Vehicle registration plates of Illinois Information

From Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicle_registration_plates_of_Illinois

Table of Contents ⇨
Illinois
Illinois 2017 License Plate V3.jpg
Current series
SloganLand of Lincoln
Size12 in × 6 in
30 cm × 15 cm
MaterialAluminum
Serial formatAB 12345
IntroducedJanuary 1, 2017 (2017-01-01)
DesignerIllinois Secretary of State staff
Availability
Issued by Illinois Secretary of State
Manufactured byMacon County Rehabilitation Facilites, Inc., Decatur, Illinois
History
First issuedJuly 1, 1911 (1911-07-01)
(Pre-state plates from July 1, 1907 to June 30, 1911)

The U.S. state of Illinois first required its residents to register their motor vehicles in 1907. Registrants provided their own license plates for display until 1911, when the state began to issue plates. Both a front and a rear plate have always been required on most vehicle types with the exception of motorcycles, motor driven cycles, and trailers. Plates were issued annually until 1978 with the plates serial number and background color changing annually. Multiyear baseplates have been issued since 1979, and all plates since then have been validated with a sticker. The license plate belongs to the vehicle owner, and this allows them to transfer their license plate to another vehicle. Plates are currently issued by the Illinois Secretary of State.

Early history: 1907 - 1939

Automobile owners in Illinois were first required to register their vehicles with the Secretary of State's office in 1907, paying a one-time registration fee of $2. Registrants were issued a numbered aluminum disc to place on their dashboard, but they had to provide their own license plates. Annual registration commenced in 1909.

The state began to issue license plates in 1911. Front and rear plates were required each year, along with an aluminum dashboard disc whose number matched the serial on the plate. The legislation authorizing the state issuance of license plates also provided for the registration and plating of motorcycles, and issued special licenses and plates to mechanics and chauffeurs.

Serials were all-numeric and originally ran to five digits. When 99999 was reached in 1914 and 1915, serials with one letter and four digits were issued. Six-digit all-numeric serials were introduced in 1916, followed in 1925 by seven-digit serials. Aluminum dashboard discs were discontinued after 1917.

The year 1920 marked the first time that plates were issued to different classes of vehicles. Only two general classes were specified, vehicles carrying less than seven people and those that carried more than seven people or carried freight. Trucks received their own special plate for the first time with a vertical "TRUCK" embossed onto the plate. Four years later, the first plates for trailers were issued.

In 1927 the first graphic device was placed on an Illinois license plate. An embossed outline of the state's shape was shown with the letters "ILL" and "27" debossed inside the design. This was a single year feature. And with the exception of an Illinois State Seal decal appearing on a few thousand plates in 1943, another graphic would not appear on an Illinois plate again until the Antique Automobile plate of 1950.

Mid-century history: 1940 - 1978

With the introduction of measures to conserve metal for defense manufacturing, Illinois gave up its metal license plates from 1943 - 1948. During these years all license plates were made from wood-based fiberboard. For many it years it was believed that these plates had a soybean (soy) component, but records from the Illinois Secretary of State contradict this information. Initially the plates were brittle, but my adding additional wood pulp to the plate formula this was fixed. In 1949 the state returned to issuing steel plates. [1]

In July 1953 Illinois governor William Stratton signed into law a bill that gave the Secretary of State the power to place the slogan " Land of Lincoln" and a silhouette of Abraham Lincoln on all Illinois license plates. Charles Carpentier, the Secretary of State, indicated that he would have the slogan placed on all 1954 Illinois license plates, but that the silhouette of Lincoln would not appear because to do so would necessitate an increase in the size of the license plates at a cost of $250,000. [2] [3] While the phrase "Land of Lincoln" was supposed to appear on all state issued license plates, it was several years before this happened. In 1954 alone Local Bus, Disabled Veteran, Farm, Historic Automobile, and several other plate types were missing the slogan. It was not until July 2001 that a Lincoln silhouette appeared on Illinois automobile plates.

In 1956, the United States, Canada, and Mexico came to an agreement with the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, the Automobile Manufacturers Association and the National Safety Council that standardized the size for license plates for vehicles (except those for motorcycles) at 6 inches (15 cm) in height by 12 inches (30 cm) in width, with standardized mounting holes. [4] The 1956 (dated 1957) issue was the first Illinois license plate that fully complied with these standards: the 1955 (dated 1956) issue was 6 inches in height by 12 inches in width, but had non-standard mounting holes.

Multiyear baseplates: 1979 - Present

Illinois issued calendar year plates longer than any other state (1911 - 1978). This ended with the first multiyear baseplate which began in 1979, and consequently there have been only four major plate designs issued since that year. These issues began in 1979, 1984, 2001, and 2017.

Multiyear plates for Illinois drivers had been proposed as early as 1917, and they were in use as early as 1912 in Minnesota. [5] In 1918 the President of the Chicago Motor Club, Charles M. Hayes, sent a letter to the Illinois Secretary of State, Louis Emmerson, suggesting that Illinois license plates be retained for multiple years, and that they would be revalidated by a disc that would be issued each year. At a minimum the "perpetual" license plates would save the state the annual manufacturing cost of the plates and postage costs to mail them to motorists. [6]

In late 1966 the implementation of five year license plates, which would use renewal tabs annually, was proposed again. Their use would also aid police in indentifing drivers because the books that listed all license plate numbers were not available until half way through the year. With fewer plate numbers changing, the books would be relevant for longer periods of time. [7] Paul Powell, the Illinois Secretary of State, rejected the proposal stating that any cost savings would be minimized by additional record keeping costs. He also mentioned that some multiyear plates used in other states were not satisfactory. [8] Powell further reiterated his position the following month by mentioning a University of Illinois study which recommended the annual change in license plate colors as an incentive for motorists to pay the annual registration cost, and that the initial cost of the longer term plates would be much more than regular plates. [9] The University of Illinois study mentioned by Powell was conducted in 1957 and 1958, and also recommended the addition of letters to the Illinois license plate. [10] In 1969 Powell backed a plan to implement two-year plates, which would have cost twice the annual registration price, but the plan did not pass the legislature. [11]

