Maine License Plates, 1969-present

Maine being my home state, it's the only one where I've done a year-by-year run of plates from 1969 to present. These plates are all presented below.

ME 69 #151-900
Maine 1969 Passenger issue (1968 base). This baseplate was issued to all vehicles at the end of 1967 and new registrants during 1968. This was an odd base in that it contained both a sticker box at the top right of the plate and also slots for a metal date tab. Tabs were discontinued in Maine after 1967 and were never used on this baseplate. 1969 was the first year for plate stickers in Maine.
ME 69 #402-927
Maine 1969 Passenger issue. This plate would have been issued in 1969, as the embossed "68" was removed at the end of 1968. This occurred somewhere around plate number 395-001. Note that the slots for the date tab remain.
ME 69 #425-469
Maine 1969 Passenger issue. Same series as above, but starting around plate number 403-000, the tab slots were removed.
ME 70 #488-469
Maine 1970 Passenger issue. 1970 marked the beginning of the "clockwise-rotation" sticker system in Maine. Each year, motorists were instructed to place the sticker in the next corner of the plate, moving clockwise. This is rather a unique system, as most other jurisdictions chose to have the sticker remain in the same location on the plate year after year.
ME 71 #542-269
Maine 1971 Passenger issue. The green "71" sticker is dutifully placed in the bottom left corner of the plate.
ME 72 #672-111
Maine 1972 Passenger issue. Sticker on top left. Kind of a neat-looking plate with the repeating "straight line" ones in the serial.
ME 73 #773-666
Maine 1973 Passenger issue. This plate marks a minor base variation, as the sticker box was removed. This occurred somewhere around plate number 700-000, ironically just in time for the "73" sticker which would be placed in the top right corner where the box had been. This plate also carries the dreaded "666" combination. I'd been told that the state officially skips over the "666" plate of each series currently, but I recently saw plate number 666 GR on the road, which would seem to debunk that theory.
ME 74 #10-544
Maine 1974 Passenger issue. This baseplate was issued to all vehicles at the end of 1973 and new registrants in 1974. Plates numbered under 81-501 saw the return of the sticker box at the top right. This plate was intended to be used until 1980, but was extended through several minor base variations through June of 1988.
ME 75 #456-210
Maine 1975 Passenger issue (1974 base). Maine started staggered registration in 1975 based on the last number of the 1974 baseplate. Plates ending in "0" were set to expire in October, 1975, plates ending in "1" got November, 1975, and so on through July, 1976 ("9" plates). This plate shows the missing sticker box on higher-number 1974 issues. If you look at the back of the plate, however, you can see where the box was cut off of the border die. Weird.
ME 76 #492-390
Maine 1976 Passenger issue. The embossed "74" was dropped from Maine passenger plates starting with plate number 488-001. This new undated baseplate was issued to new registrants starting in January, 1975 and carrying stickers for 1976. This plate, for example, was issued in March, 1975 and expired in March, 1976.
ME 77 #507-296
Maine 1977 Passenger issue (1974 base). This plate was one from an odd series. As previously mentioned, Maine dropped the embossed "74" at plate number 488-001 in anticipation of 1975's arrival. Near the end of 1974, however, it was apparently realized that more 1974 plates would be needed, so the "74" was added back to the plate for the 502-000 through 510-000 series. These bases are different from the standard 1974 plate in that the state name has been moved to the right of the bolt hole instead of having the "M" under the hole. Due to the embossed date situation, these plates were most likely issued before the previous series (488-001 through 501-999).
ME 76 #529-054
Maine 1976 Passenger issue. Again, the embossed date was removed from the baseplate after plate number 510-001. This base is more or less identical to the one immediately above, but with the "74" dropped. This time for good.
ME 77 #681-300
Maine 1977 Passenger issue. On this issue, "Maine" has been moved back to the left and the "M" is once again below the bolt hole, as it was for previous issues.
ME 78 #818-042
Maine 1978 Passenger issue. Starting with plate number 779-501, "Maine" moved back to the right and away from the bolt hole once again. You'd think they would have made up their minds by now...
