Massachusetts License Plates Bookmark and Share

or sign up
Massachusetts has two bases in use in several formats.

The green on white plate that was issued as a single is still in use in an all numeric six digit style (123-456) and a 3 number/3 letter style from AAA through VZZ.

The Spirit of America plate that has been issued in pairs is still in use in four formats, the latest of which has just been released. The original Spirit plates were in the 3 number/3 letter format from WAA through ZZZ, followed by the 1234 AB format. The next format was the complicated 12A B34 format that is explained below. That format is still being issued for all months except October, keeping in mind that there are no passenger plates issued with November or December expirations.

A new plate configuration started in 2001 for the October month series, and then spread to the other months as needed. The date of first issue for the plates was November 1, 2001. Here is what our collective observations have revealed about the progression: The lowest number in the October month format was 10A A00. As usual for Massachusetts, the last digit corresponds to the month of expiration. Just as 0 (zero) was used in the last position on the October plates, 8 appears in the last position on the August plates. The first plate of the new type for October would have been 10A A00, then 11A A00 and on up to 99A A00, then 10A B00, 11A B00, and on up to 99A B00. After 99A Z00, the next plate would be 10B A00, and the series would continue in the same pattern. The final plate in that sequence would be 99Z Z00, then the next to last number would change from 0 (zero) to 1, so the next series would begin at 10A A10, then 11A A10, and on up to 99A A10, then 10A B10. Upon reaching 99Z Z10, the next plate issued would be 10A A20. There have been at least three distinct discrepancies observed in this issue to date. When the June high was still in the first series, which would have had the plate ending in 06, a mysterious 46 was reported. The 16, 26, and 36 series should have been issued before any 46 plates could appear. No explanation has been given for this large jump. Even worse, when July plates were still in the second series with the 17 suffix, a 97 suffix was reported. With July in the fourth series with the 37 suffix, a 77 suffix appeared. Again, no explanation has been found. Monthly system - as follows (NOV and DEC are not used for passenger)

A new series has been introduced since it appears that October has run through the full series, which would have ended with 99Z Z90. The new format is 123 AA4, but of course, in the case of October the last digit is zero. The letters I, O, Q, and U will not be used in this series. Thanks to Rich Bell for this information.

Eric speculates that the new system for October started at 100 AA0. The progression will likely run as follows: 100 AA0 through 999 AA0, then 100 AB0 through 999 AB0, and so on up to 999 AZ0, then 100 BA0 and up.

Tom Castelli sent in the following update after seeing all numeric 668-953 on a Spirit plate on 2007-04-05: This was on a Spirit plate, stickered to 3/09. This series is on the green plates, usually, and RMV says you cannot replace a green plate with a Spirit having the same number. So we could now be recycling dormant plate numbers.

Jim McCarron reports a similar sighting of 194-MSP on a pair of Spirit plates stickered with an '11 expiration on 2009-08-20.

Tyler Rotondo reports that MAR, APR, and MAY expiration Pass. plates are now showing up with the month flat instead of embossed. Most or all of them with the flat month have the unusual spacing between the numbers and letters.

