Montana

Montana License Plates 

Montana did not officially issue license plates until 1915 although registration requirements were enacted in 1913.  License plate collectors have found samples of Montana license plates dated 1912.  Some city license plates from Butte and Missoula have also been found but the year of issue has not been determined.

The first slogan on Montana license plates was introduced in 1950: THE TREASURE STATE. This slogan was embossed/stamped on the top of the license plate and was used through 1956. After missing for seven years, THE TREASURE STATE slogan was reintroduced in 1963 and this plate base was used until 1966. In 1967, Montana embossed/stamped BIG SKY COUNTRY on the top of its license plate.  This slogan appeared on all Montana license plates through 1975. The slogan BIG SKY was screened on the 1976 Montana license plate and retired in 1991. The 1987 Montana license plate commemorated 100 years of statehood and this art was on the bottom left.

Montana license plates are known for the outline of the map of the state –prominently embossed on the license plate. The first Montana map license plate was introduced in 1933 and lasted through 1975 –with the exception of 1957. A steerhead was embossed/stamped in the center of  the Montana license plate in 1938. This embossed/stamped steerhead reappeared in 1973 and 1975 on the lower left corner of the Montana license plate. In 1976, the steerhead was screen on retro-reflective film which covered the aluminum substrate. The 1976 Montana license plate was screen printed with the stylized 76 logo to mark the Bicentennial of the United States as well as a small mountain scene.  The 1987 Montana license plate was screen printed with a  panoramic mountain outline across the top as well as the Montana Centennial logo inside the letter O in MONTANA.

Prior to a foreign company making license plates for various states, it is widely known that license plates are made in prisons. Montana stamped/embossed PRISON MADE on its license plates beginning in 1938 through 1952 –except for the 1943 license plate which had a tab on the left side and in 1944 when Montana issued a soybean fiberboard license plate. The soybean fiberboard license plate was used in order to save metal for the war effort. Montana introduced retro-reflective white license plates in 1968.


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