ME 79 #925-898
Maine 1979 Passenger issue. Well, since nobody could agree on whether to place "Maine" below or beside the bolt hole, the logical thing to do was to center it. This occurred somewhere near the "874" series of plates. This was also at about the time that the state was deciding not to reissue new plates in 1980 as originally planned, so leaving room for an embossed date plate (such as the 1968 or 1974 issue) was not necessary.
ME 80 #11292 A
Maine 1980 Passenger issue. After plate number 999-999 was reached in 1979, the series rolled over to 1 A. Lower number "A" suffix plates (9999 and below) were centered and had no space before the "A." This series marked the first appearance of a letter on a general-issue Maine passenger plate since 1947. I recall being very excited upon seeing my first "A" plate from the school bus on my way to fourth grade (April, 1979). The other kids thought I was weird. Can't really argue the point...
ME 81 #89265 B
Maine 1981 Passenger issue. A large portion (maybe all) of the "B" suffix Maine plates were produced at Walpole State Prison in Massachusetts, as opposed to the Maine State Prison. These plates are of lesser quality than standard Maine-produced plates of the era in that they have a slightly rough surface to the plates. This condition is common to every "B" plate I've ever seen, and unique to that series. I've also noted this on some Massachusetts plates of the same timeframe, which certainly makes sense. Yet another minor variation for the completist, I guess.
ME 83 #742-25B
Maine 1982/83 Passenger issue. Another Massachusetts-produced "B" series plate. A small portion of the series manufactured in Massachusetts were made in this incorrect format with a dash in the center (742-25B, as opposed to the correct 74225 B.) Not coincidentally, the "dash in the center" format was used on Massachusetts single-alpha suffix plates for years, explaining why the prison workers down there probably made this error. This plate has a couple other imperfections, such as the glob of paint above the top border at the right and the unpainted border at the bottom left.
ME 82 #29184 D
Maine 1982 Passenger issue. This plate's been on something of a wild ride. My Dad found it for me in a parking lot back in 1982, still attached to the plate bracket from the car it apparently fell off of. I kept it for years, then traded it in 1994 when I figured I didn't need any more black and white Maine plates. When I decided to do this year-by-year run, however, I realized that I was lacking a decent '82 and kicked myself for having traded it. As fate would have it, however, the collector I traded it to decided to unload some plates, this one included, so I managed to buy it back four years later. If plates could talk...
ME 83 #96926 D
Maine 1983 Passenger issue. Nothing special about this one, really, aside from the sticker being in the wrong corner (should've been top left). The state was slowly creeping up through the alphabet at this point, averaging about a letter and a half per year.
ME 84 #19258 G
Maine 1984 Passenger issue. Note the new sticker design, used from October, 1983 through the end of the black-on-white plate series (the last sticker was June, 1988.) Starting with the October, 1984 sticker, the state switched from the traditional clockwise-rotation pattern for sticker placement to an alternating pattern of lower right/lower left. The state again stuck with their "year begins in October" system, so stickers from Oct. 84 through Sep. 85 went in the lower right, from Oct. 85 through Sep. 86 went lower left, and so on. This guy got the "lower" part right, but put the sticker on the left, rather than the right.
ME 85 #330 G
Maine 1985 Passenger issue. Plates of this era that had a serial number less than 10,000 were issued in a centered format. Later on, the format would be changed such that the letter always remained at the right edge of the plate and the number would be placed to the left of the letter, essentially in the same place regardless of how many digits were used in the number. I believe that this change was made at the "H" series. Wrong corner for the sticker on this plate, January 85 should have been lower right. I guess the change confused some motorists.
ME 86 #37854 J
Maine 1986 Passenger issue. Nothing special about this plate, either, except that this motorist actually got the sticker in the proper corner.
ME 87 #97951 K
Maine 1987 Passenger issue. This base variation was marked by the removal of the outside border of the plate and the addition of two debossed sticker boxes in the bottom corners. This baseplate was issued from plate number 70000 K through 89999 M. I think this is my favorite revision of the black-on-white base, but probably only because my first-ever car had a set.
