Michigan License Plates 1969-present

MI 69 #FZ-0059
Michigan 1969 passenger issue. The Great Lake State slogan had started in 1968 for Michigan and ran through 1983 with the exception of 1976-78. This plate was the last of the AB-1234 format Michigan plates.
MI 70 #NCR-515
Michigan 1970 passenger issue. These plates honored the 10th anniversary of Oakland University, an affiliate of Michigan State University. Gold and white are the school's colors. This is the first year of the ABC-123 numbering format in Michigan, and also the last yearly issue in the state.
MI 72 #LBT-553
Michigan 1972 passenger issue (1971 base). This was the first of Michigan's multi-year issues, being used from the end of 1970 through the end of 1972.
MI 74 #VPZ-956
Michigan 1974 passenger issue (1973 base). These plates were used for a year longer than the 1971 issue, featuring dual sticker boxes at the bottom corners for 1974 and 1975 stickers. This plate was used from the end of 1972 through the end of 1975.
MI 77 #NSN772
Michigan 1977 passenger issue (1976 base). Michigan issued this plate at the end of 1975 to commemorate the Bicentennial of the United States. This was one of the most impressive designs of its time and won the ALPCA Best Plate of the Year Award for 1976. These plates were current at about the time that I started collecting, and they were a big influence on my interest in plates. These plates remained in use through the end of 1978.
MI 80 #BBH-016
Michigan 1980 passenger issue (1979 base). Michigan followed up their spectacular Bicentennial issue with this white on black base, same general format as the plates previous to the 1976 base, which was used from the end of 1978 through the end of 1983. Staggered registration and month stickers were also introduced during this time, with 1980 plates only expiring in November or December.
MI 80 #JKN-766
Michigan 1980 passenger issue (1979 base). Another exp. 1980 on this base, showing a variation in slogan die sizes which occurred with these plates. Some earlier issues on this base used a smaller version of the Great Lake State die, such as on the BBH-series plate above, while others in the series used a larger die such as seen on this plate. I can't swear that there's an official "early vs. late" break between the dies, but the larger one seems to be the most common.
MI 83 #674-ZWY
Michigan 1983 passenger issue (1979 base). This was a late-period passenger issue on this baseplate. In late 1982, the state exhausted the last of the available ABC-123 format combinations, so they switched to this reverse 123-ABC format. Production of the upcoming 1984 base was already underway, also using the 123-ABC format, so the state started these plates at ZZZ and worked backwards to avoid conflicting with the serials used on the upcoming plate.
MI 84 #355 CKH
Michigan 1984 passenger issue. The plain white on blue base was first available in 1982, starting with 100-AAA. Larger dies than previously used were introduced, and the slogan was shortened to "Great Lakes". Plates were used with only month stickers in 1984, then with year stickers thereafter. Plates in the early series used this large die for the state name. These plates remain valid today.
MI 84 #103 EEA
Michigan 1984 passenger issue. Another undated exp. 1984 issue, by this point in the sequence the state name die was replaced with a smaller version. The plate remained unchanged otherwise.
MI 85 #781 FEJ
Michigan 1985 passenger issue. Plates in the FAA through GPZ series were made of aluminum, while others were steel. Plates such as this in the "F" series had wide bolt slots rather than round holes as seen on most plates on this base. The combination of these wide slots and the thinner metal made these plates susceptible to popping right off their bolts, kind of like a button in a buttonhole. The design was changed shortly thereafter.
MI 85 #885 HDK
Michigan 1985 passenger issue. Back to good ol' galvanized steel and round bolt holes by this point in the sequence. This plate is identical to the second 1984 plate above.
MI 90 #134 QSQ
Michigan 1990 passenger issue. Another 123-ABC format white-on-blue plate. Plates in this "Q" series were actually issued out of sequence after the "Z"s to facilitate more numbers in this format. This bought the state a few more months before the format was changed.
MI 91 #APQ 164
Michigan 1991 passenger issue. Once the ZZZ and QZZ series were exhausted in 1990, the state flipped the numbering format over to an ABC-123 format. This remains the current format as of mid-2002, although the sequence is nearing the end of the alphabet.
MI 97 #MQB 585
Michigan 1997 passenger issue. Continuation of the ABC-123 series on this base. Note the different die being used for "Q" from the '91 plates, presumably for visibility reasons. The die used for the "Great Lakes" slogan was also made larger during this period.
MI 98 #PQK 160
Michigan 1998 passenger issue. Michigan switched from using separate month and year stickers in late 1997 (for late 1998 expirations) to issuing a single sticker, printed at the time of registration and containing the plate number at the top. This system discourages fraudulent use of stickers, and is also less expensive than printing separate month and year stickers.
MI 99 #QBQ 904
Michigan 1999 passenger issue. At some point at or near the beginning of the "Q" series of plates, the sticker wells were removed from the bottom of the plate. Since there was only one sticker in use and it was larger than the size of the well, no point having either remain, I guess.
MI 02 #UQA 365
Michigan 2002 passenger issue. Another standard white-on-blue plate. Starting with the UDU series of passenger plates in 2001, Michigan started using the same narrow dies found on optional and vanity plates on the standard passenger series as well. This was probably done to simplify manufacturing (one set of dies for all plates), although it also came in handy as Michigan switched over to a seven-digit ABC1234 format after the end of the ZZZ series was reached.
MI 04 #XQY 912
Michigan 2004 passenger issue. More minutia for the collector, but somewhere in the mid-X series of plates, the debossed sticker well was returned to the lower right corner of the plate. It was the same sticker well as found on previous issues, meaning that it still isn't large enough to accommodate the current sticker size, but that's OK. This style has carried over to the new seven-digit ABC1234-format plates as of late 2004.
MI 05 #AAQ2236
Michigan 2005 passenger issue. As predicted, Michigan started issuing seven-digit passenger plates in late 2004, upon the exhaustion of the ABC-123 format plates after ZZZ 999. The new format started at AAA1000 and is formatted across the center of the plate without any spaces or dividers of any kind. This arrangement hasn't worked out so well for a few states in the past, so we'll see how Michigan does with it.
MI 07 #AGQ 2312
Michigan 2007 passenger issue. Well, as it happened, the seven-digits, no space format wasn't particularly well received in Michigan's case either. In 2006, reportedly starting with plate number AFP 9000, the state changed to a different die set and added a space between the letters and numbers on the plate. These dies are similar to those used in Florida and are narrow enough to accomodate the seven digits and space easily.
MI 07 #BDQ 9235
Michigan 2007 passenger issue. Michigan began their first general reissue of license plates since 1983 in January of 2007. By the end of 2007, the state will have replaced all the previous white-on-blue plates with a new blue-on-white issue featuring the state name in a blue band at the top and the state's web address at the bottom. The new issue uses the same Florida-like dies as the last blue plates and continues the ABC-1234 format, starting in the BAA series. I've got to say, considering that the state had 24 years to mull things over, this is a pretty lame design.

Additional Michigan information provided by: Jeff Ellis, Jeff Heget

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

Last Modified 10/8/2010 (replaced 2008 plate with 2007 plate).