My Nova Scotia Licence Plate Collection

and Guide to Nova Scotia Plates
 
This page is best seen on your computer, not your phone!   Last updated Aug 11, 2022

I do not claim to be any kind of expert on NS plates but I do include enough information
about them in this page that it might be fair to say this is somewhat of a guide, not just a display.  This page cannot be considered
 to be authoritative or complete but you might learn something you didn't know before. I certainly hope
 I have not said anything misleading or downrightwrong.  Please let me know if I have done so.  

This is the NS licence Plate page for Bill White of Halifax, NS. Check my
other licence plate pages, and my overall site, by clicking below.


Back to Licence Plate Opening Page             Back to overall Marscan Opening Page

MY WANT LIST (NS PLATES)  revised July 20, 2022
I am looking for the following plate years or types, some more than others, and this list is not exclusive. If you have something available please contact me via FB messaging or via email  marscan1 AT gmail.com

:
Passenger 1920. Possible upgrade for 1925

Alphanumeric FAA to FAD series.

Commercial 1950, plus many prior to 1950

 Commercial Half Year: Need X type all 1940's, 50, 51, 57, 59
Strips for 52, 53, 54, 56.  CX for 61 66

Any Dealer Salesman plates

Any Sprayer plates

Any G7 or other special event plates.

F 1952/53, 59, and all before 52
FM 1957 to 60, 63, 64, 65
FX all except 64 and 67

 

 
 

Trailer.  Suffix T need 53 to 59 plus most before 52
Prefix T need 60, 61, 62, 63, 66

Trailer restricted TX prefix. Need all years.

Tractor. (T prefix) need all before 1959.  GT need 60 to 68.

DND.  Need any of the full size plates, plus the supplementary base plates for NS facilities, particularly looking for CFB Halifax green type from the 70's.

PRP. Need PR with slogan PRP Commercial

Samples prior to early 1960's

 Dealer Salesman
 Most NS smalls such as MC Dealer, MC Vet, OHV dlr, Moped etc
NS PUB strip plates in types I don't have


 

 

Information about NS plates that is included here regarding registrations, formats types, codes, dates of issue, etc comes from a variety of sources whose accuracy I have not necessarily verified. Most information here for the modern era comes from a current senior official at the Registry of Motor Vehicles who has kindly shared a great deal of information with me.  I appreciate very much the work that various compilers have done to come up with this information.  Principal on-line sources are:  
Vehicle registration plates of Nova Scotia - Wikipedia   
The High Road :: License Plate News  Service Nova Scotia - Vehicle Registration & Plates

For a much more comprehensive outline of NS plates historically over the years, including ranges of serials and totals issued,
I highly recommend you go to
All About License Plates     which is open to the general public, or join ALPCA and access the archives and back issues of PLATES magazine.
 

 Note that the agency in Nova Scotia responsible for producing and issuing licence plates is
the Registry of Motor Vehicles.   Most of its services direct to the public are carried out on
its behalf by counter agents at Access Nova Scotia locations.   RMV and Access Nova Scotia
are components of the provincial Department of Service Nova Scotia and Internal Services.

PART 1 1907 to 1951

From 1907 to 1917 the province of Nova Scotia registered motor vehicles but did not issue licence plates.  Instead, a registration disc with registration number was issued. This was intended for display on  the dashboard.  Owners used the number on the disc and produced self-made plates to mount on the vehicle, which had to follow certain standards, but were far from uniform in construction and size.  In these early years, motor vehicles of all types were registered in the one series.  Disc numbers, and therefore plates as well, were numbered consecutively through to 1917, with no re-starts. I do not have one of these but here is a photo of one most likely issued in 1909, courtesy of Jack Craft:

h

I am not currently attempting to collect the discs or the pre-provincial plates. Provincially-produced licence plates were introduced into Nova Scotia in 1918, which is relatively late for Canadian provinces.  Quebec began in 1908 and several began in 1911 to 1913. In fact, only Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland were later to do so.  As in practically any jurisdiction, passenger plates were the first type to be produced, closely followed by Commercial plates and as time went on several other types.    My collection in this era is at this point limited to passenger and commercial plates only, as shown below.

YEAR PASSENGER COMMERCIAL
1918
White on Green
Flat

The 1918 plates were issued in several different lengths to suit the number and size of digits.  My plate 3364 is of the longest length. 

 Note that this plate came to my collection from a fellow collector in California, so it has a had at least a couple of long journeys!
 

 
1919
Black on Yellow
Flat



This series was issued with either four or five digits and all are the same size. 
 
1920
White on Dark Blue
Embossed

Reference Image. I do not have a 1920 plate in my collection
First year for C (Commercial) plates.
I have not yet obtained a commercial plate
for this year.  C620 is in a Nova Scotia collection.

Note that this was also the first year for dealer plates
and the smaller motorcycle plates.  Prior to this it appears
that all used the same type of plate.

1921
Black on Greenish Yellow
Flat, with embossed
border
 

 

I have not yet obtained a commercial plate
for this year
1922

White on Black (some appear to be White on dark Blue)
Embossed
(All plates from this year onward are embossed)


This plate has had some touching up, looks like long ago.

I have not yet obtained a commercial plate
for this year
1923
Red on Light Grey


 
I have not yet obtained a commercial plate
for this year
1924
Yellow on Black

 For 1924 to 1927, both long and short plates were issued to suit the length of the serial

This 1924 shortie is in beautiful shape!




1924 long plate
 

I have not yet obtained a commercial plate
for this year
1925
 Black on Cream


 
I have not yet obtained a commercial plate
for this year

 

1926
White on Dark Green

In 1926, and continuing to 1928, passenger vehicles were divided
into lightweight and heavyweight (division point was 3000 lbs) and
being issued different plates. The numerical part of the serial did not repeat so that the lower numbers were on the lightweight plates, and higher on the heavyweight plates.






 

For the years in which the passenger plates had the L and H differentiation, there were also similar L and H designations used on at least some other
types of plates, most likely including Commercial and Trailer plates.

I have not yet obtained a commercial plate
for 1926.

 

1927
Yellow on Black
 


 

This 1927 Heavy car plate was the victim of my own ill-advised
attempts to "clean it up", as I ended up taking most of the
yellow off the left end of the plate.  Lesson learned.

I have not yet obtained a commercial plate
for this year

 

1928
Black on Orange



In 1928 the lightweight plate had no L prefix



This was the last year for the short-lived division between light and heavyweight passenger vehicles.
 

I have not yet obtained a commercial plate
for this year

 

1929
White on Red


 

1930
Red on Cream

 


The plate above is my primary plate for 1930.  The plate below
is the "before" photo of one I submitted to Sean Moore for
refinishing. I thought it would be interesting to have a couple of plates refurbished but on the whole do base my collection on non-refinished plates. Below that photo you will see the front
and back of the plate after it was done.  Sean lives
in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality in Nova Scotia.
He is a professional sign painter and artist, and is interested in
taking on your submissions and as well adding to his
own license plate collection.  Contact him on FB.  See also
his restoration of my 1935 plate farther down this page.








This plate appears white on my photos but is definitely the off-white or cream colour it is supposed to be!

I have not yet obtained a commercial plate
for this year

 

From 1931 to 1952 Nova Scotia issued passenger plates on which the first number represented a particular group of counties of issue, as follows:
2 Kings and Hants
3 Yarmouth, Digby, Annapolis
4 Shelburne, Queens, Lunenburg
5 Colchester, Cumberland
6 Pictou, Antigonish, Guysborough
7 Cape Breton, Victoria, Inverness, Richmond
8 and 9  Halifax

I have no information re any possible similar scheme for Commercial plates.

