Minnesota License Plates 1969-present

MN 69 #2QE 730
Minnesota 1969 passenger issue (1968 base). This plate was used from the end of 1967 through the end of 1970. During this period, Minnesota issued plates in a 2AB-345 format, with the first number indicating the congressional district of the state.
MN 69 #MCQ 933
Minnesota 1969 passenger issue (1968 base). Continuation of the 1968-70 baseplate above. Registrations issued directly by mail carried the "M" designation in place of the congressional district code as the first character of the serial.
MN 70 #3TK 398
Minnesota 1970 passenger issue (1968 base). This was a variation of the 1968 baseplate, with the state name and slogan embossed rather than debossed on the plate. These were produced later in the plate's run, mostly in 1970. This variation was probably due to supplemental 1968/70 plates being made at the same time that the 1971 base was being produced.
MN 72 #1AN 830
Minnesota 1972 passenger issue (1971 base). This plate follows the standard 1AB-234 format of the time and was issued in district one. This baseplate was used from the end of 1970 through the end of 1973. Early issues of this base from district one were stamped using a serif on the '1' die in '71'. This was later dropped in order to match the other non-serif '1' dies in '19' and '10,000'.
MN 72 #1QI 356
Minnesota 1972 passenger issue (1971 base). Later-issue plate with the non-serif die in the '71' portion of the embossed year.
MN 72 #MJS 452
Minnesota 1972 passenger issue (1971 base). This is the mail-order version of the 1971 baseplate, starting with "M" rather than a district code. This coding practice was discontinued after these plates were replaced at the end of 1973.
MN 75 #DN 2916
Minnesota 1975 passenger issue (1974 base). These plates switched to a two-alpha, four numeric numbering format and did away with the district coding that had been in use since 1956. Staggered registration and month stickers were introduced with this base. Three different die variations of the 1974 plate exist, with some plates in this series produced by Polyvend in Arkansas and used their seemingly omnipresent dies of the mid to late '70s. Plates were also produced in-state using the same dies as the 1972 and earlier bases, and later plates on the base used narrower Texas dies.
MN 75 #FV 4237
Minnesota 1975 passenger issue (1974 base). Continuation of the above series. This is an example of a 1974-base plate the standard dies used by Minnesota prior to 1974. Plates of this type were issued from the beginning of the EE series through the end of the KZ series.
MN 76 #MT 7127
Minnesota 1976 passenger issue (1974 base). Polyvend took over plate production again starting in the LA series through the NM series, resulting in plates that are more or less identical to the initial Polyvend run from AA through ED.
MN 77 #NK 9100
Minnesota 1977 passenger issue (1974 base). Another Polyvend plate from within the LA through NM block, this one represents a sub-type with oval-shaped boltholes instead of round.
MN 77 #NZ 8027
Minnesota 1977 passenger issue (1974 base). Another short run of plates were produced in the block between NN and NZ using the standard Minnesota dies. This type was a repeat of the earlier Minnesota-die run from EE through KZ.
MN 77 #PA 7112
Minnesota 1977 passenger issue (1974 base). The last variation on this base, these plates were made with thinner Texas dies. These dies were later adopted permanently by Minnesota starting with the 1978 graphic base. These plates were used through 1977.
MN 78 #AQZ 623
Minnesota 1978 passenger issue. In 1978, Minnesota issued new plates, some of a basic blue on white design like this one, and some with a lake scene. This non-graphic series was used up to the mid-C series of numbers (these plates marked the first true ABC-123 format Minnesota plates, starting at AAA-001). They were used with validation stickers up through 1988. Most issues on this non-graphic base (up through CEM-999) used older pre-1974 Minnesota dies.
MN 78 #CFY 021
Minnesota 1978 passenger issue. This was a late-period issue on the non-graphic blue base, using the same Texas die set first seen on late 1974-base plates and to be used going forward on the 1978 graphic base. Only plates in the serial block from CEN-001 through CGZ-999 used these dies, making this a relatively rare issue.
MN 78 #CQD 514
Minnesota 1978 passenger issue. This is the graphic variety of the 1978 baseplate, featuring a lake scene with a canoe and a small island at the top. This plate design came into use starting with the "CHA" series of plates. Variations of this graphic base are still in use today, although this particular base was only used until 1988. Original 1978 expirations on this base were not issued stickers, as a white-on-blue "78" box was screened onto the bottom of the plate.
