Vehicle registration plates of Tennessee

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The U.S. state of Tennessee first required its residents to register their motor vehicles and display license plates in 1915.

Passenger baseplates 1915 to present[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 1956 (dated 1957) issue was the state's first license plate that complied with these standards.

Image First issued Design Slogan Serial format Serials issued Notes
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1945 Embossed blue numbers on silver state-shaped plate with border line; "TENN. 1945" embossed in blue block letters centered at bottom none 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)
1D-1234
10D-123
Issued on vehicles heavier than 3,500 lb.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1946 Embossed green numbers on silver state-shaped plate with border line; "TENN. 46" embossed in green block letters centered at bottom none 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)
1D-1234
10D-123
Issued on vehicles heavier than 3,500 lb.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1947 Embossed white numbers on black state-shaped plate with border line; "1947 TENN." embossed in white block letters centered at bottom none 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)
1D-1234
10D-123
Issued on vehicles heavier than 3,500 lb.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1948 Embossed black numbers on yellow state-shaped plate with border line; "TENN. 48" embossed in black block letters centered at bottom none 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)
1D-1234
10D-123
Issued on vehicles heavier than 3,500 lb.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1949 Embossed yellow numbers on black state-shaped plate with border line; "1949 TENN." embossed in yellow block letters centered at bottom none 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)
1D-1234
10D-123
Issued on vehicles heavier than 3,500 lb.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1950 Embossed black numbers on silver state-shaped plate with border line; "TENN. 50" embossed in black block letters centered at bottom none 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)
1D-1234
10D-123
Issued on vehicles heavier than 3,500 lb.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1951 Embossed white numbers on orange state-shaped plate with border line; "51 TENN." embossed in white block letters centered at bottom none 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)
1D-1234
10D-123
Issued on vehicles heavier than 3,500 lb.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1952 Embossed black numbers on white state-shaped plate with border line; "TENN. 52" embossed in black block letters centered at bottom none 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)
1D-1234
10D-123
Issued on vehicles heavier than 3,500 lb.
1953 TN passenger plate.png 1953 Embossed blue numbers on silver state-shaped plate with border line; "53 TENN." embossed in blue block letters centered at bottom none 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)
1D-1234
10D-123
Issued on vehicles heavier than 3,500 lb.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1954 Embossed yellow numbers on black state-shaped plate with border line; "TENN. 54" embossed in yellow block letters centered at bottom none 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)
1D-1234
10D-123
Issued on vehicles heavier than 3,500 lb.
Tennessee 1955.jpg 1955 Embossed red numbers on white state-shaped plate with border line; "55 TENN." embossed in red block letters centered at bottom none 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)
1D-1234
10D-123
Issued on vehicles heavier than 3,500 lb.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1956 Embossed white numbers on dark blue state-shaped plate with border line; "TENN. 56" embossed in white block letters centered at bottom none 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)
1D-1234
10D-123
Issued on vehicles heavier than 3,500 lb.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1957 Embossed white numbers on black plate with border line; embossed white state outline around numbers; "TENN. 57" embossed in white block letters centered at bottom none 1/A 1234
10/ 1234
10/A 1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)
1958 TN license plate.JPG 1958 Embossed black numbers on white plate with border line; "TENN" embossed in black block letters centered at top, surrounded by state outline; "19" embossed in top left corner and "58" in top right corner none 1A-12-34
10-A1-23
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1959 Embossed white numbers on black plate with border line; "TENN" embossed in white block letters centered at top, surrounded by state outline; "59" embossed in top left corner none 1A-1234
10-1234
10-A123
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)
Tennessee 1960 2F-4698.jpg 1960 Embossed black numbers on white plate with border line; "TENN" embossed in black block letters centered at top, surrounded by state outline; "60" embossed in top right corner none 1A-1234
10-1234
10-A123
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1961 Embossed white numbers on black plate with border line; "TENN" embossed in white block letters centered at top, surrounded by state outline; "61" embossed in top left corner none 1A-1234
10-1234
10-A123
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)
1962 TN license plate.JPG 1962 Embossed black numbers on white plate with border line; "TENN" embossed in black block letters centered at top, surrounded by state outline; "62" embossed in top right corner none 1-1234
1A-1234
1AB-123
10-1234
10-A123
10-AB12
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10) Revalidated for 1963, 1964 and 1965 with stickers.
1966 TN license plate.jpg 1966 Embossed black numbers on white plate with border line; "TENN" embossed in black block letters centered at top, surrounded by state outline; county name on sticker in debossed box centered at bottom (cutting off border line); smaller debossed boxes for revalidation stickers at top corners none AB-1234 AA-0001 to
TZ-9999
Tennessee 1976 8-J1396.jpg 1971 As 1966–70 base, but with full border line around plate and no county-name sticker none 1-A1234
1-AB123
10-A123
10-AB12
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)
ABC-123 AAA-001 to approximately
ANA-999[1]
Supplemental plates issued in counties that had exhausted their allocations of county-code plates.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1976 Embossed dark blue numbers on white plate; pale yellow state seal screened behind numbers; blue banner graphic screened at top containing "TENNESSEE" in white serifed letters in the center; debossed boxes for revalidation stickers at bottom corners "Volunteer State" screened in blue serifed letters centered at bottom 1-A1234
1-AB123
10-A123
10-AB12
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10) First base not to feature the state shape since 1935, and first to use the full state name since 1936. Staggered registration introduced, with month sticker in box at bottom left.
ABC-123 AAA-001 to approximately
BPA-999[1]
Supplemental plates issued in counties that had exhausted their allocations of county-code plates.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1983 Embossed blue numbers on white plate; "Tennessee" screened in green serifed letters centered at top; debossed boxes for revalidation stickers at bottom corners "Volunteer State" screened in green serifed letters centered at bottom, surrounded by green state outline 1-A1B23
1-ABC12
10-1A23
10-12A3
10-123A
10-12AB
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)
ABC-123 BRK-001 to approximately
CZS-999[1]
Supplemental plates issued in counties that had exhausted their allocations of county-code plates.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1988 Embossed red numbers on white plate; blue circle with three white stars (from the state flag) screened in the center; "Tennessee" screened in blue serifed letters centered at top; county name on blue sticker in debossed box centered at bottom; smaller debossed boxes in all four corners none ABC 123 ABB 001 to ZZZ 999 (see right) Revalidation stickers placed in boxes at top corners; boxes at bottom corners reserved for county and city tax decals. Serials began at DBB 001 and ran to ZZZ 999, followed by BBB 001 through CZZ 999; vowels and Y were not used until 1993, when Y and then A were used as the first letter (the last serial issued was in the APP series).
Tennessee 1996 SAM PLE.jpg 1995 Tennessee State Capitol BicenTENNial / Volunteer State 123-ABC 000-AAA to 999-ZZZ County sticker applied at bottom. Commemorated 200 years of statehood (1796–1996).
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 2001 rising sun over state silhouette Sounds good to me / Volunteer State ABC 123 AAA 000 to ? County sticker applied at bottom. Color of Tennessee-shaped graphic had to be brightened mid-issue to avoid interference with serial numbers. Last plate to be embossed. Later issues include digitally screen-printed barcode.[citation needed]
Tennessee 2010 592-LSK.jpg 2007 rolling hills The Volunteer State 123-ABC 001-BBB to
999-ZZZ
County sticker applied at bottom. First plate to be digitally screen-printed. All issues contain barcode. Vowels not used in serials.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 2011 A12-34B A00-01A to present Added www.tnvacation.com in the bottom part of the plate.

