Some license plates from history

Image 7 — 1975
Image 1 — 1969

Colorado plates have featured the mountain motif since 1960, and alternated during this era from year to year between white-on-green with the mountains at the top, and green-on-white with the mountains at the bottom. The mountainscape was the same in either case, just turned upside-down every other year. Colorado plates were coded by county, with Image 1 having the VS prefix, from Yuma County in 1969.

Back to green-on-white with the mountains at the top of the plate for a 1970 passenger plate. Image 2 was from Kiowa County, which must be fairly small, as "YP" is its only prefix.

The colors are reversed and the mountain moved to the bottom of the plate. This was Colorado’s first fully-reflective issue, part of an apparent series of experiments with reflective materials over the years. Image 3 was issued in Jefferson County in 1971.

Pam Bacon County Clerk and Recorder

This plate was a departure from standard Colorado white-on-green plates in that the numbers are debossed rather than embossed. This results in a plate where the green "background" areas are actually the raised and painted parts of the plates. Image 4 came from Chaffee County in 1972.

A departure, as the colors on this plate reversed as normal, but the mountains disappeared altogether, for the first time since 1959. This plate revived the "Colorful" slogan, which was used on and off throughout the 50s and was also last heard from in 1959. Image 5 was issued in Boulder County in 1973.

Another debossed green issue, Image 6 brings back a revised mountain range and the "Colorful" slogan. This was the only year for this motif, however. This plate was also the last yearly issue for Colorado. It is also from Chaffee County in 1973, like its 1972 "XH" counterpart. This issue shows a fair amount of "ghosting", which is an effect that occurs as a result of the way that debossed plates are painted. The paint rollers left a repeated image of the left side of the plate in darker green paint towards the right side.

Image 4 — 1972

Image 7 is the first screened graphic Colorado issue, featuring a mountain and sky motif and a stylized "76" logo. This was in celebration of the state’s Centennial in 1976, not the U.S. Bicentennial as many states’ plates of that year were. This issue was used for 1975 and 1976, lasting through the Centennial year. It was named the ALPCA Plate of the Year for 1975. This plate was from Denver County.

Image 5 — 1973

Another example of the Centennial graphic, Image 8 was actually one of the first plates made during production of this base. Apparently the state started with some of the smaller, lower-population counties in the Z series, using standard Colorado dies, quickly coming to the realization that the dies were too wide to accommodate a six-digit serial and the large center graphic. As a result, a small number of five-digit plates were made with these dies (all in county codes ZA, ZE, ZH and ZM) before the narrower die set seen above was introduced for the vast majority of these plates. This particular plate was issued in Custer County, code ZA 1976 passenger issue (1975 base).

Image 6 — 1974

It appears that the state didn’t produce enough regular Centennial-base plates to last the full two years, so some new registrants in 1976 received this somewhat less festive baseplate instead. The Image 9 plate came from Adams County.

At the end of 1976, new undated baseplates resembling 60s-era white on green issues were released. These plates are still in use today with proper stickers, although the numbering format has changed a couple times. These plates are partially reflective, with glass beads in the white paint. The Image 10 plate came from Larimer County, as indicated by the "LY" prefix and also a notation on the year sticker 1978.

The Election and Recording Department can be reached at 522-1544 for voter and election questions or recording information. The Motor Vehicle Department can be reached at 522-1158 for license plates/renewals or titling a vehicle. You can also reach our office by email at baconp@logancountyco.gov. Like us on Facebook at Logan County Elections/MotorVehicle/Recording or Twitter @LoganClerkCO.

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