11 - black on yellow
12 - black on green
13 - black on red
14 - black on blue
15 - black on orange
16 - black on yellow
17 - black on green
Type Plate Notes Reporter
Passenger see notes
JAN - original series 9421 TZ Tom Castelli
JAN - 1st series 78Z Z01 Jason
JAN - 2nd series 99Z Z11 As high as it gets! JS
JAN - 3rd series 72Z Z21 JS
JAN - 4th series 98Z Z31 KR
JAN - 5th series 44Z W41 J. Harris
JAN - 6th series 34Z Z51 Tom Castelli
JAN - 7th series 37Z Z61 Jim Hough
JAN - 8th series 68Z Z71 Jason
JAN - 9th series 84Z Z81 JS
JAN - 10th series 31Z Z91 Jim McCarron reports that 22N C91 was just issued from the Lawrence RMV in 2012 with a natural 14 sticker, so they must have found some old stock. Mike DiMauro
JAN - 11th series 536 ZR1 Stephen C.
JAN -12th series 3SY 611 NEW M. J. Barnes
FEB - original series 9982 YZ Tom Castelli
FEB - 1st series 97Z Z02 JS
FEB - 2nd series 31Z W12 JS
FEB - 3rd series 95Z Z22 JS
FEB - 4th series 86Z Z32 JS
FEB - 5th series 99Z Z42 As high as it gets! Rich Dragon
FEB - 6th series 78Z G52 Mike DiMauro
FEB - 7th series 86Z Z62 JS
FEB - 8th series 74Z Z72 JS
FEB - 9th series 57Z Z82 JS
FEB - 10th series 27Z N92 Mike Hart
FEB - 11th series 357 ZZ2 A plate from the 12th series was seen on 7/22/12 by Jim McCarron, but based on the number, it was obviously an early pull for someone with influence. The plate is 2DD 222.
Ed Angiolillo reports 9RYE 12 on 2012-12-04, which would be a 13th series plate. Another Mass. mystery.
M. J. Barnes
FEB - 12th series 1RK 922 Scott Anderson reports 1H N262 spaced that way. M. J. Barnes
MAR - original series 9073 ZZ Phil
MAR - 1st series 98Z Z03 JS
MAR - 2nd series 73Z Z13 Jason
MAR - 3rd series 56Z Z23 Jason
MAR - 4th series 94Z Z33 Dave Hermanson
MAR - 5th series 46Z Z43 JS
MAR - 6th series 82Z Z53 Dave Hermanson
MAR - 7th series 43Z Y63 JS
MAR - 8th series 78Z K73 Spaced as indicated. There have been numerous inconsistencies in the spacing on these plates at different times. Tom Castelli reports that all of the VA series in 73 have been spaced this way. Paul Freeze
MAR - 9th series 97Z Z83 Screened month J. Harris
MAR - 10th series 58Z Z93 Screened month Mike DiMauro
MAR - 11th series 995 ZZ3 Stephen C.
MAR - 12th series 3WZ 293 March is now into the 12th series, but see below for some oddities.

Massachusetts has been known for "special" out of sequence issues. When regular issues were not even halfway through the 11th series, a 12th series number (8BL 713) was spotted and confirmed in Dec. 2009.

Another oddity has appeared. When March still had plates available in the 11th and 12th series, a 13th series plate was spotted by Rich Dragon on 2011-12-06. It is in the same basic format as the 13th series October, but the spacing is different. This plate appeared as 1KJ A43.
M. J. Barnes
APR - original series 9944 ZZ Mike DiMauro
APR - 1st series 89Z Z04 Tom Castelli
APR - 2nd series 56Z Z14 J. P. Hitesman
APR - 3rd series 82Z Z24 Tom Castelli
APR - 4th series 93Z Z34 JS
APR - 5th series 92Z Z44 J. Harris
APR - 6th series 77Z Z54 JS
APR - 7th series 68Z C64 Jim Hough
APR - 8th series 82Z Z74 JS
APR - 9th series 92Z Z84 Screened month JS
APR - 10th series 89Z Z94 JS
MAR - 12th series 3WY 214 Kit Sage
APR - 11th series 657 ZX4 Spaced as indicated. 724Y A4 and nnnX Y4 also oddly spaced. 567 YA4 spotted but normally spaced.
Mike Hart reports 456C R4 spaced as indicated to show the erratic production standards that have periodically surfaced. Jason reports a similar spacing in the nnnC S4 range.
Kyle Wasson
APR -12th series 4GZ 384 M. J. Barnes
MAY - original series 9595 ZZ Tyler Rotondo
MAY - 1st series 14Z Z05 JS
MAY - 2nd series 95Z Z15 JS
MAY - 3rd series 56Z Z25 JS
MAY - 4th series 97Z Z35 Jason
MAY - 5th series 87Z Z45 JS
MAY - 6th series 44Z Z55 JS
MAY - 7th series 72Z Z65 Embossed month. 83, 94, 75, and 85 series have screened (flat) month.

