Indiana License Plates, Revisited

On 1 June 2019, I posted about Indiana license plates and their history. It went over the different designs used, the evolution of them, and so on. Today, for the benefit of those that see antique license plates about and wonder where they might come from, I want to delve into the plate numbers that were issued.

Until the 1950 issue of Indiana license plates, all registrations had been issued sequentially. The numbers on the plates were just that, numbers. The United States standard size license plate had not been decided upon, as yet, but the width and height of Indiana’s had been basically the same for a decade starting in 1945 – with the exceptions of the “metal saving” years of 1952, 1953 and 1955. In 1956, Indiana’s plates became the same 12 inch by 6 inch they are today.

With the 1950 issue, the state started making the plates with county designations on them. Each of the 92 counties in the state had a specific two letter code as part of the registration number. I will list these later. 1963 saw the beginning of the system that most Hoosiers are familiar with…the two digit county code. For the most part, we still use this one today, although the numbers above 92 are no longer used.

The following is a list of Indiana counties and their licence plate codes used over the past 70 years. The current county code, used since 1963 is listed before the county name. The 1950 county code is listed after. If there were more two digits codes used, they will be listed after the 1950 code. Also, the maximum number of plates that could be issued for each county will be after the 1950 county code, the first number being using the 1950 scheme, the second using the 1963.

01 – Adams: JA-JC (29,997 / 239,976)
02 – Allen: DD-DH (49,995 / 239,976)
03 – Bartholomew: ZA-ZB (19,998 / 239,976)
04 – Benton: ND-NF (29,997 / 239,976)
05 – Blackford: ZD-ZE (19,998 / 239,976)
06 – Boone: HA (9,999 / 239,976)
07 – Brown: YE (9,999 / 239,976)
08 – Carroll: QC (9,999 / 239,976)
09 – Cass: SS-ST (19,998 / 239,976)
10 – Clark: WA (9,999 / 239,976)
11 – Clay: FA-FB (19,998 / 239,976)
12 – Clinton: XA (9,999 / 239,976)
13 – Crawford: ZG (9,999 / 239,976)
14 – Daviess: XG-XH (19,998 / 239,976)
15 – Dearborn: CA-CB (19,998 / 239,976)
16 – Decatur: LC (9,999 / 239,976)
17 – Dekalb: UA-UC (29,997 / 239,976)
18 – Delaware: JJ-JK (19,998 / 239,976)
19 – Dubois: PF (9,999 / 239,976)
20 – Elkhart: GG-GK (49,995 / 239,976)
21 – Fayette: ZC (9,999 / 239,976)
22 – Floyd: WW-WX (19,998 / 239,976)
23 – Fountain: XJ-XL (29,997 / 239,976)
24 – Franklin: TD (9,999 / 239,976)
25 – Fulton: TC (9,999 / 239,976)
26 – Gibson: NA (9,999 / 239,976)
27 – Grant: NN-NR (49,995 / 239,976)
28 – Greene: MA-MC (29,997 / 239,976)
29 – Hamilton: SA-SB (19,998 / 239,976)
30 – Hancock: UD (9,999 / 239,976)
31 – Harrison: XD (9,999 / 239,976)
32 – Hendricks: EA-EC (29,997 / 239,976)
33 – Henry: QQ-QS (29,997 / 239,976)
34 – Howard: PP-PW (79,992 / 239,976)
35 – Huntington: UT-UU (19,998 / 239,976)
36 – Jackson: SJ-SL (29,997 / 239,976)
37 – Jasper: GF (9,999 / 239,976)
38 – Jay: LA-LB (19,998 / 239,976)
39 – Jefferson: EJ (9,999 / 239,976)
40 – Jennings: LD (9,999 / 239,976)
41 – Johnson: KA-KC (29,997 / 239,976)
42 – Knox: TT-TU (19,998 / 239,976)
43 – Kosciusko: RR (9,999 / 239,976)
44 – Lagrange: YD (9,999 / 239,976)
45 – Lake: CC-CQ (149,985 / 719,928) – Extra codes 94, 96
46 – Laporte: LL-LN (29,997 / 239,976)
47 – Lawrence: QA-QB (19,998 / 239,976)
48 – Madison: FF-FK (59,994 / 239,976)
49 – Marion: AA-AU (209,979 / 1,199,880) Extra codes 93, 97, 98, 99
50 – Marshall: YA-YB (19,998 / 239,976)
51 – Martin: FM (9,999 / 239,976)
52 – Miami: ZY-ZZ (19,998 / 239,976)
53 – Monroe: VV-VW (19,998 / 239,976)
54 – Montgomery: TA (9,999 / 239,976)
55 – Morgan: WF-WG (19,998 / 239,976)
56 – Newton: ME-MF (19,998 / 239,976)
57 – Noble: PA-PC (29,997 / 239,976)
58 – Ohio: XE (9,999 / 239,976)
59 – Orange: SE (9,999 / 239,976)
60 – Owen: KN (9,999 / 239,976)
61 – Parke: UE (9,999 / 239,976)
62 – Perry: PY (9,999 / 239,976)
63 – Pike: QD (9,999 / 239,976)
64 – Porter: XX (9,999 / 239,976)
65 – Posey: HD (9,999 / 239,976)
66 – Pulaski: RD (9,999 / 239,976)
67 – Putnam: NC (9,999 / 239,976)
68 – Randolph: YX-YZ (19,998 / 239,976)
69 – Ripley: SC-SD (19,998 / 239,976)
70 – Rush: VE-VF (19,998 / 239,976)
71 – St. Joseph: BB-BH (69,993 / 239,976)
72 – Scott: JD (9,999 / 239,976)
73 – Shelby: RA-RB (19,998 / 239,976)
74 – Spencer: SP (9,999 / 239,976)
75 – Starke: VJ-VK (19,998 / 239,976)
76 – Steuben: SU (9,999 / 239,976)
77 – Sullivan: YF-YH (29,997 / 239,976)
78 – Switzerland: GD (9,999 / 239,976)
79 – Tippecanoe: MM-MN, MP (29,997 / 239,976)
80 – Tipton: SC (9,999 / 239,976)
81 – Union: ED (9,999 / 239,976)
82 – Vanderburgh: EE-EH (39,996 / 239,976)
83 – Vermillion: FC-FD (19,998 / 239,976)
84 – Vigo: HH-HK (39,996 / 239,976)
85 – Wabash: VA-VB (19,998 / 239,976)
86 – Warren: HE (9,999 / 239,976)
87 – Warrick: JF (9,999 / 239,976)
88 – Washington: WD (9,999 / 239,976)
89 – Wayne: KK-KM (29,997 / 239,976)
90 – Wells: GB-GC (19,998 / 239,976)
91 – White: MG (9,999 / 239,976)
92 – Whitley: DA-DB (19,998 / 239,976)

