Polk’s First License Plate (Tag)

Historic Polk County, Florida License Plate

Florida has an unusual and complicated position among the states regarding early license plate laws.

In 1905, the state licensing laws went into effect. By the time this law was discontinued in 1911 more than 14,000 vehicles had been registered.

In late 1911, the state also authorized the various counties to issue license plates as well. From 1911 to 1917, a spectacular array of plates, mainly porcelains, were used.

The result of these laws required many vehicles to display two plates, one from the state and one from the county, for the period 1911 through 1915.

In a few instances, during this same period, certain cities even had license plate requirements, thus requiring their resident motorists to display three plates.

The porcelain license plate featured in the above image was probably issued pursuant to the 1911 state law authorizing counties to issue their own license plates. Because the law went into effect in late 1911, it is likely that the above featured 1912-13 license plate was the first to be issued for Polk County. The plate designation “1” was usually reserved for the Sheriff of the county.

The above image of the original license POLK CO, FLORIDA 1912-13 plate was provided courtesy of Mr. Benjamin C. Walker.