District of Columbia

District of Columbia License Plates - Washington D.C. 

There were over 2,000 motor vehicles registered in the District of Columbia between 1902 through 1907, however few plates survive today because of leather construction.  The district of Columbia (Washington, D.C.) required all vehicles to have license plates from the home jurisdiction of owner and a license plate from DC.  The main license plate seen in the early days and even today are Virginia and Maryland due to their close proximity to the District of Columbia.

The first slogan on district of Columbia license plates was "NATION’S CAPITAL" which appeared in 1954 and ended in 1973.  The following year, the slogan "1776 BICENTENNIAL 1976" was on the top of the license plates of the District of Columbia to celebrate the 200 year anniversary of the Declaration of Independence .  In 1977, the slogan "NATION’S CAPITAL" was again on the top of District of Columbia’s license plates, and lasted until the early 1990’s.  In 1985 a new base was created and the slogan "A CAPITAL CITY" appeared on district of Columbia’s license plates, lasting until 1993.  The base with slogan "CELEBRATE AND DISCOVER" was issued from 1991 through 1993.  In 2001, the District of Columbia issued a plate bearing the slogan "TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION" to add fuel to the district’s fight for statehood.  The next slogan was to commemorate the district’s 200 year celebrations "1791 BICENTENNIAL 1991".

The first graphics on District of Columbia’s Bicentennial license plates issued in 1974 and continued to 1979.  The 1974 District of Columbia license plate was embossed with the profile of the Capitol building. The 1985 issue of District of Columbia’s license plates was the first full graphic plate in the district.  The District of Columbia flag was screened on.  The 1991 the slogan "CELEBRATE AND DISCOVER"  graphic was screened on the district of Columbia’s license plates followed by "TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION" graphic in 2004 together with a logo showing fireworks over the Capitol building. 

District of Columbia license plates adorn motor vehicles ferrying the most powerful people in the world beginning with the limousine of the President of the United States of America. All  official United States government (executive, legislative and judicial) vehicles which are located in Washington D.C. must be registered in the District of Columbia.  These registrations are a good source of revenue for the District. 


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Allan - Vernon Hills, Illinois

I received theplates today: "FRICKIN' AWESOME" Thank you sovery much, great work Elmer!Perl'

Byron - Winfield, Pennsylvania

Thanks, you did good!

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David -

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