Colorado License Plates, 1969-present

CO 69 #VS-4376
Colorado 1969 passenger issue. Colorado plates have featured this mountain motif since 1960, and alternated during this era from year to year between white-on-green with the mountains at the top, and green-on-white with the mountains at the bottom. The mountainscape was the same in either case, just turned upside-down every other year. Colorado plates are coded by county, with this issue having the VS prefix, from Yuma county. Click here for a full listing of Colorado county codes.
CO 70 #YP-1104
Colorado 1970 passenger issue. Back to green-on-white with the mountains at the top of the plate. This plate was from Kiowa county, which must be fairly small, as "YP" is its only prefix and I obtained #1104 as an unissued surplus plate.
CO 71 #SD-4721
Colorado 1971 passenger issue. Again, the colors are reversed and the mountain moved to the bottom of the plate. This was Colorado's first fully-reflective issue, part of an apparent series of experiments with reflective materials over the years. This plate was issued in Jefferson county.
CO 72 #XH-5766
Colorado 1972 passenger issue. This plate was a departure from standard Colorado white-on-green plates in that the numbers are debossed rather than embossed. This results in a plate where the green "background" areas are actually the raised and painted parts of the plates. This issue came from Chaffee county.
CO 73 #MM-3444
Colorado 1973 passenger issue. Also a departure, as the colors on this plate reversed as normal, but the mountains disappeared altogether, for the first time since 1959. This plate revived the "Colorful" slogan, which was used on and off throughout the 50s and was also last heard from in 1959. This plate was issued in Boulder county, and has a pretty cool number. Not as cool as if that "3" were a "4", maybe, but still pretty OK.
CO 74 #XH-6694
Colorado 1974 passenger issue. Another debossed green issue, this plate brings back a revised mountain range and the "Colorful" slogan, proving that the two can live in harmony. This was the only year for this motif, however. This plate was also the last yearly issue for Colorado. It is also from Chaffee county, like its 1972 "XH" counterpart. This plate shows a fair amount of "ghosting", which is an effect that occurs as a result of the way that debossed plates are painted. The paint rollers left a repeated image of the left side of the plate in darker green paint towards the right side.
CO 76 #BN-6510
Colorado 1976 passenger issue (1975 base). This is the first screened graphic Colorado issue, featuring a mountain and sky motif and a stylized "76" logo. This was in celebration of the state's Centennial in 1976, not the U.S. Bicentennial as many states' plates of that year were. This issue was used for 1975 and 1976, lasting through the Centennial year. It was named the ALPCA Plate of the Year for 1975. This plate was from Denver county.
CO 76 #ZA-162
Colorado 1976 passenger issue (1975 base). Another example of the Centennial graphic, this was actually one of the first plates made during production of this base. Apparently the state started with some of the smaller, lower-population counties in the Z series, using standard Colorado dies, quickly coming to the realization that the dies were too wide to accomodate a six-digit serial and the large center graphic. As a result, a small number of five-digit plates were made with these dies (all in county codes ZA, ZE, ZH and ZM) before the narrower die set seen above was introduced for the vast majority of these plates. This particular plate was issued in Custer county, code ZA.
CO 76 #TW-8839
Colorado 1976 passenger issue. Oops. It appears that the state didn't produce enough regular Centennial-base plates to last the full two years, so some new registrants in 1976 received this somewhat less festive baseplate instead. At least they ordered enough red paint... This plate came from Adams county.
CO 78 #LY-5130
Colorado 1978 passenger issue. At the end of 1976, new undated baseplates resembling 60s-era white on green issues were released. These plates are still in use today with proper stickers, although the numbering format has changed a couple times. These plates are partially reflective, with glass beads in the white paint. This plate came from Larimer county, as indicated by the "LY" prefix and also a notation on the year sticker.
CO 79 #MY-8845
Colorado 1979 passenger issue. Staggered monthly registration was established in 1979, so plates began to carry seperate month and year stickers at this point. This plate came from Boulder county, using the "MY" prefix and again printed on the year sticker.