ME 88 #51962 N
Maine 1988 Passenger issue. The last hurrah of the black-on-white base, and the return of the border. The only difference between this plate and the previous bordered issue is in the dies used for "Maine" (note the difference in the top of the "A".) This style plate was issued from 90000 M through the end of the series, around 52000 N. This plate was actually a leftover and never issued.
ME 88 #15165 Q
Maine 1988 Passenger issue. Ah, what can you say about the Maine lobster plate? This issue was introduced in 1987 and was the state's first graphic baseplate. This plate has had mixed reviews since its introduction, with critics complaining that it only represents one small sector of the state, that it depicts a dead, cooked animal, and that it's just plain ugly. The previous state law against modifying plates was changed due to this plate's unpopularity, making it legal to paint over the lobster. This plate design was the result of a class project in my hometown's elementary school, and believe me, the prototype was a lot uglier. The "big red bug" plate made its final exit on June 30, 2000. Initial Lobster plates were issued in a five-number, one-letter format, from 1 P to 99999 Z. A few plates in the "O" series were produced as well, I believe less than 100 sets of these were produced.
ME 88 #80-476
Maine 1988 Passenger issue. The regular format for these plates was a 12345 A format, starting with the "P" series. Some circa-1974 numbers such as this, however, were re-issued to their current holders when the plate change was made to the lobster base. Therefore, there are still a number of all-numeric issues or plate numbers with letters before "P" on the road. This was done as a compromise measure to help satisfy motorists who were upset at having to turn in their older "premium" plates.
ME 89 #18954 W
Maine 1989 Passenger issue. Regular format lobster plate. The initial plate issue of lobster bases ran from plate number 1 P through around the middle of the "W" series. This plate shows the one change that was made to the standard Maine die set during the changeover to the lobster base - the number "1" was modified to a serif style, as opposed to the previous "1" die which was simply a straight vertical line.
ME 90 #60671 X
Maine 1990 Passenger issue. After the initial run of lobster plates were issued between July, 1987 and June, 1988, it took another two years to run through the end of the "W"s and then through "X", "Y" and "Z". The green "90" year sticker was the third in a three-color red, blue, green rotation that would be used through 1998, when a black-on-white sticker was added and broke the pattern.
ME 91 #620 EE
Maine 1991 Passenger issue. When plate number 99999 Z was issued in 1990, the state switched the series to 1 AA. Fine, made sense. They then inexplicably followed this with all the double-letter series in succession (BB, CC, DD, etc.) Why they did this, I'll never know, but they now have to skip the double-letter combinations in each letter series that goes by. The year sticker color returned to the original red color for 1991.
ME 92 #4705 QQ
Maine 1992 Passenger issue. Another of the double-letter plates. This odd series did allow me to get a plate with two "Q"s on it, though, so it wasn't all bad. The blue sticker followed red once again.
ME 93 #2799 AQ
Maine 1993 Passenger issue. When the double-letter series was exhausted at 9999 ZZ in 1992, the state went to where they should've gone in the first place - 1 AB through 9999 AZ.
ME 94 #1669 AZ
Maine 1994 Passenger issue. These new narrow dies were introduced at plate number 1 AZ in mid-1993 and are currently still in use. They allow for seven-digit vanity plates as well as more flexibility in numbering systems for other categories (handicapped, long-term trailer, etc.)
ME 95 #530 BQ
Maine 1995 Passenger issue. Three-digit number on the new narrow-die plate. Yet another "Q" plate, as well.
ME 96 #4918 CI
Maine 1996 Passenger issue. Back to the green sticker for what would turn out to be the last time. Some plates in this "CI" series were reported to have been made using the older, wider Maine dies. I've been on the lookout, but haven't spotted one as of yet.
