Passenger

Plates shown here are for reference only. Some are in my collection, but most are not. No plate imaged here is for sale. Please ask permission before using images elsewhere.

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The State of South Carolina began issuing license plates in 1917 - the third to last state to start issuing plates. Prior to 1917, individual counties would issue a vehicle a registration number, and it was up to the owner to display it on the vehicle. See more on my Prestate page.

1917 (single) early "SC" diagonal; later "SC" straight

black/light yellow (yellow tended to vary medium to light)
Type 1: "stairstep" S/C. Type 2: straight "SC". Type 3: tall "SC" with narrow "17"

1918
(single)

white/green
width varied with number of digits

1919
(single)

blue/white


1920
(single)

white/dark green


1921
(single)

red/black; first year of weight codes

1922
(single)

black/white


1923 (single)

white/dark green


1924
(single)
script "SC" in circle
black/orange


1925
(single)

white/green


1926
(single)
"SC" inside Palmetto Tree design
red/white


1927
(single)
"SC" inside Palmetto Tree design
green/white


1928
(single)

black/yellow
width variable depending on number of characters (A127-000 repainted shown)

1929
(single)

black/white


1930
(pair)
"IODINE" vertically on right side
white/black


1931
(pair)
"THE IODINE STATE" bottom
green/gray


1932
(pair)
"THE IODINE STATE" bottom
black/yellow


1933
(pair)
"THE IODINE PRODUCTS STATE" bottom
black/white


 
1934
(pair) introduction of 1/2 year plates
"APRIL 30" top or "OCTOBER 31" bottom
black/yellow(April); yellow/black(October)


1935 (pair) 1/2 year
"APRIL 30" top or "OCTOBER 31" bottom
color variations: red/white; white/red; black/white; white/black
no rhyme or reason known as to color variations


 
1936
(pair) 1/2 year
"APRIL 30" top or "OCTOBER 31" bottom
yellow/black(April); black/yellow(October)


1937
(pair) 1/2 year
"APRIL 30" top or "OCTOBER 31" bottom
unknown colors(April); black/white(October)


1938
(pair)
no letter, assumed "C" class
black/yellow


1939
(pair)

black/white


1940
(pair)
no letter = overflow of "C" class; "OCTOBER 31" bottom
yellow/black


1941
(pair)
no letter = overflow of "C" class
black/yellow


1942
(pair)
no letter = overflow of "C" class
yellow/black


1943
(single)
restamped from collected plates - most '42; rare unstamped exist
no letter = overflow of "C" class
yellow/black

1944
(single)
strip applied to existing 1943; weight class matched, plate number did not necessarily
new registrants received a 1943 with strip attachment
yellow/green

1945
(single)
normal plate; no letter, assumed "C" class
yellow/green


1946
(pair)

silver/black


1947
(pair)

black/yellow


1948
(pair)

yellow/black


1949
(pair)

white/black


1950
(pair)

black/white


1951
(pair)

white/black


1952
(pair)

yellow/black


1953
(pair)

black/yellow


1954
(pair)

white/black


1955
(pair)

black/white


1956
(pair)

black/yellow


1957
(pair)

white/blue


1958
(pair)

blue/white


1959
(pair)

white/blue


1960
(pair)

blue/white


1961
(pair)

red/white



1962
(pair)
some experimental reflective (some debossed in E and F series)*
white/red


1963
(pair)

white/green


 
1964
(pair)
begin 2-letter prefix, overflow from single letter
white/black


1965
(pair)

black/white


1966
(pair)

white/blue


1967
(pair)

blue/white


1968
(pair)
begin reflective letters; "AUTO" bottom (passenger only)
white/black


1969
(pair)

white/blue


1970
(pair)
"1670  300 YEARS  1970"
white/green


1971
(pair)

white/brown


1972
(pair)
begin 3-letter, 3-number format, numbers 101-250 used
white/black


1973
(pair)
numbers 101-250 used
white/blue


1974
(pair)
last year for pairs, numbers 101-250 used
white/green


1975
(single)
numbers 101-250 used
white/maroon


1976-1980 (single)
"Bicentennial" base
issued c.October 1975 through December 1979. Replaced 1975 plates by end of 1975
month stickers began 1979
see GUIDE TO STICKERS

1981-1985
(single)
State Outline base
issued January 1980-December 1984. Replaced previous design through 1980
see GUIDE TO STICKERS


1986-1990
(single)*
Palmetto base
issued January 1985-December 1989. Replaced previous design through 1985
see GUIDE TO STICKERS


1991-1998
(single)*
Wren (state bird) base
issued January 1990-December 1997. Replaced previous design through 1990
see GUIDE TO STICKERS