MAY - 8th series 53Z Z75 Screened month Jason Taylor
MAY - 9th series 91Z V85 Screened month Mike DiMauro
MAY - 10th series None reported yet
MAY - 11th series 126 ZW5 Paul Anderson
MAY - 12th series 2CY 935 Kevin Thomas
MAY - 12th series 4DZ 525 M. J. Barnes
JUN - original series 9966 ZZ Mike Hart
JUN - 1st series 81Z Z06 J. Harris
JUN - 2nd series 57Z Y16 JS
JUN - 3rd series 69Z Z26 JS
JUN - 4th series 88Z Z36 Mike DiMauro
JUN - 5th series 98Z Z46 23L M46 was issued way out of sequence and was reported by J.P. Hitesman on 2003-08-18, which was two years before this series was reached in regular sequential order.

Tom Castelli
JUN - 6th series 86Z Z56 JS
JUN - 7th series 65Z W66 J. Harris
JUN - 8th series 98Z Z76 Screened month
This is the next to last plate for this series.
JUN - 9th series 48Z Z86 Jason Taylor
JUN - 10th series No 10th series plates for June have been reported yet, but 11th series plates are now appearing.
JUN - 11th series 122 ZY6 Jason Taylor
JUN - 12th series 3EZ 516 M. J. Barnes
JUL - original series 9997 ZZ Stephen C.
JUL - 1st series 92Z Z07 JS
JUL - 2nd series 86Z Z17 Kit Foster
JUL - 3rd series 97Z Z27 JS
JUL - 4th series 97Z Z37 JS
JUL - 5th series 94Z Z47 Tom Castelli
JUL - 6th series 74Z Y57 Rich Dragon
JUL - 7th series 95Z Z67 Jason Taylor
JUL - 8th series 57Z Z77 77Z Z77 was issued way out of sequence in early 2005, undoubtedly as a favor to some well-connected person. Jason
JUL - 9th series 99Z Z87 As high as it gets! JS
JUL - 10th series 61YY 97 Plate spacing was as indicated.
Note: 90J P97 was reported by Tom Castelli on 7/17/03 way out of sequence. The actual 97 series was not reached until five years later in 2008.
Ed Angiolillo
JUL - 11th series 469 ZZ7 Jim Hough reports 777 SC7, which is obviously a special request, well out of sequence. Stephen Crook
JUL - 12th series 3SY 317 Scott Anderson reports a way out of sequence 7CRM17. M. J. Barnes
AUG - original series 9878 ZZ Jason
AUG - 1st series 68Z L08 JS
AUG - 2nd series 55Z Z18 Jim Hough
AUG - 3rd series 99Z Z28 As high as it gets! Mike Hart
AUG - 4th series 99Z Z38 JS
AUG - 5th series 97Z Z48 JS
AUG - 6th series 99Z Z58 As high as it gets!
Jim Hough reports that some 58 series plates were manufactured flush left or with no center space and a space at the end.
AUG - 7th series 27Z Z68 Tom Castelli reports that many 68 series plates were manufactured flush left with no center space and a space at the end, from about 10DA68 to 99EZ68. He wonders if it could be a test run for adding a 7th character to the plates because a similar test was done with May and September plates in the original series that resulted in the format of 123 4SX instead od the more standard 1234 SX. That was test for the upcoming format that we are seeing now with the center space. JS
AUG - 8th series 95Z Z78 JS
