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Supporting the hobby & preserving the history of Pennsylvania License Plates

John McDevitt, Walnutport, PA

ALPCA #4376

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The photos on this website, whether provided by me or other contributors, are intended for use solely on this website, and may not be otherwise used without permission.

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Posting 8/11/2019

Newly Proposed Plates.  State Representative Tim Hennessey recently introduced 3 bills.  At present all three bills are in committee.  For future reference these bills can be accessed from the Legislation page.

 •  House Bill 1710, to create a USA Semiquincentennial registration plate, similar to the Bicentennial Plate, with the phrase “Let Freedom Ring- 250 years”, for issue between 2021 and 2026.

 •  House Bill 1711, to create a Heritage plate, adding a limited edition 1950’s [retro] plate with a blue background inside a gold outline of the Commonwealth and a 1960’s plate with the opposite colors for motorists to choose from.

 •  House Bill 1712, to create Corporate Logo Fleet Plates, similar to Indiana.

The Antique Motorcycle plates on the far left are recent highs.  This style plate dates back to around May of 2013, with the starting number being 01000.  Plate availability tool shows the actual high to be above 08500.  They are also available as vanities.  The other plate is the oldest and lowest number of the first generation Antique Motorcycle series, shown for comparison.  These are still valid.  While the images appear similar in size the current plates are 4" by 7", older plates are 4½" by 8".


Somewhere in between the K/C02452 plate and the K/C02498 Knights of Columbus plates, the sticker well was discontinued.  Graphic Special Organization plates are not produced in bulk.  Generally they are produced upon receipt of an order.  Thanks to Tom Perri for the 02452 plate, and to Arthur Levine for the 02498 image.


Now you see it, now you don't.  One more plate gives up the sticker well.  The far left Disabled Veteran plate still has it, and the two newer highs are without.  Thanks to Tom Perri for the new images.


The Distinguished Flying Cross plate, not one you see every day. The medal is a military decoration awarded to an officer or enlisted member of the U.S. Armed Forces who distinguishes him/herself in support of operations by heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight, according to Wikipedia.  Nick Tsilakis spotted this plate which is a new high and now has the map outline.  The previous high of 00055F/C appeared to still have the sticker well.


Here is, as Devan Ciemiewicz describes it, his "fresh off the press" U.S. Marine Corps tag.  This is a personalized version of the Active Duty series.  He notes that the plate reflects his MOS (job) code, it's also his daughter's birthday of June 99.  Thank you for your service and for sharing the plate photo. 


Here's another example of a disappearing sticker well.  At some point in between the 02787U/S and 2806U/S Veteran plate, the sticker dimple went flat.  Unlike the K of C plates above, these Veteran plates are produced in groups of 100, so it is likely, but not for certain, that this change took place at 02800U/S.  The 2787 plate is thanks to Jordan Irazabal and the 2806 plate photo is from Tom Perri.


Here is a very desirable 2-digit Format 1, 1930 Passenger plate.  The format 1 series ran from 1 to 99999, with 1 to 4 digit plates measuring 6" by 10", and the 5 digit plates were 6" by 12".  Of course there were 7 more alpha-numeric series to accommodate the growing number of automobiles.  This plate was recently spotted on the front of the vehicle at a antique vehicle show in Macungie, PA.  It was not a YOM plate.


This rare 2-character Format 7 1932 Passenger plate is another gem.  Format 7 progression ran from AA to ZZ999.  Plates from 1 to 4 characters measured 6 inches by 10 inches.  5 character plates were 12 inches.  The photo is thanks to eBay user Jeopardyboy1.


These very nice 1964 to 1967 Trailer plates have been added.  All plates were 6 digits starting at 100-001.  The far left plate has a family connection with Tim Gierschick.  The other plate belongs to Clayton Moore, and helps establish a new high.


Here's a like-new, unused 1971 Trailer plate photo from Tom Firth.  This style plate was used from 1968 through 1971.  They were unique in that the sticker well was outlined.  This was also the last full size base to still use the map outline, however, the map has been reduced to a vestige of its former self.


Here is an example of what I'm describing as a 3rd Generation Temp Tag from Tim Gierschick.  The first and second generation tags had the state indicated with PENNA, on this plate it has been reduced to PA.  This plate has an issue date of 8/23/67 on a Starcraft Constellation trailer.  It also shows the serial number.  It was valid for 1 month.  Soon it was replaced by the 1967, 349-923 Trailer plate shown above.


