Vehicle registration plates of Washington (state)

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Current Washington license plate

The U.S. state of Washington first required its residents to register their motor vehicles in 1905. Registrants provided their own license plates for display until 1915, when the state began to issue plates.[1]

Passenger baseplates[edit]

1915 to 1949[edit]

Image Dates issued Design Slogan Serial format Serials issued Notes
1916 Washington license plate.jpg 1915–16 Embossed white serial on dark blue plate with border line; vertical "WN" and "1916" at left and right respectively none 12345 1 to approximately 45000, with gaps (see right) Single series of all-numeric serials used for all classes of vehicles, including trucks, vehicles for hire and dealer vehicles.[2]
1917 Washington license plate.jpg 1916–17 Embossed white serial on lavender plate with border line; "WN" at left and vertical "X17" at right none 12345 1 to approximately 64000, with gaps The 'X' indicated the passenger class of vehicles; other letters were used for other classes.[2]
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1917–18 Embossed white serial on black plate with border line; "WN" at left and vertical "X18" at right none 12345 1 to approximately 96000, with gaps
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1918–19 Embossed black serial on yellow plate with border line; "WN X-19" at left none 123456 1 to approximately 114000 Revalidated until February 29, 1920 with white porcelain tabs.
1920 Washington license plate.jpg 1919–20 Black serial on yellow and white porcelain plate; "WN X-20" on white section at left none 123456 144001 to approximately 157000, with gaps Both these plates issued only to new registrants.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg As above, but fully embossed with border line none 123456 157501 to approximately 194000, with gaps
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1920–21 Embossed white serial on green plate; "WN X-21" at left none 123456 1 to approximately 181000, with gaps
1921 Washington license plate.jpg 1921 Embossed black serial on gray plate; "WN X:21" at left none 123456 1 to approximately 184000, with gaps
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1922 Embossed white serial on brown plate; "WN X-22" at left none 123456 1 to approximately 195000, with gaps
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1923 Embossed dark blue serial on white plate; "WN X:23" at left none 123456 1 to 200000; 300001 to approximately 319000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1924 Embossed white serial on dark blue plate; "WN X:24" at left none 123456 1 to approximately 253000
1925 Washington license plate.jpg 1925 Embossed dark blue serial on white plate; "WN X-25" at left none 123456 1 to approximately 282000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1926 Embossed white serial on green plate; "WASHINGTON" at bottom, slightly offset to right; vertical "X26" at left none 123-456 1 to approximately 311-000 First use of the full state name.
1927 Washington license plate.jpg 1927 Embossed green serial on white plate; "WASHINGTON" at bottom, slightly offset to right; vertical "X27" at left none 123-456 1 to approximately 326-000
1928 Washington license plate.jpg 1928 Embossed black serial on orange plate with border line; "X WASHINGTON-28" at bottom none 123-456 1 to approximately 343-000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1929 Embossed white serial on green plate with border line; "X WASHINGTON-29" at bottom none 123-456 1 to approximately 394-000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1930 Embossed green serial on white plate with border line; "30 WASHINGTON X" at bottom none 123-456 1 to approximately 380-000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1931 Embossed white serial on green plate with border line; "X WASHINGTON 31" at bottom none 123-456 1 to approximately 348-000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1932 Embossed green serial on white plate with border line; "X 32 WASHINGTON" at bottom none 123-456 1 to approximately 381-000
1933 Washington license plate.jpg 1933 Embossed white serial on green plate with border line; "X WASHINGTON 33" at top none 123-456 1 to approximately 359-000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1934 Embossed green serial on white plate with border line; "X WASHINGTON 34" at bottom none 123-456 1 to approximately 358-000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1935 Embossed white serial on dark blue plate with border line; "X WASHINGTON 35" at bottom none A-12345
123-456
AB-1234
County-coded
(A or AB)
First use of county codes, and last use of 'X' to indicate the passenger class. Six-digit all-numeric serials issued in King County following A-99999; this occurred again in 1936.[2]
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1936 Embossed dark blue serial on white plate with border line; "19 WASHINGTON 36" at bottom none A-12345
123-456
AB-1234
County-coded
(A or AB)
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1937 Embossed white serial on dark blue plate with border line; "WASHINGTON 1937" at top none A-123-456
AB-1234
County-coded
(A or AB)
1938 Washington license plate.jpg 1938 Embossed green serial on white plate with border line; "1938 WASHINGTON" at top none A-123-456
AB-1234
County-coded
(A or AB)
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1939 Embossed golden yellow serial on green plate with border line; "STATE OF WASHINGTON" at bottom "1889-GOLDEN JUBILEE-1939" at top A-123-456
AB-1234
County-coded
(A or AB)
Commemorated Washington's 50 years of statehood.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1940 Embossed green serial on white plate with border line; "WASHINGTON 1940" at bottom none A-123-456
AB-1234
County-coded
(A or AB)
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1941 Embossed white serial on green plate with border line; "WASHINGTON 1941" at top none A-123-456
AB-1234
County-coded
(A or AB)
1942 Washington license plate.jpg 1942–44 Embossed green serial on white plate; "WASHINGTON 1942" at bottom none A-123-456
AB-1234
County-coded
(A or AB)
Revalidated for 1943 and 1944 with windshield stickers, due to metal conservation for World War II.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1944 As 1942 base, but with "WASHINGTON 1944" at bottom none 12345 1 to approximately 89000 Issued only to new registrants.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1945–46 Embossed green serial on white plate; "WASHINGTON 1945" at top none A-123-456
AB-1234
County-coded
(A or AB)
Revalidated for 1946 with windshield stickers.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1947–48 Embossed green serial on unpainted aluminum plate; "WASHINGTON 1947" at bottom none A·123·456
AB·1234
County-coded
(A or AB)
Revalidated for 1948 with windshield stickers.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1949 Embossed green serial on unpainted aluminum plate; "WASHINGTON 1949" at top none A123·456
AB·1234
County-coded
(A or AB)

