|West Virginia 1969 Passenger issue. West Virginia plates from 1905 through 1970 were all numeric. From 1963 through 1970, plates alternated between debossed yellow on blue (odd years) to embossed blue on yellow (even years). The "Mountain State" slogan was used from 1965 through 1975.
|West Virginia 1970 Passenger issue. Embossed blue on yellow issue. This was the last yearly issue for West Virginia, and the last year of all-numeric serials for passenger plates in the state.
|West Virginia 1971 Passenger issue. These new plates were issued at the end of 1970, similar to the 1970 issue but with no embossed date, a sticker box at the bottom right, and a new numbering format. Starting with this issue, staggered monthly registration was used, with the first character of the serial indicating the month of expiration. Numbers 1 through 9 indicated January through September, and the letters O, N and D were used for October, November and December registrations. This plate, starting with a "9", expired in September. This system remains in use today. These plates were used through the end of 1976.
|West Virginia 1979 Passenger issue. In 1976, new plates were introduced in this graphic format, featuring a yellow map of the state with a blue outline. Initial issues on this base were produced by the Polyvend Corporation in Arkansas and used the same dies as Illinois plates of the time. The slogan "Wild, Wonderful" was introduced, which remains in use today. This plate expired in September, starting with an "9" character. The yellow on green sticker on this plate is marked "1978", but actually expired in 1979. A printing error on the stickers caused both years' stickers to read "1978". The state decided to use the erroneous stickers for 1979 anyway.
|West Virginia 1980 Passenger issue. Plates were also issued on this base using standard West Virginia dies, such as this one. These 1976-era baseplates were used through the end of 1995 with stickers. This plate was an "8" expiration, for August.
|West Virginia 1987 Passenger issue. Around 1982, the previous numbering sequence started to run out, so new plates were made in a 1AB-234 format, with the same sequence of first characters as before. These plates also removed the blue border from the edge of the state map, causing a base as well as a numbering variation. This series was used from 1982 through the end of this plate series' run in 1995. This particular plate was an October registration, starting with the letter O instead of a number. Initially on these plates, the two serial letters were both in the range from A-M, so once a sequence reached M it would roll over to the next letter at A (AL, AM, BA, BB).
|West Virginia 1993 Passenger issue. Continuation of the above series, when each month's serials reached "MM," the letter blocks then changed so the first character fell between N and Z and the second stayed in the A-M block (NA, NB, NC to NM, then PA, PB, etc.) This series first appeared for some months as early as 1984 and extended the series for another few years.
|West Virginia 1995 Passenger issue. The final serial arrangement on this base, as some months overran their allotment of serials in the N-Z/A-M series, it was flipped so the first letter was from the A-M block and the second was N-Z (AN, AP, AR to AZ, then BN, BP, etc.) These started appearing in 1992 for some months and lasted until the end of this baseplate's issuance at the end of 1994.
|West Virginia 1996 Passenger issue. In 1995, these new plates were issued to all motorists, replacing all 1976-95 issues on the map base. These were valid through 1996 with no stickers, then with stickers thereafter. The first character still indicates month of expiration, with this plate expiring in May ("5") 1996. This remains the current West Virginia baseplate, with plates in the 1AB 234 format starting to appear as the previous one-alpha series is exhausted. Starting in December, 2000 this baseplate was modified to add the state's tourism department web address (www.callwva.com) below the state name at the top of the plate.
|West Virginia 1998 Passenger issue. This is a rather interesting variation on the above baseplate in that the validation "sticker" at the bottom right of the plate is actually screened on. New registrants with 1998-and-on expirations have received plates like this, with the sticker screened onto the background of the plate rather than affixed after the fact. I'm not sure why they chose to do this, as I can't imagine that it would be less expensive to change the reflective background each year as opposed to issuing stickers. Especially since stickers still needed to be printed up for each year for renewal registrants. Pretty neat, if perplexing, though.
|West Virginia 2000 Passenger issue. Continuation of the standard West Virginia passenger series. Double-letter plates are again issued on this base as the available single-letter combinations are exhausted for each expiration month. This is one such plate, expiring in July ("7"). This is another example of a plate with the expiration "sticker" actually screened onto the baseplate. Currently, most months have passed into the 1AB 234 format, with the newest plates again having the web site address added beneath the state name.
|West Virginia 2002 Passenger issue. As noted above, West Virginia added the URL for the state's tourism website (www.callwva.com) to the top of these plates starting in December, 2000. This places West Virginia as one of a growing number of states following the lead of Pennsylvania and placing a web address on their plates. Once again, natural 2002 plates have the expiration date screened onto the plate rather than carrying an actual validation sticker on the plate. This plate appears to use a traditional ABC-123 format, however the "N" character indicates a November expiration month.
|West Virginia 2003 Passenger issue. Another one of these screened-sticker issues, this one carries the gold 2003 expiration. Renewals receive a similarly designed actual sticker with a serial number printed to the left.
|West Virginia 2004 Passenger issue. More of the same, this one with a red 2004 non-sticker.
|West Virginia 2005 Passenger issue. And again, with green 2005 screened sticker.
|West Virginia 2006 Passenger issue. Black on orange "sticker" on the exp. 2006 version.
|West Virginia 2007 Passenger issue. West Virginia removed the website address from the plate starting in early 2006 for 2007 expirations. The result is a baseplate identical to the pre-2000 version. This move was presumably due to a shift away from using the 'callwva.com' address (that address now redirects to 'wvtourism.com'). Whatever the reason, I'm glad to have one less plate with a web address on it, I've always thought that was a ridiculous trend.
|West Virginia continues to plug along producing a new screened "sticker" every year which, for some reason, I've decided to classify as a base variation so I need to collect them all. The state seems to have settled into a five-year rotation of color combinations for the stickers starting in 2009.
2008 - white on red
2009 - black on yellow
2010 - white on black
2011 - blue on white
2012 - white on green
2013 - black on orange
2014 - black on yellow
2015 - white on black
2016 - blue on white
|West Virginia 2016 Passenger issue. As can be seen in the above table, various month series have continued climbing through available letter series at varying rates. The October series appears to be the first to have run out of available combinations after OZZ 999 was reached in 2015. The series was extended by replacing the first alpha character with a number, so OZZ was immediately followed by O1A, then O1B, O1C, etc. April flipped to the 41A series in 2016, as did July (71A), with all other months likely to flip within the next year or so. Plates remain otherwise unchanged.
|Moving right along:
2017 - white on green
|West Virginia 2019 Passenger issue. In 2018, West Virginia switched their standard baseplate to 3M's high definition sheeting, resulting in a brighter, textured appearance to the plate. The West Virginia design also adds a slightly raised state seal security mark along the center.
2020 - white on black
Additional West Virginia information provided by: Gary Weinheimer
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Last Modified 3/20/2022 (added 2017 and 2020 plates).