Vehicle registration plates of Montana

The U.S. state of Montana first required its residents to register their motor vehicles and display license plates in 1913.

Passenger baseplates

1913 to 1975

In 1956, the United States, Canada and Mexico came to an agreement with the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, the Automobile Manufacturers Association and the National Safety Council that standardized the size for license plates for vehicles (except those for motorcycles) at 6 inches (15 cm) in height by 12 inches (30 cm) in width, with standardized mounting holes.[1] The 1956 (dated 1957) issue was the first Montana license plate that complied with these standards.

Image Dates issued Design Slogan Serial format Serials issued Notes
Blank License Plate Shape 1913–14 Embossed black numbers on white plate; "M" at right none 12345 1 to approximately 10500 Front plates were perforated in order to allow air to pass through to the vehicle's radiator, while rear plates were solid.
Blank License Plate Shape 1915 Embossed white numbers on black plate; "MON 1915" at right none 12345 100 to approximately 14500 First dated plate.
Blank License Plate Shape 1916 Embossed light green numbers on dark green plate; "MON 1916" at right none 12345 100 to approximately 24500
Blank License Plate Shape 1917 Embossed red numbers on gray plate; "MONT -17" at right none 12345 1 to approximately 42000
Blank License Plate Shape 1918 Embossed white numbers on dark blue plate; "MONT 1918" at left none 12345 1 to approximately 51000
1919 Montana license plate 1919 Embossed dark green numbers on light green plate with border line; "MONT –19" at left none 12345 1 to approximately 58000
Blank License Plate Shape 1920 Embossed white numbers on black plate with border line; "MONT –20" at left none 12345 1 to approximately 61000
1921 Montana license plate 1921 Embossed white numbers on maroon plate with border line; "MONT –21" at left none 12345 1 to approximately 57000
1922 Montana license plate 1922 Embossed black numbers on orange plate; "MONT –22" at left none 12345 1 to approximately 55000
1923 Montana license plate 1923 Embossed red numbers on white plate; "MONT –23" at left none 12345 1 to approximately 66000
Blank License Plate Shape 1924 Embossed white numbers on dark blue plate; "MONT –24" at left none 12345 1 to approximately 70000
1925 Montana license plate 1925 Embossed white numbers on red plate; "MONT –25" at left none 12345 1 to approximately 82000
1926 Montana license plate 1926 Embossed white numbers on black plate with border line; "MONT –26" at left none 12-345 1 to approximately 90-000
1927 Montana license plate 1927 Embossed black numbers on green plate with border line; "MONT –27" at left none 12-345 1 to approximately 95-000
Blank License Plate Shape 1928 Embossed black numbers on orange plate with border line; "MONTANA–28" centered at bottom none 123-456 1 to approximately 103-000 First use of the full state name.
Blank License Plate Shape 1929 Embossed black numbers on white plate with border line; "MONTANA–29" centered at bottom none 123-456 1 to approximately 115-000
1930 Montana license plate 1930 As 1928 base, but with "MONTANA–30" at bottom none 123-456 1 to approximately 107-000
Blank License Plate Shape 1931 As 1929 base, but with "MONTANA–31" at bottom none 123-456 1 to approximately 103-000
Blank License Plate Shape 1932 Embossed white numbers on black plate with border line; "MONTANA–32" centered at bottom none 12-345 1 to approximately 87-000
1933 Montana license plate 1933 Embossed orange numbers on maroon plate with state-shaped border; "MONTANA–33" below numbers none 12-345 1 to approximately 83-000
Blank License Plate Shape 1934 Embossed orange numbers on black plate with state-shaped border; "34–MONTANA" below numbers none 1-1234
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10) First use of county codes.
Blank License Plate Shape 1935 Embossed white numbers on black plate with state-shaped border; "MONTANA–35" below numbers none 1-1234
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)
Blank License Plate Shape 1936 Embossed black numbers on orange plate with state-shaped border; "36–MONTANA" below numbers none 1-1234
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)
Blank License Plate Shape 1937 Embossed black numbers on green plate with state-shaped border; "MONTANA–37" below numbers none 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)
1938 Montana license plate 1938 Embossed black numbers and buffalo skull separator on orange plate with state-shaped border; "MONTANA–38" below numbers none 1-12345
1/0-1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 1/0)
Blank License Plate Shape 1939 Embossed orange numbers on black plate with state-shaped border; "MONTANA–39" below numbers none 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)
