
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1940 Embossed white numbers on black base; "R.I. 40" embossed on bottom. none A1234
1941 Rhode Island license plate.jpg 1941 Embossed black numbers on white base; "R.I. 41" embossed on top. none A1234
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1942-43 Embossed silver numbers on black base; "R.I. 42" embossed at bottom. none A1234 Revalidated for 1943 with windshield stickers
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg Blank License Plate Shape.jpg Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1944- July 31, 1946 As above but with tab slots none A1234 Revalidated for 1944 with orange tabs, for 1945 with green tabs, and for 1946 with red tabs.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1947 Rhode Island license plate.jpg Blank License Plate Shape.jpg Blank License Plate Shape.jpg August 1, 1946-49 Embossed black on unpainted aluminum base; "RHODE" and "ISLAND" embossed on bottom. none A1234 Revalidated for 1946 with aluminum tabs, and for 1947-49 with white tabs.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1950 As above but with no suffixes none 12345 (see left) 2 versions of this plate are shown, the most common is without the tabs, and the less common is with the tabs
1951 Rhode Island license plate.JPG 1951–52 Embossed white numbers on black plate; "RHODE 51 ISLAND" embossed in white block letters at bottom none A1234 Revalidated for 1952 with windshield stickers.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1952 (New registrations only) As above but with tab slots even though no actual tabs were used. none A1234
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg
1954 Rhode Island license plate.jpg
1953–54 Embossed black numbers on white plate; "RHODE 53 ISLAND" embossed in black block letters at bottom none A1234 Revalidated for 1954 with black tabs.
1955 Rhode Island license plate.JPG Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1955–56 As 1951–52 base, but with "RHODE 55 ISLAND" embossed at bottom none A1234 Revalidated for 1956 with white tabs.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1957–58 Embossed black numbers on white plate with border line; "RHODE ISLAND 57" embossed in black block letters at top none AB123 AA1 to
WW999
Letters I, Q and U not used in serials, and X, Y and Z used only on replacement plates.[1] Revalidated for 1958 with black tabs.
1959 Rhode Island license plate.JPG

1960 Rhode Island license plate.jpg

1959–60 Embossed white numbers on black plate with border line; "RHODE ISLAND 59" embossed in white block letters at top none AB123 AA1 to
WW999
Unused and replacement serial letters same as on 1957–58 base. Revalidated for 1960 with white tabs.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1961–66 Embossed black numbers on white plate with border line; "RHODE ISLAND" embossed in black block letters at top, offset to left none AB123 AA1 to
WW999;
AI1 to approximately KX500
Revalidated each year with stickers, placed to the right of the state name. Letters I, Q, U, X, Y and Z used in standard serials from 1965 after the original allocation was exhausted.[1]
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1967–71 Embossed black numbers on white plate with border line; "RHODE ISLAND" embossed in black block letters centered at bottom "DISCOVER" embossed in black block letters centered at top AB·123 AA·100 to
ZZ·999 (see right)
Revalidated with stickers until 1980. After serial KZ·999 was issued, the letters I, Q, U, X, Y and Z were not used until WW·999 was reached in 1969, after which all serials with Q, U, X, Y and Z in the first position were issued.[1]
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1972–79 As 1967–71 base "OCEAN STATE" embossed in black block letters centered at top AB-123 Unused and reissued 1967–71 serials Issued only to new registrants. During 1977, some plates were manufactured in New York, using that state's number dies (with the letters taller than the digits) and omitting the slogan.
Rhode Island 1994 CV-473.jpg 1980–85 Embossed royal blue on white, with border and "RHODE ISLAND" centered below numbers "OCEAN STATE" (same as 1972, but with embossed anchor to left of left screw hole) AB-123 First year of blue plates; first year of anchor logo (styled after anchor in the Seal of Rhode Island)
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1986-90 As above but with "Rhode island" screened rather then embossed. "Ocean State" screened above numbers AB-123 First year of screened state name and nickname.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1991-96 As above but with anchor screened rather then embossed. "OCEAN STATE" (Same as 1972 but screened rather then embossed) AB-123 First year of screened anchors, also last year of the same 1972-91 design.
Rhode Island License Plate AB-123 format.JPG

Rhode Island License Plate 12345 format.JPG

1996–present Navy blue on stylized grey and white wave graphic; navy blue serifed screened "Rhode Island" above numbers with anchor screened to left of left screw hole "Ocean State" (same font and color as Rhode Island, screened) 12345 (variable number of digits)


AB-12 and AB-123
123-456

1 to 99999


AA-00 to ZZ-999
(1996-2007, 2015-Present)

710-001 (issued in reversed sequential order)
(2007 to 2015)

Colloquially referred to as "wave plates"

Optional types[edit]

Image Dates issued Design Slogan Serial format Serials issued Notes
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1992–present Dark blue on white with grey sailboat graphic; red "RHODE ISLAND" in serifed font screened above numbers, offset, with five stripes to left of "Rhode" and right of "Island"; blue bar with thirteen white stars along bottom of plate (approximately 1/4" high, 1/8" above bottom) "Ocean State" (screened in blue above star bar) as requested by registrant: 12345
AB-12 and AB-123

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Rhode Island License Plates". allaboutlicenseplates.com. Retrieved November 10, 2015. 

External links[edit]