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Washington, D.C. Sample License Plates

 

Sample license plates have been made by most U.S. jurisdictions since the mid-1920s. Specifically, 1926 is the first year for which all of the states and D.C. made samples, for in 1925, back in the days when all states issued new plates annually, there began an annual tradition whereby officials of each state and D.C. sent to their peers in all of the other jurisdictions a sample of their plate for the following year. Earlier samples are known from several states, but 1926 is the first year for which all states "got into the act." Some pre-1926 plates that appear as samples in the modern sense are actually salesmen's samples, for prior to the 1940s, when most plates were made by private companies that had to bid on plate supply contracts annually, manufacturers and their representatives had to have a supply of samples to show to prospective customers.

Today, D.C. and most (but not all) states still produce sample license plates, most of which are believed to be purchased by plate collectors. They are also still shared among motor vehicle registration agencies and with law enforcement agencies as the need arises, although not on a formal and consistent basis as was the case in the mid-twentieth century.

1930 sample plate
1936 sample plate
1937 sample plate
1938 sample plate (exp. 12-31-38)
     
1940 sample plate (exp. 3-31-41)
1941 sample plate (exp. 3-31-42)
1942 sample plate (exp. 3-31-43)
1940 (exp. 3-31-1941)
1941 (exp. 3-31-1942)
1942 (exp. 3-31-1943)
     
1949 sample plate (exp. 3-31-50)
1950 sample plate (exp. 3-31-51)
1951 sample plate (exp. 3-31-52)
1949 (exp. 3-31-1950)
1950 (exp. 3-31-1951)
1951 (exp. 3-31-1952)
     
1952 sample plate (exp. 3-31-53)
1953 sample plate (exp. 3-31-54)
1955 sample plate (exp. 3-31-56)
1952 (exp. 3-31-1953)
1953 (exp. 3-31-1954)
1955 (exp. 3-31-1956)
     
1956 sample plate (exp. 3-31-57)
1958 sample plate (exp. 3-31-59)
1959 sample plate (exp. 3-31-60)
1956 (exp. 3-31-1957)
1958 (exp. 3-31-1959)
1959 (exp. 3-31-1960)
     
1960 sample plate (exp. 3-31-61)
1961 sample plate (exp. 3-31-62)
1962 sample plate (exp. 3-31-63)
1960 (exp. 3-31-1961)
1961 (exp. 3-31-1962)
1962 (exp. 3-31-1963)
     
1963 sample plate (exp. 3-31-64)
1965 sample plate (exp. 3-31-66)
1966 base sample plate (exp. 3-31-67)
1963 (exp. 3-31-1964)
1965 (exp. 3-31-1966)
1966 (exp. 3-31-1967)
     
1966 base sample plate validated for 1967 (exp. 3-31-68)
1968 base sample plate (exp. 3-31-69)
1968 base sample plate validated for 1969 (exp. 3-31-70)
1967 (exp. 3-31-1968)
1968 (exp. 3-31-1969)
1969 (exp. 3-31-1970)
     
1968 base sample plate validated for 1970 (exp. 3-31-71)
1968 base sample plate validated for 1971 (exp. 3-31-72)
1968 base sample plate validated for 1972 (exp. 3-31-73)
1970 (exp. 3-31-1971)
1971 (exp. 3-31-1972)
1972 (exp. 3-31-1973)
     
1974 base sample plate
1974 base sample plate validated for 1976 (exp. 3-31-77)
1984 base sample plate validated for 1986 (exp. 3-31-87)
1974 (exp. 3-31-1975)
1976 (exp. 3-31-1977)
1986 (exp. 3-31-1987)
     
1991 base sample plate
2000 base sample plate, early embossed style
2000 base sample plate, late embossed style
July 1991-April 1997
Nov. 2000-Mar. 2001
Mar.-Sept. 2001
 
 
2000 base sample plate, early flat style with dark blue lettering and script font
2000 base sample plate, later flat style with medium blue lettering and sans serif font
Oct. 2001
Since Sept. 2002

 

City Bicentennial sample plate no. 200-YRS
Although samples of passenger (left) and personalized City Bicentennial plates were made, they are not believed to have been available to plate collectors or otherwise widely distributed.
City Bicentennial sample personalized plate no. 200YRS



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This page last updated on January 1, 2014

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