In January 1975 it was recommended that Illinois retain the practice of issuing annual license plates by an advisory committee to Secretary of State Michael Howlett. Two year license plates and a staggered registration system were studied by the committee, but both proposals were rejected. [12] Despite this recommendation Howlett appointed a task force in April 1975 to study how to implement multiyear plates. [13] At the conclusion of the study in September 1975 Howlett stated he would propose to the legislature that Illinois begin issuing multiyear plates validated by an annual renewal sticker. The plates were expected to last five years, and they were to be made of aluminum stock that was twice as thick as the current plates in order to make them more durable. [14] With the 1976 license plates already in production, and the 1977 license plate contract already awarded, the implementation of a mulityear license plate system was delayed.

Issue of 1979

Legislation to implement a multiyear license plate was finally proposed in 1977. The bill to institute five-year plates passed the House Motor Vehicle Committee on March 16, 1977, and the state House on March 29, 1977. Alan Dixon, the Secretary of State spoke in favor of passage of the bill. The Senate Transportation Committee passed the bill on April 28, 1977, and the full Senate on June 10, 1977. The bill was signed into law by Governor Jim Thompson on August 4, 1977. With the 1978 contract for license plates already awarded, multiyear plates would not be implemented until 1979. The cost savings from not issuing annual plates for the expected five year life of the plates was $21 million. One change made to the legislation before becoming a law gave the Secretary of State the discretion to determine how long the plates would last. This change would have long-term implications as there was not a statutory requirement to issue new license plates every five years. [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20]

The 1979 issue of new license plates was complicated by the fact that the state was converting to a staggered registration system at the same time it issued these plates. Under the multiyear system vehicle owners could obtain their new plates and register their vehicles for as few as nine months or as long as 23 months. At this time a full year registration cost $18, so the registration cost was prorated to the number of months that was chosen. A nine month registration was $13.50 while a 23 month registration cost $34.50. Initially the month that a registration would expire was based upon the last two digits of a license plate number. For instance a plate ending in the number 11 allowed the vehicle owner to register for nine months ending on September 30, 1979 or they could choose an April 30, 1980 expiration. By limiting the choices for expiration to only two different months, the state ensured that registrations would be staggered. [21]

The 1979 license plates had dark blue characters on a white reflective background. The plates had two sticker wells one of which was at the top left of the plate and the other was at the top right. Vehicle owners were provided a blue sicker to be placed at the upper left if they chose a 1979 renewal date. Those who selected a 1980 renewal date were provided a red sticker to place in the upper right sticker well. The stickers had a three character expiration month, a two digit year, the letters "ILL," and a random serial number printed on them. [22] After this initial issuance of staggered registrations all passenger plates were validated with an annual renewal sticker. Renewal stickers were green for 1981, brown in 1982, and orange for the last year of these plates in 1983.

The multiyear system also eliminated the need for current vehicle owners to replace license plates during the winter months as no registrations were set to expire in December, January, or February. Anyone who purchased a new or used vehicle in the winter months could still end up with license plates that needed to be renewed while it was cold outside. Many other types of vehicles, such as taxis, limousines, dealers, etc. continued to be issued a new plate annually. [21] [23]

1979 Short Term Registrations [21]
License
Number
Expiration
Ending
< 35 HP > 35 HP Duration
00 - 08
09 - 20
69 - 79
September 30 $13.50 $22.50 9 Months
21 - 32
33 - 44
80 - 90
October 31 $15.00 $25.00 10 Months
45 - 56
57 - 68
91 - 99
November 30 $16.50 $27.50 11 Months
1980 Extended Term Registrations [21]
License
Number
Expiration
Ending
< 35 HP > 35 HP Duration
00 - 08 March 31 $22.50 $37.50 15 Months
09 - 20 April 30 $24.00 $40.00 16 Months
21 - 32 May 31 $25.50 $42.50 17 Months
33 - 44 June 30 $27.00 $45.00 18 Months
45 - 56 July 31 $28.50 $47.50 19 Months
57 - 68 August 31 $30.00 $50.00 20 Months
69 - 79 September 30 $31.50 $52.50 21 Months
80 - 90 October 31 $33.00 $55.00 22 Months
91 - 99 November 30 $34.50 $57.50 23 Months

Issue of 1984

With a staggered registration system in place the new Illinois license plates were not issued to all vehicle owners at the same time. Instead new plates were provided over the course of four years based on the first character of the plate or the type of plate. Those with March expiration stickers were the first to receive the new plates. Once the stock of the 1979 plates was exhausted new plates began to be issued to those purchasing new or used cars. Approximately 4.6 million plates were made in Illinois at Macon County Rehabilitation Facilites, Inc. in Decatur during the four year replating period. [24] [25]

The 1984 plates had the same dark blue characters on a reflective white background as the previous multiyear baseplate. The biggest differences were that there was now a light blue band across the top of the plate with the word "Illinois" at the top left, instead of being centered at the top, and that the "Land of Lincoln" slogan was moved from the bottom center to the top right of the plate. These changes meant that the sticker wells needed to be relocated. Instead of creating two wells on the new plate a single well was centered at the bottom of the plate which was twice the size of the old wells. Some vehicle owners were provided yellow "T" (for Temporary) stickers to revalidate their current plates until new plates arrived. Sticker colors were purple for 1984, green for 1985, and orange for 1986. These stickers were still the size of the stickers used for the previous multiyear baseplate.