And Code 95 was used for “Special” plates. Not sure what that was.

Simply looking at the numbers, it is easy to tell which counties were less populated…at least with cars. Obviously, Marion and Lake Counties had outrageous numbers. Howard came third, then St. Joseph, Madison, Allen, Elkhart and Grant. That’s not exactly the order I would have thought.

The renumbering of license plates came, obviously, from the need to create more plate numbers. Pre-1950 numbers would end right around 2,000,000. The new numbering scheme in 1950 lent itself, as planned, to having 2,179,782 different combinations. There were a lot of letter combinations that could have been added to the mix, as well. In 1963, the new scheme allowed for 23,757,624 different combinations.

When the scheme was changed again in 2008, it was not because the state was running out of available registration numbers. Some counties were, however. There is a large market for old license plates…and some counties had way too many made for the sales. I had, at one time, 70 sequential 1981 license plates from Johnson County. When the state went to three year plates, that made it a bit better. Five year plates, even more so.

Indiana has joined other states in the “multiple issue” club. What I mean by this is very simple. Indiana’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles changes the plate background every five years (Except the Bicentennial, those were four years). Indiana state law states that license plates are good for SEVEN years. So depending on issue date, there were three valid passenger base plates legal in the state. In 2018, it was possible to still see legal plain blue, bicentennial and covered bridge plates. All the blue ones should be gone by now. The one thing that is different in the state today from years past is that when an actual new piece of aluminum shows up to be put on the back of your car, it (generally) will have the same number on it that your previous one did…as long as you get the same type of plate. This is the eighth year that I have had the same Navy Veteran registration number on my car…and that’s been over two cars.

2 thoughts on “Indiana License Plates, Revisited

  1. I did actually see one of the old white-on-blue standard plates on a car on US31 in Tipton County just within the last month. So there are either a handful still out there, or he was running on an expired plate.

    Like

  2. I always wondered why we used to do annual plates. Seemed so wasteful.

    The thin plates we use now are not hardy like the old ones were. I see so many mangled ones on cars! Now I think we should go back to issuing them more frequently.

    Like

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