New York License Plates 1969-present

NY 69 #N-3785
New York 1969 passenger issue. This orange on blue base was first issued in 1966 and was used with plate stickers through the end of 1973. The letter(s) on these plates are county codes, this one was issued in New York City (County of New York). This base marked the first time that the entire state name had been spelled out on a New York plate, all previous issues abbreviated it as 'NY'.
NY 73 #2823-TN
New York 1973 passenger issue. Continuation of the 1966 baseplate, plates produced near the end of the run switched over to this new die set, which was to be used on the upcoming blue-on-orange baseplate. It's likely that the state was already in production of the new plates at this time and produced any necessary additional orange-on-blue plates on the same production line using the same dies. 1973 was the final year for plate stickers in New York.
NY undated #106-QQD
New York undated passenger issue, circa 1974. These blue on orange undated plates were used from 1973 through 1986, with yearly window stickers used for validation. These plates are difficult to date, since the letters once again corresponded to counties to some degree or another (the system started falling apart by the end of this baseplate's run.) This was an odd issue as it contained a prominent sticker box but never used stickers, at least for any class of vehicle with a windshield.
NY undated  #234-VQK
New York undated passenger issue, circa 1980. Continuation of the 1974 base. These narrower dies were implemented in the later periods of this plate's use to facilitate seven-digit plates that were about to become necessary as numbers ran out. These dies also were used for the upcoming Liberty base, so the state may have been retooling in preparation of making the new plates.
NY undated #5792-AAN
New York undated passenger issue, circa 1982. When the 123-ABC numbering format was exhausted, the state switched to this 1234-ABC format. They got to about the end of the "B" series before the Liberty base was introduced and these plates came off the road. Some plates in the "Txx" series also exist, these were issued to car dealers who would keep plate supplies on hand to process registrations on new cars themselves. Passenger issues in the "GAM" series were issued as well, these were mis-stamped "AGM" series plates that were distributed anyway.
NY undated #7460-TBV
New York undated passenger issue, circa 1984. Same series as above, this is one of the "T" series plates issued directly by a car dealership rather than over the counter at the DMV. I'm not sure why they chose the "T" sequence for these, but it certainly left enough breathing room between these and the DMV issues, which didn't even make it into the "C" series before these plates were discontinued.
NY undated #QSK 682
New York undated passenger issue, circa 1986. This baseplate, still one of the best looking plates ever designed in my estimation, was introduced in 1986. This debut coincided nicely with the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty. Plates were not coded as such, but initial distribution of these plates was done so that most counties issued plates that started with the same letter as the county name (this "Q" plate probably came from Queens county). This system got muddled a bit along the way, but in general a pattern can be seen in most counties. These ABC-123 format plates were issued from July, 1986 through the end of the YZZ series in September, 1988 (Z plates were used for rental cars).
NY undated #2039 BKX
New York undated passenger issue, circa 1986. During the changeover to the Liberty plate, motorists were given the option of keeping their old plate number for a fee. Six-digit plate numbers were produced using the standard base, however motorists with seven-digit plates, vanities, or any other configuration that could not be easily split down the middle were provided plates on this alternate baseplate, with the Statue of Liberty shifted to the left. This plate, a remake of a late-period seven-digit orange plate number, also features a much narrower die set, seen on seven- and eight-digit passenger plates and some non-passenger types during this period. These dies are currently the standard set in use on the Empire State baseplate.
NY undated #3SS 988
New York undated passenger issue, circa 1990. After the end of the ABC-123 series, New York switched to a 2AB-345 series. Again, the first letter usually corresponded to the county of issue. The numbers 0 and 1 were not used in the first space, nor was 0 used in position four. These plates were issued from about September, 1988 through January, 1991.
NY undated #B3Y 433
New York undated passenger issue, circa 1991. After the 2AB-345 series was exhausted after 9YZ-999 (Z plates were again not issued), the state switched to A2B-345. Again, zero and one were skipped in the first number position. This series lasted from January, 1991 through February, 1993.
NY undated #1C 432
New York undated passenger issue, circa 1992. This is a special format New York plate, falling outside of the standard 3x3 format. Plates of these types are typically issued specially by the county clerk's offices of various counties in the state. These plates will sometimes correspond to an older pre-1974 plate number that the motorist has carried for a long time. Others are "new" numbers issued to preferred constituents in the county. Liberty plates outside of the standard 3x3 format (including these county clerk plates, vanities and most non-passenger issues) again used a different baseplate with the statue graphic shifted to the far left.
NY undated  #A98 4DE
New York undated passenger issue, circa 1993. This A12-3BC series yielded 2.6 times as many combinations as the two previous sequences, and therefore lasted much longer (February, 1993 to April, 1999). Early plates in this format were made of galvanized steel like previous Liberty plates, with a change to aluminum made later in the series. This plate is an early steel plate which also exhibits a strange mis-match in the die set. The "8" die on this plate does not match the other characters, coming from a slightly different, narrower set. The correct "8" for this set would be the rounder variety found on plate number 3SS 988 above.
NY undated  #H46 9KW
New York undated passenger issue, circa 1996. This is a later period aluminum plate using the same A12 3BC format. Some plates near the end of this series (in the "Y" series) were produced using digital flat-plate technology. These were apparently issued as a test batch in the Rochester area. This was a disturbing occurrence, as it marked the first appearance of flat general-issue passenger plates in the US. The experiment was short-lived, however, and all standard passengers in New York have reverted to being embossed ever since. Most specialty plates and non-passenger types in New York are currently made as flat plates, however.
NY undated  #BS3 57E
New York undated passenger issue, circa 1999. This sequence was started in early 1999, when the end of the A12-3BC series was reached at Z99-9ZZ. This AB1-23C format was the last series used on the Liberty base, as the state began a general reissue to new seven-digit plates starting in January, 2001.
NY undated  #ACX-7548
New York undated passenger issue, circa 2001. Starting in January, 2001, New York began issuing these new baseplates. The plate features a graphic of Niagara Falls, a mountainline and the New York City skyline across the top and the slogan "The Empire State" at the bottom. Serial format for these plates is a seven-digit ABC-1234 format, with a state-shape divider added for the first time. The series started at number ACA-1000. These plates replaced all remaining Liberty base plates on the road by the end of 2002.
NY undated  #L64-7AN
New York undated passenger issue, circa 2001. Another plate on the Empire base, this one is a remake of a previously issued Liberty number, in this case a fourth-series number, probably first issued around 1995 or 1996. The state offered motorists the opportunity to keep an old number on the new base for a one-time fee, and many chose to take advantage of this option, resulting in a number of plates like this.
NY undated #FAC-9109
New York undated passenger issue, circa 2010. New York began issuing a new baseplate on April 1, 2010. Known as the "Empire Gold" plate, this new issue returns to the classic blue-on-gold motif of the 1973-86 base, but with a screened state name and slogan. This plate was initially proposed as a general reissue for the state with a $25 "new plate" fee, but public outcry over costs led to the new plate being issued only to new registrants at no additional fee. These plates started in the FAB series and will be used concurrently with the previous Empire State issue for the foreseeable future.

Additional New York information provided by: Sal Dodd, Ross Day

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Last Modified 8/17/2010 (added 2010 issue).