A Website for Porcelain License Plate Collectors & Enthusiasts
Gallery: Unusual Colors
Of all the odd color schemes chosen for porcelain license plates, perhaps the
most common was black characters on a green background.  These plates had
very little contrast and would have been hard for law enforcement officers to
read from any distance.  Nevertheless, such a color combination was selected on
five separate occasions.
Mobile, AL 1909
Salisbury, NC 1917-18
Concord, NC 1916-17 For Hire
Unknown 1928 Milk License
Schenectady(?), NY 1931 Milk
Red & black is another color combination that was used rarely on porcelain
license plates - and yet there are seven occasions in which either red characters
on a black background or black characters on a red background were used.  Like
the black & green plates above, these striking plates can be quite beautiful from
an aesthetic point of view, but would have been tough to read for pursuing police.
Douglas, AZ 1918
Tulsa, OK 1915
Tulsa, OK 1912
Manatee, FL 1916-17
Dewey, OK 1913-14
St. Lucie, FL 1913-14
Undated U.S. Indian Agency
Red characters on a green background is a headache-inducing color
combination, and yet officials in both Sacramento, California and Bartlesville,
Oklahoma figured it would be a good choice for the porcelain license plates they
were producing.  These are the only two jurisdictions known to have used such a
color scheme.
Bartlesville, OK 1914-15
Sacramento, CA 1940 Produce
Not to be outdone by the red & green color combinations of Bartlesville and
Sacramento, the cities of Memphis, Tennessee and Fernandina, Florida decided
to produce plates that were equally unreadable - opting for an orange & green
color scheme.  In the case of the Memphis plate, not only did the colors hamper
readability, but the plate was only 3 inches in diameter - nearly invisible to police.
Undated Fernandinia, FL
Memphis, TN 1915 For Hire
Perhaps toughest of all known color schemes to read from any distance were the
two white & yellow porcelain plates issued in the cities of Bisbee, Arizona and St.
Louis, Missouri.  It is notable that there is a distinct darkening of the yellow
background on the higher numbered St. Louis plates, suggesting perhaps that
police objected and that the city asked the manufacturer to increase the contrast.
Bisbee, AZ 1920
St. Louis, MO 1906