 
1931 White on Black
 


 
I have not yet obtained a commercial plate
for this year

 

1932 Black on Yellow
 


 
I have not yet obtained a commercial plate
for this year

 

1933 Orange on Black
 


 

A 1933 pair.  Both have rust, but one is much better than the other.

1934 White on Blue

 
I have not yet obtained a commercial plate
for this year

 

1935 Blue on White


The plate above is the primary plate in my collection for 1935. 
The plate below is the "before" photo of one I submitted to Sean
Moore for repainting.  Below that are the front and back photos
of the plate after Sean was done with it.




This 1935 commercial plate is a prime candidate for
restoration, but I can never decide if doing such a
thing is a good idea.

1936 White on Red

1937 Deep Yellow on Black
 


 
I have not yet obtained a commercial plate
for this year

 

1938 Black on Yellow


 
I have not yet obtained a commercial plate
for this year

 

1939 White on Green

 
I have not yet obtained a commercial plate
for this year

 

1940 White on Black
 



 
I have not yet obtained a commercial plate
for this year

 

1941 Black on Cream
For 1941, passenger serials changed from
 (one or two digits) hyphen (three digits)  to
(single digit) hyphen (two digits) hyphen (two digits)


 

 

*************

HALF YEAR HEAVY COMMERCIAL PLATES

Commencing in 1941 and extending to 1978 a second series of commercial plates was issued, this being for half-year registrations.  As far as I know these were for the first half of the year, expiring on July 15.  Half-year registrations for the second half of the year would receive regular plates as the expiry date in both cases would be December 31. 
From 1941 to 1959 (except 1952 to 56) these plates had an X prefix instead of C, and generally were of a different colour than the regular C plates.  From 1960 they had a CX prefix.   I do not have any of these plates prior to 1958 but am in each year at least indicating the colours used.

In 1941 these were Black on Cream (same as Psgr and C plates)
 

1942 Black on Pea Green


Two plates were manufactured but only one was issued.  The remaining plate of the pair was retained and restamped and repainted for use in 1943.
I have not yet obtained a commercial plate
for this year

***************
HALF YEAR PLATES (X prefix):
Same colours as Passenger and C plates
 

1943 White on Black

In 1943 the majority of plates issued were 1942 plates with the year restamped, and the plate repainted to the opposite colours.  These restamped plates are apparent by examining the 3 in the year, as
the remnants of the 2 are obvious, when examined up close.   The paint may also may appear to be a repaint.  The plate shown above is a restamp.
There were also a few 1943 plates produced for issue when the 1942 restamps ran out. At this time I have no knowledge of the serials used in each type.
 



Comments for 1943 passenger plates apply to Commercial plates as well.

***************
HALF YEAR PLATES (X prefix):
Same colours as Passenger and C plates
 

The 1943 passenger plate was also used in 1944,
with a black and white on red window sticker.




Image courtesy of Dave Hunter at Avon Valley Antiques

Because these stickers were applied to the window,
very few of them survive.   The image shown is for your interest and information.  I DO NOT have a physical sticker.  This is a photo of
a copy of a 1944 sticker that is displayed in Avon River Antiques
in Windsor, NS.  Check Dave's stock of licence plates and
other collectibles on FB or in person.

Note that this same sticker design was used again in the 1960's

I have seen in some sources a statement that there were in fact a small number of 1944 plates issued, for new registrations, which of course during the war years were rare.   This was purportedly in the same colour scheme as 1943.
 

For commercial vehicles, most had 1944 stickers placed on the plate itself, unlike the window stickers for passenger vehicles.

According to "All About License Plates" there was a very
small run (about 100) of White on Black 1944 commercial plates

 

 

***************
HALF YEAR PLATES (X prefix):
1943 plate with Black on yellow window sticker showing expiry on July 15, 1944

1945 Black on Cream

 



1945 was a relatively rare Commercial year as sources indicate that only
about 2500 were issued, though this plate above seems to indicate that there
must have been at least 3339 new registrations.

***************
HALF YEAR PLATES (X prefix):
Same colours as Passenger and C plates
 

 

1946 Black on Gray

 



***************
HALF YEAR PLATES (X prefix):
Same colours as Passenger and C plates
 
1947 White on Black


 




***************
HALF YEAR PLATES (X prefix):
Same colours as Passenger and C plates
 

1948 Black on Pale Green


 



***************
HALF YEAR PLATES (X prefix):
Black on Yellow

1949 Black on Cream

 



***************
HALF YEAR PLATES (X prefix):
Black on Red
 
1950 Black on Gray

 
I have not yet obtained a commercial plate
for this year
 

***************
HALF YEAR PLATES (X prefix):
Red on White
 

1951 Black on Orange (also described as deep yellow)



 




***************
HALF YEAR PLATES (X prefix):
Red on Yellow
End of the County Group System

Since 1931 the first digit of the five digit passenger serials indicated which group of Nova Scotia counties a plate was distributed in.  See the key prior to the 1931 listing above.  It is my understanding that this ended with the 1951 plates, or possibly the 1952 plates that were actually issued in 1952.  After this the serials with five digits were exhausted and moved to six digits. All plates embossed with the year 1953 commence with 10 regardless of area of issue.  Plates embossed with 1952 but issued in 1954 or later have even higher serials.  The old county grouping system had been outgrown. 

PART 2 1952 to 1956
The Black on Aluminum Period

In this five-year period, there was a somewhat confusing sequence of base plates and tabs. These plates were made of aluminum rather than steel, with an unpainted or grey-silver painted background, with black embossed serials. 

For 1952, passenger cars and commercial vehicles were issued with a 1952 base plate.    This was also true for other types of plates illustrated or referenced later on this site.

For 1953, renewals kept the 1952 base plate and received a white on blue strip to go across the bottom.  New registrations received a similar 1953 base plate AND the 1953 white on blue strip, which was somewhat redundant.  The 1953 plates did not appear without a strip.  1953 was apparently the ONLY year in which the 1953 base plate was issued, other than perhaps some leftover stock in 1954.    It is known that the 1953 base was also issued in smaller sie for motorcycles, but it is not known if 1953 plates were produced for any other plate types, as they may have continued with the 1952 plates.

For continuing registrations in 1954, 1955, and 1956 the 1952 and 1953 base plates had aluminum tabs in respectively, black, white and green, as shown below.    Note my comments regarding different coloured strips for commercial half-year.

New registrations in 1954, 1955 or 1956 all received newly produced 1952 base plates with higher serials than those issued in 1952.
 

1952 Plates issued in 1952


Passenger plates commenced with 9 or less. County group code system thought to be still in effect for this one last year.

Commercial plates isseued in 1952 were in the range C10-00 to C3-99-99

New registrations in 1953 received a 1953 plate. New registrations in 1954, 1955 and 1956 received a 1952 plate (with possible exception of remaining 1953 stock being used up in 1954)

1952 plates issued in 1954, 1955 and 1956
have first digits of 11
 or higher


Black on Aluminum

 

These plates were validated for 1953, 1954, 1955 and 1956 with aluminum strips as shown below.  




 

 

 

 

I wish to acquire a 1952 commercial plate commencing with C3 or less.

 1952 commercial plates were revalidated for 1953 to 1956 by strips identical
to those used for passenger plates (seen in the left column), with only the serial numbers differing.

**************

The 1952 and 1953 commercial plates also served as the base for Commercial Half Year, therefore replacing the X prefix plates used previously, and then again starting in 1957.   When used for this purpose, a different set of aluminum strips were affixed to the base plate.  Note that there had to be one for 1952, to differentiate it from the regular commercial plate that year, that did not have a strip.  I DO NOT have a set of these strips, as they are quite scarce.  The photo below, showing these half-year strips, is courtesy of Ryan Samson:


1952 Yellow on Black, 1953 Red on White, 1954 White on Maroon,
1955 White on Yellow, and 1956 Green on White

 

I do have this one half-year strip:



In 1953, existing 1952 plates continued with the appropriate 1953 strip.