ME 97 #4715 CQ
Maine 1997 Passenger issue. Near the end of the C series of plates, the serial number was moved about an inch to the right from where it had been previously (see the 1996 plate above). This was done so that the number dies would not need to be relocated between three and four digit numbers (see next plate.) An unfortunate result of the move was that more of the lobster graphic was covered up. This format started with the "CQ" series, although the "CS", "CW" and "CX" plates reverted to the old flush-left placement. All other issues from "CY" through the end of the series at "ES" used this format.
ME 98 #833 DQ
Maine 1998 Passenger issue. Three-digit plate showing that the placement of the numbers is now the same regardless of whether the plate has three or four digits. This plate also features the black-on-white "98" sticker that broke the previous three-color pattern. This was done as a result of two-year registrations being introduced on some plate classes (trailers are the only ones I've seen so far), which would require more than three colors to avoid problems. Blue stickers resumed the pattern in 1999, then this black on white sticker was resumed for 2000. Click here for more fun stuff with this plate.
ME 99 #8304 DQ
Maine 1999 Passenger issue. Same idea as the other plates on the page. "DQ" series plates were issued in late 1997 and early 1998, so I was able to locate one for both the 98 and 99 expirations on this page. 1999 turned out to be the final year for the blue year sticker.
ME 99 #15 Q
Maine 1999 Passenger issue. It's amazing what they'll give you for the asking. After sending a request to the Maine Secretary of State's office inquiring about the availability of any low-number plates with a "Q" on them, I was offered this plate number for my car. Of course, I jumped on it. Funny thing is, these are original circa-1987 lobster plates (old dies, "87" hologram in the Scotchlite, etc.) Seems that in the 11 years that had passed since the lobster base was first issued, nobody had ever requested this number. Makes you wonder how many other low-number gems are sitting in a bin in Augusta...
ME 00 #1390 EQ
Maine 2000 Passenger issue. Last year of issue for the lobster plates, the latest expiration that a lobster plate could carry would be June, 2000. These plates were replaced between July 1, 1999 and June 30, 2000 as registrations expired. Lobster plates were manufactured up to serial 2999 ES, although many late "E" series plates went unissued. During the last year of the lobster series, many small variations occurred with the plates.
ME 00 #796 ES
Maine 2000 Passenger issue. Here's a rare variation of the standard lobster plate. Near the end of the run of lobster plates, the state prison plate shop apparently ran out of standard plate blanks with the "Vacationland" slogan screened on. As a temporary measure, some non-passenger blanks with no slogan at the bottom were used, with the "Vacationland" slogan stamped on during manufacturing as it was on 1987 and earlier issues. These plates were manufactured from plate number 1 ES through approximately 1140 ES and were only issued during the last two weeks of June, 1999. Plates with higher numbers were manufactured on the standard base - either additional standard blanks were found or a new shipment arrived at that point.
ME 00 #2059 GQ
Maine 2000 Passenger issue. This new baseplate, featuring an image of a chickadee (Maine's state bird) and pine cone tassel (state flower) was introduced starting with plate number 1 GA on July 1, 1999. During the general reissue, plates were issued through the Gx, Hx, Ix and Jx series, up to approximately the "JQ" series by the end of the changeover.
ME 01 #7794 IQ
Maine 2001 Passenger issue. The state has chosen a black on gold sticker for this expiration year. The sticker looks OK on the chickadee and UMS plates due to the matching colors in the graphic, but is something of an eyesore on other classes of Maine plates. Contacts at the state BMV had initially reported that the "Ix" series was not going to be used on this baseplate due to potential confusion between the letter "I" and number one. They must've changed their minds, however, as "Ix" plates started appearing around September of 1999 as part of the general reissue.
ME 01 #6216 JU
Maine 2001 Passenger issue. The "JU" series of passenger plates began to be issued in late 2000. This series was later suspended, however, as it was considered potentially offensive. Remaining unissued plates were recalled and destroyed, although the plates that were issued were allowed to remain in use.
