Maryland permit or plate attachment

Rick Kretschmer's License Plate Archives 

Maryland permit or plate attachment

A Pictorial History of Maryland License Plates

Vehicle Permit and Tax Plates and Other Official Non-License Plates


This page presents official metal plates, other than actual license plates, issued by the state of Maryland or other government entities located in Maryland and used on vehicles. 

Latest noteworthy updates to this page
  • February 4, 2017  –  Added three 1960s Cecil County trailer permits and revised corresponding text. 
  • November 29, 2013  –  Brand new page! 


This page addresses metal plates made and/or distributed by the state of Maryland or Maryland local government agencies and used on vehicles, but which were not evidence of said vehicles having been registered with the state motor vehicle department.  For the most part, this category includes various types of vehicle permits and firefighter identification plates.  Typically, metal vehicle permits were used before advancements in adhesive technology made the use of stickers a viable alternative.  Plates used to identify a motorist as a member of a particular firefighting organization were commonplace before license plates serving that same purpose were introduced in the 1990s. 

There were certainly many more types of plates that should be included on this page, but for which I have little or no information and no photos.  If you have any photos of or information about addtional Maryland vehicle permit plates, tax plates, official dashboard plates, or official plate attachments, I would welcome your contributions to this page. 

My "Pictorial History" pages are intended to be a supplement to the information found in the ALPCA Archives.  I am providing additional details and additional photos not found in the archives, and clarifying information when appropriate.  When the ALPCA archives cover a subject in great detail, I do not repeat that detail here.  I sincerely hope that you find this information useful.  If you find an error or have additional information, or can provide a plate or a photo of a plate that I'm missing, please send me an e-mail.  There's a link to my e-mail address at the bottom of every page. 

Mouse over any image to see a description of the plate.  Click on any image to see an enlarged version. 

Maryland vehicle permit and tax plates

Incinerator and landfill permit plates

1972 Montgomery County landfill permit 1973 Montgomery County landfill permit 1974 Montgomery County landfill permit 1976 Montgomery County landfill permit 1977 Montgomery County landfill permit
Various 1970s Montgomery County landfill and incinerator permits (1972 thru 1974: O'Connor photos and plates; 1976 and 1977: Sells photos and plates)

I've only seen incinerator and landfill permit plates from Montgomery County.  These are full-sized, 6 inch by 12 inch plates, and were nearly always seen attached to garbage trucks and dump trucks.  I don't know how long Montgomery County issued these metal permits, but I saw them all the time when I lived and worked in Montgomery County during the 1980s. 

Parking permit plates

1953 Maryland General Assembly parking permit
1953 Maryland General Assembly parking permit (Olivarri plate)

The General Assembly is what Maryland calls its state legislature, which consists of the state Senate and the House of Delegates.  Presumably this parking permit was used by a state senator, state delegate, or a staffer.  The metal tab with the "53" on it validated the plate for use in 1953. 

Trailer permit plates

undated Howard County trailer permit 1960 Cecil County trailer permit 1961 Cecil County trailer permit 1962 Cecil County trailer permit
Undated Howard County trailer permit (Olivarri photo / plate); 1960, 1961, and 1962 Cecil County trailer permits. 

I'm only aware of two Maryland counties issuing trailer permits, and I don't really understand why trailers were required to obtain permits in the first place.  This Howard County permit shown above is undated, made of porcelain, and is only 3 inches by 5 inches in size.  I can't begin to guess its age.  These Cecil County trailer permits from the early 1960s were made from Maryland motorcycle plate blanks.  The colors correspond to the Maryland license plates used during those same years but expiring in the following year. 

Road tax plates

For a few years in the 1960s, Maryland issued small plates as evidence that some sort of road tax had been paid.  I'm aware of these from the years 1960, 1961, and 1962, and they appear to have been made using motorcycle plate blanks.  I believe they may have been used on tractor-trailers that were registered out-of-state but which used Maryland highways. 

Maryland official toppers, strips, and other plate attachments

Firefighter personal vehicle strips

circa 1960s Silver Spring VFD member strip circa 1960s United Engine Co. member strip
Circa 1960s Silver Spring Volunteer Fire Dept. (Doernberg plate) and United Steam Fire Engine Co. (Casadonte photo / plate) member strips

Back before members of just about every fire station in the state were able to get actual license plates with the name and logo of their station, firefighters identified themselves with these "strips", which were usually attached to one or both of the license plates on their personal vehicles.  These firefighter strips weren't necessarily made in the state license plate manufacturing plant. 

Maryland official dashboard plates

State Police dashboard plates

Maryland State Police dashboard plate Maryland State Police dashboard plate Maryland State Police dashboard plate
Maryland State Police dashboard plate made from a motorcycle license plate blank, circa 1960s; additional Maryland State Police dashboard plates of uncertain vintage ("Whitey" photos / plates)

Maryland makes dashboard plates from motorcycle license plate blanks, which apparently are used to identify vehicles on official state business.  I'm guessing that these authorize said vehicles to park in no-parking zones. 

Page credits

Thanks to those who have directly contributed to the information on this page:  David Doernberg, Paul Casadonte, "Whitey", and Jon Olivarri. 

O'Connor photographs © copyright by Tim O'Connor.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission. 
Casadonte, "Whitey", Olivarri, and Sells photographs are presumed to be copyrighted by Paul Casadonte, "Whitey", Olivarri, and Mike Sells, respectively, and are used with permission.  Doernberg and Olivarri plates are from the collections of David Doernberg and Jon Olivarri, respectively. 

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