Plates issued in 1953 for new registrations, were similar to 1952 plates but with 53 embossed at the lower right.    These plates were not mounted without the corresponding 1953 strip affixed. 

 

 

 



1953 passenger plates all commence with the number 10.  This
plate is shown bare to illustrate the 1953 embossed year, but
in real life 1953 plates all were mounted with the appropriate year
strip (1953 to 1956)





 





1953 Commercial plates commence with C4-00-00 up to approximately
C5-10-00.  This plate is shown bare to illustrate the 1953 embossed year, but
in real life 1953 plate all were mounted with the appropriate year
strip (1953 to 1956).

This high-numbered example has some issues but nevertheless is a worthy collectible due
to its scarcity.  There were about 7000 1953's issued, as compared to over 38,000 1952's.

In 1954, 1955 and 1956, plates with these years embossed were NOT produced. Strangely, any new registrations received 1952 base plates (with possibly some old stock 1953's also being issued in early 1954).

1952 passenger plates issued in 1954 and later commenced with 11 or higher.

1952 commercial plates issued in 1954 and later commenced with C5-10-00 or higher

 



1952 issued after 1953, with 1955 strip

1952 issued after 1953, with 1956 strip
 


 1952 commercial plate issued after 1953.  This would have had
the appropriate year strip affixed, and not appear bare.


 
     
 

PART 1 1957 to 1971
 The early modern or "Yellow and black" era 

In this period there was a return to painted steel plates, which were Yellow on Black or Black on Yellow, except in 1957 when they were Black on White.  Initially to annual plates were replaced annually but this gradually changed to multiyear base plates. 
County group codes for passenger plates were no longer in use.


Commencing in 1961, Passenger plates began again to be used for more than one year, but with stickers instead of metal tabs.  The 1960 plate was used for 1961, the 1962 plate for 1963, and the 1964 plate was also for 1965.  The 1966 plate was used also in 1967 and 1968, and finally in this era, the 1969 plate was used also in 1970 and 1971.   The 1969 plate was the first one with a designed spot for an on-plate sticker.

 Commercial plates continued to be issued annually throughout this period until 1970, when stickers were issued for Commercial plates for the first time.

In this section I am showing all types of plates that I have for the particular year.

1957 Black on White

(These are the only plates in the era that are not Yellow and Black)

 

 



***************
HALF YEAR PLATES (X prefix):
White on Black

 

1958 Light Yellow on Black

 


***************


HALF YEAR PLATES (X prefix):
Black on Yellow
1959 Black on Light Yellow


 



***************
HALF YEAR PLATES (Last year for X prefix):
Red on Yellow
 
1960 Pale Yellow on Black  

 




***************

HALF YEAR PLATES (First year for CX prefix):
Pale Yellow on Red
This plate is in poor condition. I do plan to straighten the bends and get rid of some of the rust, but even after that I will be looking for an upgrade!
1961 Black on Pale Yellow
(Commercial only)

 

For passenger cars in 1961, a black on red window sticker was issued to go with the 1960 plate.  I DO NOT own this sticker.  It is an image
of a sticker found in a display in the Halifax area.
 

 



***************
HALF YEAR PLATES (CX prefix):
Red on Yellow
 

 

1962 Black on Pale Yellow  

 

 



Note that although there was a new Commercial plate for 1962,
it had the same colours as 1961.


***************
HALF YEAR PLATES (CX prefix):

Yellow on Red
 

For passenger cars in 1963, a black on yellow window sticker was issued to go with the 1962 plate.    I DO NOT own this sticker.  It is an image
of a sticker found in a display in the Halifax area.
 


***************



HALF YEAR PLATES (CX prefix):
Red on Pale Yellow
 

1964 Passenger Yellow on Black

1964 Commercial
Black on Yellow
 
 

 



***************

HALF YEAR PLATES (CX prefix):
Yellow on Red

1965 Commercial Yellow on Black

For passenger cars in 1965, a white on green window sticker was issued to go with the 1964 plate.   I DO NOT own this sticker.  It is an image
of a sticker found in a display in the Halifax area.

 



***************

HALF YEAR PLATES (CX prefix):
Red on Yellow

1966 Black on Yellow


 

 


 


***************

HALF YEAR PLATES (CX prefix):
Pale Yellow on Red

1967 Commercial Yellow on Black  

For passenger cars in 1967, a black on white sticker was affixed to the 1966 plate.

 



***************


HALF YEAR PLATES (CX prefix):
Red on Yellow

1968 Commercial Black on Yellow  

For passenger cars in 1968, a white on red sticker was affixed to the 1966 plate.

 



***************


HALF YEAR PLATES (CX prefix):
Yellow on Red

 

1969 Yellow on Black  

 

***************


HALF YEAR PLATES (CX prefix):
Red on Yellow
This plate has a Dec 71 expiry sticker,
which confuses the concept that Half Year
plates all expired on July 15

 

 

In 1970, a gold on black sticker was affixed to the 1969 plate. Passenger and Commercial

 

 

For registrations expiring in 1971, a black on gold sticker was affixed to the 1969 plate.  Passenger and Commercial

 

 

MULTI-YEAR BLUE ON WHITE NUMERIC ERA 1972-1978 (with extension to 1986)
 
 

With the introduction of this passenger plate, the previous issues were no longer valid. For passenger plates the one plate was valid for all of these years, and it overlapped beyond, into the alphanumeric era that began in 1979.   Vehicles with these numeric plates retained them with annual renewals right through to the end of 1986, when this series of plates was finally replaced completely with the alphanumeric series.  This means that there are plates in both series with stickers in the 80's.  Note that the plates remained with the vehicle, not the owner.

Passenger plates began at 2-00-00 and therefore, as in the past, there were no low number (1 to 4 digit) plates.

These plates were revised to a reflectorized background in 1976.  All plates in this era were steel.

Validations expired uniformly on December 31 of each year, with the stickers indicating the registration year. 
Sticker colours are as follows:

1972 Blue on white
1973 Yellow on red
1974 Red on yellow
1975 White on black
1976 Red on white
1977 White on light green
1978 Blue on white
1979 Red and black on white

The following colours were also used for the stickers on the
alphanumeric plates introduced in 1979, but the design and size was slightly different.

1980 Green and beige on white
1981 White on magenta
1982 White on blue
1983 White on green
1984 White on black
1985 Red and gold on White
1986 Green and black on white

The plates themselves span several years and there were changes as these years progressed.

 

1972 Type 1 base plate
 Light blue on a white non-reflectorized background.
Note that the background "white" varies considerably from "white white" to decidedly off-white, sometimes almost cream.  Images also vary due to lighting when the photo was taken.

 

These plates remained valid for use with stickers until 1986

 

This relatively low-numbered plate was likely a first-year issue in 1972, but survived into the overlap period that is explained below.  It is is remarkably good condition for its years of service.


 

This example is one of the very last in the 1972 series that
ended at 38-49-99:

 

As for passenger plates, the previous Commercial Yellow/Black series was replaced in 1972 with a Blue on white plate which was to last until 1976.

The first issue commenced in 1972 with a non-reflective white background and serials C3-00-00 to C-9-99-99. 

 

 

 

 

In 1974 further plates were ordered but these had lower
serials than the first run, extending from C 1.00.00 to C 1.99.99,
and with a duller blue than the original, but still non-reflective. This group (or at least some plates in it) had backs of varying colours. Previously the back was the same colour as the front. 

 
Note the first example has a blue back. 