In 1987 the sticker size was increased to fill the entire well. The new stickers contained the same information as the old ones, month, year, "IL," and a random serial number, but the month was now much larger and it took up half of the size of the sticker. Colors were blue for 1987, red for 1988, and green for 1989. During the 1990s the sticker colors were orange for 1990, maroon for 1991, white for 1992, blue for 1993, dark gray for 1994, red for 1995, white for 1996, green for 1997, gray for 1998, and orange for 1999. In 2000 the sticker color was blue, and in the final year for these plates in 2001 the sticker color was red. Some white 2002 stickers can be found on this baseplate as well as the yellow "T" stickers for vehicle owners whose 2001 series plates were delayed in being manufactured.

1984 - 1987 Replating
Year Plates to be replaced
1984 Initial plate character is 0 - 9
1985 Initial plate character is A - M
1986 Initial plate character is N - Z
1987 Congressional Medal of Honor, Disabled Veteran, Ex-POW, Handicapped, Motorcycle, and National Guard

Issue of 2001

The new multiyear baseplate, which began to be issued in July 2001, was the first fully graphic passenger plate issued by the state of Illinois. The design, dark red characters on a background that faded from white at the top to dark blue at the bottom, was chosen by Internet voters from among nine different designs. The word "Illinois" was centered in a script font at the top, the "Land of Lincoln" slogan was once more centered at the bottom of the plate, and a single sticker well, half the size of the former well, was at the top right corner. In the center of the plate was a silhouette of Abraham Lincoln. The likeness of Lincoln had been authorized to be placed on license plates in 1953, but the design feature had never been implemented prior to this year. Approximately 8.5 million passenger plates were scheduled to be replaced in a single year although replacement plates for all vehicle types was scheduled to take place over three years. [26] [27] Approximately 6.5 million passenger plates were made in Illinois at Macon County Rehabilitation Facilites, Inc. in Decatur, and another 2 million plates were made by Waldale Manufacturing Ltd. of Amherst, Nova Scotia, Canada in order to produce all of the passenger plates needed in a single year. [28]

While emissions testing in the Chicago metropolitan area and eastern St. Louis area has existed since May 1, 1986, only since 2007 has the ability to re-register a vehicle been tied to having passed the emissions test. Before 2007 a driver could have their driver's license suspended, their vehicle registration suspended, or be fined for failing to have their vehicle tested, but there was no way for the clerks to verify the test had been completed when issuing a renewal registration sticker. [29] [30] [31] Drivers are notified of the emissions testing requirement, which is required every two years after the vehicle is four year old, on their vehicle registration renewal notification form.

In an effort to save $5.4 million dollars a year in postage costs the Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White (politician) announced in a September 28, 2015 press release that his office would stop sending out vehicle registration renewal reminders on October 1, 2015. [32] The effort to save so much money was caused by the Illinois Budget Impasse which lasted from July 2015 to August 2017. By December 2016 sticker renewals had already dropped by 19%. [33] Consequently the number of late fees the state collected dramatically doubled to $5 million by the end of June 2016. [34] White's office announced in August 2016 that his office would resume sending out reminders after the number of late fees skyrocketed. [35]

2001 - 2003 Replating
Year Plates to be replaced
2001 Automobile plates
2002 Truck plates
2003 Specialty plates (Prevent Violence, Environmental, etc.)

Issue of 2017

On November 15, 2016 Illinois Secretary of State Jessie White announced that new Illinois license plates would begin to be issued in 2017. As before, the new license plates were announced in conjunction with a multiyear replacement program. The largest change to the plate was the complete replacement of the background image. The image of Abraham Lincoln was moved to the far left, was changed to a dark gray color, only showed the left half of his face, and was nearly the entire height of the plate. Additionally, the rest of the background showed a blue sky above a partial Chicago skyline including the Willis Tower; a barn with a windpump; and the dome of the Illinois State Capitol building; all of which are all in white. The serial number characters remained in dark red, and the word "Illinois" along with the "Land of Lincoln" slogan were changed to a black seriffed font. The replating program is scheduled to take place over 10 years ending in 2026. This schedule is shown in the chart below. [36] [37] The state paid $3.20 for each pair of plates manufactured by Macon Resources, Inc. [38]

The plate was designed by staff of the Illinois Secretary of State's office, and the plate layout was immediately criticized by many including Blair Kamin of the Chicago Tribune who called the design "busy and banal," and Jonathan Lawrence of the State License Plate Project who called the design "pretty unfortunate." [39] Further proof of the poor layout was that two design changes were required within the first year of being issued in order to make the plate serial number more readable. The first was a change in the layout of the serial number from the "AB1 2345" format to the "AB 12345" format. Roughly 1/3 of the 2017 license plates were issued before the serial number format was changed which began with serial numbers starting with "AG." The second revision was to lighten the entire image of Abraham Lincoln from a dark gray color to a much lighter gray. This change took place about January 2018 with serial numbers starting with "AQ." [40]

2017 - 2026 Replating
Year of Issue Replacement Year Year of Issue Replacement Year
2001 & 2002 2017 2011 & 2012 2022
2003 & 2004 2018 2013 2023
2005 & 2006 2019 2014 2024
2007 & 2008 2020 2015 2025
2009 & 2010 2021 2016 2026

Temporary Registration Permits

Early Permits: 1914 - 1982

The use of "License Applied For" windshield signs or similar devices can be traced back to at least 1914. Their use is likely back to 1911 when Illinois first began to provide state issued license plates. [41] [42] [43] [44] [45] Defacing the signs was not taken lightly, and fines were handed out for tampering with them in even the most minor way. [46] In 1933 many new cars were seen in Chicago without the required sign. [47] There is little evidence of the use of "License Applied For" signs throughout the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, but no other system of temporary vehicle registration is known for these decades. In the early 1970s Illinois vehicle owners were again receiving a small piece of cardboard with the words "License Applied For" to be taped to the inside of the vehicle's windshield until their license plates arrived in the mail. [48] [49] These signs continued to be issued until the early 1980s. [50]