County coding[edit]

From 1939 through 1965 and from 1971 through 1988, Tennessee license plates began with a one- or two-digit county code. The order of the codes was based on the respective populations of each county.

The codes remained constant from 1939 through 1965, then were re-allocated according to population shifts in 1971, 1976 and 1983.[2]

County 1939-65 1971-76 1976-83 1983-88
Anderson 29 8 10 13
Bedford 25 42 38 44
Benton 71 75 71 70
Bledsoe 88 84 83 82
Blount 10 9 8 10
Bradley 19 17 13 12
Campbell 31 27 35 28
Cannon 80 80 80 80
Carroll 35 38 36 43
Carter 21 15 17 18
Cheatham 68 78 66 55
Chester 61 77 77 77
Claiborne 49 51 52 48
Clay 92 86 87 86
Cocke 46 40 37 38
Coffee 41 24 25 26
Crockett 62 62 62 68
Cumberland 58 50 48 40
Davidson 1 2 2 2
Decatur 83 82 78 79
DeKalb 66 73 75 76
Dickson 39 52 47 37
Dyer 18 22 26 29
Fayette 48 33 44 46
Fentress 72 64 67 71
Franklin 37 31 33 35
Gibson 13 12 14 19
Giles 24 44 46 47
Grainger 70 65 63 62
Greene 12 13 15 16
Grundy 82 71 76 73
Hamblen 27 20 19 20
Hamilton 4 4 4 4
Hancock 87 85 86 89
Hardeman 52 47 45 52
Hardin 56 54 54 54
Hawkins 43 21 24 23
Haywood 47 39 51 57
Henderson 57 56 56 56
Henry 26 45 42 41
Hickman 67 70 72 67
Houston 90 92 89 90
Humphreys 74 72 65 65
Jackson 81 79 81 83
Jefferson 44 48 39 36
Johnson 73 74 74 74
Knox 3 3 3 3
Lake 76 76 82 87
Lauderdale 42 46 50 49
Lawrence 36 26 29 30
Lewis 85 87 85 81
Lincoln 28 36 40 45
Loudon 40 37 41 42
Macon 65 66 70 66
Madison 7 7 7 11
Marion 54 49 49 50
Marshall 32 55 55 58
Maury 9 14 16 17
McMinn 23 19 22 24
McNairy 50 53 53 53
Meigs 89 90 91 88
Monroe 51 41 43 39
Montgomery 11 10 9 9
Moore 91 95 95 94
Morgan 69 63 64 63
Obion 17 30 27 33
Overton 77 61 60 61
Perry 86 89 90 92
Pickett 94 93 93 95
Polk 63 67 73 75
Putnam 34 23 21 22
Rhea 53 57 57 51
Roane 33 16 18 21
Robertson 15 29 28 27
Rutherford 8 11 11 8
Scott 75 59 61 60
Sequatchie 93 88 88 85
Sevier 38 34 31 25
Shelby 2 1 1 1
Smith 55 68 68 69
Stewart 79 83 84 84
Sullivan 5 5 5 5
Sumner 14 18 12 7
Tipton 30 25 32 31
Trousdale 84 91 92 91
Unicoi 59 60 59 64
Union 78 81 79 78
Van Buren 95 94 94 93
Warren 45 43 34 34
Washington 6 6 6 6
Wayne 64 69 69 72
Weakley 22 35 30 32
White 60 58 58 59
Williamson 20 32 23 14
Wilson 16 28 20 15

Optional types[edit]

Non-Passenger baseplates 1955 to present[edit]

Image Type First issued Design Serial format Serials issued Notes
Freemasonry 1234

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Tennessee License Plates". licenseplates.tropikordia.com. Retrieved June 1, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Tennessee County Codes". 15q.net. Retrieved June 1, 2015. 

External links[edit]