MN 82 #LQK-042
Minnesota 1982 passenger issue. This was a continuation of the base above, adding a state-shaped separator between the numbers and letters. The series in use on these plates jumped to "LAA" at the time that the state-shaped divider was added as well. This was done in anticipation of a general plate reissue that did not end up occurring until 1987-88, when this base was also replaced.
MN 88 #851-AQB
Minnesota 1988 passenger issue. In 1987-88, all previous 1978-87 plates were replaced with a variation of the lake graphic scene. This plate used a slightly deeper blue for the water, different typeface for the "10,000 Lakes" slogan, and added the word "Explore" ahead of the state name. The series started at 100-AAA and continued to use the state shaped separator. These plates are currently on a seven-year replacement cycle, so any plates initially issued from 1987 through 1996 should have been replaced by now. Plates that are less than seven years old can still be in use on this base.
MN 94 #666-JQM
Minnesota 1994 passenger issue. This was another variation of the lake graphic, albeit a minor one. In 1993, the graphic was changed to have the white midsection of the plate fade slowly into the blue at the bottom, as opposed to the straight line used to border the two colors on the earlier "Explore" bases. This design change was implemented to reduce the number of manufacturing rejects due to crooked stamping of the serial. A slight angle to the number is less noticeable with a gradual fade than it would be with a straight line directly below.
MN 98 #ANY-686
Minnesota 1998 passenger issue. Same baseplate as above, but in 1997 Minnesota changed the numbering format from 123-ABC to ABC-123. This was odd because the state hadn't run out of numbers in the other sequence yet, and in fact was only up through about the "P" series at the time. These reverse-series plates are also the first Minnesota issues in this time period to be made out of aluminum instead of steel, so the manufacturing change may have had something to do with the new format as well.
MN 00 #DCE-353
Minnesota 2000 passenger issue. Yet another tweak to this baseplate, the fade from white to blue at the bottom of the plate on recent issues has been made even more gradual, with very little blue left at the bottom of the plate. These newer issues also use a slightly different die set than previous issues.
MN 09 #607-ABC
Minnesota 2009 passenger issue. Starting in mid-2008, Minnesota switched their standard passenger plates to a new design using 3M's digital flat plate technology. The baseplate gave a facelift to the older graphic design, featuring a different shade of blue background and a new revised font for the state name and slogan. The serial was also printed in black for the first time as opposed to the older blue color. These plates use a 3M serial font introduced on South Dakota plates and used on several other states' plates since. This font was supposedly based on the Minnesota die set, so makes sense for it to finally be put in use there.
MN 09 #431-BBR
Minnesota 2009 passenger issue. Initial issues of the flat Minnesota passenger issue were split between mail ordered plates and over-the-counter issues, with mail orders receiving plates starting in the B series. The plates were otherwise identical, although this one also features the newer-style blue-on-white month sticker.
MN 10 #609-CBT
Minnesota 2010 passenger issue. Continuation of the above series, once the over-the-counter reached the end of the A series, the sequence skipped directly to the C series. This plate is featured mostly to illustrate that the mail-order and over-the-counter issues were both produced separately, as the breakpoint for the next design change occurred both within the B series for mail order plates and the C series for over-the-counter (see next.)
MN 10 #700-BRM
Minnesota 2010 passenger issue. In late 2009, Minnesota added ".com" to the end of the state name, joining the ever-growing list of states advertising their web sites on their plates. The trees in the graphic were also squashed to the right as a result. This change occurred in the later C series of over-the-counter plates and the early B series (by BEV, at least) of the mail-order plates, which the state was still perplexingly issuing and producing as a separate series. Another blue-on-white month sticker, with newer Minnesota plates featuring screened expiration months eliminating the stickers altogether.
MN 10 #381-CVU
Minnesota 2010 passenger issue. Example of an over-the-counter plate in the C series featuring the ".com" addition to the background.

Additional Minnesota information provided by: Steve Riner

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Last Modified 10/10/2011 (added 2010 plates).