1950 to present[edit]

In 1956, the United States, Canada and Mexico 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 Washington license plate that complied with these standards was a modification of the 1954 plate, introduced in January 1956.

Image Dates issued Design Slogan Serial format Serials issued Notes
1950 Washington license plate.jpg 1950 Embossed green serial on white plate; "WASHINGTON 50" at bottom none A123·456
AB·1234
County-coded
(A or AB)
Revalidated for 1951 with silver tabs, for 1952 with windshield stickers, and for 1953 with green tabs.
1951 Washington license plate.jpg 1951–53 As above, but with "51" instead of "50" Single plate issued only to new registrants. Revalidated for 1952 and 1953 in the same manner as for 1950 plates.
1954 Washington license plate.jpg 1954–57 Embossed white serial on green plate; "54 WASHINGTON" at bottom none 123-456 A
12-345 AB
County-coded
(A or AB)
Revalidated for 1955 with silver tabs, for 1956 with white tabs, and for 1957 with green tabs.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1956–57 As above, but to 6" x 12" size, and with narrower dies and border line Validated for 1956 and 1957 in the same manner as for 1954–55 plates.
1960 Washington Vehicle License Plate.jpg 1958–62 Embossed white serial on green plate with border line; "WASHINGTON" centered at bottom none ABC 123 County-coded Validated each year with plate stickers.
Washington 1963 MAF 756.jpg 1963–64 Embossed green serial on non-reflective white plate with border line; "WASH. 63" centered at bottom none ABC 123 County-coded (until 1981)
1967 Washington license plate.jpg 1965–67 As above, but with "WASHINGTON" centered at bottom
1968–1982 series Washington state license plate, with June 1980 stickers (DNK 845).png 1968–82 As above, but reflective, and with "WASHINGTON" at top, offset to left
WA Plate 1983-86.jpg 1983–86 As above, but with "WASHINGTON" screened rather than embossed
1987–1990 series Washingtonian state license plate, with May 1988 stickers.png 1987 –
late
1990
Embossed dark blue serial on reflective white plate with light blue Mount Rainier graphic and dark blue border line; "Washington" screened in red centered at top "Centennial Celebration" screened in red centered at bottom 123-ABC 000-AAA to 999-DGP
1997 Washington state license plate.jpg late
1990 –
July
1998
none 000-DGQ to 999-JNZ
Washington 1998 plate.jpg July
1998 –
December 31, 2009
As above, but without dark blue border line, and with "WASHINGTON" screened in red at top, offset to left "EVERGREEN STATE" screened in red centered at bottom 000-JOA to 999-ZZZ
2016 WA License Plate.jpg January 1, 2010 – present ABC1234 AAA0000 to BNM9999 (as of December 31, 2018)

Non-passenger plates[edit]

Image Type Dates issued Design Serial format Serials issued Notes
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Motorcycle 1976–86 Embossed green on white with border line; "WASHINGTON" at top, offset to left 123456 000001 to approximately 297000 Validated until 2000.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1987–99 Similar to 1987–98 passenger plates, but with "Washington" offset to left and no slogan 123456 400000 to approximately 601999
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1999–2008 Similar to current passenger plates, but without slogan 602000 to 999999
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 2008–present 1A2345 0A0000 to 4F9999 (as of June 4, 2018)
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Truck 1987–90 As 1987–90 passenger plates 12345-A 00000-H to 11999-T
WA 1992 97795-U.jpg 1990–95 As 1990–98 passenger plates 12000-T to 99999-Z
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1995–99 A12345B A00000A to A18999E
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1999–present As current passenger plates A19000E to C99999N (as of July 9, 2018)

County coding[edit]

County 1- or 2-letter code, 1935-57
King A
Pierce B
Spokane C
Snohomish D
Yakima E
Whatcom F
Clark G
Grays Harbor H
Kitsap I
Thurston J
Chelan K
Lewis L
Skagit M
Cowlitz N
Walla Walla O
Whitman P
Clallam Q
Benton R
Kittitas S
Lincoln T
Okanogan U
Pacific V
Stevens W
Mason X
Jefferson Y
Klickitat Z
Adams AD
Asotin AN
Columbia CO
Douglas DO
Franklin FN
Ferry FY
Garfield GA
Grant GT
Island IS
Pend Oreille PO
Skamania SA
San Juan SJ
Wahkiakum WA

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Old Washington License Plates". LeatherLicensePlates.com. Retrieved July 10, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Washington License Plates". allaboutlicenseplates.com. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  3. ^ Garrish, Christopher (October 2016). "Reconsidering the Standard Plate Size". Plates. Vol. 62 no. 5. Automobile License Plate Collectors Association.

External links[edit]