Posting 8/4/2019

Here is a trio of progressively higher Antique Vehicle plate which were spotted by Bruce Bufalini.  Based on the letter progression seen here — P, R, S, the series is quickly filling.  It appears that the letters 'O' and 'Q' were not used in this current progression, although the 'O' was used in the series with the letter in the second position.


This is a new high Limousine tag, yet it still retains the sticker well.  This tag type dates back to 1990 on the yellow on blue base.  The starting point was LM-10000 or LM-10001.  When the re-plating took place in 2000, the new series on the www base started at LM-20000 or LM-20001.


Here is Motor Home plate showing the latest features of the map outline in place of the sticker well.  I can't say with complete certainty at what point this change took place, but based on an older reference source it seems likely it was at HH-73000.  Time will tell.  Thanks to Brandon Sowers for sharing this photo.


Here is a pair of Veteran Motorcycle plates.  Notice the legend VETERAN uses narrow dies on the far left plate and wider on the other plate.  Jordan Irazabal, the ALPCA PA Archivist, spotted the V2996 image recently and realized that it helped to narrow the point where the legend changed.  The V2675 image is thanks to Bruce Bufalini, and the V2996 photo if from Tiger Joe Sallmen.  If anyone can help narrow this gap it would be appreciated.


For reasons unknown to me, it appears that a good number of 1930 Legislative plates have survived.  The photo gallery now shows 6 plates from 40 to 307.  Plates from 1 to 500 may have been authorized.  Both plate photos shown here were provided by Eric Conner.  The Legislative series is believed to have run from 1928 through 1935. 


This is a very nice 1945 Motorcycle plate courtesy of Jeff Hinkle.  The serial progression ran from 1 to 9999, then A, A1, to A999, but likely the series ended before reaching that number.  All plates measured 4½ inches by 8 inches.  The expiration date of 3-31-46 is embossed into the top border.


This very nice 1st generation Notary Public plate was provided courtesy of Brandon Sowers.  Note that this plate has the remnants of an '86 sticker, this program dates back to 1984.  This photo was also added to the Organizational Plate History Page.  Current plates are in the N/P03500 series and are still fully embossed.


Here is a low number 1942 Passenger plate thanks to Tim Gierschick.  What makes it a low number is the fact that as a Format 1 plate the series ran from 10000 to 99999, and since all were 5 characters, they all measured 6 inches by 12 inches.  It should be noted that there were other formats but all used alpha-numeric combinations.


Only 65 years difference between these cardboard plates, but still enough similarities to know at first glance that they are Temporary tags.  The far left tag is dated 1954, and is a second generation T-tag.  The image was provided by Devan Ciemiewicz.  The other is a current issue tag which was recently spotted by Jordan Irazabal.  I know such tags have their origin in the 1940's, but would like to see more examples of the earliest plates.  The ALPCA Archives suggests it could be as early as 1941.


These are both 1951 Truck plates, with the far left tag representing one of five S-Weight Class progressions.  The near left plate, while it may not be pretty, is likely the only 1951 Y-Weight Class Truck plate I'll ever see.  There was only one serial progression that year — Y000A.  All plates measured 6 inches by 11 inches and were issued in pairs.  Thanks to eBay users Reformers25 for the S-class plate, and Hfritz2.570 for the Y-class plate photo.


I keep finding these Motorboat registration stickers on boats parked along the road.  Again, if I understand the system correctly, this sticker would be good for 2014 and 2015 and then expire in March of 2016. 



Posting 7/28/2019

Cheesesteak or scrapple license plates? Come on, Pa., let's follow Maryland and upgrade!" Click the link to a York Daily Record news article in which the author challenges PA to do something about the "same ol' boring plate". I think many Pennsylvanians would agree. Thanks to Charles Sweitzer for sharing this article.


Thanks to Bruce Bufalini, we have a photo showing the latest iteration in Mass Transit plates. This plate now has the state map outline. The most recent previous high spotted was M/T48319, which appeared to still have the sticker well. This plate type dates back to 1977.



This plate is the first vanity Boy Scouts of America plate spotted.  The plate's owner is likely an Eagle Scout, or registered to a vehicle owned by such a scout's family.  Wiki says "Eagle Scout is the highest achievement or rank attainable in . . . the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).  The BSA plate has been around since 2007 with a current reported high of 00171B/S.  This plates was spotted by Brendan Sherry.


