Symbols, Seals & Flags

License plates have long been a great platform for tourism and state pride, and one colorful way is featuring symbols, seals, and flags. For example:

 

Alaska has featured its state flag on several of its plates.

AK 10254AK CTK 529

The cactus is emblematic of Arizona because it dots so much of the landscape, while the diamond has a history in Arkansas.

AZ MVL 949AR 114 TAN

The Colorado state flag includes a red “C” with a yellow center, an element which is present on some optional plates. Georgia is famous for its peaches, which the state has often featured on its base plates.

CO-F1J-682GA-AZJ 476

Rainbows are so ever-present in Hawaii that the Aloha State planted one on its 1991 base plate, which is still the base plate today. Following the September 11th attacks, Hawaii issued a specialty tag which involved the placement of a flag-like decal to the left of the serial.

HI-HJB 494HI BP866

Indiana’s 1999 base included the torch and stars from its flag imposed upon a state map.

IN 84(N)4672

Kansas included a portion of its state seal on the 2007 base plate. The horse, and specifically the race horse, is a hallmark of Kentucky; the 1988 base incorporated the spires of Churchill Downs along with a double image of a thoroughbred.

KS 693 ACVKY XND 370

Maryland inserted the state shield as a separator on its 350th Anniversary optional and carried it over to the base plate – a modification of the optional. In light of the anniversary of the writing of the Star Spangled Banner, the base plate featured Fort McHenry with an American flag. The newest base, first issued in 2016, includes a cross-section of the state flag.

MD 601 ABW (P2)MD-BPP 235MD-7AJ5779MD 3CZ2496

In 2007, Mississippi put the Biloxi Lighthouse on its plate in part to symbolize the state’s resiliency following Hurricane Katrina (the lighthouse survived the disaster). Five years later, a new base plate featured famous blues musician (and Mississippi native) B.B. King’s signature guitar.

MS-PRC 108MS HKB 745

New Jersey’s Liberty State Park features several waving American flags behind the Statue of Liberty, which served as an iconic centerpiece to New York’s 1986 base.

NJ-LS4254NY N97 3WT

New Mexico includes the Zia, a sun symbol (from the Native American tribe of the same name) which also unfurls on the state flag. The Zia people, a branch of the Pueblo community, are indigenous to New Mexico.

NM-486 MPFNM-BB 783

Ohio’s most recent base plate contains a series of words associated with the state. This is referred to as the “Pride” base.

OH FWA 8439

The Native American people are central to Oklahoma’s history and culture. The plate on the left hit the roads in 2009. In the lower right corner you can see the battle shield of the Osage Nation. The plate on the right is an optional plate available to all residents, though initially it was only so to members of the Cherokee Nation.

OK 621 HJTOK 949 28C

Pennsylvania has almost always had a keystone on its base plate. The keystone refers to the state nickname. On the right, the Liberty bell is a symbol of freedom for Americans, and it anchored the 1971 base.

PA FBB 7553PA 309 526

South Carolina’s “In God We Trust” optional features an American and the state flags. The 1981 base included the state seal superimposed on the map.

SC ALB 185

Tennessee’s 1977 and 1989 bases sported a state seal and a logo from the state flag, respectively.

TN AAT-488TN LWB 919

Texas is called the Lone Star State, so it’s no surprise a “lone star” has been depicted on several base plates. The state flag has made an appearance on a couple of bases (including when it was cleverly incorporated into the state map).

TX WS-3442TX-AG8 8422TX B24 SLL

Though famous for its skiing and natural parks, both of which have been a mainstay on the state’s license plates, Utah is called “The Beehive State”; a beehive made an appearance on the 1974 base plate. Virginia issued this optional base plate, showing the state’s seal, in 1986.

UT KKE 459VA 527 728

Both Arkansas and South Carolina issued an “In God We Trust” plate that featured American and state flags. Indiana and West Virginia did so for veteran plates.

AR ^AR^ACFBSC 181 4AMIN ^VT^1251WV ^DV^9265