Paper Permits: 1983 - 2000

1983 Temporary Registration Permit

By 1983 this had transitioned to a Temporary Registration Permit on blue banknote paper for state residents that purchased new or used cars. These permits were supposed to be displayed in the lower right corner of the windshield. If new plates did not arrive in the mail within 60 days, the permit could be renewed. State residents who privately purchased a new or used vehicle were required to place a copy of their registration application in the lower right corner of the windshield and place a copy of the bill of sale in the lower left window. There has never been a charge for these permits. [51] [52]

Each of these permits had a unique number at the bottom left hand corner. In 1984 a prefix was added to the permit number so that the location of where the permit was obtained could be identified. The following prefixes were used: B for agents of the Secretary of State; CX for currency exchanges; DL for Illinois vehicle dealers; and RM for licensed remittance agents. [53]

A revised permit form and new codes were used beginning in 1986. The primary change to the form was the expiration date went from being the same size as most of the text on the form to becoming the prominent feature with characters at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) in size. The acronym "EXP" (expires) immediately proceeded the Month, Day, and Year boxes at the top of the form. This change provided much better visibility of when a temporary permit expired. The revised codes were CUR for currency exchanges; DLR for Illinois vehicle dealers; MVS for agents of the Secretary of State; and REM for licensed remittance agents. The code and the unique serial number continued to appear at the bottom of the form. [54]

By 1993 this system had been changed to an orange Temporary Registration Permit that showed both a large expiration date and a large temporary registration number. This paper tag was three inches wide by eight inches long, and it was supposed to be displayed in the back window of the vehicle. Problems with this permit, as well as the previous blue permit, were that they could easily be altered, their small size made them difficult to read, the numbers were not entered into police databases of plate numbers, and with the increased popularity of tinted windows the orange permits were often nearly invisible to other motorists, pedestrians, and the police. [55] [56] [57] Originally these permits were valid for 60 days, but circa 1998 the length of time they could be used was extended to 90 days. [58]

In June 1998 it was announced that new Temporary Registration Permits would begin to be issued in March 1999. Stickers, the size of regular license plates, were to be placed in the same location as normal plates. They were designed to be difficult to alter, would shred if moved, and therefore could not be transferred to another vehicle. [57] This system was never implemented, and it wasn't until June 2001 that the orange temporary permitting form was replaced with an entirely revised permitting system. [59] The last of the orange permits did not expire until December 31, 2001. [60]

Current permits: 2001 - Present

Illinois 2002 Temporary Registration Permit with the state seal in the center before the format was revised.
Illinois 2004 Temporary Registration Permit showing the revised format.

"Responding to complaints that temporary vehicle tags help criminals escape detection, Secretary of State Jessie White announced a $2 million program [on] Tuesday [June 19, 2001] to introduce tamper-proof temporary license plates that will allow police to know the identity of vehicle owners." [59] He also called the black on yellow permit design, "One of the finest devised by man." [61] These tags were the size of regular license plates, they incorporated a hologram in a strip across the entire plate, they had numbers the same size as a regular license plate, and they were immediately entered into law enforcement databases upon being issued. The expiration date was under a clear film to make them tamper-proof. Plates were valid for 90 days, which was the same length as the old system, and only a single permit for the rear of the vehicle was issued. The first day of issue was June 12, 2001 with these earliest permits being distributed to drivers license facilities, auto dealers, and currency exchanges. [59]

The main problem with the new temporary permit, which remain in use today and are colloquially known as a temporary plate, is that the cardboard plate easily darkens when it gets wet, usually from rain, snow, or car washes, and consequently many begin to look old when left attached to a vehicle for as few as 30 days. Changes to the design since being issued include the format of the serial number being updated (see below), the plates red lettering has been revised, the state seal has been removed, and the boxes that indicate the month of expiration have been separated into four different groups. Regular updates to the year boxes are necessary to keep the plates current. All vehicle types use this temporary registration permit with the exception of motorcycles and mopeds which use a smaller permit with a slightly modified format than the standard permit.

Illinois 2002 Temporary Registration Permit for a motorcycle with the state seal in the center before the format was revised.

Initially the format used for the permit was the same as that of a passenger car license plate: three numbers followed by a space and then four more numbers (123 4567). For motorcycles and mopeds the format was three numbers followed by a space and then three more numbers (123 456). This led to there sometimes being the same number on both a permanent registration and a temporary registration. Eventually the inevitable mix-up happened, and a person with a permanent plate was pulled over for having the serial number of a temporary plate which was being looked for by the police. The proliferation of vanity plates and specialty plates, like the Environmental and Prevent Violence plates, some of which also carried the same serial number sequence as regular passenger plates, was also of concern. [62] [63] [64]

The confusion caused by duplicate serial numbers led to a format change on the permits. As early as the spring of 2003 the permits were revised to have three numbers followed by a letter and three more numbers (123 T 456). Motorcycle and moped plates were changed to have two leading characters followed by a letter and then three more numbers (12 T 345). At the same time the permit configuration was updated, the red Illinois State Seal that was between the sets of characters was removed from the plate. The letters in the center of the plates have progressed through the following sequence: T, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, P, Q, R, S, and U. The sequence for motorcycles has been: T, A, B, and C.

Passenger baseplates

Pre-state plates

Image Dates issued Description Serial format Serials issued Notes
Illinois - 1907 license plate - 449.jpg 1907–11 Black on white; vertical "ILL" at right 12345
A12
1 to approximately 38300
A1 to Z20
Front and rear plates provided by vehicle owner. Most were made of metal or leather. The serial number matched that on the aluminum disc provided to the owner by the state. Requests for low numbers caused the state to issue discs with letter prefixes in 1907 - 1909. These discs had a single letter followed by either one or two digits. No more than 20 discs were issued for each letter, and the letter "I" was not used. [65] [66] [67]

Discs

Image Dates issued Description Serial format Serials issued Notes
Illinois Registered Motor Vehicle Disc - 1909.png 1907 - 1917 Aluminum disc 12345
A12
A1234
1 to 340300 Discs from all years are round except for 1909 which is octagonal. Discs from 1907 and 1908 are undated but have larger numbers than the undated discs from 1909 and 1910. Automobile discs show the words "Motor Vehicle" and motorcycle discs show the words "Motor Bicycle" above the serial number from 1911 to 1914. Discs for Dealers show the word "Dealer" before the serial number from 1912 - 1915. The format "A12" was used from 1907 - 1909 to provide additional low numbered license plates.