AUG - 9th series 95Z Z88 Jason
AUG - 10th series 97Z Z98 Tyler Rotondo
AUG - 11th series 744 ZZ8 Tyler Rotondo spotted what was obviously a special issue, but it could be an early pull from what will be the next series. The plate was 8BB B88. Mike Hart
AUG 12th series 4GG 168 Kevin Thomas
SEP - original series 9999 ZZ Mike Sullivan reports 9399 YO on what looked like new plates in July 2014. Month was NOT embossed, "O" was square shaped. Mike Hart
SEP - 1st series 11Z W09 JS
SEP - 2nd series 57Z Y19 Jim Hough
SEP - 3rd series 58Z Z29 JS
SEP - 4th series 92Z Z39 Mike Hart
SEP - 5th series 84Z Z49 JS
SEP - 6th series 88Z P59 JS
SEP - 7th series 93Z Z69 JS
SEP - 8th series 75Z Z79 J. Harris
SEP - 9th series 47Z Z89 Mike Hart
SEP - 10th series 98Z Z99 Jason Taylor
SEP - 11th series 193 ZW9 197 AA9 reported as a low for this series by Mike Hart 2008-02-12 M. J. Barnes
SEP - 12th series 4DY 829 M. J. Barnes
OCT - original series 9930 ZZ JS
OCT - 1st series 99Z Z00 This is the last plate in the first series for October. Tom Castelli
OCT - 2nd series 42Z A10 Tom Castelli
OCT - 3rd series 92Z Z20 JS
OCT - 4th series 96Z Z30 Mike Hart
OCT - 5th series 94Z Z40 Mike Hart
OCT - 6th series 58Z Z50 Tom Castelli
OCT - 7th series 86Z Z60 JS
OCT - 8th series 99Z Z70 The last plate of the 8th series for October. Jason
OCT - 9th series 97Z Z80 Tom Castelli
OCT - 10th series 98Z Z90 Jim McCarron
OCT - 11th series 985 NZ0 This is the latest format for the Spirit of America base. Scott reports what appears to be the low in this format with 122 AA0. Please refer to the notes at the top of the page for the format and progression of this new type. Remember, that is not a letter "O", but a zero in the last position, indicating OCT as the expiration month. Rich Dragon
OCT - 12th series 9ZH 970 October was the first month to use the 1AB 234 format. Most other months still use the 123 AB4 format.
Progression: 1AA 000 through 1ZZ 990, then 2AA 000 through 2ZZ 990, and up.
Jason Taylor reports 1AA 100 as the low for this series.
Mike Hart
OCT - 13th series 7FNX 70 The latest format is now appearing on OCT plates, and the spacing is as shown. The progression is 1AAA 10 through 9ZZZ 90. then 2AAA 10 through 2ZZZ 90 and up. (Zero at the end for an Oct. expiration.) J. Harris
Non-passenger Plates
Ambulance 5917 From Ryan Cheney:
Massachusetts is screen printed in blue on the top, with AMBULANCE embossed on the bottom. Letters and numbers are red. Animal Ambulance plates are also available.

The Animal Ambulance plate has the basic The Spirit of America on the bottom as well as the spirit style Massachusetts on top. To the left of the numbers is ANIMAL AMBULANCE silk screened in red, all capitals.
Animal Ambulance high: 84
M. J. Barnes
Antique B 2190 New Format -- old format was 12345

