Colorado License Plate Book


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Much-requested, Long-awaited, Updated Edition

Colorado License Plates: The First 100 Years: 1913-2013

by Thomas E. Boyd, George C. Sammeth, Jr., and James T. Hucks

Published by Colorado’s Most Award-winning Publisher

Tendril Press

The rich history of Colorado license plates is explored in depth through facts, figures, anecdotes, vintage historical photos and over 2200 full color pictures.



Additional information

Weight 1.5 lbs


  1. admin

    BOOK REVIEW By Eric Tanner #3148

    COLORADO LICENSE PLATES – The First 100 Years 1913-2013

    By Thomas E. Boyd, George C. Sammeth, Jr., and James T. Hucks

    Published by Tendril Press, Aurora, CO, 2015
    250 pages, paperbound, 8 1/2″ x 11″, 1/2″ thick

    Who designed Colorado’s iconic mountain outline? Why was the infamous 1958 skier abandoned after just one year? Everything you’ve ever wondered about the fascinating history of Colorado license plates is right here in this volume, well organized and beautifully illustrated in full color on glossy magazine paper throughout. The authors, the field’s leading experts, have spared no effort in their exhaustive research into every aspect of motor vehicle registration in the Centennial State since the first automobile arrived in 1899.

    With the increasing dominance of the internet as our primary source of information and entertainment (the license plate hobby being no exception), new books about license plates are not published as often as they once were. That’s why this book is such a refreshing and worthy print publication. Although it contains in-depth coverage of all of the plates of just one state, it’s such a brilliant example that it belongs in the library of every serious collector and aficionado of North American license plates. I promise that you will look at plates of your own jurisdiction differently after you peruse this comprehensive tome!

    The book is arranged in a traditional manner with a Table of Contents, Preface, Introduction and 26 Chapters, followed by an Appendix, Index and Authors’ Bios. For handy reference, a complete passenger run and a colorful Colorado map identifying all 63 counties and county seats are shown on the inside front and back covers. The chapters follow a logical sequence starting with pre-state plates in Chapter 1. Examples of pre-states from 17 different cities are shown, plus details on a handful of others yet waiting to be discovered. Chapters 2 through 6 cover passenger plates by era, with the highlight here being the complex numbering systems of the 1950’s, all clearly explained. Miscellaneous types of plates issued to passenger vehicles are featured in Chapter 7. Into stickers even more than plates? Then Chapter 8 is for you, with all examples shown including multiple color varieties. Sample plates are the focus of Chapter 9. After a helpful Introduction to Non-Passenger plates (Chapter 10), the remaining chapters are devoted to non-passenger categories, roughly in chronological order of their introduction in Colorado.

    The authors have taken special care to make this book appealing to non-collectors too, by including some interesting items of general Colorado history as well as fun stories of wild goose chases and interesting collecting characters from days gone by. The generous photos throughout are stunning. Remaining true to accuracy, Tom, George and Jim have only presented unretouched images of authentic, original plates, resisting the temptation to digitally remove rust, chips or flaws, adding further credibility to the book.

    Every state has certain plates which seem to defy all explanation, and Colorado is no exception. By highlighting these oddities in Chapter 26, “Enigmas”, the authors show how serious their devotion is to solving these mysteries in the future. Because of this extra emphasis, one of the nagging questions has already come closer to finding an answer – the 1919 “E” prefix. Equally important is the mention of plates that “should” exist but don’t (so far). You could still make their day by finding a 1943 Sample or a 1944 Motorcycle Dealer plate!

    The Appendix is visually monotonous but these 22 pages represent an incredible amount of research and dedication – as a fellow researcher, I oughtta know! There are official state registration figures for nearly every year and plate type, as well as passenger registrations by county for every year of the century except 1927. Finally, there are county number block assignments listed for many of the early years between 1916 and 1931, plus county codes for all numeric and alpha prefix series since 1932. (Scale lines every 5 entries would have made these tables easier to look up data in or compare with other figures.)

    I recommend this work most highly! In fact, it would be nice if a hard-cover edition were to be made available – it’s that worthy of preservation – but it is quite durable. My one complaint? Photos printed sideways on 5 pages to accommodate large plate displays or period street scenes. Also, if you’re just looking for Colorado’s plate-related ephemera, such as DAV keychain tags, bicycle plates, chauffeur’s badges or other souvenirs and promotional items, this isn’t the book for you.

    This book is actually a long-awaited sequel to the authors’ 1991 release Colorado License Plates: Facts, Figures and Folklore. That book sold out all 400 copies in less than 2 years and has been out of print ever since. Don’t miss out on this one – even with 1,500 copies printed, they are going fast!

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