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Billboard Plates

Billboards within a certain distance of roads and highways in New Mexico are required to be licensed by the state. This requirement was set forth in the Laws of 1966, Chapter 65, also known as the Highway Beautification Act.  Since 1966, the licensing authority for this purpose has been the New Mexico State Highway Department (at times also called the N.M. State Highway Commission, and now called the N.M. Department of Transportation). Until sometime in the 1970s licensed billboards were issued motorcycle-size plates bearing the billboard license number, and either the Highway Commission’s name or the Highway Department’s acronym, NMSHD. These plates were usually affixed to the billboard support columns, and though they were discontinued in the 1970s, they can still be found on many older billboards.

The bottom plate in the group shown here is of the style in use at the time they were discontinued, more legible examples of which are shown to its left and right.

While the vast majority of the red-on-yellow series of billboard plates are embossed, a very few are know to exist as silk screened flat plates made of plastic. Courtesy Mark Gutierrez.
Though not dated, this permit is in the colors and style of 1971 non-passenger plates, making it reasonable to infer that it was issued in about that year.



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