Most people take license plates for granted. They're something we slap on our
vehicles and never even give them any further thought. But they can be quite
a collectible. There are thousands of serious collectors world-wide.
Many are members of plate clubs,
This site focuses strictly on the plates of Arizona.

Right here in Arizona we have THE world's highest concentration of license plate
collectors. According to ALPCA membership statistics, Arizona is the leader in this
category with both Phoenix and Tucson individually having more members than
any other city in the world regardless of size!

Most collectors have at least some plates that have been repainted. However,
the vast majority of the painted plates on this site are shown in their original
state, with the exception of just a couple that
are marked (rp) for repaints.

All plates on this site are for display purposes only and nothing is for sale.
I am always interested in purchasing selected pre-1960 Arizona plates
to add to the collection. E-Mail:

In addition to plates, this site contains (8) pre-1925 photographs of automobiles
in which the plates are visible. Two of these, both 1914s, show the exact
plates currently in the hands of collectors today.

Arizona Firsts

  • 1912 -- First year Arizona residents were required to register their vehicles.
  • 1914 -- First state-issued plates.
  • 1915 -- First plates marked Dealer.
  • 1916 -- First passenger plates to come in different lengths. 1916 thru 1922 varied in size according to how many digits were present. Most of these years had just 2 sizes but the 1922 plates came in 5 sizes with the 6-digit being the longest at 16.15".
  • 1917 -- First graphic, the steerhead. Some consider this the first graphic ever to appear on any plate in America although Pennsylvania had a keystone graphic in 1916. It certainly is one of the first.
  • 1922 -- First year of county-coding.
  • 1929 -- First year vehicle registrations surpassed 100,000.
  • 1929 -- First commercial plates. Commercial vehicles from previous years used regular passenger plates.
  • 1932 -- First year of the copper plates. Arizona is the only state to ever use this material.
  • 1939 -- First person ever honored on any license plate in America, Marcos de Niza (of all people).
  • 1940 -- First time the slogan Grand Canyon State appeared. Except for 1945, it still remains.
  • 1943 -- First year passenger plates were not produced. Windshield stickers used for the '42 base. Windshield stickers also used in 1944 and 1946 since passenger plates were also not made in those years.
  • 1947 -- First prison-made plates. Plates are currently made at the Florence, Az. prison.
  • 1947 -- First aluminum plates.
  • 1952 -- First year pairs were not issued. Pairs also not issued in '66-'68 and '89 to the-present.
  • 1956 -- First plates standardized in size. All current passenger plates must be 6"x 12" for all states.
  • 1957 -- First renewal sticker to appear on a plate.
  • 1966 -- First fully reflectorized plates.
  • 1973 -- First year vehicle registrations surpassed 1,000,000.
  • 1975 -- First year of handicapped plates.
  • 1980 -- First undated passenger plates. The maroon cactus base only has stickers that are dated.
  • 2008 -- First non-embossed passenger plates. Started to appear in late January 2008.
  • 2020 -- First completely-flat (not rimmed) passenger plates. Started to appear in late April 2020 somewhere in the late CVK or early CVL series.
  • 2020 -- First scrambled-number passenger plates. Started to appear in April 2020.


CLICK on Steerhead