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First Issues

The term “first issues” refers to the first license plates issued by New Mexico after it became a state on January 6, 1912. The First State Legislature passed an automobile licensing law on June 8, 1912, and issued plate #1 on August 16 of that year. These plates were green on white, undated, and similar to (but not exactly) the size of current modern plates.

The original intent was that these initial plates would be issued until (and would be valid until) November 1 of 1913, but the 1913 Legislature moved the expiration date to December 31, 1913. Consequently, the same style and color of plate was used continuously from August 16, 1912 through December 31, 1913. Moreover, the plates were numbered sequentially throughout this period, beginning with plate #1 and ending with plate #1898.

All of these are referred to as New Mexico’s “first issue” plates even though some were issued in 1912 and others in 1913. The only way to tell which of these tags were issued in which year is by the plate numbers. The key plate numbers and dates are:
1 issued on August 16, 1912.
904 issued on December 31, 1912.
905 issued on January 2, 1913.
 1898 issued on December 22, 1913.

  In other words, those numbered 1 through 904 are 1912 plates, and those numbered 905 through 1898 are 1913 plates.


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