1911 to 1978

Image First issued Description Slogan Serial format Serials issued Notes
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1911 Black on white; vertical "ILL" at right none 12345 1 to approximately 38100 Issued only from July 1 through December 31, 1911.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1912 White on black; "ILL 1912" at right none 12345 1 to approximately 67200 First dated plate. Front plates were perforated in order to allow air to pass through to the vehicle's radiator, while rear plates were solid.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1913 Front: White with border and no background; "ILL 13" at right
Rear: White on dark blue; "ILL 13" at right
none 12345 1 to approximately 94100 Front plates were stencil-like, again to facilitate passage of air to the vehicle's radiator.
Illinois 1914 license plate 68929.jpg Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1914 Green on white; "ILL 14" at right none 12345 1 to 99999 Front plates had vertical slits between the characters of the serial; this practice continued through 1918. Letters H, K, P and R used in the A1234 serial format.
A1234 H0001 to approximately R1000
1915 Illinois License Plate Front.jpg 1915 Illinois License Plate Rear.jpg 1915 Dark blue on yellow; "ILL 15" at right none 12345 1 to 99999 Letters H, K, P, R, T, U, X and Y used in the A1234 serial format. [68]
A1234 H0001 to approximately Y9999
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Illinois 1916 license plate - Number 130073.jpg 1916 Black on silver with border line; "ILL 16" at right none 123456 1 to approximately 249000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1917 White on black with border line; "ILL 17" at right none 123456 1 to approximately 339000 Last year in which aluminum dashboard discs were required.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1918 Blue on gray with border line; "ILL 18" at right none 123456 1 to approximately 387000 This was the last year that the front plates had vertical slits between the characters to allow better airflow to the vehicle radiator.
1919 Illinois License Plate.jpg 1919 White on brown with border line; "ILL 19" at right none 123456 1 to approximately 473000
Illinois - 1920 license plate.jpg 1920 Black on orange with border line; "ILL 20" at right none 123456 1 to approximately 494000
Illinois - 1921 license plate.jpg 1921 White on black with border line; "ILL 21" at right none 123456 1 to approximately 579000
Illinois - 1922 license plate.jpg 1922 Black on gray with border line; "ILL 22" at right none 123-456 1 to approximately 681-000
Illinois - 1923 license plate.jpg 1923 White on green with border line; "ILL 23" at right none 123-456 1 to approximately 841-000
Illinois 1924 license plate - 198-565.jpg 1924 Deep yellow on black with border line; "ILL 24" at right none 123-456 1 to approximately 977-000
Illinois 1925 license plate - 24-086.jpg 1925 White on brown with border line; "ILL 25" at right none 1-234-567 1 to approximately 1-102-000
Illinois - 1926 license plate.jpg 1926 White on dark blue with border line; "ILL 26" at right none 1-234-567 1 to approximately 1-180-000
1927 Illinois license plate.jpg 1927 Black on orange with border line; embossed state shape at right containing debossed "ILL 27" in orange none 1-234-567 1 to approximately 1-249-000
Illinois - 1928 license plate.jpg 1928 White on maroon with border line; "ILL 28" at right none 1-234-567 1 to approximately 1-313-000
Illinois - 1929 license plate.jpg 1929 Red on black with border line; "ILL 29" at right none 1-234-567 1 to approximately 1-411-000
Illinois 1930 license plate - Number 522-110.jpg 1930 White on black with border line; "ILL 30" at right none 1-234-567 1 to approximately 1-418-000
Illinois 1931 license plate - Number 1-237-904.jpg 1931 Black on light green with border line; "ILL 31" at right none 1-234-567 1 to approximately 1-411-000
Illinois - 1932 license plate.jpg 1932 Golden yellow on dark blue with border line; "ILL 32" at right none 1-234-567 1 to approximately 1-301-000
Illinois - 1933 license plate.jpg 1933 White on dark blue with border line; "ILL 33" at right none 1-234-567 1 to approximately 1-277-000
Illinois - 1934 license plate.jpg 1934 Yellow on black with border line; "ILL-34", "ILLINOIS-34" or "ILLINOIS-1934" at bottom (see right) none 1-234-567 1 to approximately 1-285-000 Plates with serials 1 through 999 had "ILL-34" at the bottom; plates with serials 1000 through 9999 had "ILLINOIS-34"; and plates with serials 10-000 and up had "ILLINOIS-1934". The latter two groups were the first plates to feature the full state name.
Illinois - 1935 license plate.jpg 1935 Blue on white with border line; "ILL-35", "ILLINOIS-35" or "ILLINOIS-1935" at top none 1-234-567 1 to approximately 1-351-000 Plates with serials 1 through 999 had "ILL-35" at the top; plates with serials 1000 through 9999 had "ILLINOIS-35"; and plates with serials 10-000 and up had "ILLINOIS-1935".
