|New Mexico 1969 passenger issue (1965 base). This plate was issued from 1965 through 1969. The first digit of the plate is a county code, issued numerically by population. This plate was issued in county #2, Bernalillo county. Click here for a complete listing of New Mexico county codes. The separator is a sun symbol known as "Zia", which first appeared on New Mexico plates in 1927.
|New Mexico 1969 passenger issue. Plates from county codes above 9 used this format with a stacked two-digit code at the left side of the plate. This left no room for the embossed "65", which was left off of these plates. The "Land of Enchantment" slogan was also shifted towards the right to make room for the stacked county code. This plate was issued in county #14, Valencia county.
|New Mexico 1969 passenger issue. This variation of the 1965 base removed the embossed year and replaced it with an embossed "19", which was odd since the year stickers of this period had the whole date printed out ("1969"). "USA" was also added to the state name for the first time. Later variations of this base removed the embossed "19". These plates were used through 1972. This plate was issued in Chaves county, #4.
|New Mexico 1970 passenger issue. The last revision of the 1965-71 baseplate removed the embossed "19" from the lower left to eliminate the redundancy of having both the "19" and the full four-digit date on the year sticker. This specimen comes from county #6, Lea county.
|New Mexico 1971 passenger issue. Two-digit county version of the above base, including the "USA" in the state name and, again, shifting the slogan to the right to accomodate the stacked county code at the left. This plate was issued in San Juan county, #16.
|New Mexico 1973 passenger issue (1972 base). This base was issued to all vehicles at the end of 1971 and was valid through 1990. The county code system was dropped and a more standard ABC-123 format was adopted. This plate style ran through at least the BCT series until briefly interrupted in 1974 (see next.)
|New Mexico 1974 passenger issue. New Mexico apparently ran out of steel for plate production at some point in 1974. The solution was to issue plates for a few weeks printed on paper, starting with serials in the BCW series through BFC-999. Shortly thereafter, the state received a stock of aluminum and produced dated "74" plates with numbers matching those on the paper plates. Motorists were sent the new plates to replace the paper ones.
|New Mexico 1982 passenger issue (1974 base). Example of one of the dated "74" aluminum plates issued to replace the paper issues noted above. Following this replacement series, the state reverted back to producing plates with the old "72" once again embossed on them, starting with the BFD series.
|New Mexico 1975 passenger issue (1972 base). A resumption of the previous dated "72" series took place with the BFD series. These plates were identical to the ones issued before the dated 1974 series except that they are made of aluminum rather than steel.
|New Mexico 1975 passenger issue (1972 base). Minor variation time - at some point during the issuance of this base in 1975, the state switched from round bolt holes to more elongated, oval-shaped bolt slots. There was, no doubt, an extremely pressing and important reason for this change. This plate also features an odd sticker variant, with the plate number typewritten in the white space at the bottom of the 1975 sticker.
|New Mexico 1976 passenger issue. This base was a continuation of the 1972 variety, with the slogan moved to the bottom, "USA" removed, and a space added at the top for a county sticker, although not all plates were issued the sticker. This series started with the BTN series. New Mexico plates have followed this format ever since. These plates continued to be dated "72" although they were first issued in 1976.
|New Mexico 1979 passenger issue. New Mexico returned to red on yellow for this base, first issued in the early "C" series in 1978. This base followed the same format as the previous base with the background color changed. This plate came from Santa Fe county. This base was also used through 1990.
|New Mexico 1989 passenger issue. These screened plates were first issued in 1982, starting around the "EKx" series. Plates of this style were issued through the end of 1990. This plate also came from Bernalillo county.
|New Mexico 1989 passenger issue. Continuation of the above baseplate. Around 1988, near the end of this plate's run in the late "Kxx" and early "Lxx" series, the "USA" was once again added to the state name. The plate remained unchanged otherwise. This is another plate from Bernalillo county.
|New Mexico 1991 passenger issue. This was kind of an odd issue. Within the last three months of 1990, after already deciding to retire the then-current 1982-90 base at the end of the year, the state ran out of blanks of that baseplate. Production of the next set of plates was already underway, but rather than start to issue the new plates early, the state decided to produce a short run of plates (approximately 23,000, from the LKM through the LLL series) using the old numbering format on the new background. Registrants during this period therefore received a "sneak preview" of the new plate.
