|Florida exp. 1969 passenger issue. Florida plates of this era bore both the year of issue (1968 in this case) and of expiration (1969). Plates for passenger vehicles also bore a county code and weight class, with 10 indicating Broward county, and no alpha indicating that the vehicle was between 2,501 and 3,500 lbs. The small "10" was due to Broward county registration numbers exceeding 99,999 and requiring more room on the plate for the serial. Click here for a complete listing of Florida county codes.
|Florida exp. 1970 passenger issue. This plate was once again from Broward county (#10), but this one has a weight code of "D", indicating a vehicle of less than 2,501 pounds. That strikes me as awfully light for a circa-1970 automobile, but maybe that's why the serial is so low.
|Florida exp. 1971 passenger issue. This plate again has no alpha prefix, so it indicates a car weighing between 2,501 and 3,500 lbs. It was issued in county #49, Hendry county.
|Florida 1972 passenger issue. Another no-alpha plate falling into the same weight class. This plate was issued in Duval county (#2). Florida stopped listing the year of issue on plates with this issue.
|Florida 1973 passenger issue. Well, if "D" is a light car and no alpha is a medium car, "W" is Florida's equivalent of "large", indicating a weight of 3,501 to 4,500 lbs. An additional "WW" class exists, indicating an "extra large" vehicle over 4,501 pounds. This plate once again comes from county #49, Hendry county.
|Florida 1974 passenger issue. Another light-weight "D" class plate, under 2,501 pounds. With the energy crisis of the mid '70s and the rise of smaller economy cars, this weight class probably became more common around this time. This plate came from Martin county, #42. This was also the last yearly issue for Florida plates. The serial and bolt holes are straight on this plate, with the rest of the stamping rather crooked. Hard to find good convict help, I guess.
|Florida 1977 passenger issue (1975 base). At the end of 1974, all vehicles were issued these 1975 dated plates. These were valid without stickers through the end of 1975, then with stickers through July, 1980 (although they were no longer issued after 1977). This plate was another no-alpha, medium weight class plate issued in Palm Beach county (#6).
|Florida 1978 passenger issue. In 1977, Florida began issuing these plain green-on-white undated baseplates. This series discontinued county and weight coding, and the "Sunshine State" slogan that had been in use since 1949. The format was changed to a more standard ABC-123 series. This plate was later issued with county stickers, and graphics were also added to the series before too long. I kind of like this one for its simplicity, though.
|Florida 1979 passenger issue. This is a continuation of the above 1977 base, with the addition of a county sticker and separate month and year stickers. This series into the early "F" series of plates, when the state shape graphic was added to the plate design. These plain green plates were valid with stickers through 1986, when they were replaced.
|Florida 1979 passenger issue. Starting in 1978, a graphic of the state shape and an embossed county name were added to the 1977 plain base. This change occurred at the FBx series of plates. Several letter series were skipped as passenger issues on this base - Hxx and Zxx for rentals, Mxx for dealers, Ixx, Oxx and Qxx all skipped, at least initially. This initial series of plates was issued through 1983 or 1984, depending on the county.
|Florida 1979 passenger issue. Another state map graphic, again featuring duplicate months on the newly-implemented month sticker and the 1979 year sticker. Similar duplications were seen on some 1980 expirations as well until the combination month/year stickers were discontinued, along with the 1975-base plates, at the end of 1980.
|Florida 1983 passenger issue. The initial ABC-123 format was exhausted at the end of the YZZ series in 1983, when plates using the previously skipped "I" and "Q" characters (such as this "CQU" plate) were released to extend the series. This base was issued through the end of 1986, and was valid with stickers until late 1992.
|Florida 1985 passenger issue. After the ABC-123 format ran out, some counties began issuing plates in a 123-ABC reverse format. These plates reached the late-Kxx series before being discontinued in 1986. This series was also phased out by 1992 as the result of a new five-year replacement plan for all Florida plates.
|Florida 1987 passenger issue. In 1986, this new base was issued to new registrants and to replace 1977-era plain green plates. The base was similar to the 1978 graphic issue, but with the state map changed to green and the lettering changed to red-orange. These plates were issued in an ABC-12D format, from the top of the "A" series through the early "K" series, depending on the county of issue. They were issued through the end of 1990 and were valid with stickers through 1996. Initial plates in this series (through around the mid-"C" series) used a light green shade for the state map that was later darkened up.
|Florida 1989 passenger issue. This is a revised version of the green map base, using the more common darker green shade for the map. Plates of this type were produced through the end of this baseplate's run, again in the early "K" series depending on the county of origin.
