LicensePlates.cc

Massachusetts License Plates

Two bases are in use, in various formats. In all cases, the trailing numeral is keyed to the expiration month (0 for October, and 1 through 9 for January through September). No passenger plates expire in November or December.

Order of Progression: Each format below has its own rules of sequence. A numeral indicates that position's order, while "#" is a placeholder for the month. For example, in the green/white 000·AAA series, the order of progression would be 21#·543 (the numbers increment first, right to left, and then the letters increment right to left).

Month abbreviations on the Spirit of America base were originally embossed, but have been screened since 2009.

Green/White Base

The all-embossed, sloganless green/white base was issued as a single plate from 1979 to 1993, initially in an all-numeric 000·000 format, followed by a 000·AAA format from AAA through VZZ. Existing plates remain eligible for renewal.

“Spirit of America” First Format: 000·AAA

Order of Progression: 21#·543 with the first alpha descending Z through W.

The Spirit of America base (1993-present) is issued in pairs. The original format was 000·AAA (using WAA through ZZZ).

2nd Format: 0000 AA

Order of Progression: 321# 54

Once the 000·AAA format was exhausted, it was followed by the 0000 AA format. The dot separator was removed at that time and has not returned. This format was current (in all months) when we began tracking highs in 2000.

3rd Format: 00A A00

Order of Progression: 214 35#

This format started November 1, 2001 for October and spread to the other months as needed. At least three distinct discrepancies have been observed within this format:

4th Format: 000 AA0

Order of Progression: 321 54#

This format began as each month exhausted its 00A A00 series (e.g., 99Z Z90 for October). I, O, Q, and U were not used. Thanks to Rich Bell for this information.

5th Format: 0AA 000

Order of Progression: 543 21#

6th Format: 0AAA 00

Order of Progression: 5432 1#

Some spacing irregularities have been observed.

7th Format: 00A 000

Order of Progression: 543 21#

Hitherto seen only on October plates. October tends to keep ahead of other months because October expirations are issued throughout each November, and December, and January. Thanks to Samson Morgan for this tip.

8th Format: 000 A00

Order of Progression: 543 21#

Hitherto seen only on October plates.

Anomalies

On April 5, 2007, Tom Castelli reported 668·953 on a Spirit plate, stickered to 3/09. This should be on a green/white plate, and RMV rules prohibit remaking a green/white number on the Spirit base. We speculated at the time that the RMV could be recycling dormant plate numbers, but this does not seem to have been the case.

Similarly, Jim McCarron reported 194·MSP on a pair of Spirit plates stickered with an '11 expiration, on August 20, 2009.

Stickers

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

Standard Passenger Plates

1 - January

5MLY 51JAN
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Information courtesy Samson Morgan:

The trailing numeral 1 is constant, keyed to the expiration month of January.

  • Green Format: 101AAA - 991VZZ
  • First Red Format: 111WAA - 991ZZZ backwards
  • Second Format: 1001AA - 9991ZZ
  • Third Format: 10AA01 - 99ZZ91
  • Fourth Format: 111AA1 - 999ZZ1
  • Fifth Format: 1AA111 - 9ZZ991
  • Sixth Format: 1AAA11 - 9ZZZ91

Jamie Hosier - 8 Jan ’24

2 - February new

3CYZ 42FEB
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Seen In Oceanside, NY Information courtesy Samson Morgan:

The trailing numeral 2 is constant, keyed to the expiration month of February.

  • Green Format: 102AAA - 992VZZ
  • First Red Format: 112WAA - 992ZZZ backwards
  • Second Format: 1002AA - 9992ZZ
  • Third Format: 10AA02 - 99ZZ92
  • Fourth Format: 111AA2 - 999ZZ2
  • Fifth Format: 1AA112 - 9ZZ992
  • Sixth Format: 1AAA12 - 9ZZZ92

Brett Weisbrot - 21 Feb ’24

3 - March

3ZAK 43MAR
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Information courtesy Samson Morgan:

The trailing numeral 3 is constant, keyed to the expiration month of March.

