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General Information: Personalized

PERSONALIZED
One of the most significant developments in the history of the license plate is the ability of vehicle owners to choose their own letters and/or numbers.  This trend began in 1937 in Connecticut where, for a $1 initial extra fee, any owner over age 30 who had held a CT drivers license for at least 5 years and a satisfactory record of safe driving, could order a plate with just two or three letters, usually their initials.  Over 8,000 were issued that first year!  Over the years, as more states adopted "vanity" plates, the restrictions relaxed and the limit of letters/numbers, as well as the fees, increased.  Once California began issuance of them in 1970, personalized plates really hit their zenith in American pop culture!
 
Personalized plates often go by different names depending on the state issuing them:  Courtesy, custom, initial, prestige, vanity, etc.  Some states issued special plates for certain individuals much earlier than personalized plates available to the general public, such as Massachusetts #K0, issued to boxing champion Rocky Marciano in 1952 - we call these "pre-personalized" plates.
 
The following table lists when each state began, how many characters were initially allowed, the original initial and renewal fees, and when Motorcycle personalized plates began, if known.
 
                         INITIAL/RENEWAL
       BEGAN      FIGURES   EXTRA FEE     MOTORCYCLE
AL     1977         1-6      $50/$50      Seen "FEB 01"
AK     1968         2-6      $20/$0       Began 1988
AZ     1975=        2-6      $25/$10      Seen "JAN 87"
AR     1968         1-6      $10/$10      Seen "6 93"
CA   8/21/1970      2-6+     $25/$10      Began by 11/3/1971
CO   1/3/1977       2-6      $35/$25      Began 1/3/1977
CT     1937         2-3+     $1/$0*       Law P 7/1/1971
DE   7/1/1968       1-5+     $25/$25      Seen "AUG 84"
DC   8/?/1964=      1-5+     $25/$0*      Seen "AUG 02"
FL   7/1/1972=      1-7      $12.5/$12.5  Began 7/1/1975     
GA     1969         1-6      $10/$10      Seen 1992
HI     1969         1-6      $100/$0*     Seen 1990
ID   7/1/1972       1-6+     $26/$26      Seen 1989
IL     1980         1-6+     $50/$10*     Began 1980
IN   1/2/1978=      2-6      $40/$40      Seen 1986          
IA   7/1/1975       2-6      $25/$25*     Seen 1977
KS     1975=        1-7      $25/$0       Began 1978=
KY   1/3/1977       1-6      $25/$25      Seen 1990
LA     1974         2-6      $50/$50*     Seen "MAR 93"
ME     1962         1-6      $10/$5       Law E 10/3/1973    
MD   7/1/1971       2-6      $25/$25      Began 7/1/1982
MA     1966         2-6      $3/$3*       Seen "DEC 97"(1993?)
MI     1974         2-6      $25/$25*     Began 1977
MN   11/15/1976=    1-6      $50/$0       Seen 1989
MS   11/1/1981      1-6      $75/$0*      Seen "OCT 00"     
MO     1979=        1-6      $12/$12      Seen "APR 81"
MT   7/1/1973       2-6+     $20/$5       Seen "12 85"
NE     1972         1-6      $50/$25      Seen "6 05"
NV   7/1/1969       1-6      $25/$15      Law P 4/10/1979
NH     1957         2-4+     $5/$5        Seen 1971         
NJ   1/?/1976       1-6      $50/$0       Seen 1992
NM   6/16/1967      1-7      $25/$25*     Began 1979
NY   12/1/1977      1-6+     $25/$0*      Began 4/1/1982
NC     1968          6+      $10/$10      Seen 1969
ND     1963         1-6+     $100/$0*     Seen 1989         
OH     1975=        4-6+     $35/$35      Seen "5 94" (1986?)
OK     1968         1-6+     $10/$10      Began 1988 "89"
OR     1970=        1-6      $25/$25*     Seen "NOV 87"
PA     1965         4-5+     $10/$0*      Seen "9 92"
RI   8/13/1961      2-4+     $10/$10      Law P 6/20/1995(2/96)
SC     1972         2-7      $15/$15      HB2590 P 7/8/87,seen'88
SD   7/1/1977       2-6      $50/$35      Seen 1991 base "BIKER"
TN     1974         2-6      $50/$50      Seen 1985 (No 1980)
TX   9/1/1965       1-6      $10/$10      Seen 1975
UT   7/1/1975=      1-6      $30/$5       Law E 5/10/1977   
VT     1958         2-4+     $5/$5        Seen "APR 83"
VA   5/?/1981       2-6+     $10/$10      Seen "MAY 86"
WA     1974         2-6      $30/$20      Began 3/11/1975
WV     1981         1-5+     $40/$40      Seen (EXP. 6-30) 1988
WI   1/1/1979=      2-6      $10/$10      Began 8/1/1984
WY     1970         1-4      $15/$15*     Seen 1981     (1979?)
AB   5/15/1985      1-7      $150/$0*     Seen "OCT 97" (1985?)
BC   12/6/1979      2-6      $75/$0*
MB   3/?/1983       1-6+     $50          Seen "JUL 87"
NB   3/?/1986       2-7      $100/$0      Seen "03 98"
NF
NS   4/?/1989       2-7                   Seen "DEC 12" (2007?)
ON   12/?/1982      2-6+                  Listed 1985
PE     1990         1-7+                  Reported 2007 base
QC  (None 2003)
SK   3/?/1983       2-6      $70*
YK   "3/31/85"      2-6                   Seen "MAR 12"
NT     1988         2-6                   Reported 1988
NU   "FEB 05"
 
 
= Plates dated differently:  AZ "73", DC "3-31-65", FL "73", IN "79", KS "76", KS Motorcycle "75", MN "77", MO "80", OH Front "74", OR "71", UT "76", WI "80".
 
+ CA 7 added by 7/1/1978, CT 1-6 added gradually, DE 6 added by 1978, DC 6 added by 1978, ID 7-9 1972 only, IL 7 added 1/1/1984, MI 1-7 added 1991, MT 7 added by 1975, 8 by 1980, NH 1-6 added gradually, NY 1-3 began 1955 for $5 fee per baseplate term, 7-8 added 4/?/1978, NC 3 letters seen 1968, ND no limit 1963-73 only, OH 1-2 began 1935, 3 began 1950 for $1 fee, OK 7 added 1976, PA 1-6 added 1977, RI 5-6 added gradually, VT 5 added 1962, 1 added 2009, VA 3 letters plus #1 - 100 began 1973, WV 6 added by "JAN 87", 7 added by 2002, MB 7 added 1994, PE issued 3 letters plus 2 numbers for $10 in 1973-74 only.
 
* CT raised gradually, DC $10 renewal added 1970, HI per baseplate term, IL $9 (not $50) if number suffix(es) added, raised to $75 and $11 by 1988, IA renewal reduced to $5 by 1979, LA 2-year term, MA raised to $10 by 1978, $25 c.1980, MI reduced to $15/$15 after 1995 but by 2002, MS per baseplate term ($75 if first year of 5-year base, $65 2nd, $55 3rd, $45 4th or $35 5th), NM reduced to $15 1976, NY reportedly reduced to $18.25/$15 by 1978, ND per baseplate term 1963-65, reduced to $25/$25 sometime after 1965, OR raised to $50/$50 per 2-year term 1975, PA raised to $20 by 1978, WY raised to $30 by 1978, AB per baseplate term, BC per 5-year term, SK raised to $75 by 1993.