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25/04/1901 New York becomes the first state to require automobile license plates

1:02

Notebook: License plates

1:44

Vanity License Plates You Won't Believe Actually Exist

2:06

What Isn't Allowed on California License Plates?

2:36

Rejected personalized license plates in California

New York State has required plates since 1903 after first requiring two years earlier that only the owner's initials be clearly visible on the back of the vehicle. At first, plates were not government issued in most jurisdictions and motorists were obliged to make their own.
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