Archive for the ‘California License Plate History’ Category

Old California License Plates With a 6-Number Configuration

January 8, 2016 Leave a comment

We want to hear from you!

If you have been able to find “clear” YOM California license plates which have a 6-number configuration, please see our poll below.

Vintage California plates with six numbers have always been a little more difficult to use for the YOM program, as California used the 6-number configuration on a few different types/year plates (a few shown below), so there’s always a chance that the same 6-number configuration is in use on another set of older YOM passenger plates (or on a newer pair of commercial vehicle plates); or on an older trailer, motorcycle, or  exempt plate.

1920   1921    1922      1924

1926     1947    1956  1963 mc


Old California License Plates

August 19, 2015 Leave a comment

Old California License Plates: Collect Them!

Vintage California license plates are great for collecting! They don’t take up much room, look great in a garage, and have been increasing in value!

Some folks collect a California series, either by year (having a plate from each year on a display is very impressive) or alphabetical. Some people like to collect plates that were issued the year they were born.

Recently, we’ve been helping collectors who are investing in the old blue pairs of California tags like these (clicking on the images will bring up more vintage California tags):

Collectible California License PlatesCollectible California License Plates

Vintage California Horseless Carriage License Plates

January 28, 2015 Leave a comment

Old California Horseless Carriage plates from the 1970’s – great for collectors!


Old California license plates Horseless Carriage

Old California license plates: horseless carriage




History of California License Plates: Pictures of 1942 to 1955 Metal Year Tabs

June 7, 2013 Leave a comment
From 1942 to 1955, California Issued Metal Year Tabs for their License Plates

As part of our ongoing series on California license plate history, we thought we’d post pictures of the old metal license plate year tabs that were attached to California plates.

Prior to stickers, these small metal tabs were used on the base year plates: 1941, 1945, 1947, and 1951. The only exception was in 1944, when a square windshield sticker was used, to conserve metal during the war.

If you need one (or two) of these tabs for the California Year of Manufacture Program (YOM), we have several for sale on our two webstores:

Click here to see the tabs we have on our Ruby Lane webstore (this link will do a search for the tabs), or

Click here to see our tabs and toppers page on our webstore

1944 california sticker

1942 california tab

1943 california tab

1943 tab, V for Victory

1946 California tab1948 california tabs1949 california tabs

1950 california tabs1952 california tabs1953 california tabs

1954 California year tab1955 california tab

California Vintage License Plates: Some Were Made of Aluminum

August 23, 2012 Leave a comment
Most of the old California license plates were made of steel (1970’s and earlier), but we’ve seen a number of 1947, 1956, and 1963 trailer plates that were made of aluminum.

Although the modern-day California license plates are made of aluminum, most of the older plates were made of steel.  If you have an older trailer plate, maybe a base plate for 1947, 1956, or 1963, it may be made of aluminum. If you are not sure, you can check with a magnet (if it sticks, it’s steel).

If you are applying for the YOM program, and have an authentic vintage California license plate, made of aluminum, some dmv’s may need to check the old manuals (or data sheets)  to verify that some of the older plates were made of aluminum.

Below is a picture of a 1947 California trailer license plate, made of aluminum (no rust!):
California trailer license plate 1947

California Motorcycle License Plate Stickers: Years 1957-1962 Were the Smaller Versions

July 31, 2012 Leave a comment
From 1957-1962, California issued a smaller registration sticker for motorcycle license plates.

Vintage California motorcycle license plates came in a variety of sizes, generally smaller than the standard automobile license plates. So when California started using renewal stickers in 1957, the motorcycle stickers were a little smaller, which fit better on the smaller plates. We have a couple of NOS 1960 and a 1962 registration stickers, these are both 1-1/2″ by 1″ – you can click on the images to go to our webstores:

california motorcycle registration sticker 19621960 california motorcycle registration sticker

California License Plate History: Only One Plate Issued in 1945

July 25, 2012 Leave a comment
In 1945, California only issued one license plate per vehicle, instead of the usual pair.

Here’s a nice historical item: to conserve metal for the war effort, California issued just one license plate per vehicle in 1945. Then, in 1946, a small metal year tab was used.

So, if you have a 1945 or 1946 vehicle, you would only need one plate for the YOM program. We have these two items available on our Ruby Lane webstore.

California license plate 19451946 California tab

California YOM Info: Commercial Vehicles 1972 & Older, Okay

June 30, 2012 Leave a comment
The California Year of Manufacture program allows commercial vehicles 1972 and older to apply for YOM registration with old California commercial license plates: this includes the Ranchero, El Camino, and pickups.