Illinois - 1936 license plate.jpg 1936 White on black with border line; "ILL-36", "ILL-1936" or "ILLINOIS-1936" at bottom none 1-234-567 1 to approximately 1-475-000 Plates with serials 1 through 999 had "ILL-36" at the bottom; plates with serials 1000 through 9999 had "ILL-1936"; and plates with serials 10-000 and up had "ILLINOIS-1936".
Illinois 1937 license plate - Number 1-221-737.jpg 1937 Black on yellow with border line; "19 - ILLINOIS - 37" at top none 1-234-567 1 to approximately 1-569-000
Illinois - 1938 license plate.jpg 1938 White on green; "ILLINOIS 38" at bottom none 1234 567 1 to approximately 1579 000
Illinois 1939 license plate - Number 969 850.jpg 1939 Yellow on black; "ILLINOIS 39" at top none 1234 567 1 to approximately 1639 000
Illinois 1940 license plate - Number 1343 184.jpg 1940 Cream on brown; "ILL 1940" or "ILLINOIS 1940" at bottom none 1234 567 1 to approximately 1723 000
1941 Illinois license plate.jpg 1941 Black on golden yellow; "ILL 1941" or "ILLINOIS 1941" at top none 1234 567 1 to approximately 1827 000
Illinois - 1942 license plate.jpg 1942 Golden yellow on black; "ILL 1942" or "ILLINOIS 1942" at bottom none 1234 567 1 to approximately 1750 000
1943 Illinois passenger license plate.jpg 1943 Cream on green fiberboard;
"ILL. 43" or "ILLINOIS 43" at top
none 1234 567 1 to approximately 1639 000 Manufactured on fiberboard due to metal conservation for World War II. Plates continued to be manufactured in this manner until 1948.
1944 Illinois passenger license plate.jpg 1944 Cream on brown fiberboard;
"ILL. 44" or "ILLINOIS 1944" at bottom
none 1234 567 1 to approximately 1515 000
Illinois 1945 license plate - Number 206 760.jpg 1945 Orange on black fiberboard;
"ILL. 45" or "ILLINOIS 1945" at top
none 1234 567 1 to approximately 1513 000
1946 Illinois passenger license plate.jpg 1946 White on maroon fiberboard;
"ILL. 46" or "ILLINOIS 1946" at bottom
none 1234 567 1 to approximately 1610 000
Illinois 1947 license plate - Number 14 983.jpg 1947 Off-white on green fiberboard;
"ILL. 47" or "ILLINOIS 1947" at top
none 1234-567 1 to approximately 1747-000
1948 Illinois passenger license plate.jpg 1948 Black on orange fiberboard;
"ILL. 48" or "ILLINOIS 1948" at bottom
none 1234 567 1 to approximately 1949 000 Last fiberboard plate.
Illinois 1949 license plate - Number 421 912.jpg 1949 Canary yellow on dark blue; [69]
"ILL 49" or "ILLINOIS 1949" at top
none 1234 567 1 to approximately 2079 000 First steel plate since 1942.
Illinois 1950 license plate - Number 695 097.jpg 1950 Ivy green on off-white; [70] "ILL 1950" at bottom none 1234 567 1 to approximately 2287 000 First aluminum plate.
Illinois 1951 license plate - Number 854 116.jpg 1951 Maroon on unpainted aluminum; [71] "ILL 1951" at top none 1234 567 1 to approximately 2403 000
Illinois 1952 license plate - Number 611 854.jpg 1952 Midnight blue on burnt orange; [72] "ILL 1952" at bottom none 1234 567 1 to approximately 2462 000
Illinois 1953 license plate - Number 1017 046.jpg 1953 Ruby red on buff; [73] "ILL 1953" at top none 1234 567 1 to approximately 2580 000 License plates placed under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of State.
Illinois 1954 license plate - Number 2236 213.jpg 1954 White on kelly green; "19 ILLINOIS 54" at bottom Land of Lincoln 1234 567 1 to approximately 2700 000 First use of the "Land of Lincoln" slogan. [74]
Illinois 1955 license plate - Number 2647 648.jpg 1955 Orange lettering on blue base; "19 ILLINOIS 55" at top Land of Lincoln 1234 567 1 to approximately 2849 000 Issued in the colors of the University of Illinois. [75]
Illinois 1956 license plate - Number 2078091.jpg 1956 Ivy green lettering on powder gray base; [76] "19 ILLINOIS 56" at bottom Land of Lincoln 1234 567 1 to approximately 2980 000 First 6" x 12" plate. It is unconfirmed if this plate was issued to honor Illinois Wesleyan University, whose colors are actually green and white, as no period reference has been found.
Illinois 1957 license plate - Number 442 312.jpg 1957 White lettering on red base; "19 ILLINOIS 57" at top Land of Lincoln 1234 567 1 to approximately 3075 000 Issued in the colors of Illinois State University, in honor of its centennial. [77]
Illinois 1958 license plate - Number 325 414.jpg 1958 Purple lettering on white base; "19 ILLINOIS 58" at bottom Land of Lincoln 1234 567 1 to approximately 3104 000 Issued in the colors of Northwestern University. [78]
Illinois 1959 license plate - 1076302.jpg 1959 White lettering on brown base; "19 ILLINOIS 59" at top Land of Lincoln 1234 567 1 to approximately 3224 000 Issued in the colors of Quincy College, in honor of its centennial. [79]
Illinois 1960 license plate - Number 425 147.jpg 1960 Gold lettering on royal blue base; "19 ILLINOIS 60" at bottom Land of Lincoln 1234 567 1 to approximately 3307 000 Issued in the colors of Augustana College and Wheaton College, in honor of their respective centennials. [80]
