District of Columbia License Plates, 1969-present

DC 69 #693-261
Washington, D.C. 1969 passenger issue. This undated, unstickered black and white baseplate was issued to all vehicles in D.C. at the end of 1968. It was valid without stickers through the end of 1969. This numbering sequence started at around 500-001, where the 1967-68 base had left off. This baseplate was used with stickers through the end of 1974.
DC 71 #95
Washington, D.C. 1971 passenger issue. D.C. stopped issuing yearly dated plates after 1966, however registration numbers between 1 and 1250 continue to be issued yearly through the present. These plates are issued specially through the Mayor's office, so yearly reissues allowed the "bigwigs" to sport shiny new plates every year. The arrangement also allowed numbers to be shuffled if a registrant happened to fall in or out of favor with the Mayor or city council, if the administration changed, etc. Best stay on His Honor's good side if you want to remain in the Elite 1250 next year.
DC 71 #908-647
Washington, D.C. 1971 passenger issue. Same series as above, this is the standard stickered version of the baseplate. This series proceeded to plate number 999-999, then some plates in the 400-000 series were issued as overflow in 1974 before the base was discontinued.
DC 76 #393-516
Washington, D.C. 1976 passenger issue. In 1975, this "Bicentennial" issue plate was introduced. It featured an embossed image of the U.S. Capitol dome in the center of the plate, which carried over until 1985. These plates were issued from 1975 through 1977, but remained valid with stickers through 1985.
DC 77 #376
Washington, D.C. 1977 passenger issue. Again, low-number plates (1250 or less) are reissued annually in D.C. Until 1974, new plates with embossed dates were issued each year. Starting in 1976, new stickered plates were issued each year, as opposed to the embossed date plates issued previously. Plates on the Bicentennial base started this format with the embossed Capitol dome offset to the left.
DC 80 #561-959
Washington, D.C. 1980 passenger issue. Starting in 1978, the Bicentennial base was modified to change back to the "Nation's Capital" slogan. This change occurred around plate number 500-000. This base was issued through the end of 1984 and got to almost the end of the 949-000 series. Though this base dropped the embossed '3-31' expiration, a sticker was added to the plate during production - the one on this plate is underneath the clearcoat.
DC 83 #796-407
Washington, D.C. 1983 passenger issue. Later issue on the Nation's Capital base, the 3-31 sticker was dropped after 1980 as the designation was added to the year sticker itself.
DC 83 #142
Washington, D.C. 1983 passenger issue. Low number issue on the Nation's Capital base, using the same format as the low Bicentennial plates with the capitol dome offset to the left.
DC 87 #194-918
Washington, D.C. 1987 passenger issue. All vehicles were issued these new "A Capital City" baseplates in 1986, and these plates were issued through the end of 1990. These plates feature the new slogan and a separator graphic consisting of the District's flag design. I'd heard that the numbering sequence started at 950-000, but have had reports of a '930' series plate on this base, so now I'm not sure. After 999-999, they switched to 010-000 through approximately 500-000. This base remains valid today with proper stickers. This particular plate looks as if the "8" die may have been placed upside-down.
DC 91 #157
Washington, D.C. 1991 passenger issue. Again with this base, low-numbered plates were reissued with stickers each year. On this baseplate, the graphic was modified on these low-number plates so that there are two D.C. flag graphics with the serial centered in between.
DC 92 #505-173
Washington, D.C. 1994 passenger issue. Starting in 1991, the slogan on these plates was changed to "Celebrate & Discover", in honor of the city's Bicentennial. The plate was otherwise unchanged from the 1986 baseplate. This series ran from around the 500-000 series through plate number 899-999.
DC 92 #570
Washington, D.C. 1992 passenger issue. Low-numbered plates were again reissued yearly on this base, with registrants receiving the "Celebrate & Discover" slogan for the first time with their 1992 plates. The base is unchanged otherwise from the older "A Capital City" low-digit plates.
DC 98 #AA-1820
Washington, D.C. 1998 passenger issue. In 1997, when plate number 899-999 was reached, this series changed to an AB-1234 format. "Washington, D.C." and "Celebrate & Discover" were reversed as well on these plates, creating a significant base variation. This variation of the plate was used until the end of the "AY" series of plates in late 2000.
DC 00 #AQ-7765
Washington, D.C. 2000 passenger issue. Continuation of the above baseplate and format. During my last trip to D.C. in February, 2001, I noticed that they had issued the "AQ" series of plates, giving me the opportunity to add another "Q" to my collection. Lucky for me, one turned up at a plate meet not long thereafter.