Below: This slightly later example has a green back


 

 1975 Type 2 Passenger Plate has a darker blue on a reflectorized white background. This type began with serial 38-50-00. The highest serial produced was 66-39-99.

These 1975 plates remained valid for use with stickers until 1986.


1975 Type 2 Commercial

Sources indicate that these sub types were issued:
1975 in the range C-1-00-00 to
C1-99-99
1975 in the range C2-00-00 to
C2-50-28


 





 

 

 

Continuing on in the 1972 series, the next order of plates was
reflectorized, and had serials extending from
C 2.00.00 to C 2.99.99


 
 

Unlike passenger plates which continued on in blue on white, Commercial plates had a change in 1976.  The previous blue on white commercial plates were replaced by a new red on white base plate.   There were no variations in paint, font or construction during the life of this series. Serials are reported to range from C 10.00 to C 9.99.99 (in theory).
 







According to the ALPCA archives this is the highest known number for this series, in other words the highest in anyone's collection or otherwise documented.
Certainly it is not far from the highest that
would be possible (9-99-99)

 

This was the last issue of commercial plates, a category
that had been introduced in 1920.   Beginning in 1979,
light commercial vehicles were issued passenger plates. 
Heavier commercial vehicles were issued their own new
types.


***************
Commercial Half Year Plates


 

This was the last issue of Commercial Half Year plates, which
had commenced in 1941.  They were merged into the Heavy Commercial
category in 1979.
 

THE GREAT TRANSITION 1979 TO 1986
I lived through this period as an adult with a vehicle, and with at least a casual interest in licence plates, and yet I still find this period confusing.  I will try to explain this as well as I can.  
 
Beginning in June of 1979 the Registry of Motor Vehicles began issuing a Passenger alphanumeric base plate, commencing with AAA-001, and with staggered validations replacing the standard December expiries.   Validations continued to be for one year duration.    This series is described in more detail below.

For reasons that are lost in time, the Registry did not immediately terminate and replace the existing numeric plates.  These continued in use for re-validations right through to 1986.   In addition and even more inexplicably, new numeric plates were also issued as replacements for losses and deterioration.   I have also read that they were issued to people who had arrived from other jurisdictions and were exchanging their existing plates for Nova Scotia ones.    The numeric plates continued to have December expiries, and therefore all stickers on these plates should read DEC 31 over XX (last two digits of year of expiry) with the very last of these reading DEC. 31 over 86.

 

FROM THIS POINT ON, COMMERCIAL PLATES ARE SHOWN SEPARATELY, FOLLOWING PASSENGER PLATES.  This is due to the fact that light commercial vehicles began to be issued passenger plates at this time, and Commercial plates from this point on varied greatly in appearance from the new Passenger plates.

 

ALPHANUMERIC PASSENGER PLATES INTRODUCED IN 1979
AND REMAINING CURRENT TODAY

Note that with this series registrations became staggered so that instead of all expiring at the end of the calendar year, they expired at the end of the month, 12 months after date of validation.  

The Registry of Motor Vehicle instituted alphanumeric plates in the three-letter, three digit format commencing in June of 1979 with AAA-00 which was apparently multi-produced as a sample distributed to other DMV's.  The first plates issued for actual vehicle use were AAA-001 and AAA-002.  These two plates were reportedly issued to the Premier at the time, John Buchanan, and used on his and his wife's  vehicles. At that time there were two plates of each serial issued. 
One of each of AAA-001 and AAA-002 are in the collection of Kirk Spidle in the Annapolis Valley.  

At the same time the Registry converted to staggered validations.  These were still for one year, but expired 12 months in the future.  Thus the first stickers read June 1980. 

This alphanumeric series remains currently in effect, as of 2022, thus spanning 43 years so far.  At this time in July of 2022 the series has reached the H's, and therefore it is obvious that the 3-letter/3-number format can continue onwards for many years.   All of these plates, regardless of design modifications over the years, remain valid if continuously in use.   For example, if a person had obtained the ABC-321 plate back in 1979 and continuously had registered vehicles through to today, that plate would have gone with the person from vehicle to vehicle and still be on the current vehicle.   A few A series plates can still be seen on the roads today, but most older plates have gone due to attrition. This can be due to deterioration of the plate, requiring a replacement, but usually it is due to the original registrant either no longer having a vehicle, or having registered and plated a new vehicle while still having the older one, and subsequently disposing of the older vehicle.  The older plate then is removed and discarded.   It is possible, for a fee, to change plates.   For example in that sort of case, if I bought a new car today and plated it with GZZ-123, but still had my old car with DST-707, and then sold this older car, the DST-707 would be thrown out or put on a wall as a keepsake, but it would be no longer "on the road". But if I really like DST-707 I could go to Access Nova Scotia and switch out the plates and put DST-707 on the new vehicle and discard the almost brand new GZZ-123.

 Up until December of 1993 the validation was for one year.  As of January 1994 it was changed to two years.


 

Non-Issued Combinations
Nova Scotia alphanumeric plates are not issued with combinations that include the letters I, O or Q.   In the bigger sense, this means
that when HZZ-999 is reached, the next plate issued should be JAA-001.   At the more specific level the non-use of I, O or Q means that
many combinations are not issued.  As well there are other combinations not produced or issued due to being possibly offensive or otherwise controversial.  Other than the omission of I, O, Q, the following combinations beginning with A to G have not been issued:

A: AAS, AFU, ALE, ANU, APE, ARF, ARS, ASB, ASE, ASP, ASP, ASS, ATE
B: BAD, BAG, BAS, BED, BUG, BRA, BUM, BVD
C: CAD, CAN, CAT, CUL, CUM, CUN, CUR, CUS
D: DAM, DDT, DMV, DTS, DUD, DUM
E: EAT, END, EVL, EZP
F: FAG, FAT, FCK,FKA to FKZ, FRT, FTA to FTZ*, FUA to FUZ, FVD, FWA to FWY**.
* except FTF, FTY.   ** except FWH, FWJ, FWR, FWX, FWZ.
G:  GAA, GAB, GAE, GAG, GAL, GAP, GAS, GAY, GBE, GBN, GEE, GEY, GFC, GFK, GFU, GPU, GUT, GYP

Note that banned combinations in the ranges following G are also predetermined
but I am not listing them here.  Contact me if interested.

Note that similar bans exist for other plates that have three-letter combinations, with the exception of amateur radio plates.  For example there are no GAA Gaelic plates, but there could be a VE1BUM plate, or a VA1QQQ.   If the federal authorities issue a call sign, the provincial authority will acquiesce and issue the appropriate plate for it.
 

Sticker Colours Used on Alphanumeric Passenger Plates.  Note that in 1996 a standard recurring sequence was adopted, so that unless it changes, the colour for future years can be predicted.

1980 Green and beige on white
1981 White on magenta
1982 White on blue
1983 White on green
1984 White on black
1985 Red and gold on White
1986 Jan to Nov.  Black on green
1986 Dec  Green and black on white
1987 Black on lavender
1988 Black on yellow and white
1989 Blue on white
1990 Green on beige
1991 White on magenta

1992 White on black
1993 Red on gold
1994 Blue on white
1995 Blue on yellow

1996 Black on yellow
1997 Blue on white
1998 Green on beige
1999 White on magenta
2000 White on black
2001 Red on gold
2002 Black on green
2003 Black on Magenta and white

2004 Black on yellow
2005  Blue on white
2006 Green on tan
2007 White on red
2008 White on black
2009 Red on tan
2010 Black on green
2011 Black on Magenta and white




2012 Black on yellow
2013 Blue on white
2014 Green on tan
2015 White on red
2016 White on black
2017 Red on tan
2018 Black on green
2019 Black on Magenta and white

 

2020 Black on yellow
2021 Blue on white
2022 Green on tan
2023 White on red
2024 White on black
There have so far been three main versions of the alphanumeric plates, each with varieties within that type. The intent in this part of my Nova Scotia run is to not only include one plate from each variety, but also to have a plate starting with each "first letter" that is found in that variety. Thus, the first variety ran from AAA-001 to BRS-999, and therefore I will have an A plate and a B plate, but I will also have a B plate in the next variety, as it included BRT-001 to BZZ-999, and so on.