Illinois 1961 license plate - Number 187 318.jpg 1961 White lettering on red base; "19 ILLINOIS 61" at top Land of Lincoln 123 456 1 to
999 999
Issued in the colors of North Central College, in honor of its centennial. [81] Letters I, O, Q and Z not used in the AB 1234 serial format. [68]
AB 1234 AA 1000 to approximately NP 7000
Illinois 1962 license plate - Number BY 8791.jpg 1962 White lettering on orange base; "19 ILLINOIS 62" at bottom Land of Lincoln 123 456 1 to
999 999
The orange base was specifically chosen for its visibility, but police officers complained that they could not read the white serials, especially at night. [82]
AB 1234 AA 1000 to approximately PH 8000
Illinois 1963 license plate - Number JJ 3854.jpg 1963 Yellow lettering on dark green base; "19 ILLINOIS 63" at top Land of Lincoln 123 456 1 to
999 999
Issued in the colors of Moline-based Deere & Company, in honor of its 125th anniversary. [83]
AB 1234 AA 1000 to approximately RD 6000
Illinois 1964 license plate - Number 617 763.jpg 1964 White lettering on purple base; "19 ILLINOIS 64" at bottom Land of Lincoln 123 456 1 to
999 999
Issued in the colors of McKendree College and Rockford College, the two oldest colleges in Illinois. [84]
AB 1234 AA 1000 to approximately SD 7000
Illinois 1965 license plate - Number JB 3176.jpg 1965 Green on white; "19 ILLINOIS 65" at top Land of Lincoln 123 456 1 to
999 999
The colors were used to honor Secretary of State Charles Carpentier, who died in office on April 3, 1964. [85] T and U not used as first letters in the AB 1234 serial format; this practice continued until 1969. [68]
AB 1234 AA 1000 to approximately VE 5000
Illinois 1966 license plate - Number EW 4756.jpg 1966 Red on reflective white; "19 ILLINOIS 66" at bottom Land of Lincoln 123 456 1 to
999 999
First reflective plate.
AB 1234 AA 1000 to approximately WG 3000
Illinois 1967 license plate - Number 53 975.jpg 1967 Black on reflective white; "19 ILLINOIS 67" at top Land of Lincoln 123 456 1 to
999 999
AB 1234 AA 100 to approximately SK 2000
Illinois 1968 license plate - Number 436 743.jpg 1968 Red on reflective white; "19 ILLINOIS 68" at bottom; "18" at top corners Land of Lincoln 123 456 1 to
999 999
Commemorated Illinois' 150 years of statehood.
AB 1234 AA 1 to approximately SW 9000
Illinois 1969 license plate - Number NG 203.jpg 1969 Dark blue on reflective orange; "19 ILLINOIS 69" at top Land of Lincoln 123 456 1 to
999 999
T added as first letter in the AB 1234 serial format.
AB 1234 AA 1 to approximately TP 4000
1970 Illinois license plate.jpg 1970 Red on reflective yellow with border line; "19 ILLINOIS 70" at bottom Land of Lincoln 123 456 1 to
999 999
AB 1234 AA 1 to approximately TW 6000
ILLINOIS 1971 LICENSE PLATE 282-662 - Flickr - woody1778a.jpg 1971 Black on reflective white with border line; "19 ILLINOIS 71" at top Land of Lincoln 123 456 1 to
999 999
AB 1234 AA 1 to approximately VT 8000
1972 Illinois license plate.jpg 1972 Blue on reflective white with border line; "19 ILLINOIS 72" at bottom Land of Lincoln 123 456 1 to
999 999
AB 1234 AA 1 to approximately WX 1000
Illinois 1973 license plate - Number 53 973.jpg 1973 Green on reflective white with border line; "19 ILLINOIS 73" at top Land of Lincoln 123 456 1 to
999 999
U added as first letter in the AB 1234 serial format following WY 9999. [68] Total passenger plates issued exceeds five million for the first time.
AB 1234 AA 1 to WY 9999;
UA 1 to approximately UX 2000
Illinois 1974 license plate - Number 53 975.jpg 1974 Red on reflective white with border line; "19 ILLINOIS 74" at bottom Land of Lincoln 123 456 1 to
999 999
Three-letter serials used for the first time on a trial basis. [86] [87]
AB 1234 AA 1 to WY 9999;
UA 1 to UY 9999
ABC 123 AAA 100 to approximately AML 500 [68]
Illinois 1975 license plate - Number FG 647.jpg 1975 Black on reflective yellow with border line; "19 ILLINOIS 75" at top Land of Lincoln 123 456
AB 1234
ABC 123
*Issued in the colors of Peoria-based Caterpillar Inc., in honor of its 50th anniversary. [88] [89]
*Three-letter prefix program expanded from about 800 combinations in 1974 to 2,851. [90] [91]
USA Illinois 1976 license plate.jpg 1976 Blue on reflective white with red and blue United States Bicentennial graphics Land of Lincoln 123 456
AB 1234
ABC 123
?
remakes of previously issued serials
Design chosen following a statewide grade and high school contest; the winner was 10-year-old Kelley Jordan of Normal, Illinois. [92]
Illinois 1977 license plate - Number AY 2977.jpg 1977 Green on reflective white; "19 ILLINOIS 77" at top Land of Lincoln 123 456
AB 1234
ABC 123
?
remakes of previously issued serials
Plates issued reach the six million mark.
Illinois 1978 license plate.jpg 1978 Black on reflective white with border line; "19 ILLINOIS 78" at bottom Land of Lincoln 123 456
AB 1234
ABC 123
?
remakes of previously issued serials
Last single-year plate, and last year that all license plates in the state expire on the same date.