DC 01 #BA-0523
Washington, D.C. 2001 passenger issue. In 2000, Washington D.C.'s mayor signed a law directing that the slogan on the district's baseplates be switched from the previous "Celebrate & Discover" to the more politically-charged "Taxation without Representation." This new slogan refers to the lack of voting representation for D.C. in the U.S. Congress. These new plates went on sale in November, 2000, starting with the "AZ" series of plates. Bill Clinton (a supporter of D.C. statehood) put the new "Taxation" plates on all presidential vehicles as one of his last acts as President, leaving George W. Bush (who opposes statehood for D.C.) in the awkward position of either continuing to run the plates or going out of his way to change them, a move which would almost certainly anger local residents. Bush was let off the hook when the D.C. government released an alternate-slogan baseplate in early 2001.
DC 02 #BF-4780
Washington, D.C. 2002 passenger issue. This is a revised version of the Taxation plate, using a typeface for "Washington, D.C." identical to the one used on previous "Celebrate & Discover" plates. These plates have the graphic background screened into the reflective material, as opposed to the initial Taxation plates, which were painted. This change occurred at some point between the early BC series and the BF series.
DC 02 #BG-3265
Washington, D.C. 2002 passenger issue. In 2001, Lorton Penitentiary in Virginia, which had produced license plates for Washington, D.C. for decades, closed down, leaving D.C. without a production facility for their plates. Sensing opportunity, 3M swooped in with their all-flat "digital plate technology" and converted the District to these ugly flat plates. This change came in the early "BG" series, with this being one of the earlier flat plates issued. Aside from the generic 3M serial font, the plate also differs in appearance in that the script for "Washington, D.C." has been returned to the style of the previous pre-Taxation plates. Placement of the month and year stickers have also been reversed at the top corners of the plate. D.C. is currently phasing out plate stickers altogether, switching to a windshield sticker to avoid sticker theft. Thanks to Brother Bob on the Hill for contributing this plate to the site while he's "between registrations."
DC 03 #BJ-0971
Washington, D.C. undated passenger issue. In 2001, an alternative baseplate was released for D.C. residents (notably, George W. Bush) who did not wish to display the "Taxation" slogan. This plate is identical to the Taxation base except that the slogan has been changed to "www.washingtondc.gov" in roughly the same font as the "Washington, D.C." at the top of the plate. These seem to have been issued only in the "BB" (embossed) and "BJ" (flat) series so far and have not been especially popular, with most being run on executive-branch government vehicles. This flat "BJ" series plate was issued after the point that D.C. stopped using plate stickers, so the "YEAR" and "MONTH" designations are still visible at the top corners of the plate.
DC 03 #BR-1932
Washington, D.C. undated passenger issue. This is the second revision of the standard flat Taxation plate. Starting in early 2003, D.C. began phasing out license plate stickers, instead opting for a combination windshield sticker which would indicate both valid registration and, where applicable, the registrant's resident parking zone. Of course, being D.C., trouble started almost immediately, with people being stopped for having expired stickers on their plates, so the District started issuing stickers that read "SEE WINDOW STICKER" to cover invalidated stickers on older plates. This new revision of the regular plate has these indications screened right onto the top corners of the plate. The font for the city name on the plates was also changed at the same time, from the earlier script font to this more generic block typeface. These changes came about in the early "BP" series of plates.
DC 11 #DP-6554
Washington, D.C. undated passenger issue (exp. 2011). Another slight production change took place near the end of 2009, with the serial font changed to a slightly smaller version of the standard 3M font. This change took place in the DK series, the plate stayed otherwise unchanged.
DC 14 #EK-3344
Washington, D.C. undated passenger issue (exp. 2014). Starting in the fall of 2013, a change was made to DC's plates to change the jurisdiction name from "Washington, D.C." to "District of Columbia." The longer name pushes beyond the top bolt holes, leaving most plates I saw last time I was there appearing to read "Strict of Columb." It remains to be seen if there will be a font tweak or otherwise to account for this. This change took place in the EK series.

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© Copyright 1998-2014 David Nicholson. All Rights Reserved.

Last Modified 7/20/2014 (added 2011 plate).