Alphanumeric Part 1:
The pre-Bluenose plates, issued 1979 to 1989 (AAA-001 to BRS-999)
There were three main varieties over time: Steel with rounded corners, Aluminum with rounded corners, and Aluminum with squared corners.  As of 2022 some of these plates
remain in use, and while now relatively uncommon, they are not a rarity to see on the streets.

 
Below: Early issue steel plates. These steel plates with rounded corners were issued AAA-001 to AWC-999.
  Note that no plates are issued with digits 000, other than sample plates. 

A very early issue steel plate. This was the 569th alphanumeric plate issued.
It is not in the best of condition, which is strange when you note that 
it was only used 1979-80 and not renewed!
The first AAA plates were issued in mid-June 1979, and
have June 80 stickers.  The plate above was issued in July 1979 and
therefore has a July 80 sticker.

Note that AAA-001 and AAA-002 are thought to have been issued
to the premier at that time, John Buchanan, and they remain together in a Nova Scotia collection. 

 


A later example in better shape than the one to the left, which is
ironic as this one was registered for several years.

 
Below: In 1986 aluminum replaced steel for passenger plates.
Aluminum with rounded corners.  Issued AWF-001 to BJH-059


 
Below: Aluminum with squared corners.  Issued BJK-707 to BRS-999. 



 

JANUARY 1988: IN A MAJOR CHANGE, PLATES BEGAN TO "STAY WITH OWNER"
INSTEAD OF "STAY WITH VEHICLE".

 
Alphanumeric Part 2:
 Bluenose border plates issued from 1989 to 2011 (BRT-001 to FAD-999).  These plates remain extremely common on the roads.   The Bluenose plates began to be issued in April of 1989, but this varied by office as stocks of the previous non-Bluenose type were used up first. 
It has been commented elsewhere that Bluenose vanity plates were issued prior to April 1989, perhaps as early as in 1987, but I have direct authoritative information from the Registry of Motor Vehicles stating that no Bluenose plates of any sort came out prior to April 1989.

These passenger plates essentially had the centre hyphen replaced by the screened image of the Bluenose, and with the serial now the only embossed component.   Non-passenger and specialty plates, other than amateur radio and vanity plates, were unaffected by the Bluenose introduction, and therefore, as I understand it, they remained unchanged from when aluminum was introduced near the end of the non-Bluenose era. 

Commencing in January 1994 validations became for two years, with expiry stickers indicating 24 months after the transaction.  This means the first two year stickers are for January 1996.  Prior to this change renewals were for one year, and stickers were alternately placed in the top left and top right panels.  After 1996 the renewals have been for two years and stickers are normally placed at the top right.  

Commencing in May of 1995 only one sticker was issued, to go on the back plate, but two plates were still being issued.

Commencing with CVX-001 in November 2005 only a single plate was issued, to be mounted on
the rear.   Earlier plates could be retained on the front but no stickers were issued for these.

Note that some batches of plates  have proven to have less than ideal paint. 
The group from ENG001 to ETA499, issued in 2008, was particularly deficient,
and a great many of them were turned in and replaced.

 I have seen this notation: "BRT-001 to CCV-999 Helvetica die, CCW-001 to CVW-999 New Brunswick die".

 

 




This is a very early Bluenose, as they began at BRT-001. 
Still in great shape and with only the 1990 sticker so likely was used only one year. 



The CPP plate is off my own car.  It is a 1993 issue, and lasted for many years
 until I replaced it with a specialty plate in 2021.


 


I still need an F prefix bordered plate
(FAA 001 to FAD 999)
 

Alphanumeric Part 3:
 
Borderless plates issued from November 2011 or later where there was old stock to issue.  Border removed along with the removal of the left sticker panel.  The passenger series began with FAE-001. 

These are the current passenger plates of Nova Scotia,
but all previous alphanumeric plates are still valid with a current sticker. 


 


 

Waiting for a plate in the range GCY to GZZ

 

Commencing with GCY 001, NS passenger plates
have a high definition sheeting, with a pronounced texture.



This is the first H series plate, issued on July 22, 2022.  I am
fortunate to have this on my own vehicle.

 
 

  SAMPLE PLATES

In Nova Scotia these appear to only be available in the base passenger design in any particular year.

Sample plates originally were produced by jurisdictions all across North America with the main purpose being to trade with other states a provinces so that everyone knew what were the legitimate current plates.   In many or most jurisdictions these were also available to anyone on request, with or without a fee.   Samples were introduced in Nova Scotia back in the twenties and are still issued today.  Nowadays there is a charge of approximately under $10 for one of these.   In this province, until the introduction of alphanumeric passenger plates in 1979, the sample simply had zeroes, but the number of zeroes has varied.   Since 1979 the serial has been SAM-000, but with a variety SAMPLE intended to depict what a vanity plate would look like.   In 1950 and 1951 sample plates had the word "SAMPLE" embossed above or below the zero serial. Otherwise these plates differ from regular plates only in the serial itself.




 



 



 
 



 




1972 base sample

 
With the advent of the alphanumeric passenger plates
 the sample format was changed to SAM 000.  Some runs of SAMPLE
have also been produced.   Over the years
there have also been AAA 000 plates produced,
thought to be for RMV internal use only, but
possibly may have been for exchange with other
jurisdicitions.


I am looking for a pre-Bluenose sample plate.

 




 

This type of sample plate was a special batch intended
as a specimen of a vanity plate



Borderless type dating from 2011
(still in the wrap)


Unlike the SAMPLE shown above, this run of borderless SAMPLE
plates has been described to me as a "mistake". 
(still in the wrap)
 


ADMINISTRATIVE SPECIMEN PLATES

On occasion the NS Registry of Motor Vehicles has had manufacturers produce specimens of plates that are either proposed or actually to be produced.   This may include when a new design, font, sheeting, or plate material is being considered or is going into production.    While not consistent so, the most common serial for modern specimens is AAA-000.   This differs from samples shown above.   Plates of this sort are not, in theory, available to the public, but some have made there way into the hands of collectors.  

OPTIONAL PASSENGER PLATES

These are plates that are available to replace the regular passenger plates.  There may or may not be a charge for these, and there may or may not be a restriction as to who may obtain these.  

1.Optional Plates that use the Standard Base Plate
Vanity Plates
As in most other Canadian jurisdictions, Nova Scotia offers a vanity or personalized plate, for an additional charge.  This is a phenomenom that is relatively recent.   In this province the vanity plates are identical to regular plates with the exception of the serial itself.  Up to seven characters and spaces are allowed, and as in other jurisdictions there are combinations that are not allowed, these being either that they would duplicate a format of regular licence plates, or they are objectionable in some way.   For example, you cannot obtain JBD-989 because three letters followed by three digits is the format for regular passenger plates.  You cannot have USUK as that is objectionable.
Nova Scotia vanity plates commenced in April, 1989.

THIS TYPE OF PLATE IS ISSUED IN PAIRS, WITH ONE TO GO ON THE FRONT, AND THE OTHER (WITH VALIDATION STICKER) ON THE REAR.
 

Amateur Radio Plates

Amateur radio plates, also known as "ham plates" have been available in Nova Scotia since 1959.   These depict the amateur radio call letters of the plate owner, and are only available to qualified amateur radio operators.   They might be regarded as a special case of vanity plate, as they are "made to order", but they do not have an extra charge due to the fact that amateur radio operators could provide assistance to the authorities in cases of disasters, etc. and these plates do help to clearly identify vehicles of hams.  