Antique Motorcycle: 601 reported by Sam Farley on 2015-07-06. ANTIQUE/CYCLE to the left of the serial. Very rare type.
M. J. Barnes
Apportioned 92140 M. J. Barnes
Bus 39211 Sam Farley
Camper 1067 G 99999 reached, new series now 1234 A format
Sam Farley
Commercial S51-516 J series Commercial plates had no space and no dot between the third and fourth digit from J10000 to somewhere between J32000 and J33-000, when the dot was restored. If anyone can help pinpoint the change, it would be helpful. J32927 has been reported with no space and no dot, and J33-093 with the dot in the center, so it now appears that the change was made at J33-000.
Commercial plates have a DEC expiration, and the DEC on the plates changed from embossed to screened at or around M64-000.
Stephen C. reports O10-000 on 2010-09-11, but he adds that he isn't sure if it was an O in the first position, or possibly a remanufactured D.
Stephen Crook also reports P68-777 with an orange "15" sticker Instead of the usual "12" on 2012-08-06.
Sam Farley
Disaster Relief 414 From Ryan Cheney:
Plate states DISASTER VEHICLE to the left of the numbers, slightly slanted down to the left. Plate is red with a white border, Massachusetts is embossed on the top and EMERGENCY is embossed on the bottom.
M. J. Barnes
Fire Official B780 "FIRE" embossed diagonally before serial number, "OFFICIAL" embossed along bottom. Some have the Spirit style "Massachusetts" legend screened, others embossed.
New series of 1 to 3 numbers followed by a small suffix letter. New Fire Official plates are being issued in with an "A" suffix, although older plates with other suffix letters exist as special requests and blocks for various cities and fire agencies.
M. J. Barnes
Handicap Motorcycle HP1230 Sam Farley
Handicapped D 569 Previous format was 123 A. 12 AB format used next. A 123 format seems to be the latest since it has the month screened, but the earlier types did not. Sam Farley
Hearse 7163 Ryan Cheney
L/V90256 reported by Jason Taylor on 2010-11-19. Another way out of sequnce number, but not uncommon for Mass. M. J. Barnes
Motorcycle 1T6713 Series progression AX1000 to ZX9999, then AZ1000 forward (2nd letter always X or Z)
1X1234 is the new format after ZZ9999 was reached.
It appears that the tradition of using only X or Z has now been broken after reaching 9X9999. From what we can tell, A is now in use.
M. J. Barnes
Motorcycle veteran VT6593 Letters are always VT. Series progression was VT 100 through VT 999, then VT1000 forward with no space.
Sam Farley
Municipal M94-360 Spacing as indicated. Spacing continues to fluctuate randomly between M 12345 and M12-345.
"Spirit of America" dies are now being used on this type, but refer to the notes below about the former type.
New Base: white on blue, like "Spirit of America" base. Still using old dies, "OFFICIAL" still embossed on bottom (unlike City of Boston plates which use new dies and have "Official" screened at bottom.) Changeover probably occured at M 75000.
Municipal plates in the MB 1234 format are for the City of Boston only. The high is MB 2850 from JS on 2007-06-11.
Newly issued plates in the municipal, fire, police, and state series are now border-less.
Sam Farley
Municipal Motorcycle M8022 White on Blue Spirit Base. Jim Hough
Pupils 104209 Navy blue on goldenrod. Issued to cars and vans that transport students.
Heather Embee reports 100363 on this type, which must be a second variety.
M. J. Barnes
School Bus 40536 M. J. Barnes
Semi-Trailer 94833 Sam Farley
Snow Removal Equipment
536 M
Registration valid Sept to May only. S/R stacked prefix, "COMMERCIAL" embossed on bottom. S/R plates expire in September, not December as on other commercial plates.
Note: The current high has "COMMERCIAL" screened on bottom, not embossed.
Jim McCarron
State-Owned Vehicle E472 New format, "STATE" diagonally printed on left, Spirit of America dies, full-sized "A"

The previous type had "STATE" embossed diagonally, then the number, then a small letter. Now appearing on the Spirit of America base with embossed "OFFICIAL" in place of "The Spirit of America" at bottom. These were previously on the 1977 base. 743G is the high on the old base.

