A Website for Porcelain License Plate Collectors & Enthusiasts
TOTAL KNOWN PORCELAIN VARIETIES: 4
I: PRE-STATES / CITY & COUNTY PLATES
There are no known porcelain varieties of pre-states or city plates from Wyoming.
II: STATE-ISSUED PASSENGER PLATES
Statewide registration of motor vehicles in Wyoming began in 1913, and the state
issued three annual embossed metal plates before experimenting with porcelain
in 1916. Newspaper reports show that in late 1915, the state placed an initial
order for 4,000 of these new undated 1916 porcelains, but that allotment would
soon run out. In fact, automobile ownership in the state was skyrocketing at the
time, and by mid-1916, registrations already exceeded 5,000, surpassing the
figures for the entire previous year by more than 1,000. Before the year was up,
some 7,000 porcelains had been issued. These plates were issued in pairs
beginning at #1 and were manufactured in three colors – the seal was black, the
numbers and state designation were blue, and the background was white. All
plates measured 4½” x 12 and did not vary in length depending on the plate
number. Furthermore, two slight variations exist. Numbers up to 5000 have small
corner holes and narrow slots. In addition, the “WYO” was positioned slightly
farther to the right of the lower left corner hole, and the porcelain was bright
white and opaque. Plates with numbers above 5000, however, had larger bolt
slots, the color of the plates was somewhat grayer then the lower numbered
plates, and the “W” in the state abbreviation actually touched the lower corner
III: STATE-ISSUED NON-PASSENGER PLATES
The only example of a Wyoming non-passenger porcelain is a single known
Highway Department plate. This plate does not carry the state seal like ordinary
car plates of the era. It is unclear what date this plate is from, but it is perhaps
logical to assume it's from 1916, since that's the only year Wyoming used
porcelain. This unique plate joins the New Mexico porcelains as the only two
examples of porcelain license plates issued specifically to the Highway
IV: ODDBALL PORCELAINS
There is one very mysterious porcelain plate that exists from Wyoming. It is a
dated 1918 plate with red letters and numbers on a white background. The
condition of the lone surviving example of this plate suggests that it was dug up,
which might indicate that it was a prototype offered by a hopeful vendor that was
rejected and subsequently disposed of.
Another strange plate that showed up in 2015 was part of a large online auction of
early plates coming out of Wyoming. Although the Highway Department plate
above indicates that red & white was indeed used on state-issued plates, this
particular plate seems unlikely to have been an official Wyoming license plate.
The suspicion is that it is probably a prototype or sample of some sort, probably
made around 1915 by an enamelling company vying to win the state license plate
Roy A. Carson, “1890 – Wyoming – 1990.” ALPCA Newsletter, 35, 1 (February, 1989),
Big Piney Examiner, September 30, 1915; June 22, 1916; July 6, 1916
The Pinedale Roundup, November 23, 1916
||Blue & Black/White
||4 1/2" x 12"
||Range: 1 - Approx. 7,000
||4 1/2" x 12"
||4 1/2" x 12"