While this Harley Owners Group is not exactly a new overall high, it is a high on the series prior to switching to plates with the small map in place of the sticker well.  This plate type has been around since 2004.  This plate was spotted by Jordan Irazabal.



This is a very nice first generation Expeditionary Forces Veteran plate from Clayton Moore.  These white plates date back to 1995.  In early 2014 all of the features of this plate, except the serial number, became flat screened, then later the same year the plates switched to the the visit PA base with a graphic depiction of the the medal.


This is a DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) sample plate missing the state name across the bottom.  DARE plates were issued between September of 1996 and June of 2014.  The distinctive colors and graphic helped make these plates popular.  Then the switch to the visit PA base in late 2005 put a damper on plate sales, eventually bringing about the end of this plate.  eBay sales of the black plates can be in the several hundred dollar range.  Thanks to Devan Ciemiewicz for sharing this photo.


This is a 1936 Format 3 Passenger plate.  This serial group ran from 1A00 to 9Z999, so both 4 and 5-character plates were produced, with the 4-character plates measuring 6 inched by 10 inches, and the 5-character ones being 6 inches by 12 inches.  This was spotted in use at a car show.



Here is a 1942 Format 2 Passenger plate.  This serial group ran from 1A00 to 9Z999, so both 4 and 5-character plates were produced, with the 4-character plates measuring 6 inched by 10 inches, and the 5-character plates being 6 inches by 12 inches.  Thanks to eBay user tjm70 for the use of the photo.


This is a pair of 1940 S-Weight Class Truck plates.  The far left plate is part of the S000A series and the near left is part of the S00AA progression.  There is now at least one photo from all four of the S-Weight Class serial progressions.  All truck plates are 5-character and measure 6" x 12".  Both of these plate are courtesy of Clayton Moore.


Next is this 1950 S-Weight Class Truck plate.  For this year there were 4 serial progressions for the S-weight class.  All truck plates are 5-character and measure 6" x 11".  This plate photo is also courtesy of Clayton Moore.



Every once in a while I see a boat parked with a registration sticker of a year not spotted so far.  Anyway if I understand the system correctly, this sticker would be good for 2015 and '16 and then expire in March of 2017.  Are these sticker photo worth posting?  Does anyone really care?



Posting 7/21/2019

Here is another photo of one of PennDOT's digital license plates that are part of a test.  The photo was provided by Bill Ceravola, who describes the colors as being not as bright.  Check out the previous posting from 7/7/19 for additional information on this pilot project.  With the ability of a digital plate system to store and track information, it may be a plus for law enforcement.  It also raises a big red flag for many motorists who don't want their every move tracked by big brother.  Are you aware that the state already markets your driver information to many third-party users?


While we're on the subject, here is another metallic, not digital, PennDOT Official Use plate.  It has the T (for Transportation) in the prefix position and the P/A in the suffix position indicating that it is for use on a passenger vehicle.  It is also a new high.  This is part of the same numeric series as the digital plate above.


While this plate type dates back to 2005, the PA State Nurses Association announced a facelift in 2015 which was recently seen for the first time on the far left plate.  We don't know exactly when this revision hit the street.  The plate does not appear to have a sticker well.  Thanks to Jaska Börner for the plate photo.  The R/N00121 plate is shown for comparison, and was photographed by Tom Perri in 2013.


This pair of Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix plate photos was recently snapped by John Fedorchak.  It's always nice to have a photo of the number 1 plate in a series, and G/P00292 plate is one number off the current high.


Here is another 'first of its kind' plate photo.  This is a U.S. Army - Active Duty plate, note the A/D suffix.  The are also U.S. Army Veteran plates with an A/R suffix.  For each branch of service there are both Active Duty and Veteran plates.  One big difference is the number of plates issued.  For the U.S. Army - Active Duty there are only about 43 plates in use, whereas the U.S. Army Veteran has some 4,500.  Thanks to Nick Tsilakis for sharing this plate.


This is a first generation Repair / Service Towing plate distinguished from the next edition by the flat screened legend at the top of the plate.  What this plate does is narrow down the the transition point to the next variation which had the top legend embossed and the state name using the "You've got a friend" font for Pennsylvania.  This change is now believed to be between RS-02000 and RS-02300.  Thanks to Clayton Moore for the use of the plate photo.


