Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado License Plates

Did you know that before the introduction of license plate validation stickers in 1976, you were required to get a new set of plates each year?  From 1913, when the first Colorado license plates were issued, until 1957, the plates had an entirely new color scheme every year.  Then, in 1958, the current colors of dark green and white were adopted — but they still didn’t have the stickers, so instead, each year the color of the plates alternated between green letters on a white background, and white letters on green.  A red, white, and blue plate was issued for the Centennial/Bicentennial in 1975 and with a validating sticker for 1976.  In 1977, plates were returned to green and white and starting in 1978 no new color schemes were introduced; instead, validating stickers were issued in a new color for each year.  The plates underwent one more color change in 2000, when the colors were reversed from white letters on a green background to green letters on a white background.

So what color was the first Colorado license plate?  What year were Colorado plates red and beige?  Or black and orange?  You can find out with this list put together by the Colorado Department of Revenue.

You can learn more about the history of license plates in Colorado by viewing the digital Colorado Session Laws.  For instance, you can view the original law from 1913 establishing a license plate system in Colorado; the 1974 law that allowed the issuing of validation stickers; the 1998 law that required the new plate style beginning January 1, 2000, and others.

The red, white and blue license plate commemorating the state Centennial in 1976, with validation sticker. Courtesy Wikipedia.

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