There are many misunderstandings surrounding amateur radio plates, as they are issued with some different "rules" than regular plates. 
 I am myself an amateur radio operator so it makes a bit more sense for me.  

1. Despite any bans on particular letter combinations or individual letters not used on regular plates, the province will issue
plates with any call letters assigned by the federal authorities.  For example in modern Nova Scotia, I, O and Q are not used, but
it is perfectly normal to have ham plates such as VE1FQ, VE1III, VA1OK.
 
2. The plates issued in Nova Scotia should only contain Nova Scotia zone call letters. 
Currently the Nova Scotia zone includes the VE1 and VA1 prefix call letters, so these are the only two prefixes you should see on NS plates.  
You may be interested to know that there are separate prefixes for Sable Island and for St. Paul Island,
but as there are no permanent residents on either island, there are no vehicles eligible to have plates with those prefixes.
 
3. Call signs (call letters) are recyclable.  If someone dies and had let's say VE1AR, the authorities in Ottawa will hold the call sign for a year or so in case
in case family members want to take it up. After this, if not taken it is available for re-use.  This means the call sign can show up again in
the future.  My own call sign VE1CY may have been on plates belonging to someone else in the past, as this is a recycled call sign.

4. Ham call signs are not nowadays given out in alphabetical order.   The first plate issued in
Nova Scotia back in 1959 was to VE1VN in Lunenburg.  So don't be thinking that the first one must have been VE1AA
because it wasn't, and in fact there might never have been a VE1AA plate simply because no one who held that
call sign ever obtained plates.  The first call sign plate issued was in 1959 to VE1VN in Lunenburg County.  Here is a later plate issued to him
along with a QSL card he would use to verify communications between him and other hams. 
This call sign now belongs to a ham in Fredericton, at least it was when I checked a 2012 list.



5. I said above that Nova Scotia is VE1 and VA1 but collectors of ham plates should realize that in years gone by VE1 also encompassed New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.   My own call sign today is VE1CY and I live in Nova Scotia, but back in time a ham in New Brunswick had this call sign and a plate was issued there to him.
6. Ham plates were issued just like regular passenger plates, following the rules of the day.  So, when people received annual licence plates, so did hams.  Based on this, there ought to be various years of the above VE1VN about somewhere.

7. Hams can change call signs.  You should note that nowadays the ones with two letters are generally reserved for hams with either an Advanced radio certificate, or have been a ham for at least ten years.  When I was first licenced in 1978 my call sign was VE1BWC.  When ten years had gone by I changed to VE1CV, but gave it up as family members of a deceased ham wanted it, so I went with VA1WW, and when a nice historic call came available, I went with it, so I am now VE1CY. At the beginning I did obtain ham plates but got away from that practice so do not have VA1WW or VE1CY.   My understanding is that ham plates continue to be issued in pairs, as it allows a ham to have one on the front, just like VFD and SAR, as they may be involved in emergency operations.

 

My first amateur radio plate, rounded corners in steel.  No hyphen, as is correct for radio call signs.

Amateur radio plate with reflectorized background. 
Hyphen added. Steel construction.
 

My second ham callsign, on the Bluenose base.  Note that the hyphen is gone but now there is a space, which is also incorrect.

2. Optional Passenger Plates that have a design differing from the standard passenger plate

These are plates that are of a design and serial type that differ from the regular passenger plates but are commonly or exclusively found on passenger vehicles or light trucks.    Some require an extra fee to be paid, some have no added fee, and some are entirely free as a reward for volunteer service.   Note that amateur radio plates and vanity plates are not included here because in this province those plates have the same design as regular plates.   Unlike in the regular series depicted above I am not indicating in any detail the evolution of these plates, but in general they followed the same line of development as passenger plates, e.g. transition from steel to aluminum, variations in borders, reflectorization, etc.    I have not pursued these variations to the extent I have with regular passenger plates so therefore I am simply showing the various types, but with variations when I have them.   I am including blank notated boxes for types I do not yet have.

Types indicated with a an asterisk are available only to qualified applicants and have no additional fee, or are free in compensation for volunteer services. 

Remaining types are available to anyone who applies, even, in the case of heritage plates, if the person is not of that heritage.  These plates do have an added fee of around $50 at each renewal. Currently I have a Gaelic plate on my car.  While I am the child of Scottish immigrants I cannot in any way speak Gaelic!   There are no questions asked at the counter and therefore I could just as easily have obtained a Mi'kmaq or Acadian plate. 


 

3 by 2 format  (Three Letters & Two Digits)
These types each have an exclusive starting letter.
Note that all six of the blue on white 3 by 2 specialty plates shown here have been on my own vehicle!
All of them were issued over the time ranging from September 2021 to June 2022.

Veteran*
Commenced February 2003 with AAA01
Restricted, must be a veteran as certified the the Royal Canadian Legion.  No fee.

 Note that although this plate was issued in May 2022, it is still of the
older bordered type. 


Acadian Heritage
Commenced January 2012 with FAA001
Unrestricted, anyone paying the additional fee may obtain these plates.


Gaelic Heritage
(Alba Nuadh is Nova Scotia in Gaelic)
Commenced May 2018 with GAC001
Unrestricted, anyone paying the additional fee may obtain these plates.

(GAA and GAB are omitted combinations in NS)



Buy Local
Commenced August 2013 with LAA001
Unrestricted, anyone paying the additional fee may obtain these plates.
 

Mi'kmaq Heritage
Commenced June 2018 with MAA 001
Unrestricted, anyone paying the additional fee may obtain these plates.

Protected Species (Conservation)
Commenced April 2003
with PAA001.
Unrestricted, anyone paying the additional fee may obtain these plates.


Retired Volunteer Firefighter
 
I do not have one of these plates in my collection.
They are expected to be scarce well into the future.
This is an image of the RMV specimen plate. Issued plates use Rxx, not Axx prefix
introduced February 2022 with RAA01

Available only to applicants who have served at least 15 years as a volunteer firefighter.  Free registration.
 


Retired Volunteer Ground Search and Rescue Member
I do not have one of these plates in my collection.
They are expected to be quite rare well into the future.
This is an image of the RMV specimen plate. Issued plates use Sxx, not Axx prefix
introduced February 2022 with SAA01
Available only to applicants who have served at least 15 years
 as a GSAR volunteer. Free registration.

 

Other formats
Firefighter*
Commenced April 2001

3 letters 1 digit followed by FF



 
Volunteer Firefighter*
Commenced December 2001

Restricted, must be certified by the department. Comes with free registration.

3 letters 1 digit followed by VFF

 
 SAR Volunteer
Commenced December 2001
Restricted, must be certified by the team leader. Comes with free registration.
3 letters 1 digit followed by SAR

 This plate has likely been out at many a search site,
based on its condition
. I will be looking to upgrade,
but NS SAR plates are scarce in any condition.   

Note that in 2022 SAR plates were still being issued in the A series,
in fact not even half way through the A's.  There are many more
VFD volunteers in the province than there are SAR volunteers.
 

Accessible Parking*
Commenced September 1981.  I have seen a report that this was the first handicap plate in Canada.

Restricted, must be certified by a physician. No additional fee.

A digit, a letter and two digits

 
Special Event Special event plates have been issued in Nova Scotia on a number of occasions.  These include at least a couple of Royal Visits, and most likely also the visit by Pope John Paul II in 1984.   THESE SPECIAL EVENT PLATES ARE NOT NORMAL LICENCE PLATES.  THEY ARE NOT REGISTERED TO INDIVIDUAL VEHICLES AND ARE MOUNTED ONLY FOR A VERY SHORT DURATION IN ORDER TO GAIN ACCESS TO VENUES OR SIMPLY TO BECOME SOUVENIRS. IT IS UNCLEAR AS TO WHETHER THEY WERE MOUNTED OVER TOP OF THE REGULAR PLATE ON THE VEHICLE in the days when there was a front plate .

