Jake Wimberley's License Plates

South Dakota Early Graphics

South Dakota was one of the first states to experiment with silkscreened graphics. Silkscreening is the way that almost all present-day graphical issues in North America are produced, and is the same technique used to print on T-shirts, coffee mugs, etc.

The top plate in the image above has an embossed area with a solid color background; on top of this area, a monochrome image of the Mount Rushmore Memorial is screened. A design like this was used from 1963 or '64 until 1974. Some of the '74 plates had a screened background (image applied directly to the background finish); the bottom plate is an example. 1975 plates were nearly identical to the latter type of '74 plate, but with a reversed color scheme. All general-issue bases since then have had a fully silkscreened background.

Many states did not issue their first silkscreened graphics until the 1980s or later.

A close-up of the 1970 Mount Rushmore graphic.

last updated 2011.10.03 :: return home