Wisconsin License Plates 1969-present

WI 69 #Q60-554
Wisconsin 1969 Passenger issue. This baseplate was first issued in 1968 and used through the end of 1972. It has a debossed "68" under the sticker area. Plates of this era were issued in an A12-345 format, from A1 through Z99-999. The first letter indicates the month of expiration, with two letters per month (A & B for January, C & D for February, etc.), skipping I and O for an even 24 letters. AB 1234 format plates were used when the single-letter prefix plates were exhausted. The first letter still indicated the month of expiration in this format. "America's Dairyland" has been Wisconsin's slogan from 1940 to the present.
WI 71 #QB 2843
Wisconsin 1971 Passenger issue. Same series as above, in the AB 1234 format which followed the A12-345.
WI 74 #L21-579
Wisconsin 1974 Passenger issue. These plates were first issued in 1972 and were used through 1979 with stickers. The initial series for these plates once again was the A12-345 format. They have a debossed "73" in the lower righthand corner. This plate carries the "Q" prefix, expiring in August.
WI 75 #QC 1736
Wisconsin 1975 Passenger issue. Following the exhaustion of the A12-345 series, Wisconsin once again rolled over to an AB-1234 format on this red-on-white baseplate. This plate starts with Q, again indicating an August expiration. These plates were again valid with stickers through 1979.
WI 82 #Q90-589
Wisconsin 1982 Passenger issue. This plate is identical to the 1968-72 issue, aside from a debossed "80" in the lower right. Again, the plate format started with A1 through Z99-999. These plates were issued from 1979 through mid-1986 and could be revalidated with stickers through August 1993. Plates starting with Q expired in August.
WI 85 #QX 9909
Wisconsin 1985 Passenger issue. Predictably enough, when the A12-345 series of plates was exhausted, plates in this AB 1234 format were again introduced on the 1980 baseplate. Another "Q" plate, expiring in August.
WI 87 #HC 8704
Wisconsin 1987 Passenger issue. Tweak alert! Later on in this series, the odd bolt hole/slot at the bottom right of the plate was replaced with a regular old bolt hole. I guess after 30 years of standardized plate sizes, Wisconsin finally became convinced that the standard was going to stick.
WI 87 #PH 3023
Wisconsin 1987 Passenger issue. Later issues of the base had no debossed border between the slogan and serial number, which may or may not show up in this scan, but trust me. This manufacturing variation was likely due to the simultaneous production of these late yellow bases and the upcoming, also borderless farm graphic (see next).
WI 87 #AAX-195
Wisconsin 1987 Passenger issue. This new graphic plate was first introduced in July, 1986. It features a farm scene, sailboat and sunset motif at the top right. The first plates on this base had blue numbers, but concerns that the plates looked too similar to neighboring Illinois' issues caused a change in the plate design. About half a million plates were made with the blue lettering, which were recalled starting in August, 1993 (once the state had replaced all 1980-series yellow plates). This issue switched to an ABC-123 format and eliminated any date coding in the serial.
WI 88 #BFC-225
Wisconsin 1988 Passenger issue. Revised version of the above baseplate, this version has an identical graphic base but red instead of blue numbers. This change was made in early 1987 (at the start of the "B" series). These plates remain valid today with stickers, although a new issue is slated to replace all 1987-2000 versions of this plate within the next couple years.
WI 96 #PLC-467
Wisconsin 1996 Passenger issue. In 1995, these narrower dies were introduced on the red-on-white Farm baseplate. This change came at the "NME" series of plates. This particular plate is odd in that the lettering for the state name, lower line that the sailboat sits on, and slogan are black, as opposed to the usual dark blue. I'm attributing this to a manufacturing error rather than an "official" design change.
WI 97 #RAM-214
Wisconsin 1997 Passenger issue. Yes, I bought this one entirely because it said "RAM" on it, and I'm proud of it. This plate has the old blue color reinstated for the state name and slogan, although it may be hard to distinguish in the scan.
WI 01 #873-AAA
Wisconsin 2001 Passenger issue. This slightly modified version of the previous baseplate was first issued in June, 2000 and will eventually replace all previous red-on-white baseplates in the state. Wisconsin had initially planned to switch to a completely redesigned plate, with black letters on a fading yellow background. The plate was all but finalized when the Governor of the state decided to nix the design, forcing a scramble to come up with this "compromise" re-design.
WI 07 #277-LLZ
Wisconsin 2007 Passenger issue. Beginning in late 2006, Wisconsin switched back to 3M reflective sheeting from the previous Avery sheeting which had been in use since before the introduction of the current black-letter base. The 3M plates have a slightly different appearance, most notably using a darker shade of red for the state name and slogan. This switch occurred in the mid-L series of plates.

Additional Wisconsin information provided by: Andy Rutherford, Pete Sufka

WY Ahead to Wyoming
WV Back to West Virginia

Return to U.S. Plates Index


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

Last Modified 10/14/2008 (added second 1987 plate).