Here's a pair of 1937 Format 8 Passenger plate which includes AA10 to ZZ999  As can be seen here, the 4-character plates are shorties measuring 6-inches by 10-inches, and the 5-character version is 6-inches by 12-inches.  Thanks to Alpca 754 Neale for the short plate, and to Frank and Ryan Vonderhey for the full size plate.


Here is a pair of 1931 mystery plates.  They do not fit the Passenger serial progressions of 1931.  They are believed likely to be an early run of Truck plates that continued to follow the 1930 format prior to the decision to use the R through Z weight classes for 1931.  Click the link above to see additional explanation from Eric Tanner, and a previous photo from Rick Kretschmer.  


This is a 1951 U-Weight Class Truck.  For that year there were four U-Class serial progressions including U000A, U00A0, U0A00 and U00AA, with this plate being part of the first group.  The photo display now shoes 3 of the 4 groups.  The plates measured 6 inches by 11 inches.  Thanks to Frank and Ryan Vonderhey for the use of the photo.


These kind of speak for themselves, but if not, the group consists of a 1972, 1974 and 1979 unused validation stickers, likely for passenger car use.  They measure 1½ inches wide and 1 inch high.  Thanks to Tom Firth for the photos.


Posting 7/14/2019

Back in February of this year, a new prototype Pennsylvania State University (Official) plate was announced.  Now thanks to Bruce Bufalini we have the first actual plate photo on the far left.  With this in mind I visited my local campus and got the center image.  By comparison, the plate on the near left was the highest number spotted on the previous base.  Credit for that plate goes to Jordan Irazabal and Tom Perri.


These hot off the press Distracted Driving Awareness plate photo was provided by Barefoot Jaime.  The plate numbers may suggest that these are the 121st and 122nd plates issued since their late February 2019 debut.  Actually the series began at D/A00101 making these the 21st and 22nd plates issued since that time.  It also appears that only three Distracted Driving Awareness Motorcycle plates have been issued so far.  By comparison, since late 2013 only about 90 serial-numbered Teen Driver plates have been issued.


Here's the lowest number Share The Road plate spotted so far.  It was provided by Arthur Levine.  This is a  Special Fund plate with proceeds maintaining PennDOT's central office position of Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator and funding highway bicycle signage.



This is a photo of a personalized U.S. Navy (Active Duty) taken by Nick Tsilakis.  It's also the first personalized plate spotted, and only the second plate of this type seen so far.  There are about 42 serial-numbered plates issued so far, with this plate series dating back to 2009.



This is the first plate in the Passenger K-series.  No KAA plates were issued as vowels in the second position are no longer used.  This plate was spotted by Tom Perri.



Vanity check indicates that there are currently only three Associated Alumni of the Central High School plates with serial numbers.  We know that there is at least one vanity plate.  In any case they are scarce.  Thank you to Tom Perri for sharing this image.



This number was likely issued with the first round of Temple University Alumni plates back in 1987, then reissued at least one more time on the www base.  Now the plate is showing the latest features which would have resulted from a remake of the original number.  Thanks to Noel Torchio for the photo.


On the far left is a personalized Fraternal Order of Police plate with a unique USA-1 number.  It looks to me that this plate has the map outline.  Thanks to Jeff Lawson for sharing this photo.  On the near left is a first generation FOP plate with lots of stickers attesting to it's age.  This image came from Devan Ciemiewicz. These date back to 1987.


This pair of American Legion (link to history page) plate photos came from Devan Ciemiewicz.  The American Legion plate program dates back to 1984.  The far left plate is the highest number I've seen on that base.  The near left plate is an usual sample since it has only 4 zeros instead of the more common 5.  It also uses the "You've got a friend" font for Pennsylvania.  Link to organizational plates.


These 1913 Passenger plates were produced using the technology of the day, and were intended to last 1 year, yet here they are 106 years later looking almost like new.  The 309 plate belonged to John Willard and John Anshant and measured 6 inches by 10 inches.  The 1447 plate belongs to Tim Gierschick and measured 6 inches by 12 inches.


Here is a 1939 S-Weight Class Truck plate.  S-Class trucks used four serial progressions including S000A, S00A0, S0A00 and S00AA, with this plate being part of the second group.  This plate measures 6 inches by 12 inches.  Thanks again to Drewski for the use of the photo.





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John McDevitt, Walnutport, PA

ALPCA #4376