This is an example of the special event plates issued for the G7 Summit held in Halifax in 1995.  This was a huge event for Halifax as it included the political leaders of the USA, UK, Germany, France, Italy and Japan, and of course Prime Minister Jean Chretien. This plate is unused, and this does add to the belief that many more were produced than there were vehicles needing them.  I have seen one numbered in the upper 300 range.

Royal Visits
There have been many visits by the Royal Family since the advent of
licence plates in Nova Scotia.  I do not know when the first special plates
were produced for such visits.  It is likely that a red plate with crest was
used in Nova Scotia for Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip (yet to become Queen).
Such plates were used in other provinces.  


I DO NOT own this plate issued
for the Queen's visit in 1976. This image
is of a plate in a Halifax-area collection.

The Queen also visited in 1994 and 2010, and
previously in 1959.
 

Other royal visits in the 80's and later that may have plates include:
1983 Prince and Princess of Wales (Charles and Diana)
1985 Prince Andrew (Duke of York)
1987 Prince Edward (Earl of Wessex)
1988 Princess Margaret
1991 Princess Anne (the Princess Royal)
2014 Prince of Wales & Duchess of Cornwall (Charles and Camilla)

 

Honorary Consul
Instituted October 2020

Restricted, must be certified by the consulate. No additional fee.

NSC plus three digits
(Note that this format is the same as
for regular passenger plates)

This is most likely the rarest current type of Nova Scotia plate. In 2021 there were only 21 honorary consuls based in Halifax, plus the US Consul-General.  The Consul may obtain more than one set if he or she has more than one vehicle.  Employees are not eligible for these plates.
   This plate uses the standard Bluenose base but with the slogan replaced by the words "Honorary Consul".   Its use of the standard passenger serial format of three letters and three digits does mean that HNC cannot be used for regular passenger plates.  

 
NOT IN MY COLLECTION. SPECIMEN IMAGE ONLY

These plates are all in the NSC 500 series, beginning
with NSC 501.  NSC 500 was retained by RMV as a display specimen.
 

For interest here are the nations that currently have a consul in Nova Scotia:  Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lebanon, Netherlands, Philippines, Poland, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden and the USA.  It is unclear whether or not the USA is eligible as their representative is a paid consul-general, not an honorary consul.   An honorary consul is a person who represents another country but is not substantially paid for their services as an occupation.  Usually they are businesspersons or professionals with a hereditary connection to the country involved (but not necessarily).

 


SPECIAL USE AND NON-PASSENGER PLATES

 

Type and Notes

 

In My Collection. (If more than one these are shown in age order, starting with the oldest). 
 (or smaller specimen photo if I do not have one)
Dealer

 

Dealer plates were introduced very early, possibly in 1920.  The format has varied over time, generally a number with a D prefix or suffix, but some years with DEALER or DLR. 

In early years the D was followed by digits denoting the specific dealership, followed by a letter for individual plates, possibly designating a salesperson.  This example from 1933 is for dealership #146, and this is the first plate for that dealership


 In the period 1964 to 1971 they were replaced by the Dealer Salesman type, then reintroduced for 1972.


This image is of a plate in the
Johnny Duykers collection

Commencing in 1980 the dealer type was divided into D for New Vehicle Dealer, and U for Used Vehicle Dealer.

These plates can be used on all types of on-road vehicles other than motorcycles.
The position of the hyphen has varied over time.

 

 

 

 




 



 
ANTIQUE AUTO
Antique Auto
Commenced 1963

These plates began with digits only but have evolved into having an initial letter followed by three digits. 

Behind the scenes these plates have a hidden A that
precedes the serial shown.  For example if a plate was
being checked by police, the plates shown here would
 be entered as A6622 and AE006

 



 
HEAVY COMMERCIAL (NON-PRORATED)


Commercial (from 1978)

Commercial plates prior to 1978 are shown alongside the counterpart passenger plates farther up the page.

In 1978 the red on white commercial plates were replaced by the present series, all in black on yellow.  

 The C prefix in use since 1920 was abandoned and replaced by the format of 5 numerals followed by the letter A.  The series began with 10-000-A.  Over time the A suffix was exhausted, and B, C and now D have been issued.  All of these plates remain valid today.
  

Commencing in November 2005 only one plate began to be issued, that going on the front.

 

 


Note that commencing in 1987 most light commercial vehicles were issued passenger plates.   Commercial plates continued to be used for heavy vehicles as well as some specialized lighter vehicles such as ambulances and hearses.

 

 

Note that tractor trucks in interprovincial commerce use Prorated plates instead of Commercial plates.
 

 

 

 

 



Space for a B suffix plate



Commencing with 94-000-C the commercial plates were
aluminum. and with square corners

 

In 2022 the D suffix was still being issued.


FARM TRACTOR AND OTHER WHEELED FARM EQUIPMENT (F, followed by FT)

This type of plate originated in 1930 (or perhaps earlier) and from then until 1978 always had the F prefix. 
In 1979 the annual F issues were replaced by a no expiry FT prefix issue.

Note that in modern times at least, farm trucks that operated off the farm have FM plates instead of F or FT plates.

I do not have any F plates prior to 1952,other than this one below from 1941, and therefore my display grid below starts with 1952.  For the years for which
don't yet have a plate, I am merely stating the colour combination.

 



Currently this is my only F plate from prior to 1952
1953:  1952 base with white on blue bottom strip 1954: 1952 base with white on black bottom strip
1955: 1952 base with black on white bottom strip

 
1959: Black on Yellow



 



1967 was the first year for five-digit F serials. There
were also four-digits, but it is unsure whether
they reached 99-99 and went to 1-00-00 or
if the five-digit was begun independently.



1968: Black on Yellow
 


1969 was used with decals for 1970 and 1971



A low number 1972 base plate with two identical Dec 78 stickers
 


A high number 1972 base plate



This Farm Tractor plate is steel and reflecforized.
A mint unused example.

 


This FT plate is newer, being aluminum and with square corners, and as well with a different font than the first example.
 
FARM TRUCK/FARM OR FISHER TRUCK (FM)
Farm truck plates were introduced in 1957.  I am not sure if they were preceded by the use of Commercial plates or by a wider use of F plates.   Farm truck plates lasted only for three years, and had the word Farm on the plate.  In 1960 they were replaced by Farm or Fisherman plates, with an FM prefix. This series continues on today.
It would seem that each year these began with 1-00-00 up until the 1972 blue on white series.
1957 Farm plate was White on Dark Green 1958 Farm plate was Yellow on Black 1959 Farm Plate was Black on Yellow
1960 FM plate was Yellow on Black  
   
     
     
LIMITED FARM TRACTOR (FX)
Obsolete Type

This plate was issued in the period from 1951 to 1978, when both this type and regular F plates were replaced by FT plates. Format was FX plus 4 digits.

This plate allowed operation within 15 miles of the owner's farm.  This makes one wonder how far away other tractors worked?! 
 

TRAILER (T suffix 1928 to 1959, T prefix 1960 to present)
(See also interprovincial permanent trailers PT prefix)
 
 

 
 

1952 Trailer Plate, first type with small T
 




1952 Trailer Plate, second type with T size
matching the serial number
 


1952 Trailer plate, second type, with five digits.  Not the best of condition. 
 
 For 1953 to 1956, trailer plates are thought to all be 1952 dated, with aluminum strips issued annually.  Same colours as passenger plates.  It is thought that there were NOT any 1953 trailer base plates issued, unlike for passenger and commercial plates. 1957 1958
1959
Supposed last year for T suffix for trailers
1960
Supposed first year for T prefix for trailers
(T prefix was used for Tractors until 1959)
1961
1962 1963

This plate has a serious case of peeling paint, as does my F plate of the same year. Perhaps it was a bad paint year.
 