Newly issued plates in the municipal, fire, police, and state series are now border-less.
Jason Taylor
Taxi 28293 Jason reports Taxi plates with 125 C, 340 C, and 538 C on them. Regular issues are still all-numeric, but it's not unusual for Mass. to issue oddball plates now and then. Mike Hart also confirms 123 C format Taxi plates, yet straight numeric plates have not yet reached 30000. Mike Hart
Trailer D14-175 The alpha prefix was introduced (beginning with A) when the all-numeric series reached 999-999. Series ran with 4 digits through Z 9999, then expanded to A00-000 format with the usual dot separator in the middle. Sam Farley
Turnpike 1998 Issued to vehicles owned by the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority. "Spirit" style base, "TURNPIKE" embossed along bottom and embossed Pilgrim hat (Mass Pike logo) to the left of serial number. Jim Hough
Specialty Plates
Animal Friendly
The S/N prefix is for spay/neuter. The same thing has been used in some other states. AfterS/N1234 format, now issuingS/N12AB format. Jim Hough
Basketball Hall of Fame
Jim Hough
Blackstone Valley
"Preserve the Trust" legend at bottom, same as Right Whale and Fish & Wildlife. Jim Hough
Breast Cancer
B/C 1234 exhausted for October. Tom Castelli
This is the Boston Bruins - Support Youth Hockey issue that is available to the public. There has been a different special issue for Bruins team members in previous years.
Jim Sadler reports a similar Bruins issue with B/R2442 with the legend "Invest in Youth Hockey."
Jim Hough
Cape Cod & Islands
Daniel Savage reports the order of issuance for Cape Cod & Islands plates is as follows:
C/I 1234
C/I 12AB
C/I 123A
C/I A123
I/C 12AB
I/C 123A
Heather Embee
Conquer Cancer
Jim Hough
Disabled Veteran 5540 Spirit base with red/white/blue flag style bars on right and left Jason
Firefighters Memorial
Jason Taylor
Fish & Wildlife
"Preserve the Trust" legend at bottom, same as Right Whale and Blackstone Valley.
Daniel Savage reports that Fish & Wildlife plates followed the same pattern as Cape Cod & Islands, except that the F/W 12AB series was skipped and went right to the F/W 123A series.
Jean-François Lachance
Invest In Children
Jim Hough
Mini Fenway Park
New optional specialty plate to benefit the construction of a "mini" Fenway Park for youth.

From Stephen Crook: Effective 01/01/2014 Mini Fenway Park series are no longer being issued or renewed due to changes to MLB / MassDoT RMV licensing agreement. MassDoT reports ~ 1350 plates currently active vs. 38,000 Red Sox/Jimmy Fund (please check numbers, approx only). Guessing low subscription rate is driving up per plate license fees to MLB. Plate replacement fee for alternate passenger special (PAS) or normal (PAN) plate is being waived.
New England Patriots
Jim Hough
Olympic Spirit
Jim Hough
Preserve the Trust
"Preserve the Trust" legend at bottom, same as Fish & Wildlife and Blackstone Valley.
This is the optional "whale tail" plate. The original prefix was R/W, which stands for Right Whale, but now the R/T prefix is being used. For the record, the "T" is supposed to be for terns, as in the aquatic birds around the whale's tail on the plate.
Note: The current high was issued to Scott in 2001, so there seems to be a discrepancy in the order of issue on these plates.
Jim McCarron reports R/W S630 issued to a co-worker in January 2012, with a natural Oct '13 expiration, so the order of issue for these plates is way out of order.
Ed Hennessy seconds these plates being issued out of order. In late Feb. 2014 he received R/W1497 with a "97" dated watermark in the sheeting.
Heather Embee
Red Sox
After the R/S 123A format was exhausted, the series progressed to R/S12AB.
It appears that J/F1234 is the new series for Red Sox plates, at least for October. All Sox plates have "Jimmy Fund" on the bottom since that is where the proceeds go - so a J/F prefix makes logical sense.
Sam Farley
United We Stand
Progression uncertain, but as with most other Massachusetts types, the last digit indicates the expiration month. Spacing on some plates has included a small space between the numbers and letters, such as U/S12 AB.
MAR - U/S 73HG
AUG - U/S 38ZV
SEP - U/S 19ZE
OCT - U/S 40ZE
Tyler Rotondo