Please note: vintage California commercial license plates have a different configuration than passenger plates, and can be a little harder to find. They also might be in rougher condition, as commercial vehicles were often used as work trucks. You’ll need a matching pair of “clear” plates, and an old California sticker that matches the model year of your vehicle:

1956-1962 commercial vehicle: you’ll need a clear pair of the vintage YELLOW California commercial license plates, and a year sticker.

1963-1969 commercial vehicle: you’ll need a matching pair of the old BLACK California commercial license plates, and a year sticker.

1970-1972 commercial vehicle: you’ll need a matching pair of the 6-CHARACTER BLUE California commercial license plates (and a year sticker), though you may want to check with your local dmv to see if you can use the vintage black plates for these years.

Vintage California license plate commercial black 1970

1963 base with 1970 sticker. Around 1968, they started putting the letter at the end

California vintage license plate commercial 1956

California commercial license plate, yellow 1956 base, issued through 1962

black California commercial license plate 1964

California commercial license plate, black 1963 base with 1964 sticker, leading letter

California Stickers for YOM License Plates, We Have Them!

June 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Looking for an authentic old California license plate sticker for your Year of Manufacture plates?

If the dmv said you needed an old year sticker (sometimes called a registration decal) for your California YOM license plates, and you weren’t sure where to start looking, we have them!

We have years 1957 to 1969 for passenger cars, and 1957 to 1972 for commercial vehicles (metal year tabs were used prior to 1956 – we have those, too). These authentic old year stickers ranging from fair to mint condition, with pictures and descriptions of each one, are listed on our two webstores. We  mail each one in a small USPS priority mail box, well-packed with bubble wrap, for safe shipping.

Click here to see our California stickers for sale on our webstore. We are able to list stickers by year on this webstore.

Click here to see our California stickers for sale on our webstore on Ruby Lane.  Stickers are arranged in random order by Ruby Lane (we wish there was an option to list them by year). After you get to our Ruby Lane webstore, you may want to use the store search bar to see all of the stickers we have of a specific year (i.e. “1967 sticker”), as we usually try to have at least three of each year.

Pictures of California license plate stickers and decals, 1957 to 1962:

1957 california license plate sticker decal 1958 California registration sticker decal 1959 California sticker decal 1960 California yom sticker decal 1961 California sticker decal 1962 California year of manufacture Sticker decal 

Pictures of California license plate stickers & decals, 1964 to 1972:

1964 California yom sticker decal 1965 California sticker 1966 California sticker 1967 California registration sticker 1968 California year of manufacture registration sticker 1969 California YOM Sticker 1970 California Sticker for Commercial vehicles 1971 California sticker, YOM Commercial 1972 California YOM Sticker, Commercial

California License Plate History, Ongoing Series: the No-63’s

June 25, 2012 Leave a comment

The popular black California license plates, issued from 1963 to 1969, almost always had the year ’63 (or just 63) stamped into the upper right sticker well, as that was the base-year plate. But you may have seen some without the 63 showing. We think this is an interesting piece of California license plate history – really, we do!

What we think happened: since many of the passenger license plates starting with the letters Y and Z were done at the end of the manufacturing run, the debosser was worn so thin by that time, that the stamp just didn’t show up. We’ve also seen several trailer and commercial license plates without the 63 showing.

This may cause a little concern at some dmv’s if you are applying for Year of Manufacture registration (YOM). If that happens, we’ve heard there is a “No-63” procedure for plates that are missing the 63 stamp. If your California dmv has that information, it could help get your YOM license plates approved. Sometimes, if you look on the back of the plate, you can see a very light 63 indentation on the back of the sticker well.

Old California trailer license plates can also be tricky with the YOM registration program, as some were made of aluminum (no rust!), instead of steel. This piece of information is contained in some of the old dmv California Special Plates literature, in section 4.700, Year of Manufacture Plates.

Here are a few pictures of black California plates we’ve come across that do not have the 63 showing in the upper right sticker well.

Passenger plate with no 63 showing

Passenger plate with no 63 showing







Trailer plates and a commercial plate shown below:











1916 California Bear License Plate Attachment, Added to our Webstore on Ruby Lane!

June 21, 2012 Leave a comment
This is an old 1916 bear attachment that went on the vintage California porcelain license plates (the white ones).

You can click on the image to go directly to our listing on Ruby Lane.