1999-June, 2008
(single)*
"Smiling Faces, Beautiful Places" base
issued January 1998-June 30, 2008. Replaced previous design through 1998
embossed serial number through Sept, 2007*; flat, debossed border, beginning Sept, 2007 (c.XBJ, XBK series)
see GUIDE TO STICKERS

July, 2008 - mid-March 2016
(single)*
"Sunrise" base
issued July 1,  2008 - mid-March 2016. Replaced previous design by June 30, 2009. Issued while supplies lasted into March 2016.
Renewed issues valid. No termination date set for replacement. Numbering began at AAA101 and ended at LZD799.
Combined month sticker began late December 2016.
see GUIDE TO STICKERS

February 1, 2016 - present
(single)
"Hope" base
issued February 1, 2016 for replacements. New registration issues began in offices as each particular office exhausted supply of "Sunrise"
No replacement of previous issue set - "Sunrise" continues to be valid. Numbering began where "Sunrise" ended at LZD800.
Combined month sticker for new issues or replacements by mail. 2016 split sticker only for office-issued replacements.
see GUIDE TO STICKERS


*ALTERNATES


1938-1945, all numeric, class "C" assumed as overflow after C-99-999





1962 reflective experimental.
Debossed E and F class (only 20,000 made)
Glass bead in white paint on letters in D and E class (10,000 made in each class)



1986 with old style month sticker - most likely a clerk error





"Wren" base

plates issued from numbers AAA101 to AAA500, then AAB101...
after YZZ500, then AAA501 to AAA900, then AAB501...
after YZZ900, overflow to IAA101
rare 1999 sticker issued to January expirations only for very early renewals before new plates were in stock.

"Smiling Faces" base
 (1) special character plates issued out of alphabetical order.

    TGR, as in Clemson Tigers
    USC, as in University of South Carolina
    TAG, as in car tag
    USA, as in United States of America
    UGA, as in University of Georgia
    UNC, as in University of North Carolina
      (not all letter combinations confirmed for State Outline & Palmetto bases)







 (2) embossed plates issued numbers from 101 to 900
       flat plates issued numbers from 101 to 999
       except special-character plates mentioned above went to 999

 (3) did not use letters I, O, Q, U
       "U" began use at NAU 101 series


"Sunrise" base
  (1) uses all letters except O

  (2) automatic renewals mailed directly from 3M (manufacturer). Since 3M does not have a stock of SC stickers, they printed their own month and year stickers. Month stickers are distinctive as black, in 2-digit format (08=August); Year stickers are distinctive with a much larger plate number printed on the sticker.

 (3) special character plates issued out of alphabetical order. Confirmed:
    TGR, as in Clemson Tigers
    USC, as in University of South Carolina
    USA, as in United States of America


Registration Periods

19??-1978
JAN - Political/Judicial
OCT - Passenger, EMT, Retired National Guard
NOV - Amateur Radio, Disabled , Purple Heart, Motorcycle, House Trailer, Taxi, Rescue, National Guard, Volunteer Firefighter
DEC - Truck, Trailer, Dealer, M/R Dealer, Farm, Bus
Plates marked April 30 were 1/2 year plates to later receive October 31.

1978-present
Existing registrations: with the October 1978 expiration,  month stickers issued based on the 2nd digit
  (ABC 123 = February, 1980); 1=Jan, 2=Feb, etc. to 0=Oct; Nov & Dec only to new registrations
New registrations beginning November 1, 1978 received sticker same month of initial registration.

Plates stay with the owner upon sale and may be transferred.

1994 - Biennial registration
Passed by Legislature 6/25/1993 (HB3610)

3. Added Code Section 56-3-253 to describe the schedule for conversion to the biennial registration.

This Act provides:

   a. Generally, after June 30, 1994 vehicles will be registered and licensed for 24 consecutive months.
   b. A phase in for vehicles with registrations expiring between July 1, 1993 and June 30, 1994 as follows:
     (1) A vehicle having a license plate ending with an even number and expiring between July 1 and December 31, 1993 shall receive a biennial registration.
     (2) A vehicle having a license plate ending with an even number and expiring between January 1 and June 30, 1994 shall receive a one year registration and thereafter, a biennial registration.
     (3) A vehicle having a license plate ending with an odd number and expiring between July 1 and December 31, 1993 shall receive a one year registration and thereafter, a biennial registration.
     (4) A vehicle having a license plate ending with an odd number and expiring between January 1 and June 30, 1994 shall receive a biennial registration.
   c. All vehicles having a special license plate, other than an official plate, must receive a biennial registration. Official plates must be renewed annually at one-half the biennial rate.
   d. All registrations are valid until the last day of the month of expiration.
Effective Date: The Act section takes effect July 1, 1993, but the provisions pertaining to counties mailing motor vehicle registration and licensing renewal notices do not take effect until July 1, 1994.
Act No. 164, Section 39.