Low Number

As is the case for most New England states, having a low-numbered license plate is seen as a sign of “prestige”. Perhaps this is related to the tradition of issuing the same license plate number to a person basically for life (if they so choose to keep it). People become more attached to their license plate number, and it becomes part of their identity. Having a low number also can be indicative of “knowing people in high places”, which is often a prerequisite to obtaining one of these plates. Generally, the lower the number the more connected the person is. Either that, or the number has been in the family for generations.

Low number plates were generally issued only through the office of the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, though that has been relaxed at times in recent years.

Low number plates were traditionally considered those with numbers below 5000. In 1991, the law was changed to raise the upper limit of low number plates to 10000 – essentially making any 4-number plate a low number.

1919
While probably not technically a “low-number” plate, but rather just one in the family for a while, I’m still including it here since it fits the theme. Up until the plate size in Connecticut was standardized in 1932, the length of the plate varied with the number of digits. This one is pretty short. This plate was used on a 1915 Pierce-Arrow.

1923
This plate was issued to Louis R. Cheney, likely for use on his 1919 Buick Coupe.
He was a somewhat prominent local figure, involved as a director or trustee of a litany of venerable Hartford-area institutions and companies.
At one time he commanded the 1st Company Governor’s foot guard, was mayor of Hartford from 1912 to 1914 and was a state Senator from 1915 to 1917.
He was also issued plate number 454.

 

1936

 

1943

1956
Sticking with the “under 5000” theme

Revalidated to 1978

Revalidated to 1976

1979

1981

ca. 1977 revalidated to 1989

1980s
While technically falling into the low-number category, these lead-zero plates have always seemed to be pseudo-low-numbers – after all, there is a real “213” out there.

1980s

1980s

1980s

1988

1978

1980

1994

1991

1991

1993

 

1990s

 

1990s

2002