DECODING the HOLOGRAMS
What do they mean?   How do you read them?
Understanding the 3M Codes
Information provided by George Balsamo of Montgomery, Illinois.

  The top two letters indicate the state - NJ for New Jersey.



  The lot code itself consists of 3 letters and one number:


First letter: always B     This stands for the Scotchlite manufacturing plant in Brownwood, Texas.

The second letter indicates the last digit of the year, spelling out the word "complaints":
1
C
2
O
3
M
4
P
5
L
6
A
7
I
8
N
9
T
0
S




The third letter indicates the month, spelling out the word "stenographic":
JAN
1
S
FEB
2
T
MAR
3
E
APR
4
N
MAY
5
O
JUN
6
G
JUL
7
R
AUG
8
A
SEP
9
P
OCT
10
H
NOV
11
I
DEC
12
C





The number ranges from  1  to  5  - indicating the week of the month.

This system recycles every 10 years.

All reflective sheeting made during the same week will have the same lot code, no matter what state or what type of plate it is used for.


  This lot code (BAR4) indicates that the plate was
  manufactured in the 4th week of July (R=7) of 1996 or 2006 (A=6).
Understanding the Avery Codes
Help on these provided by Jeff Ellis of Baltimore, Maryland.


The Avery holograms consist of a 2-digit year number - either "02" or "03" for New Jersey plates - and a number of circles, arranged in a diamond pattern, which surround the year number.


The number of surrounding circles decreases with each month - starting with 11 (?) circles for January and ending with 0 (?) circles for December.
The question marks are there because we have seen plates with holograms with 0 circles to 12 circles ... so that's 13 combinations.

The NJ Avery holograms have been seen from "2002 with 4 circles" to "2003 with 5 circles".
The month assignments for these are most likely:

Aug
02

Sep
02

Oct
02

Nov
02

Dec
02

Jan
03

Feb
03

Mar
03

Apr
03

Mar
03

Jun
03

Jul
03

Aug
03






This may be a month off, due to the 12 vs. 13 thing.

Since the Avery sheeting was only used for a short time, the codes used on NJ plates all fell within the range in the table above.