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D.C. Plates of 1965-1973

1965: The Confusion Begins

1965 (exp. 3-31-66) passenger plate no. 5BM26
1965 (exp. 3-31-66) Diplomatic Staff plate no. WN-1250
1965 (exp. 3-31-66) Commercial (Truck) plate no. CA4611

It's no wonder that D.C. plates of various types issued (or revalidated) annually beginning in early 1965 have confused observers and collectors for decades. The relative scarcity of non-passenger plates of this era hasn't helped to make understanding what happened during the ensuing nine years any easier. Left Standard passenger plates were made with the wide dies and colored background characteristic of earlier plates. Center A diplomatic staff plate that shares characteristics of earlier and later plates. Right A sign of things to come: the plain black-on-white color scheme evident in this commercial plate would be used almost exclusively for the next decade. The new, slender dies were used until late 2001.

It could easily be argued that the most confusing era of Washington, D.C. license plates, especially when non-passenger plates are considered, is the nine-year period that began in April 1965. From the introduction of most types through the mid-1960s passenger and non-passenger plates were more similar than they were different. Colors, sizes, and periods of use were, in most cases, identical. That all changed, however, in early 1965, and the seemingly haphazard periods during which non-passenger plates were issued for the next nine years is a source of confusion for many D.C. plate observers.

Washington, D.C. Passenger and Non-Passenger Plates: 1965-1973

The images below are offered to try to illustrate which plates and stickers were used during each registration year between 1964 (exp. 3-31-65), the last in a sequence of consecutive years during which passenger and non-pass. plates were replaced simultaneously and shared color schemes, and 1974 (exp. 3-31-75, the new "Bicentennial" base) when they were again rejoined. In the interim, from April 1965 through March 1974, the replacement of passenger and non-passenger plates was staggered.

Six non-passenger types are not addressed on this page because they do not fit into any of the three classifications used below. Dealer, motorcycle dealer, trailer dealer, and transporter plates were replaced annually throughout this period and shared the same color scheme: blue on yellow in even-numbered registration years, the opposite in odd-numbered years. Please see our Motor Vehicle Business Types page for images and more information. The other types addressed not included below are motorcycle and personalized ("vanity").

Reserved-number plates are also not addressed on this page. Information about the design and replacement timing of reserved plates during this era may be found on a separate page.

 
Passenger
Passenger-Format Types:
Diplomat, Diplomatic Staff (WN prefix),
Medical Doctor (MD), Rental (R)
Non-Passenger Format Types:
Bus (B prefix), Commercial (C),
Hire (H), Livery (L), Trailer (T)
1965
1965 (exp. 3-31-66) passenger plate no. 5BM26
1965 (exp. 3-31-66) Diplomatic Staff plate no. WN-1250
1965 (exp. 3-31-66) Commercial (Truck) plate no. CA4611
1966
1966 (exp. 3-31-67) Passenger plate no. 297-681
1968 (exp. 3-31-69) Diplomat plate validated for 1972 (exp. 3-31-73)
1965 (exp. 3-31-66) Livery plate no. LB-076 validated for 1966 (exp. 3-31-67)
1967
1966 (3-31-67) Passenger plate no. 367-082 validated for 1967 (3-31-68)
1966 Rental plate validated for 1967 (exp. 3-31-68)
1965 (exp. 3-31-66) Hire (Taxi) plate no. HS-517 validated for 1967 (exp. 3-31-68)
1968
1968 (exp. 3-31-69) Passenger plate no. 686-746
1968 (exp. 3-31-69) Medical Doctor plate no. 933
1965 (exp. 3-31-66) Bus plate no. BE-941 validated for 1968 (exp. 3-31-69)
1969
1968 (exp. 3-31-69) Passenger plate no. 714-862 validated for 1969 (exp. 3-31-70)
1968 (exp. 3-31-69) Rental plate validated for 1969 (exp. 3-31-70)
1969 (exp. 3-31-70) Bus plate no. BA-1622
1970
1968 (exp. 3-31-69) Passenger plate no. 816-809 validated for 1970 (exp. 3-31-71)
1968 (exp. 3-31-69) Diplomatic Staff plate  no. WN-2047 validated for 1970 (exp. 3-31-71)
1970 (exp. 3-31-71) Hire (Taxi) pplate no. H-1883
1971
1968 (exp. 3-31-69) Passenger plate no. 871-994 validated for 1971 (exp. 3-31-72)
 
1971 (exp. 3-31-72) Bus plate no. B-2858
1972
1968 (exp. 3-31-69) Passenger plate no. 904-674 validated for 1972 (exp. 3-31-73)
1968 (exp. 3-31-69) Diplomat plate validated for 1972 (exp. 3-31-73)
1972 (exp. 3-31-73) Commercial (Trck) plate no. C-1278
1973
1968 (exp. 3-31-69) Passenger plate no. 970-126 validated for 1973 (exp. 3-31-74)
 
1973 (exp. 3-31-74) Trailer plate no. T-3541

 



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