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Renewal Stickers

New Mexico’s first experiment with multi-year license plates was implemented with the state’s porcelain plates. These were first issued in 1920, then were renewed with metal revalidation seals (tabs) in 1921, 1922 and 1923. A serious problem arose because the seals were attached to the plates with removable split rivets, making them susceptible to theft by persons intent on evading registration fees. As a consequence, the system was abandoned in 1924.

Notwithstanding that unhappy experience there was much to be gained from the use of multi-year tags, not the least of which were the conservation of resources and retaining a larger share of registration fees for the state road fund, rather than wasting money buying tags that would be thrown away at the end of the year.

The development in the 1950s of durable stickers that could withstand road hazards and weather extremes for sufficient time solved the problem, and in 1960 New Mexico’s 1959 plates were renewed with a tab and sticker that covered the “59” date. For the next 20 years plates were renewed with stickers alone, excepting only the occasional general issuance of new base plates with embossed dates. From 1979 onward plates have been entirely undated, with only the stickers indicating the year for which they’re valid.

Beginning with the black-on-white design introduced in 2001 for 2002 expirations, all stickers have had the same serial number as that on the plate, with the black-on-white colors remaining constant since then as well.

The New Mexico Transportation History Project is in need of examples of unused 1989 to 2002 stickers, inclusive. If you have any, please Contact us!
2017 M/C Dealer 

Repurposed stickers. These staggered registration stickers have the expiration month designated by a small secondary sticker overlaid on the larger underlying sticker. Peeling off the overlays reveals that the main stickers were originally intended for non-staggered registration of Off Highway vehicles. The reason the DMV found it necessary to resort to this measure to convert them to general use staggered stickers is not known.
Photo Credits: 1970 Commercial Bus sticker courtesy Rick Holben; 1971 Horseless Carriage sticker courtesy Michael Wiener.  All others by Bill Johnston.


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