Kentucky License Plates, 1969-present

KY 69 #461-986
Kentucky 1969 passenger issue. From 1953 through 1974, Kentucky issued plates which alternated from year to year between white-on-blue (odd years) and blue-on-white (even years). Plates were issued in an all-numeric format or with one alpha prefix and five numbers. Plates carried embossed county names and the counties were allocated different serial blocks each year to avoid duplication. This plate is a white-on-blue, all-numeric issue from Jackson county.
KY 70 #B31-237
Kentucky 1970 passenger issue. Blue-on-white even-year issue. This plate was issued in Fayette county, which was given a serial block in the "B" prefix series for 1970.
KY 71 #P28-779
Kentucky 1971 passenger issue. Back to white-on-blue. This plate was issued in McCracken county and is from a higher block still, with a "P" prefix.
KY 72 #G36-521
Kentucky 1972 passenger issue. This plate was one of the biggest pains for me to obtain for my collection. For some reason, this seems to be a lousy paint year for Kentucky and all previous examples of this issue I've seen were terribly rusty. This is odd, since the identical 1970 and 1974 issues were much easier to find in good condition. I'm just glad to have tracked one down. This plate is from Campbell county.
KY 73 #342-296
Kentucky 1973 passenger issue. All-numeric white-on-blue issue from Gallatin county.
KY 74 #C59-945
Kentucky 1974 passenger issue. This issue was the last yearly plate for Kentucky, and also the last to use the all-numeric or one-alpha numbering system. It was issued in Kenton county.
KY 77 #CPV-214
Kentucky 1977 passenger issue (1975 base). In 1975, new plates were issued in an ABC-123 format, with each county getting a certain allocation of letters. This plate was used from 1975 through the end of 1977. This plate came from Graves county. I happened to pick this one up on my way to a visit to my parents' house, and when I showed my mother my haul from the day, she asked if "Graves" was Kentucky's slogan at the time. As odd a tourism slogan as that would have seemed, the last time I was in Kentucky I did in fact accompany a friend to visit some graves. One never can tell...
KY 80 #ERA-153
Kentucky 1980 passenger issue. At the end of 1977, these new plates were issued to all motorists. Staggered registration was also introduced at this time, and as a result only vehicles registered in December, 1977 got 1978 dated stickers, creating a rarity of sorts. This baseplate was used through the end of 1983 with stickers. It retained the ABC-123 format, but used a county sticker rather than an embossed county name for greater flexibility in plate issuance. Stickers from 1978 through 1981 also carried the county name at the bottom of the sticker. 1980 was the only year where the month was indicated by a number rather than a three-letter abbreviation.
KY 82 #FDX-811
Kentucky 1981 passenger issue. Plates in the series between EVY and FHK on this base were produced in Georgia using Georgia's serial dies. The die sets are actually quite similar, with the Georgia set being slightly taller and lacking elements like lower serifs on the "1" die, serifs on the top and bottom of the "D" die, etc. These plates were of poor quality due to either the paint or the metal and rusted badly after relatively little use. Click here to see a prime example of one of these plates in typical road-worn condition.
KY 82 #FHP-320
Kentucky 1982 passenger issue. Continuation of the series above, plates from the FHL series on were once again made in Kentucky using the standard dies but with bolt holes rather than slots. Stickers from 1982 and 1983 on this plate carried the "Bluegrass State" slogan rather than the county name. This was the first appearance of this slogan on a Kentucky plate, which remains today. This plate was issued in Jefferson county.
KY 84 #JBT-310
Kentucky 1984 passenger issue. Starting in 1983, these new plates were issued, starting their numbering series at the beginning of the "J" series, beyond where the 1978 baseplates had ended up. These once again featured an embossed county name and had a lightly debossed "84" in the lower right sticker box. These plates were used through the end of 1988 with stickers. This plate was issued in Barren county.