|Florida 1988 passenger issue. A small number of green-map plates near the end of the Cxx series were produced using this extremely narrow die for the state name. Some plates during the same era also had this narrow die set used for the county name. One theory on why this was done is that the state was considering a more elaborate graphic design that would extend to the top and bottom of the plate and the state was experimenting to see how small the state name could be made while still retaining legibility. This size must not have worked, since the larger dies remained in use for the rest of this baseplate's lifespan.
|Florida 1988 passenger issue. This is the companion plate to the variation listed above with the smaller-die state name. Plates were also produced with a smaller-die county name, such as this issue, and presumably for the same purpose. See 1985 plate above for example of a full-sized county name die plate from Charlotte county.
|Florida 1992 passenger issue. In 1991, the baseplate was returned to the 1978-era colors of orange map and green lettering. The plate continued in the ABC-12D format instituted on the 1986 base. The changeover point from the green-map base to this base was generally in the early "K" series of plates and depends on the county of origin. There is not a single clear breakpoint, as some green-map plates were issued with higher serials than the plates on this base. This series got to the early "X" series before the baseplate was once again changed. This plate remains valid today with proper stickers, although the five-year replacement cycle is rapidly removing them from circulation.
|Florida 1995 passenger issue. Continuation of the series above, some later period plates tended to use a lighter shade of green for the serial than the earlier ones did.
|Florida 1997 passenger issue. In 1994, Florida responded to a rash of tourist killings in the state. They discontinued the use of special "Lease" plates on rental cars, which could help thieves identify tourists. In 1995-96, they further gave counties the option to remove the county name from plates and return to the "Sunshine State" slogan. This would help make it more difficult for rentals to be identified by the county (more rental cars would be registered in tourist-friendly counties). Only two counties took advantage of this option, Dade and Bay, more or less defeating the purpose. This is one of those plates without the county name.
|Florida 1997 passenger issue. This baseplate was introduced in 1997, in the early "X" series of the numbering sequence. It featured a screened state name, green state map, graphic of an orange, and narrower dies for the serial. This series ran to the end of the "X" series at XZZ-99Z, as "Y" and "Z" had already been used for old "Lease" plates.
|Florida 1998 passenger issue. Continuation of the orange graphic as above, this time with the Sunshine State slogan rather than county designation. Florida began issuing some "Sunshine State" slogan plates to each county during this timeframe, so the mix of plates in the state became more broadly spread out between county and slogan plates.
Once the end of the ABC-12D series was reached, Florida instituted three new numbering formats for passenger plates. One was AB1-23B, another was A12-34B and the third was A12-BCD. Plates in each series were produced in both county name and "Sunshine State" slogan varieties, as seen below:
1998 A12-34B format
2000 A12-BCD format
1999 AB1-23C format
1998 A12-34B format
Prior to 2000, and through at least the 'B' series of the A12-BCD format, plates in county name and slogan varieties were manufactured from the same pool of available serials. Starting in 2000, however, the state opted to split the two groups into their own serial blocks, with county name plates being continued at the first part of the alphabet, and "Sunshine State" plates jumping to a new starting point of T00-AAA. This arrangement continues through present, with county and Sunshine State plates produced from different portions of the alphabet. "Sunshine State" plates appear to now be an option in all counties, as opposed to their use only in Dade and Bay counties initially.
| Florida 2001 passenger issues.
Starting with some 2001 expirations, Florida moved to a single-sticker
expiration system with both the month and year of expiration printed in black
on a yellow sticker. This sticker is also printed with the vehicle class
("VEHICLE" for passenger cars) and the corresponding plate number. This
sticker arrangement is kind of odd in that black on yellow has been the only
color combination issued, making it difficult to spot an expired tag from a
Early single-sticker plates still had the screened "MONTH" showing in the upper left.
Again, county name plates appeared earlier in the alphabet, slogan plates later ('T' series and up).
|Florida 2002/2001 passenger issues. Two more single-sticker plates, one county, one slogan. These were issued during the period where the left sticker well was still stamped into the plate, but the "MONTH" designation was removed from the sheeting.
|Florida 2003 passenger issues. Later issues of this plate had the top left sticker well removed altogether, as it was not needed for the single sticker.
| Florida 2004 passenger issues. This modified general-issue graphic
plate was introduced in December, 2003. Similar to the previous issue, this
plate added the state's website address (myflorida.com) in place of the state
name, and modified the citrus graphic to include two oranges and an orange
blossom. I won't get into the discussions I've had with other collectors over
what this graphic looks like, but you can draw your own conclusion. Initial
county-issued plates on this base started in the late I/early J series of the
A12-ABC format (depending on county of issue). Sunshine State issues were
introduced at the same time on this base, starting in the early 'X' series
where the single-orange plates left off.
The A12-BCD format was short-lived on this base, being replaced by the end of 2004 with a new format (see next.)
| Florida 2005/2004 passenger issues. Here are examples of the
numbering format on this plate implemented in 2004. These plates used an A12-3BC serial format, which is a format also used for a time by New York on the Liberty base plate.
