Ohio License Plates 1969-present

OH 69 #1364 LQ
Ohio 1969 passenger issue. Most Ohio plates of this era were issued in blocks by county, resulting in a multitude of possible combinations. Possible combinations on this base include 12345, ABC, A1B2, ABC1, A12345, AA1234, 12345A, 1234AA, A1234B and probably others that I'm missing. Some municipalities required local tax payments in 1968/69, and a decal such as this was seen on some plates during that time frame. This plate was issued in Warren county. Click here for a complete listing of Ohio county codes.
OH 69 #Q 544 J
Ohio 1969 passenger issue. Same series as above. Due to a 1967 fire at the prison's plate shop in Lebanon, Ohio, the state was not up to full manufacturing capacity by 1969. As a result, a majority of the plates for 1968 and about half of the plates for 1969 were manufactured in New York, using distinctive New York dies of the era. By 1970, Ohio's capacity was back to normal and standard Ohio dies were reinstated for all issues. This was a New York die variety plate issued in Stark county.
OH 70 #CH 826
Ohio 1970 passenger issue. Scarlet on grey issue, honoring the colors of Ohio State University, which was celebrating its 100th anniversary in 1970. This plate was issued in Cuyahoga county, as indicated by the two-alpha prefix (block AA1 through QZ9999 were issued in Cuyahoga).
OH 71 #CH 825
Ohio 1971 passenger issue. Black on yellow non-reflective. This plate was also from Cuyahoga, not surprising in that its serial is only one off from the plate above. Jim Fox tells me that, although there was no official city coding in Ohio at this time, a good deal of these "CH" series plates were distributed to motorists in his hometown of Cleveland Heights.
OH 72 #7402
Ohio 1972 passenger issue. I really like this plate, not sure why. I guess it's just the color combination, the yellow on navy blue colors look very nice together. This plate was from Franklin county, as were all the all numeric issues during this period.
OH 73 #QF 550
Ohio 1973 passenger issue. This plate marked the first "slogan" in Ohio since the 1938 Northwest Territory 150th Anniversary issue. This may also be the only use of a question in a slogan in U.S. history. These plates arose during a time of heavy interest in auto safety. Ask someone who had a 1973-74 model car sometime about seat belt interlock devices. This plate was again issued in Cuyahoga county (greater Cleveland, if you're wondering). This was also the last yearly issue for Ohio.
OH 75 #Q 3201 M
Ohio 1975 passenger issue (1974 base). This was the first fully-reflectorized Ohio issue, and the Seat Belt slogan remained. This plate was used for 1974 and 75 with stickers. Some plates in this series were made by the Polyvend corporation in Arkansas, using the same dies as Illinois plates of this timeframe. This is one of those issues, as can be seen by comparing these dies to the standard Ohio dies (see next plate). This particular issue comes from Holmes county.
OH 75 #M 60574
Ohio 1975 passenger issue (1974 base). Continuation of the 1974 issue, this plate carried the standard Ohio dies. This single-letter prefix plate was issued in Franklin county.
OH 78 #Q 1209 M
Ohio 1978 passenger issue. These baseplates were first issued in March, 1976 and used through the end of 1980. These were the last Ohio plates to use the complex numbering system and county codes that had been in place since the mid-30's. This plate was issued in Holmes county.
OH 78 #VU 1712
Ohio 1978 passenger issue. Another of these red-on-white plates, showing the AB 1234 format. This particular plate was issued in Richland county.
OH 80 #821811
Ohio 1980 passenger issue. This plate was one of a series of all-numeric plates issued starting in 1978 around plate number 600000. These plates were produced to supplement the supply of available plates in the state as some counties began to overrun their allotted series. These plates, therefore, do not necessarily coincide with any particular county. They are also produced on slightly different background stock, being much whiter than previous 1976-base plates. Ohio began issuing separate month and year stickers starting with the 1980 expiration, which is a practice that would continue through the 1988 expiration year. These red on white plates were all replaced upon their expirations in 1980, making this plate one of the last to have appeared on the road.
OH 81 #CQS-250
Ohio 1981 passenger issue. Starting in 1980, these new blue on white plates were issued. These plates switched to a standard ABC-123 format and did not carry a county designation. These plates were issued through approximately 1982 and were valid through the end of 1985. This was the first use of the state-shaped divider which was used until the 1997 Gold seven-digit base.
OH 84 #QVC-504
Ohio 1984 passenger issue. Continuation of the 1980 series, these plates switched to a screened state name rather than embossed and added a county sticker to the bottom of the plate. This particular plate was issued in Franklin county. This series ended in 1985.
OH 85 #UEG-083
Ohio 1985 passenger issue. Near the tail end of this series, the state apparently ran short of screened plate blanks. Since there was a new, green issue slated for release, they decided to make a small quantity of all-embossed blue plates in the Uxx series to bridge the gap to the new issue without ordering new blue sheeting. These plates are similar, but not identical to the older all-embossed plates in this series, using a slightly different state name die as well as the higher letter series.
OH 86 #987-DQQ
Ohio 1985 passenger issue. In 1985, this new green-on-white base was introduced. These plates were very similar to the later blue plates, with a color change and a reversal of the numbering series to a 123-ABC format. These plates were used through 1991. This one was issued in Warren county.
OH 90 #052-UDM
Ohio 1990 passenger issue. Same series as above, this plate shows the change (made around 1988) to a single-sticker system for month and year. It comes from Shelby county.
OH 91 #880-XLS
Ohio 1991 passenger issue. Later variations of this plate featured a change to the lower sticker wells, converting to two debossed wells that meet the edges of the plate. This was the same arrangement used on the forthcoming issue and probably the result of late plates from this series being produced concurrently with plates from the next series. This plate was issued in Wood county.