Blank License Plate Shape 1940 Embossed white numbers on blue plate with state-shaped border; "MONTANA–40" below numbers none 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)
1941 Montana license plate 1941 Embossed blue numbers on white plate with state-shaped border; "MONTANA–41" below numbers none 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)
1942 Montana license plate 1942–43 Embossed white numbers on black plate with state-shaped border; "MONTANA–42" below numbers none 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10) Revalidated for 1943 with red tabs, due to metal conservation for World War II.
Montana 1944 license plate - Number 18-1210 1944 White numbers on green fiberboard plate; "MONTANA-1944" centered at bottom none 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10) Manufactured on soybean-based fiberboard due to ongoing metal conservation.
Blank License Plate Shape 1945 Embossed white numbers on black plate with state-shaped border; "MONTANA–45" below numbers none 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)
Blank License Plate Shape 1946–47 Embossed black numbers on white plate with state-shaped border; "MONTANA–46" below numbers none 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10) Revalidated for 1947 with windshield stickers.
Blank License Plate Shape 1948 Embossed white numbers on black plate with state-shaped border; "MONTANA–48" below numbers none 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)
1949 Montana license plate 1949 Embossed black numbers on white plate with state-shaped border; "MONTANA–49" below numbers none 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)
Blank License Plate Shape 1950 Embossed white numbers on black plate with state-shaped border; "MONTANA–50" below numbers "THE TREASURE STATE" at top 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)
Blank License Plate Shape 1951–52 Embossed yellow numbers on blue plate with state-shaped border; "MONTANA–51" below numbers "THE TREASURE STATE" at top 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10) Revalidated for 1952 with windshield stickers.
1954 Montana license plate 1953–54 Embossed white numbers on black plate with state-shaped border; "MONTANA–53" below numbers "THE TREASURE STATE" at top 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10) Revalidated for 1954 with silver tabs.
1955 Montana License Plate 17-T772 with 1956 tab 1955–56 Embossed white numbers on red plate with state-shaped border; "MONTANA–55" below numbers "THE TREASURE STATE" at top 1-12345
10-1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10) Revalidated for 1956 with silver tabs.
1957 Montana License Plate 1957–58 Embossed white numbers on black plate with border line; "MONTANA–57" centered at bottom none 1/ 12345
1/0 1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 1/0) First 6" x 12" plate. Revalidated for 1958 with silver tabs.
1959 Montana license plate 1959–62 Embossed black numbers on unpainted aluminum plate with state-shaped border; "MONTANA 59" below numbers, stamped "PRISON MADE" beneath state outline none 1·12345
10·1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10) Revalidated for 1960 with yellow tabs, for 1961 with black tabs, and for 1962 with blue tabs.
1963 Montana license plate 1963–66 As 1959–62 base, but with "MONTANA 63" below numbers "TREASURE STATE" centered at top 1·12345
10·1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10) Revalidated for 1964 with black tabs, for 1965 with blue tabs, and for 1966 with yellow tabs.
1967 Montana license plate 1967 Embossed yellow numbers on light blue plate with state-shaped border; "MONTANA 67" below numbers "BIG SKY COUNTRY" centered at top 1·12345
10·1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)
Montana 1968 license plate - Number 9-217 1968–69 Embossed green numbers on reflective white plate with state-shaped border; "MONTANA" and debossed "68" below numbers "BIG SKY COUNTRY" centered at top 1·12345
10·1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10) Revalidated for 1969 with stickers.
Montana 1971 license plate 1970–72 Embossed blue numbers on reflective white plate with state-shaped border; "MONTANA" and debossed "70" below numbers "BIG SKY COUNTRY" centered at top 1·12345
10·1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10) Revalidated for 1971 and 1972 with stickers.
Blank License Plate Shape 1973–74 Debossed white numbers on reflective green plate with state-shaped border; debossed buffalo skull in bottom left corner; "MONTANA 73" below numbers "BIG SKY COUNTRY" centered at top 1·12345
10·1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10) Revalidated for 1974 with stickers.
Montana 1975 license plate 29-3621 1975 Debossed white numbers on reflective blue plate with state-shaped border; debossed buffalo skull in bottom left corner; "MONTANA 75" below numbers "BIG SKY COUNTRY" centered at top 1·12345
10·1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)