  • Green Format: 103AAA - 993VZZ
  • First Red Format: 113WAA - 993ZZZ backwards
  • Second Format: 1003AA - 9993ZZ
  • Third Format: 10AA03 - 99ZZ93
  • Fourth Format: 111AA3 - 999ZZ3
  • Fifth Format: 1AA113 - 9ZZ993
  • Sixth Format: 1AAA13 - 9ZZZ93

NW - 11 Jan ’24

4 - April new

5BXY 64APR
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Information courtesy Samson Morgan:

The trailing numeral 4 is constant, keyed to the expiration month of April.

  • Green Format: 104AAA - 994VZZ
  • First Red Format: 114WAA - 994ZZZ backwards
  • Second Format: 1004AA - 9994ZZ
  • Third Format: 10AA04 - 99ZZ94
  • Fourth Format: 111AA4 - 999ZZ4
  • Fifth Format: 1AA114 - 9ZZ994
  • Sixth Format: 1AAA14 - 9ZZZ94

Brett Weisbrot - 21 Feb ’24

5 - May

4LWB 75MAY
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Information courtesy Samson Morgan:

The trailing numeral 5 is constant, keyed to the expiration month of May.

  • Green Format: 105AAA - 995VZZ
  • First Red Format: 115WAA - 995ZZZ backwards
  • Second Format: 1005AA - 9995ZZ
  • Third Format: 10AA05 - 99ZZ95
  • Fourth Format: 111AA5 - 999ZZ5
  • Fifth Format: 1AA115 - 9ZZ995
  • Sixth Format: 1AAA15 - 9ZZZ95

Matt Reilly - 5 Feb ’24

6 - June

4DZC 26JUN
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Information courtesy Samson Morgan:

The trailing numeral 6 is constant, keyed to the expiration month of June.

  • Green Format: 106AAA - 996VZZ
  • First Red Format: 116WAA - 996ZZZ backwards
  • Second Format: 1006AA - 9996ZZ
  • Third Format: 10AA06 - 99ZZ96
  • Fourth Format: 111AA6 - 999ZZ6
  • Fifth Format: 1AA116 - 9ZZ996
  • Sixth Format: 1AAA16 - 9ZZZ96

Jamie Hosier - 27 Jan ’24

7 - July

5KSB 77JUL
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East Longmeadow Information courtesy Samson Morgan:

The trailing numeral 7 is constant, keyed to the expiration month of July.

  • Green Format: 107AAA - 997VZZ
  • First Red Format: 117WAA - 997ZZZ backwards
  • Second Format: 1007AA - 9997ZZ
  • Third Format: 10AA07 - 99ZZ97
  • Fourth Format: 111AA7 - 999ZZ7
  • Fifth Format: 1AA117 - 9ZZ997
  • Sixth Format: 1AAA17 - 9ZZZ97

Patient First - 14 Feb ’24

8 - August new

5VWA 18AUG
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Seen in Somerset, MA Information courtesy Samson Morgan:

The trailing numeral 8 is constant, keyed to the expiration month of August.

  • Green Format: 108AAA - 998VZZ
  • First Red Format: 118WAA - 998ZZZ backwards
  • Second Format: 1008AA - 9998ZZ
  • Third Format: 10AA08 - 99ZZ98
  • Fourth Format: 111AA8 - 999ZZ8
  • Fifth Format: 1AA118 - 9ZZ998
  • Sixth Format: 1AAA18 - 9ZZZ98

Jamie Hosier - 23 Feb ’24

9 - September

6DWD 99SEP
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Information courtesy Samson Morgan:

The trailing numeral 9 is constant, keyed to the expiration month of September.

  • Green Format: 109AAA - 999VZZ
  • First Red Format: 119WAA - 999ZZZ backwards
  • Second Format: 1009AA - 9999ZZ
  • Third Format: 10AA09 - 99ZZ99
  • Fourth Format: 111AA9 - 999ZZ9
  • Fifth Format: 1AA119 - 9ZZ999
  • Sixth Format: 1AAA19 - 9ZZZ99

Jamie Hosier - 26 Jan ’24

O - October

526 Y40OCT
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Per Jamie Hosier, October expirations were last issued in 2019 (but can continue to be renewed).

Information courtesy Samson Morgan:

The trailing numeral 0 is constant, keyed to the expiration month of October.

