License Plates

Tennessee

Tennessee License Plates

Tennessee issued its first license plate in 1915. The 1915 Tennessee license plate was issued in July 1915 and the embossing on this plate read "EXPIRES DEC. 31, 1915". The 1916 issue was embossed with "EXPIRES DEC 31". The Tennessee license plates issued in 1926, 1927 and 1928 were embossed with FRONT and REAR.

All the license plates issued in Tennessee were dated, and all were steel in the early days until being replaced by aluminum in the 1960’s. The 1957 Tennessee license plate was 6” x 12”, but the license plate number was encircled in a map. The Tennessee license plates issued from 1958 through 1976 was designed with the state map outline embossed around the word "TENN". This map also outlined the slogan VOLUNTEER STATE on the 1984 license plate.

Beginning in 1977 and continuing on until 1987, the slogan "VOLUNTEER STATE" was adopted. The map of the state of Tennessee was first embossed on 1927 license plates.  This map embossing was inside a rectangular plate. However, from 1936 through 1956 the license plate of the State of Tennessee was actually shaped like the map of Tennessee. There was a bulge above the top left screw hole in 1936 and 1937 issues. This bulge was removed in 1938. Tennessee is the only state in the world which issued a license plate which is shaped like the map of the state.