|New Mexico 1992 passenger issue. In 1991, all previous 1972-1990 plates were invalidated and all vehicles were issued this new baseplate, which had actually had an unexpected introduction the previous year. This plate keeps the red on yellow motif, but added more graphic elements. The numbering format was also switched to a 123-ABC format. This plate was issued in Sandoval county. County stickers appear to have been discontinued on this base around 1996 or so, so plates can appear with or without these stickers.
|New Mexico 1998 passenger issue. This plate is one of a series that was erroneously stamped onto a trailer base. As a result, the slogan and yucca graphics from the bottom of the plate are missing. A number of these plates were made in the mid-"K" series in 1997 and the state decided to go ahead and issue them.
|New Mexico 1998 passenger issue. By late 1997, the sloganless error plates had been used up and the regular issue was being issued again.
|New Mexico 1999 passenger issue. In 1998, the state had issues with their plate production facility and had a small run of plates produced in Arizona. These plates are identical to New Mexico-made plates aside from the use of bolt holes rather than bolt slots.
|New Mexico 1999 passenger issue. By the end of 1998, plate production was once again reestablished in New Mexico and plates with traditional bolt slots reappeared. This style was used for the remainder of the state-produced run before the contract for plates shifted (see next.)
|New Mexico 2000 passenger issue. In 1998, the Waldale company of Nova Scotia began producing New Mexico license plates. These plates differ in appearance from previous issues in that slightly shorter dies are used for the serial, and the embossed county sticker box at the top of the plate has been removed.
|New Mexico 2000 passenger issue. New Mexico began offering these baseplates in 1999, featuring the image of a hot air balloon at the left of the plate. This design is a no-cost option at the time of registration and is issued concurrantly with the standard yellow base above. These plates were initially issued in a six-digit format featuring the letters "NM" at some location in the serial. There has been some criticism of these plates, both of the design and of readability of the state name at a distance.
|New Mexico 2000 passenger issue. Continuation of the optional balloon baseplate. Available combinations using the letters "NM" were quickly depleted on these plates, so the state switched to this AB 123 format for a brief period. This move helped with serial readability, but for some reason was only retained through the end of the "BZ" series.
|New Mexico 2000 passenger issue. After the "BZ" series of five-digit plates was issued, the state moved to a six-digit version, starting with plate number CAA001. This remained the serial format on these plates through the end of the series after the LGP series in 2010.
|New Mexico 2012 passenger issue. In 2010, New Mexico introduced a new no-cost optional plate, replacing the balloon issue. This plate commemorates New Mexico's statehood centennial in 2012. It is a unique design with turquoise background with yellow and white lettering, featuring a large Zia character at center. These plates started in the LGR series, immediately following where the balloon plates had left off. As with the balloon plates, these are issued concurrently with the yellow Yucca base plate, motorists are given the choice between the two at registration. Early issues, in the LGx series, featured a white section outside the embossed yellow border.
|New Mexico 2011 passenger issue. Continuation of the Centennial issue, starting in the LHA series the entire background was changed to turquoise, eliminating the white outside border. The plate remains otherwise unchanged.
|New Mexico 2017 passenger issue. Starting in 2016, the Centennial issue was modified to remove the Centennial slogan. The new plates move the Land of Enchantment slogan to the top and extend the state name to New Mexico USA at the bottom. This change was made in the NZT series.
|New Mexico 2018 passenger issue. In 2017, a third no-cost passenger option was introduced in New Mexico, celebrating the state's self-proclaimed title of Chile Capital of the World. New Mexico won out in something of a chile plate war in 2017, getting their plate to market ahead of an optional Colorado issue also celebrating the spicy western delicacy. There was a question as to whether this plate would be an optional as well, with it eventually being made a no-cost option alongside the yucca and turquoise bases. The plate was named ALPCA's Plate of the Year for 2017.
|New Mexico 2018 passenger issue. Another chili plate, on this issue New Mexico decided to make a distinction between plates issued by mail and those issued over the counter, for what I'm sure were reasons. The counter-issued plates started at AAAA, while the mail issues were pushed to the WAAA series. Again, this was very important to do.
Additional New Mexico information provided by: Bill Johnston, Andrew Turnbull
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Last Modified 3/20/2022 (added 2018 W-chili plate).