KY 89 #ALW 495
Kentucky 1989 passenger issue. In 1988, new graphic plates were introduced featuring a mare and foal at the center and the spires of Churchill Downs at the top. These plates again used an ABC-123 format and introduced the "Bluegrass State" slogan. These plates were issued through 1997 and were used with stickers through the end of 1998. This plate was from McCracken county.
KY 98 #EYA-844
Kentucky 1998 passenger issue. In 1997, upon threat of a lawsuit by the photographer that took the mare and foal photograph that was used on the 1988 base, Kentucky briefly switched to this non-graphic baseplate, which was based on the truck baseplate of the time. An embossed county name was put in place of the weight code on a truck plate. These plates were used for about a year, until the new Kentucky baseplate was ready for release. Since this was technically a new baseplate for 1997, this plate was eligible for ALPCA Plate of the Year for 1997. Inexplicably, however, it did not win.
KY 99 #919 ABC
Kentucky 1999 passenger issue. In 1998, this plate replaced all previous horse and plain Kentucky plates. This new graphic features a scene of rolling hills and a state-shaped cloud in the background. It was issued in a reverse 123-ABC format and continues to use county stickers. This plate was issued in Boone county.
KY 03 #922 HYP
Kentucky 2003 passenger issue. In late 2002, some counties began running out of cloud-base plates. Not wanting to order more supplies of the old plate so close to its retirement, the state began issuing these plain blue-on-white interim plates. These are similar to the ones issued in 1997, but without the embossed county name at the bottom. These plates instead used a green county name strip of the type to be used with the new 2003 baseplate (see next.) This plate was issued in Jefferson county (greater Louisville), one of the larger counties in the state, therefore more likely to have run out of plates early. This series began somewhere between the "HYJ" and "HYL" series and ran as needed through the HZx series.
KY 04 #477 JBL
Kentucky 2004 passenger issue. This, uh, "interesting" plate was released in 2003 and replaced all previous cloud plates by the end of that year. The design featured a smiling sun rising over the same landscape seen at the bottom of the cloud plate, and also included the state's tourism slogan, "It's that friendly." This plate received a decent amount of media attention, almost all of it due to its unpopularity among motorists in the state. Apparently the unpopular design increased sales of optional plates greatly, though, so maybe the state knew what it was doing after all.
KY 05 #152 AAG
Kentucky 2005 passenger issue. After issuing the "Mr. Smiley" plate for less than three years, Kentucky decided to replace the unpopular plate early, releasing this new plate in 2005. The new plate uses the horse logo and "Unbridled Spirit" slogan currently in use on state tourism materials. The "Bluegrass State" slogan is still present, although quite hard to read above the state name. These plates are slated to phase in throughout 2006 and replace the last of the Smiley bases by the end of the year. The serial format is once again 123-ABC, starting over at the beginning of the alphabet, duplicating the series used on the cloud bases.
KY 08 #778 JCC
Kentucky 2008 passenger issue. Starting in 2008, Kentucky switched to this narrower, harder-to-read, uglier die set on their passenger plates. Of course they did... This narrower die set had been introduced on several Kentucky optional graphics, mostly using a four-digit serial with two-digit stacked prefix or suffix, where the narrower dies left more room for the graphics on the plates. Swapping the standard passenger to these dies was not absolutely necessary, but does allow for standardization during production of different plate types. This change took place near the beginning of the JCC series of plates.
KY 11 #503 LRP
Kentucky 2011 passenger issue. In 2011 Kentucky joined the ever-growing ranks of states to offer a no-fee alternate plate bearing the legend "In God We Trust." This issue is a modified version of the standard Kentucky issue with the state name, logos and slogans at the top scaled down and the large "In God We Trust" added beneath. These plates use the standard serial format, first appearing in the L series with future plates presumably produced using the next available serial block as needed. This plate was issued in Fayette county.

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Last Modified 7/2/2011 (added 2011 plate).