Most plates have designated areas for validation stickers. Yet despite this, motorists have found interesting ways to display the stickers–especially if there is no designated space. Add to that the rigors of the road, the accumulation of many years in some instances, as well as cases where the plate is used as a platform for a mini-bumper sticker, and you get “Unusual Sticker Situations.”
I. Wrong Way
Did the owners of these plates decide to be rebels or did they just pay close attention when it came to affixing stickers? We’ll never know.
It’s a nation of free speech, and though we have bumper stickers, some folks use their plates.
These Arkansas plates use the empty space at the bottom to inspire and promote freedom.
These show a variety of placement…”SAN DIEGO” melts into the slogan on California; a sticker of undetermined meaning blocks Connecticut; the Indiana plate here was almost certainly on the car of a State Farm agent or customer; a waving American flag seems proper for a Kentucky plate promoting an American blue-collar job; the Massachusetts veteran displays patriotism and specifies which war the motorist served in; and a Mississippi resident slaps a metal “Jesus fish” on the magnolia separator.
A sticker for the Cleveland Police is used as a separator, though it partially covers the serial, on an Ohio plate. The Virginia duo includes a Clemson grad’s personalized plate, and a base celebrating America plastered with a Hawaiian flag.
III. Cracked Up
The elements, a trip to the junkyard, or (hopefully not) an attempted theft are all reasons these stickers are not intact (note: Georgia should have the county sticker “ROCKDALE”). The yellow Colorado truck plate was issued in 1975; the sticker should be placed in an upper corner but instead it’s plastered unsuccessfully over the “75.” New Hampshire is a combination Cracked Up and Layers.
Some states, including California and Nevada, allow plates to be revalidated indefinitely. That means that a resident of such states can pile up quite the sticker count if the car lasts. California XEG 549 dates back to the 1960’s, and Nevada BKO215 has a similar length of usage. California 4EXN573 has one sticker off-kilter. Georgia ADW 7216 reveals two different county stickers, meaning likely the resident moved during the plate’s tenure.
Some of the Kansas plates below are truck plates, and include weight stickers (16M, 12M, etc.). Interestingly, R 904 and E 8785 are the same base with the same stickers placed in pretty much the exact same positions. Plate 655 ABI is a passenger plate which includes yearly stickers when they were separate than month stickers (i.e., the 11 and 12 placed below the state name), and a 2014 sticker which includes the month, year, and serial.
In the 70s and 80s Maine residents were instructed to place registration stickers in specific corners of the plates. For the 1968 (yellow) base, for example, they were to place ’69 in the upper right corner, ’70 in the lower right corner, ’71 in the lower left corner, ’72 in the upper left corner, and continue clockwise, placing over existing stickers when necessary. The practice had seemed to desist more or less with the 1987 lobster base (76484 Q).
The 1976 Nebraska Bicentennial base has somewhat lived on in infamy…because it has graphics in all four corners, there was no specific location to place registration stickers. So the base, which lasted through 1984, features a wide variety of placements. Sometimes the wagon is covered, other times it’s the Chief or one of the years, and in still other cases everything is spared. Note the blue “MAR” sticker on 15-GUI9. In 1982 Nebraska’s stickers only had the month.
Varying degrees of alternating corners on these Pennsylvania plates.
Rhode Island, like Maine, is known for plates with each sticker being placed separately, particularly during the 70’s and 80’s; low serial numbers help achieve this objective. Also of note is the cool designs on many of the stickers from the 70’s. Some states issued such registration stickers in the 60’s and 70’s, but by the mid-80’s states had begun issuing graphic plates, off-setting the advantage of the graphic-based sticker, or simply stopped the practice regardless.
Beginning in 1984, Washington D.C. went to “staggered registrations” (meaning not all the district’s plates expire the same time), so this plate has the standard 1984 expiration (3-31 was the date DC always used), and then the new staggered expiration of June along with the 1985 year sticker.
Cracked Up & Multi-Sticker:
Cracked Up & Layers:
Layers & Multi-Sticker:
Freestyle & Multi-Sticker:
Wrong Way & Multi-Sticker:
Wrong Way, Cracked & Multi-Sticker:
Cracked Up, Layers & Multi-Sticker:
Starting partway through 2015 Kentucky experimented by using a two-digit month and just the last digit of the year; this carried on through some 2017 expirations. 702 PSN expired April 2017. 161 HEB shows a “regular” 2015 sticker with the new style sticker, expiring May 2016.
The other Kentucky has a blank sticker where the county sticker should be. It’s unclear why there’s a plain one on this plate, though it’s probably just faded.
Maryland went to staggered registrations in 1987. Thus in 1986 the motorist has just a year sticker, and in 1987 there are stickers for both the month and the year. It is unclear whether this individual in 1987 received two sets of stickers, and put the new ones on only one plate, or received one set of stickers.
Washington required stickers on both the front and rear plates for many years until 2002, when it switched to just issuing one sticker. As a result this Washington pair is mismatched: the rear plate carries a 2004 expiration, while the front has a most recent sticker of 2001.
American Somoa’s 2011 base was initially validated with windshield stickers, until 2015 when it switched to traditional plate stickers. This somewhat bucks the trend (for instance, in the U.S., the District of Columbia, New Jersey, and New York all have not looked back since transitioning to windshield stickers). This also happens to be a multi-sticker plate. So, there’s no telling if the motorist first was assigned this plate in 2014, first expiry in 2015, or if was before then, and used windshield stickers.
Manitoba issued oval-shaped stickers for it’s 1971 base. Also unusual because the sticker is for 1972 but technically expires in Feb. 1973.