ME 02 #783 KQ
Maine 2002 Passenger issue. The third expiration sticker color used on the chickadee plate is this black on green combination. After the general changeover was completed in June, 2000, Maine started running through letter combinations at a much slower pace on this base. In the year between July, 2000 and June, 2001, the letter combinations progressed from about the JQ series to the early KE series. This plate is of the five-digit variety, allowing full view of the graphic. I wasn't sure I'd get a natural 2002 plate with a "Q" on it, however a small number of "KQ" series plates showed up during the last week of 2001.
ME 03 #8348 KQ
Maine 2003 Passenger issue. Most of the "KQ" series was rolled out in early 2002, allowing me to use it for my 2003 expiration plate as well. Kind of like the "DQ" series back in '98-'99. The state chose a black-on-blue expiration sticker for 2003, which isn't great as far as contrast goes, but hasn't seemed to be an issue so far. The state passed into the early "Lx" series near the end of 2002.
ME 04 #8406 LQ
Maine 2004 Passenger issue. The choice for the 2004 validation sticker color was bright orange, which stands out at a distance and may have the added benefit of keeping hunters from shooting at your car when driving through the woods. Orange is apparently the last in a five-year pattern, since the "05" sticker is black-on-white again. Maine registrations got up to around the "LX" series by the end of 2003 and flipped to the "Mx" series in early 2004.
ME 05 #4213 MQ
Maine 2005 Passenger issue. The state finished up their five-color sticker rotation in 2004, returning to the black-on-white design for the 05 sticker.
ME 06 #2216 MQ
Maine 2006 Passenger issue. The black-on-gold color scheme from the 2001 sticker was revisited for the 2006 expiration sticker in Maine. Plates in the MA series started appearing in January, 2004, and by June, 2005 the state reached the end of the M series.
ME 07 #9239 NQ
Maine 2007 Passenger issue. As expected, the black-on-green color scheme was used again for the 2007 expiration sticker. The N series lasted from approximately June, 2005 through October, 2006.
ME 08 #1116 PQ
Maine 2008 Passenger issue. Second time around for the black-on-blue sticker. Late in 2007, online registrations started receiving non-reflective year stickers of a different design with different font, the black/blue '08' version of this sticker is quite rare. The P series of plates ran from October, 2006 through April, 2008.
ME 09 #2352 QA
Maine 2009 Passenger issue. A decision was made by the state to skip the entire Qx series of plates and go directly to RA after the end of the PZ series, however there was an apparent miscommunication along the way resulting in the production of plates from the QA through QD series. Rather than wasting these plates, the state issued them anyway, following the end of the QD series with RA. Suffice to say I was not pleased upon seeing my first RA plate in June, 2008. This move did not discontinue the letter Q entirely from the series, however, as the RQ series was issued in mid-2009. Orange stickers were used again for 2009, coming in standard reflective issue and non-reflective, different-font issue for online renewals.
ME 10 #3252 RQ
Maine 2010 Passenger issue. 2010 issue using the expected black-on-white "10" sticker, otherwise unchanged.
ME 11 #2944 RX
Maine 2011 Passenger issue. No surprises here either, black on gold 11 decal. The state reached the 'S' series early in 2010.
ME 12 #4437 SQ
Maine 2012 Passenger issue. Green sticker for 2012.
ME 13 #2572 TA
Maine 2013 Passenger issue. Blue sticker again. The series flipped into the Ts in early 2012.
ME 16 #2541 UQ
Maine 2016 Passenger issue. Gold sticker for 2016, inferior foil style from the new vendor making a nice example of the 2016 sticker a rarity for Maine. The U series was reached in late 2013.

Maine Optional Passenger Plates:

ME 95 #C/R 70
Maine 1995 Optional Passenger issue. The "A Natural Treasure" Loon plate was introduced on April 1, 1994 as an extra-cost issue to help provide funding to Maine's environmental protection organizations. As of 1999, over 150,000 sets of these plates had been sold, partially because Mainers are very environmentally conscious, and partially because many Mainers found the lobster plate quite ugly and were happy to pay extra for an alternative. This remains one of the most attractive plate issues I've ever seen from any jurisdiction. Loon plate sales have been on the decline since the introduction of the chickadee general-issue plate in 1999. Guess they made the regular plates too nice looking...