CO 83 #AAT-575
Colorado 1983 passenger issue. After the numbers in the AB-1234 format were exhausted for some counties, the format of Colorado plates for these counties was changed to an ABC-123 format, again using county codes for the first letters of the plate. Plate design went unchanged. Plates in the AAA-DZZ series are from Denver county.
CO 94 #USC-830
Colorado 1994 passenger issue. Some late-issue six-digit plates in certain counties were made using the new narrow set of dies that were to be used on upcoming seven-digit plates. This is such an issue from Montezuma county. Early versions of this variation had the serial centered such as this one, while the more common ones had a more widely-spaced serial (see next.)
CO 93 #MSW-655
Colorado 1993 passenger issue. Narrow-die six-digit variation with the wider spacing, from Boulder county.
CO 95 #GAJ2565
Colorado 1995 passenger issue. From 1993 through 1999, Colorado passenger plates were issued in a seven-digit ABC1234 format, again due to number series running out in some counties. This plate happens to be special in that the letters were my wife's initials before we got married. As far as Colorado's concerned, though, they just mean that the plate was issued in Jefferson county.
CO 01 #482-AAV
Colorado 2001 passenger issue. Starting in 2000, these new screened graphic baseplates were issued. This issue maintains the traditional mountainscape in the background, although it is screened rather than embossed for the first time. The plate also features silver/grey highlights in the mountains, adding texture to the graphic. Complaints have been that these tend to make the plate look "dirty" at a distance, however. Colorado has returned to a six-digit format for this plate and eliminated any county coding within the serial, so these plates are being issued in a straight 123-ABC format.
CO 03 #404-IFU
Colorado 2003 passenger issue. Minute detail, at some point early in the series of these plates the dash character was made larger at the center of the plate. This plate also has the diamond-shaped "0" character, which was introduced back on the seven-digit plates to better differentiate the number zero from the letter O. It was carried over onto the new series, even though there was far less of an issue with confusing the two in this particular serial format. Speaking of serials, I think I might have skipped this letter series, but that's just me.
CO 05 #507-KLV
Colorado 2005 passenger issue. Another tiny detail of the type I love so well, somewhere in the mid-K series the state decided to dump the diamond-shaped zero in favor of a more traditional oval-shaped die.
CO 14 #507-KLV
Colorado 2014 passenger issue. After reaching the end of the 123-ABC format at 999-ZZZ in early 2013, Colorado extended the series by running through all the sequences using the previously skipped letter "Q." Aside from the delightful development of every plate containing at least one Q, the plates remain otherwise unchanged.
CO 17 #QQQ-763
Colorado 2017 passenger issue. Once all the sequences containing Q were exhausted in the 123-ABC format (presumably ending with 999-ZZQ), the state decided to flip to the previously-used ABC-123 format, again using previously skipped combinations containing Q. This series, for some reason, started with the QAA sequence and moved forward through QZZ before some confusion set in (see next.)
CO 17 #RBL-010
Colorado 2017 passenger issue. After the last of the Qxx series plates were issued, the state flipped to what would, under normal circumstances, be the next series in line, RAA. Unfortunately, this ignored the directive that all serials use at least one Q, resulting in a potential for duplication with older ABC-123 format plates issued in Arapahoe county starting with R. Which, of course, happened almost immediately. As a result, the R series was discontinued and the state proceeded to issue plates with Q in the center and last positions as originally intended.
CO 20 #ABQ-C96
Colorado 2020 passenger issue. After a couple more years of stopgap use of previously issued ABC-123 combinations (presumably with better screening for existing numbers), Colorado introduced a new format in late 2018. This ABC-D12 format will provide over twice the capacity of the previous ABC-123 format, which is good given the state's population boom, which already has this format up through the mid-B series as of late 2019. The design of the plate remains otherwise unchanged.

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Last Modified 11/24/2019 (added 2020 plate).