OH 91 #740-XXL
Ohio 1991 passenger issue. Later plates in the "X" and into the Y series on this baseplate were manufactured on a base with an embossed state name, rather than screened like the rest of the 1985-91 green-on-white plates. This was presumably done due to a lack of available screened blanks near the end of the series. This plate was also issued in Hamilton county.
OH 92 #CUQ-891
Ohio 1992 passenger issue. The blue-on-white "Heart of it All" base was introduced in 1991 and could be revalidated through the end of 2002 with proper stickers. This plate was issued in Montgomery county.
OH 96 #XLQ-114
Ohio 1996 passenger issue. In 1995, Ohio switched to these narrower dies in preparation for the switch to seven-digit passenger plates. These narrow-die six digit plates started at some point between the XEN and XEX series and were used through the end of the YZZ series. The ZAA-ZZZ series was not used. This plate is from Clermont county. Again, these blue-on-white plates were used through the end of 2002, when replaced with a new baseplate.
OH 97 #ABQ 9955
Ohio 1997 passenger issue. Near the end of 1996, Ohio switched to a seven-digit plate in an ABC-1234 format. At this point, they also switched the plate design to include a fade from white to gold at the bottom of the plate, changed the county sticker printing from blue to red, and eliminated the state-shaped divider. This base lasted to approximately the ARP-ARR series in late 1997, when the slogan was changed on the plate. This issue comes from Trumbull county.
OH 98 #AQQ 3740
Ohio 1998 passenger issue. Continuation of the gold-fade "Heart of it All" baseplate, the spacing of the numbers was changed after the first few of the "A" series plates to close the gap between the numbers and letters slightly. This plate was issued in Hamilton county.
OH 99 #AUQ 3473
Ohio 1998 passenger issue. At some point within the "ARR" series of seven-digit gold Ohio plates, the slogan on the plate was changed from "The Heart of It All!" to "Birthplace of Aviation". This new slogan celebrates Ohio as the birthplace of Orville and Wilbur Wright, inventors of the first airplane. Of course, their flight took place in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina (as noted on the current-issue N.C. "First in Flight" plates), but Ohio is staking their claim nonetheless. This plate was issued in Hamilton county. These plates turned over to the "Bxx" series in 1999, but reached only the "BIF" series before the series was switched to "Cxx" instead. Don't ask me why.
OH 99 #CAQ 3272
Ohio 1999 passenger issue. The reflective sheeting for later-period gold-fade plates was made by Avery, Corporation and has a somewhat shinier appearance to it. These Avery plates also have a lighter gold color than on the previous 3M plates, which is most apparent when comparing the mis-match between the gold on the county sticker to the gold on the plate. The fade on these plates is a lot choppier as well, with large gold dots appearing towards the top. Mostly hair-splitting observations, but the differences are pretty obvious when comparing one of these to an earlier plate. This variety started at the beginning of the CAA series of plates and ran through the discontinuation of this base in 2002 near the end of the Cxx series.
OH 02 #AQ17VL
Ohio 2002 passenger issue. This issue was introduced in late 2001 to celebrate Ohio's state Bicentennial, which occurred in 2003. The plate was issued to all new registrants and also as a replacement for any remaining blue-on-white, six-digit "Heart of It All" plates left on the road. Motorists with gold-fade plates could switch to this plate for an additional fee or keep their old plates. Ohio registrations are processed to expire on the registrant's birthday, which likely explains that this plate expired in January, 2002, less than four months after the plate's introduction. Standard passenger plates on this base were issued in a unique AB12CD format. These plates also feature a small county number sticker in the lower left corner in place of a county name strip. This series was issued through early 2004 and remains valid with stickers.
OH 05 #EY90LT
Ohio 2005 passenger issue. Late-period issue on the Bicentennial base, this plate features a revisions to the background including a notably different font for the "Ohio Bicentennial" and "Birthplace of Aviation" text. This appears to be a rare variant, as I've seen plates in the EW and EZ series with the standard font.
OH 04 #DAQ 2686
Ohio 2004 passenger issue. This latest Ohio issue was introduced in early 2004 when the limited issue Bicentennial plate was discontinued. The new design again features the "Birthplace of Aviation" slogan and a graphic of a sunrise, in gray for some reason. The design contains a large empty blue area at the bottom, perhaps left blank in anticipation of the use of old-style county name strips. These plates have thus far been issued the same small county stickers used on the Bicentennial base, however. This new "sunburst" issue resumed the seven-digit serial series, starting at the DAA series.
OH 11 FAQ 5203
Ohio 2011 passenger issue. Ohio released a new plate in 2009 which became the state's single general issue by the end of 2010. Called the "Beautiful Ohio" plate, this new issue features a colorful background of a sunrise over a farm and city skyline, with rolling hills at the foreground and the Wright Brothers' plane in the sky. The status of this plate changed a couple times since inception, first intended to be a new general issue, then scrapped for budget reasons with the existing stock to be released as an extra-fee optional. It was finally released as a no-fee alternate general issue, concurrent with the older Sunburst plate, which it eventually replaced when supplies of the older plate were exhausted in 2010.
OH 13 FWY 1914
Ohio 2013 passenger issue. Ohio introduced a new base in April, 2013. This issue is called the Ohio Pride plate and incorporates 46 unique slogans about the state as a "word picture" in the background of the plate. As is usually the case with new Ohio issues, this plate is not intended as a general reissue but is issued to new registrants and renewals on request. This plate began in the FWA series.

Additional Ohio information provided by: Lowell McManus, James Fox, Frank Foster

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

Last Modified 6/15/2013 (added 2013 plate).