New York

New York License Plate History

New York is one of the first states which manufactured license plates in large quantities, after starting small in 1902.  The popularity of motor vehicles, combined with the high population and wealth, enabled New York to become the first state to issue 1,000,000 license plates, though California reached this milestone later the same year. The original New York license plates were porcelain, then riveted numbers on metal, but were soon changed to embossed metal in 1913. The state abbreviation "NY" was always present on New York license plates. In 1913 New York also began to emboss the year on each license plate. The metal used was steel and these disintegrated quickly in New York’s salt laden winter streets. New York state issued new license plates yearly, with the year of issue embossed on the plate.

From 1920 the New York license plate was approximately 5 x 14 inches. In 1929, New York’s license plate size was changed to 6 x 14 inches. This size was used until 1957 when the state of New York adopted the Society of Automotive Engineers standard for license plates: 6 x 12 inches with 4 standard locations for screw holes.

In 1939 and 1940 in honor of the event, New York issued a license plate embossed with "NEW YORK’S WORLD’S FAIR".  The state did the same in 1964 when a plate was issued embossed with "NY WORLD’S FAIR" (the same plate was used in 1965 with a vertical decal issued and applied to plate on right hand corner). "NY THE EMPIRE STATE" was first embossed on New York license plates in 1951 and continued until 1963. New York issued its first license plate with retro-reflective foil from 3M in 1974, the color of the plate was reflective golden orange, or a deep reflective yellow.

The year 1986 was historic for New York license plates, the first year the state issued license plates with graphics. The Statue of Liberty was printed in red and the state printed in a deep blue, in addition to two horizontal red lines printed above and below the top and bottom mounting holes. The color of the retro-reflective foil was reflective white.

In 2001, New York issued another license plate with artwork printed on reflective white, on which the slogan "THE EMPIRE STATE" was re-introduced. The most unpopular license plate from New York was issued in 2010 in deep reflective yellow and deep blue. Car collectors despise this design and question the issuing authority's choice of colors and graphic design. Custom plates are not embossed with the exception of the border. This is not an attractive license plate design and the state may want to listen to New Yorkers and change this “ghastly” deep reflective yellow and deep blue quickly.


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Peg K - Esat Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania

To Everyone At Licenseplates - Especially Mike:Thank you for a quality product. The prep work and samples we had to choose from were all top quality. The license plate arrived on the date you said. We love the vanity plate and have already received compliments from friends.I will certainly refer people who are interested in ordering a vanity license plate.

Caesar C Chicago Illinois

I picked up my license plate from my aunt's place this weekend and I just wanted to let you know it arrived safe and sound, and to say it's very beautiful, and to say thank you so much for helping me and making sure I finally got it. It looks perfect and exactly like the real license plate from that era; I can't believe how similar it is to the real thing! Again, thank you very, very much! It (and you) are wonderful!

Victor - Charleston, South Carolina

Goodmorning - I amnot sure this is the right email or not to, but all I got to say is that I amvery impressed with the license plate. I love it so much I am thinking inre-ordering a replica of it. It got here quick. You guys are awesome and I amglad I found you on the search engine google.  Thanksyou so much!!!! Victor

Jeff M - St. Petersberg, Florida

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Joyce - Catlettsburg, Kentucky

In January, you sent me some replacement letters for a license plate I ordered from you a few years ago. I have just now taken the time to replace those letters and I wanted you to know how much I appreciate you for sending the letters.Thank you so much and should I ever need or want to buy another license plate, I will be in touch.Have a nice day.Joyce

Elaine - HOLLAND, Ohio

I LUV IT!!- Elaine N.

Caroline Alder

Thank you for the invoice,I just received the plates and they are beautiful!best regards,

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Bill Prather Glasgow Kentucky

Just wanted to say thanks for the great products and service! You all made a custom military style plate for my military jeep and a vintage '71 plate for my CJ5. The plates are great and look fantastic on my vehicles. Thanks again.

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