  • Green Format: 100AAA - 990VZZ
  • First Red Format: 100WAA - 990ZZZ backwards
  • Second Format: 1000AA - 9990ZZ
  • Third Format: 10AA00 - 99ZZ90
  • Fourth Format: 111AA0 - 999ZZ0
    • The October expiration of this format ended early (at xxxNZ0 I believe) due to complaints of similar looking serials to original green plates. Back then, there was not a separate die for the letter O, so they used a zero. Therefore, there were mixups between plates like 123ABO (a green/white plate) and 123AB0 (a fourth-format red plate).
  • Fifth Format: 1AA100 - 9ZZ990
    • This fifth format with October expirations started early when the fourth format ended due to mixups (see above).
  • Sixth Format: 1AAA10 - 9ZZZ90
  • SPECIAL Seventh Format: 11A110 - 99Z990
  • SPECIAL Eighth Format: 111A10 - 999Z90
    • These special series were used for October expiration plates issued starting in 2018 and ran out around 2021. Going through the previous series, and the issuance of this series, is because October expiration plates get used up quickly—they are issued throughout three months, November, December, and January, while other months’ plates are only issued throughout one month.

Bradley Gallagher - 6 Sep ’23

Non-passenger Plates

Ambulance

8672AMBULANCE
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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

Samson Morgan - 15 Feb ’24

Antique

D 4401ANTIQUE
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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.

Brett Weisbrot - 5 Sep ’23

Bus

16AGRBUS
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Bradley Gallagher reports that in the 00AAA format, the letters increment before the numbers. He saw 15ACC and 16ACC parked next to each other.

Chris Martin - 12 Oct ’21

Camper

1HHT2CAMPER
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99999 reached, new series now 1234 A format

Chris Martin - 22 Aug ’23

Commercial

X88·889COMMERCIAL
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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.

Mike Barlow - 1 Feb ’24

Disabled

J 169
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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.

Frederick Goodrich - 26 Jul ’21

Disabled Motorcycle

HP1230
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Sam Farley - 24 May ’15

Fire Official

F131OFFICIAL
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"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.

Nathan Reznik - 12 Sep ’23

Livery

LV
C7505
LIVERY
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L/V90256 reported by Jason Taylor on 2010-11-19.  Another way out of sequnce number, but not uncommon for Mass.

Samson Morgan - 14 Jan ’24

Motorcycle

3A1349
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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.

Samson Morgan - 6 Jan ’24

Municipal

M4973 BOFFICIAL
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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.

Nathan Reznik - 27 Sep ’23

Municipal Motorcycle

M8022
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White on Blue Spirit Base.

Jim Hough - 28 Sep ’09

Pupils new

114191PUPILS
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Spotted in Waltham 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.

Nathan Reznik - 23 Feb ’24

Snow Removal Equipment

SR
M944
COMMERCIAL
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Spotted in Millbury, MA 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.

Jamie Hosier - 30 Jan ’24

State

R222OFFICIAL
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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.

Jesse B - 21 Apr ’23

Taxi

15MFTAXI
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Spotted in downtown Boston 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.

Bobby Fergione - 14 Jul ’23

Trailer

TZ
91907
TRAILER
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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.

Chris Martin - 25 Apr ’23

Turnpike

1998TURNPIKE
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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 - 17 Aug ’09

Specialty Plates

Boston Bruins

BR
CB93
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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."

Kyle Wasson - 18 Jan ’24

Boston Celtics

CS
7212
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Bautista - 14 Jan ’24

Boston Red Sox

JF
346J
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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.

Patient First - 2 Feb ’24

Cape Cod & Islands

IC
AM12
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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

Chris Martin - 5 Jul ’23

Electric Vehicle

VE
CS23
ELECTRIC VEHICLE
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New format, once V/E12AB format was finished, now onto V/EAB12.

Nathan Reznik - 6 Feb ’24

New England Patriots

NE
ED32
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Patient First - 16 Jan ’24

United We Stand new

US
BT29
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Series appears to have progressed from U/S 12AB to U/S AB12. 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

Mike Barlow - 21 Feb ’24

Military Veteran Plates

Disabled Veteran

8935
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Spirit base with red/white/blue flag style bars on right and left

Patient First - 22 Jan ’24

Veteran

49023
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Patient First - 16 Jan ’24

Veteran Motorcycle

VT248B
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Letters are always VT. Series progression was VT 100 through VT 999, then VT1000 forward with no space.

Samson Morgan - 2 Aug ’22