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D.C. Auto License Plates Since April 1997

The collection of plates pictured on this and associated pages is comprised of a single example of every two-letter series used on general-issue and optional passenger car plates since the AB-1234 format was adopted in April 1997. In addition to providing estimates as to during which months plates of each letter series were issued, this gives us a good chance to see some plates validated for more than one year, which most plates are, because elsewhere on the site we try to show only plates validated just a single time (i.e. "natural" plates). Issuance months noted are approximate, and through spring 2003 are based upon expiration month stickers observed on plates of each series.

A-series plates are shown below and more recent plates may be found on separate pages using these links:

F series

D.C. auto plate no. AZ-2021 on a Honda Accord parked on Arkansas Ave. NW.
In this typical late winter street scene photographed by J. Reid Williamson an early TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION plate is seen on a Honda Accord parked on Arkansas Ave. NW at the junction of Upshur St. NW.

A-Series Plates: April 1997-Dec. 2000

The A series appears to have been issued for about 45 months. This is the only series (so far) that uses serial letters I, O, and Q. Why the AS, AT, and AU series were skipped in the sequence is unknown, but we know that the AP series was not used because it appears on apportioned truck plates. The TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION slogan was introduced just before the end of the A series, at plate AZ-0000 in November 2000.

Our AN- and AX-series plates have their renewal stickers in the middle of the plate because while in use the year sticker space in the upper right corner was covered by a dealer promotional frame. Plate AG-0001 pictured is the second of that letter series because each series begins with number 0000. Number AK-4100 is noteworthy because it was validated with an exp. 2004 sticker. Very few plates have the magenta '04 sticker. (Click here and scroll to the bottom of our sticker gallery to read why.)

Plate no. AA-4847, issued June 1997
Plate no. AB-1634, issued July 1997
Plate no. AC-3243, issued Sept. 1997
AA - issued April-June 1997
AB - issued June-Aug. 1997
AC - issued Aug.-Oct. 1997
Plate no. AD-0687, issued Nov. 1997
Plate no. AE-4332, issued c.Feb. 1998
Plate no. AF-5480, issued April 1998
AD - issued Nov. 1997-Jan. 1998
AE - issued Jan.-March 1998
AF - issued March-May 1998
Plate no. AG-0001, issued May 1998
Plate no. AH-0195, issued July 1998
Plate no. AI-1279, issued Sept. 1998
AG - issued May-June 1998
AH - issued June-Aug. 1998
AI - issued Aug.-Oct. 1998
Plate no. AK-4100, issued Feb. 1999
Plate no. AL-5490, issued May 1999
AJ - issued Nov. 1998-Jan. 1999
AK - issued Jan.-March 1999
AL - issued April-June 1999
Plate no. AM-4159, issued June 1999
Plate no. AN-2721, issued Aug. 1999
Plate no. AO-3034, issued Oct. 1999
AM - issued June-Aug. 1999
AN - issued Aug., Sept. 1999
AO - issued Sept.-Nov. 1999
Plate no. AQ-9490, issued Jan. 2000
Plate no. AR-3172, issued Feb. 2000
Plate no. AV-6757, issued May 2000
AQ - issued Nov. 1999-Jan. 2000
AR - issued Jan.-Mar. 2000
AV - issued Mar.-May 2000
Plate no. AW-3775, issued May. 2000
Plate no. AX-6004, issued Aug. 2000
Plate no. AY-5587, issued Sep. 2000
AW - issued May-July 2000
AX - issued July-Sept. 2000
AY - issued Sept.-Nov. 2000
Plate no. AZ-0407, issued Nov. 2000
AZ - issued Nov., Dec. 2000

D.C. auto plate no. AL-0000 on a Mercedes-Benz C300 stopped in traffic on a city street.
For anyone who may doubt that D.C. general-issue auto plates begin each two-letter series at plate no. 0000, here's proof in the form of the first plate of the AL series.

D.C. auto plate no. AX-9721 on a Dodge minivan parked on Water St. SW.
This image was taken at the southern end of Water St. SW, across from the Spirit of Washington, and the Washington Monument in the view shows us that J. Reid Williamson was facing northwest when he took this photo in mid-February 2007. The highest AX-series plates are believed to have been issued in Sept. 2000.

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