1976 to present

Image Dates issued Design Slogan Serial format Serials issued Notes
Montana license plate, 1976–1991 series with September 1990 sticker 1976–91 Embossed sky blue numbers on reflective white plate with screened red state-shaped border; red "76 Bicentennial" logo and sky blue buffalo skull screened at top left and bottom left corners respectively; red band screened above numbers containing "MONTANA" in white block letters; screened sky blue "'76" in bottom right corner "BIG SKY" screened in sky blue block letters centered at bottom 1·123456
10·12345
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10) A straight-line die was originally used for the number '1', before being replaced by a serifed version.
Montana 1992 license plate 1991–2000 Embossed dark blue numbers on reflective sky blue and white gradient plate; white and pale blue state outline screened around plate and yellow, orange and purple band, resembling a mountain range, screened above numbers; "MONTANA" screened in white block letters in top left corner "Big Sky" screened in sky blue handwritten font in bottom right corner, along with a sky blue buffalo skull 1P·1234A
3P·123AB
10·1234A
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10) Letters I, O, Q, R and V not used in serials.[2] Three-digit, two-letter serials briefly issued in Yellowstone County after 3P·9999Z was reached.
Montana 2003 license plate 2000–03 Embossed black numbers on reflective graphic plate with sky blue background and gradient sky blue and white state shape containing purple mountain range and orange badlands; "MONTANA" screened in blue block letters centered above numbers; "2000" screened in white above state name "BIG SKY" screened in sky blue block letters in bottom left corner, with words separated by a blue buffalo skull 1·A12345
10·A1234
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)
Blank License Plate Shape 2003–06 As above, but with numbers screened rather than embossed
2006 Montana Passenger License Plate 2006–09 Screened black numbers, with buffalo skull as separator, on reflective graphic plate with gradient dark blue and white background, yellow state outline and mountain range and forest at bottom; "MONTANA" screened in gold stylized serifed letters, with curved underline, centered above numbers "Big Sky Country" screened in brown serifed letters between state name and numbers 1C-12345
1C-1234A
10-12345
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10) Still currently revalidated, due to mixed reception of the 2010 blue base (below) and financial concerns.
Blank License Plate Shape 2010–present Screened white numbers, with buffalo skull as separator, on reflective blue plate with white state-shaped border; "MONTANA - 10" screened in white block letters centered below numbers "TREASURE STATE" screened in white block letters centered at top 1-12345A
10-1234A
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)
Blank License Plate Shape 2012–present As 1991–2000 base, but with numbers screened and buffalo skull used as separator "Big Sky" as on original 1991–2000 base Replicas of 1991, 2000 and 2006 bases and the optional Montana Centennial plate, issued due to mixed reception of the 2010 blue base. Motorists can choose any one of these five plates. Montana Centennial replicas use the same serial format as current optional plates. New serial font, similar to that used in Arizona, introduced on all plates in mid-2016.[3]
Blank License Plate Shape As 2000–06 base, with numbers screened as from 2003 onwards, but with buffalo skull used as separator "BIG SKY" as on original 2000–06 base
Blank License Plate Shape As 2006–09 base "Big Sky Country" as on original 2006–09 base
Blank License Plate Shape As optional Montana Centennial plate (see Optional types below), but with numbers screened "100 YEARS" as on original Montana Centennial plate ABC123 Not issued in blocks

Optional plates

Image Type Dates issued Design Slogan Serial format Serials issued Notes
Montana 1987 Centennial license plate Montana Centennial 1987–89 Embossed blue numbers on graphic plate with gold background, white state shape and brown mountain range at top; "MONTANA" screened in brown at bottom right, with a Montana Centennial logo for the 'O' "100 YEARS" screened in brown at bottom left 1ABC12
10AB12
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10) Remained valid until 1996.

Non-passenger plates

Image Type Dates issued Design Serial format Serials issued Notes
Blank License Plate Shape Motorcycle 1988–present Embossed dark blue numbers on white plate; "MONTANA" at bottom and "CYCLE" at top, offset to left 1-1234
1-A123
1-AB12
10-123
10-A12
10-AB1
Coded by county of issuance (1 or 10)

County coding

Code County County seat
1 Silver Bow Butte
2 Cascade Great Falls
3 Yellowstone Billings
4 Missoula Missoula
5 Lewis and Clark Helena
6 Gallatin Bozeman
7 Flathead Kalispell
8 Fergus Lewistown
9 Powder River Broadus
10 Carbon Red Lodge
11 Phillips Malta
12 Hill Havre
13 Ravalli Hamilton
14 Custer Miles City
15 Lake Polson
16 Dawson Glendive
17 Roosevelt Wolf Point
18 Beaverhead Dillon
19 Chouteau Fort Benton
20 Valley Glasgow
21 Toole Shelby
22 Big Horn Hardin
23 Musselshell Roundup
24 Blaine Chinook
25 Madison Virginia City
26 Pondera Conrad
27 Richland Sidney
28 Powell Deer Lodge
29 Rosebud Forsyth
30 Deer Lodge Anaconda
31 Teton Choteau
32 Stillwater Columbus
33 Treasure Hysham
34 Sheridan Plentywood
35 Sanders Thompson Falls
36 Judith Basin Stanford
37 Daniels Scobey
38 Glacier Cut Bank
39 Fallon Baker
40 Sweet Grass Big Timber
41 McCone Circle
42 Carter Ekalaka
43 Broadwater Townsend
44 Wheatland Harlowton
45 Prairie Terry
46 Granite Philipsburg
47 Meagher White Sulphur Springs
48 Liberty Chester
49 Park Livingston
50 Garfield Jordan
51 Jefferson Boulder
52 Wibaux Wibaux
53 Golden Valley Ryegate
54 Mineral Superior
55 Petroleum Winnett
56 Lincoln Libby

References

  1. ^ Garrish, Christopher (October 2016). "Reconsidering the Standard Plate Size". Plates. Vol. 62 no. 5. Automobile License Plate Collectors Association.
  2. ^ "Montana License Plates". allaboutlicenseplates.com. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  3. ^ "Montana License Plates To Feature New, Larger Font". Montana Department of Justice. August 8, 2016. Retrieved April 1, 2017.

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