1979 to present

Image First issued Description Slogan Serial format Serials issued Notes
1983 Illinois license plate.png 1979 Dark blue on reflective white; state name screened in dark blue at top Land of Lincoln 123 456 1 to
999 999
First multi-year base, and first to feature monthly staggered registration. Manufactured in Texas using that state's serial dies, and issued in the colors of Illinois College in honor of its sesquicentennial. [93] Vanity plates introduced 1980. [94] Replaced 1984–86.
AB 1234 AA 1 to ZZ 9999
1983-Illinois-license-plate.png 1982 ABC 123 XAA 1 to ZZZ 999
1987-Illinois-license-plate.png 1984 Dark blue on reflective white with light and dark blue stripes; state name screened in dark blue at top left Land of Lincoln ABC 123 AAA 1 to ZZZ 999 Seven letter vanity plates become available on January 1, 1984. [95]
123 456
AB 1234
Reissues of 1979–82 serials
1995 A 12 345 B 1 to Z 99 999
(see right)
Letters B, C, D, F, J, S, T, Y and Z used in this serial format.
Illinois 2000 license plate.jpg 1996 A 123 456 B 100 000 to approximately Y 677 000 (see right) Narrower dies. Letters B, C, D, F, J, T and Y used in this serial format. All plates on this base replaced 2001–02.
2001 Illinois License Plate.jpg July 2001 Reflective gradient white-to-blue fade with Abraham Lincoln graphic at center; state name screened in blue at top Land of Lincoln 123 4567 100 0001 to 999 9999 Design selected by voters on the state's web site.
123 456
AB 1234
ABC 123
A12 345
A12 3456
Reissues of 1979–2001 serials
2006 A12 3456 A10 0001 to Z99 9999 (see right) Letter progressed as follows: G, X, A, H, K, L, N, P, R, S, V, E, Y (70 0000 to 99 9999), Z and Q. I and O were not used, while M, U and W were reserved for Municipal, State Owned and Disabled plates respectively.
2016 AB1 2345 ZZ1 1001 to approximately ZU9 3000 (see right) Two-letter series progressed as follows: ZX, ZZ, ZY, ZV and ZU. This was to avoid conflicting with serials of the same format on the upcoming 2017 base (below).
Illinois 2017 License Plate V1.jpg January 2017 Reflective gradient blue-to-white with white Chicago and Springfield skyline and gray Abraham Lincoln graphic at far left; state name screened in black at top Land of Lincoln AB1 2345 AA1 1001 to AF9 9999 Mandatory ten-year plate replacement to be phased in with this base. [96] I and O not used in two-letter series.
Illinois 2017 License Plate V2.jpg AB 12345 AG 11001 to AP 99999 Portions of the new design are expected to be revised because of the difficulty in reading characters over the face of Lincoln. [97]
Illinois 2017 License Plate V3.jpg AQ 11001 to BP 20703 (as of April 20, 2019) Lincoln's portrait was faded from black and dark gray to light gray in order to improve the readability of the plate. Issue started circa January 2018.

Non-passenger plates

Image Type Design Serial format Serials issued Notes
Illinois - 1923 - Truck license plate.jpg 1923 Truck White on green with border line; "TRUCK" embossed vertically at left; "ILL" over "23" embossed at right 111-119 1 to 72726 Format used 1922 - 1929
1951 Illinois license plate.png 1951 B Truck (Rear Plate) Maroon on Aluminum; "ILL" and "1951" at top center; "REAR" embossed vertically at left B 123
B1234
B12 345
B123 456
B 1 to ? Front plate similar.
Illinois Truck B License Plate.jpg 1984 B Truck Red on reflective white with red stripes; state name screened in red at top left; "B TRUCK" embossed vertically at right 12 345
123 456
123 AB
1234 AB
various Replaced in 2003
Il2005btruck.jpg 2003 B Truck Dark blue on reflective white with light blue Abraham Lincoln graphic at center; state name screened in red at top; "B TRUCK" screened vertically at right 1234 A
12 345 A
1234567
various, plus remakes of previous issued serials Will be replaced soon [98]
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 2003 Motorcycle Similar to 2001 Abraham Lincoln passenger base AB 1234 AA 101 to DV 9999 Letters I, O and Q not used.

Special plates

Image Type Design Serial format Serials issued Notes
Illinois 1987 Governor's Conference license plate - 77.jpg 1987 Midwest Governor's Conference White on pale blue Used for 30–60 days.
Illinois 1992 LPGA Sun Times Challenge license plate - 40.jpg 1992 LPGA Chicago Challenge Black on yellow Used for 30–60 days.

References

  1. ^ Balsamo, George; Williams, Daryl (June 1992). "Illinois - Land of Lincoln". ALPCA Newsletter. Vol. 38 no. 3. Columbus, Ohio: Automobile License Plate Collectors Association. p. 72.
  2. ^ Foust, Hal (July 15, 1953). "Stratton OK's Key Measure In Toll Road Plan". Chicago Tribune. Chicago, Illinois. p. 7.
  3. ^ "Order Lincoln Slogan on '54 Auto Plates". Chicago Tribune. Chicago, Illinois. July 22, 1953. p. 1.
  4. ^ Garrish, Christopher (October 2016). "Reconsidering the Standard Plate Size". Plates. Vol. 62 no. 5. Automobile License Plate Collectors Association.
  5. ^ "Perpetual". Chicago Daily Tribune. Chicago, Illinois. December 23, 1917. p. D6.
  6. ^ Butler, Sheppard (December 19, 1918). "Exhaust Echoes". Chicago Daily Tribune. Chicago, Illinois. p. 20.
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  8. ^ Howard, Robert (March 4, 1967). "5-Year Auto Plate Plan Is Hit By Powell". Chicago Tribune. Chicago, Illinois.
  9. ^ "Powell Tells Opposition to 5-Year Plates". Chicago Tribune. Chicago, Illinois. April 19, 1967. p. 11.
  10. ^ Foust, Hal (October 27, 1958). "U. of I. Study Asks Changes In Auto Licenses". Chicago Tribune. Chicago, Illiois. p. C10.
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  84. ^ "Our Town: New License Plates Are Pretty Purple - but on Orange Cars?". Chicago Tribune. December 15, 1963. p. A1. The purple license plates with white lettering were chosen by the secretary of state to honor Illinois' oldest colleges. They are McKendree college, Lebanon, founded in 1828, and Rockford college, Rockford, founded in 1847.
  85. ^ "Here Is an Exclusive Look at the Midwest's Official License Plate for Next Year". Chicago Tribune. September 7, 1964. p. C14.
  86. ^ "Put your name on plate". Dolton Pointer. Dolton, IL. July 17, 1974. p. 14.
  87. ^ "Three-Letter Prefix Plates Now Available". The Herald. Harvard, IL. August 7, 1974. p. 2.
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  93. ^ "Blue-white license plate color honors I. C.". Jacksonville Courier. Jacksonville, IL. December 22, 1978. p. 3.
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  98. ^ http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/news/2016/november/161115d1.pdf

External links