1969 to 1971 revalidated plate

1972 to 1980 revalidated plate. Light blue on White
1982 to present Black on Yellow revalidated and issued in several variants over time.
 
 

Trailer Half Year (TX)
Obsolete Type
Obsolete type issued from about 1960 to 1972 (approx). Used same colours as Truck Half Year.

 

   

 

 

 

 

 
Prorated Power Unit (PT)
This type originated in around 1982

 with the prefix PRP followed by 4 digits

 

When the 7-character limit was reached this was replaced
by PR and 5 digits, with a slogan "PRP Commercial"

This was replaced in turn in 1993 by the Open for Business type shown below, and finally with the Apportioned type still being issued today.

As for most other NS plate types, the border was removed around 2011 to 2012.

 

 
First type:  PRP and four digits
Second type:  PR and five digits, with PRP Commercial Slogan.

Third type, with revised slogan


Fourth type, with revised slogan

Fifth type, with border and font revised

Prorated Trailer
Commenced November 1974, replacing other types, including the TX series. The evolution of varieties requires research.

Commencing in 1993 the slogan "Prorated" was replaced with "Open for Business"

1978-1993 type


Note that these prorated plates (truck and trailer) stay on vehicles for years, and travel many thousands of kilometres.  It is rare to obtain them in great condition.  This trailer plate is missing part of its bottom edge, yet is better than most examples.

 
     
Tractor (T) and General Tractor (GT)
This type began in the late 20's, and was mounted on industrial equipment.   In or around 1960 the T type and its T prefix was replaced by the GT type 



This is reportedly the last year for the T prefix for Tractors.
In the following year the T prefix became used for
Trailers instead.  While not confirmed it would therefore seem
that GT was introduced in 1960 for General Tractor to replace
plain T for Tractor



This general tractor plate has squared corners but is in steel, unlike passenger plates that have squared corners only with aluminum construction.
 
   
Camper (Recreational Vehicle)
Commenced November 1977

Sprayer.  This obsolete type was produced approximately 1943 to 1956.  Began with a legend "Sprayer", replaced later with prefix SP. no image available
Public Vehicle
This obsolete type was produced approximately from 1951 to 1957. It had the legend "Public Vehicle" embossed at bottom or top, depending on year.
no image available

 

Restricted 

For use on provincially or municipally owned vehicles of all types.   Formerly were issued with a one-time fee of $20 with no renewal required.  Since October 2002, have regular fees and renewals, therefore many eligible vehicles now use regular plates.   Two types:  flat, as produced by the government's sign shop, and embossed, produced by the Waldale facility.


 

 
 
The following categories are technically not Nova Scotia provincial licence plates.

Department of National Defence

These plates are internally issued by the Department.  While they appear to have black numerals, some sources refer to them as dark green.  These are seen with and without the red maple leaves at the top corners.
Other federal government agencies and departments currently use regular Nova Scotia plates. 
 
not available at this time -(NOT IN MY COLLECTION. SPECIMEN IMAGE ONLY.
Nova Scotia Registered Weight Plates

I have no information on these, either for years or for the different weight categories.  Presumably these are the counterpart to the weights commonly inscribed on vehicle doors today.


 
Supplemental Plates ("toppers") issued by Board of Public Utilities (now the Utilities Review Board) from about 1959 to 1981 and with at least one type still being issued today.

These had prefix codes as follows, but
it seems that this list is incomplete:
F   Freight Carrier
G General Freight Hauler
P Public Passenger Carrier
GS General Specialty Freight
PU Public Utilities Local Freight
S Special Commodity Hauler
SB School Bus
SB-P Combined School and Public
T Trailer
X Operated Outside NS
For colours and other information check at
All About License Plates

The school bus variety of this plate type is still currently
in use in 2021.  School buses will be seen with a black on
yellow commercial plate, topped with the smaller URB
plate in the same colours.







FX does not appear in the list at left. It is either Freight operating outside NS, or Half-Year freight.  If you can comment, please do!


 
Note that this prefix is not on the list
at the left.  I am guessing that NP means
 Non-Public Passenger Carrier.

 

School Bus 1982
 

MOTORCYCLE AND OTHER SMALLER VEHICLES
Note that at this point I am not actively collecting these smaller plates, other
than to, if possible, obtain one example of each type.
Motorcycle


These two plates are in the collection of Rogelio Roger Flores and shown here with his permission.   I am showing these here to confirm that in 1953 there were both types of MC plates:  52 with 53 tab, and actual 53 plates, just as with passenger plates.  This is truly a great pair of plates.



Note that Motorcycles and Campers are currently the only types
in Nova Scotia with "all digits", and in fact the same
number can conceivably be issued in both categories.



 
Motorcycle Dealer
Began approx 1920
  NOT IN MY COLLECTION. SPECIMEN IMAGE ONLY.
Motorcycle Vanity
Commenced June 2005
  These plates are the same as regular mc plates. They have the same restrictions on choice as their full size counterparts, except that they have a maximum of six characters and/or spaces. No image available
Motorcycle Antique
Commenced May 2013
 
Actual plates are all in the series A F001 to A F999
NOT IN MY COLLECTION. SPECIMEN IMAGE ONLY.
Motorcycle Accessible Parking
Commenced November 2014
   

 

No image available at this time
Motorcycle Veteran
Commenced April 2017
  NOT IN MY COLLECTION. SPECIMEN IMAGE ONLY.
Motorcycle Restricted
Commenced 1974 
These plates are seen on municipal police motorcycles.  I estimate that at any given time there are only less than 20 of these active in the province. NOT IN MY COLLECTION. SPECIMEN IMAGE ONLY.
Moped,   This is for motorcycle or motor scooter type vehicles not capable of 70 km/h when loaded, and under 50 cc engine.

Commenced in 1975 but continues to be rare, as there really are not many vehicles that need to be registered at all that meet this criterion.

NOT IN MY COLLECTION. SPECIMEN IMAGE ONLY.
Off Highway Vehicle

 

Note that the two letter, three digit format is shared with the Antique Motorcycle Category;
however this latter type is allocated the AF001 to AF999 series only.


 
Off Highway Vehicle Dealer

 

  NOT IN MY COLLECTION. SPECIMEN IMAGE ONLY.
LOCAL JURISDICTION SMALL PLATES
Bicycle Many local jurisdictions registered bicycles, and issued small plates or stickers. I am not collecting these
Military Base Canadian Armed Forces bases across Canada commonly issued small plates to aid in recognition as vehicles approached the gates.  Generally speaking there were different colours and/or prefixes for different categories of personnel.  examples include Civilian employees, NCO's, Officers, Reservists, etc. In Nova Scotia there have been plates issued over the years for bases in Halifax, Shearwater, Mill Cove, Sydney, Greenwood, Debert. 
Most likely there would also have been plates issued for Barrington and Shelburne, and possibly also Newport Corner.  These plates are
now scarce or rare.   I am actively in the market for a green CFB Halifax plate from the 1970's, as that is what I had on my
car when I was in the navy in that era.  Green indicated a commissioned officer.
Taxi/Limousine Many towns and other local authorities have issued taxi plates.  More commonly in the modern era they are issued with stickers for the bumper or window.

Although I do not collect these taxi plates, I have this one in the collection,
as it is reminiscent of the era when I first arrived in Nova Scotia, and
settled in Halifax County.