ME 96 #U/M/S 1717
Maine 1996 Optional Passenger issue. This optional plate was released in 1994, with benefits going towards the University of Maine system. The graphic shows a map of the state with dots marking the location (very approximately) of the seven UMaine system campuses. This plate has not been nearly as popular as the Loon environmental issue, with registration figures still hanging around 17,000 or so sets issued in the past six years. To be honest, I don't much care for this plate. I did attend the University of Maine in Orono, however, and met my wife there, so I needed to get at least one of these plates just for sentimental reasons.
ME 04 #878-AAA
Maine 2004 Optional Passenger issue. The triumphant return of the lobster! This optional plate for Maine motorists was released on May 1, 2003. Proceeds from these plates go towards the Maine Lobster Research, Education and Development Fund, which I'm assuming is NOT actually trying to educate lobsters ("See this trap? Stay away from it!"). The original prototype of this plate had a live lobster pictured, in the natural greenish-black color. It was decided, however, that nobody would recognize it as a lobster that way, so they cooked this poor fellow once again. How he got back out on the rocks is anyone's guess. This series started at 101-AAA and is the first Maine license plate series to use a 123-ABC type format.
ME 04 #434-ACB
Maine 2004 Optional Passenger issue. This was the second new optional passenger issue released in Maine in 2003. This "Black Bear" plate was released on November 3, 2003 and features the logo of the University of Maine in Orono (the flagship campus of the UMaine system and, coincidentally, my alma mater.) Proceeds from the sale of this plate will go towards a scholarship fund at the university. This plate will not replace the original University of Maine System plate, released in 1994, as the first plate benefits the entire UMaine system, while this one is specific to the Orono campus. These plates also use the new 123-ABC format, starting at 101-ACA.
ME 07 #554-AGA
Maine 2007 Optional Passenger issue. Agriculture plate, released October 1, 2007. This graphic plate, strikingly different in color than any other Maine issue on the road, benefits the Maine Agriculture Education Fund. The serial block from AGA through AGZ was set aside initially for these plates. The state also issues two non-passenger types on this base, for Commercial and Farm vehicles.
ME 08 #971-AJE
Maine 2008 Optional Passenger issue. Support Our Troops plate, released November 1, 2007. This issue, based heavily on the standard passenger base, benefits members of the Maine National Guard and Reserves and their families. The initial serial block for these plates is the AJA through AJZ series.
ME 08 #654-AKA
Maine 2008 Optional Passenger issue. Support Wildlife plate, released April 7, 2008. This plate features the image of a moose and trout and benefits a number of state funds, including the Fish Hatchery Maintenance Fund, the Boat Launch Facilities Fund, the Maine Endangered and Nongame Wildlife Fund and the Support Landowners Program. This series began at 101-AKA, with serials through 999-AKZ set aside going forward.
ME 08 #505-ALA
Maine 2008 Optional Passenger issue. Breast Cancer Support Services plate, released October 1, 2008. This probably could be uglier, but I'm not quite sure how. The prototype had a pink-fade background with darker serial, not sure who decided the Pepto-Bismol colored paint over a white background was a good idea. But, hey, it's for a good cause, right? This plate was spearheaded by the Maine Cancer Foundation and benefits the Breast Cancer Services Special Program Fund of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. This series started with 101-ALA.
ME 09 #476-AMA
Maine 2009 Optional Passenger issue. Animal Welfare plate, released October 1, 2009. This plate promotes animal welfare and pet adoption efforts in the state, featuring renditions of a cat, dog, bird, rabbit and horse and the slogan "respect. love. adopt." The all-lowercase treatment (and font, for that matter) is reminiscent of the signage for Planet Dog, a Maine-based pet supply store which was involved in the proposal and approval process for this plate.

Additional Maine information provided by: Eric Tanner

MD Ahead to Maryland
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© Copyright 1998-2017 David Nicholson. All Rights Reserved.

Last Modified 8/20/2016 (added 2016 passenger plate).