The county format plates apparently skipped directly from the end of the
J12-ABC format to the A series in this format (starting with A00 0AA,
presumably), which was odd since it left several letters still unused in that
format (K through S, excluding M and O).
Slogan plates in this format started in the 'P' series at P00 0AA. I can imagine how popular those first few plates apparently reading "POO" must have been. The switch to the new format made more sense for the slogan plates, as they had apparently overrun the end of the previous format at X99 ZZZ (Y and Z were traditionally reserved as rental car plates in Florida and are omitted as initial letters on passenger plates). Since the slogan plates needed a new format anyway, the state probably just changed the county version at the same time to simplify production.
|Florida 2007 passenger issue. Starting in 2006, the state introduced a new set of wider serial dies. These dies were introduced in the 'G' series of county plates and the 'W' series of slogan plates.
|Florida 2008 passenger issue. Starting in 2007, the serial format for Florida plates was again changed, with the old 123-ABC format that was discontinued in 1986 being revived. Initially, plates in the Sunshine State series were issued from the HAA through LZZ series, and plates in the county name series issued from MAA through RZZ.
|Florida 2011 passenger issue. Minor tweaks again, after changing to the new, wider dies in 2006, the state reverted to what looks like the old 'Q' die and a new, thinner, more rounded zero die, presumably to reduce confusion between characters. These changes appeared in the late V/early W series (after LZZ, the slogan plates restarted at VAA, through YZZ, then through the T series.
|Florida 2010 passenger issue. Another changes to this base occurred in the early X series (for slogan plates), as the state implemented some cost-saving measures to plate production. The brown coloring, used only for the stalk of the orange tree, was eliminated in favor of a green stem, saving a few cents per plate in production costs. The plates remained otherwise unchanged, with this format running through the remainder of the X, Y and then T series for Sunshine State plates before changing to a new format in late 2009.
|Florida 2010 passenger issue. In 2009, Florida joined the ever-growing number of states offering an "In God We Trust" optional plate. Florida actually released two of these plates, one full-graphic, extra-cost issue, and this alternate-slogan standard passenger available at no extra cost.
|Florida 2011 passenger issue. Once the supply of allocated blocks for Sunshine State plates in the 123-ABC format ran out in 2010, a new serial format was introduced using four letters and two numbers in an ABC-D34 arrangement. The plates are otherwise unchanged.
|Florida 2015 passenger issue. As the Sunshine State bases settled in to the ABC-D12 format, the county named plates continued running through the previous A12 3BC sequences (through N99 9ZZ), then flipped to the 123-ABC blocks not previously used by the slogan plates. This series ran from the MAA series through RZZ, after which the state reverted issuing A12 BCD format plates for counties, starting with a leading Y, because why not?
|Florida 2018 passenger issue. As stated above, at the exhaustion of the 123-ABC format county name plates, the state reverted back to the A12-BCD format that had been abandoned at the end of the X series of Sunshine State plates in 2004. These plates were issued in the Y and Z formats before exhausting those in 2018.
|Florida 2018 passenger issue. Continuation of the no-fee In God We Trust issue, in 2017 the base was tweaked to make use of a larger, easier-to-read die set for the slogan. The plate remained the same otherwise.
|Florida 2019 passenger issue. After exhausting the Y and Z series of the A12 BCD format in 2018, Florida's county name plates adopted yet another new format, AB1 2CD. These began in the I series for reasons I'm sure are apparent to someone.
|Florida 2019 passenger issues. A major overhaul to the state's die set was made in the fall of 2018, introducing revised dies resembling numbers used on a credit card. The change affects all characters in the set, although some changes are more obvious than others (the '2' and 'Q' dies on these plates, for example.) This change took place in the K series of the slogan plates and the I series of the county name plates, while the In God We Trust plates flipped to yet another new series, 123 45A, starting with the Z suffix.
|Florida 2020 passenger issue. The 123 45A format for the no-fee In God We Trust series was short-lived, lasting only through the Z suffix before being replaced with this A12 3BC format, starting at the end of the alphabet once again with the Z prefix. Plates remained otherwise unchanged.
|Florida 2022 passenger issue. In typically perplexing fashion, Florida stopped issuing the ABC D12 format slogan plates near the end of the Q series and introduced a reversed 12A BCD format in early 2021. The passenger formats have undergone further changes since then, including 123 4AB and AB1 2CD format plates in slogan and county versions. This may be an attempt to mix up the formats in use at any given time, but it seems like the state is headed for full alphabet soup mode sooner than later.
Additional Florida information provided by: Sal Dodd, Albert Erdmann, Joey Hurd
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Last Modified 7/8/2023 (added 2020 and 2022 plates).