In Legislative News, there are
bills pending to authorize the use of low-speed electric scooters. See
House Bill 631 and
Senate Bill 542. The legislation sets forth
certain requirements and restrictions but basically they could be operated like
a bicycle. They will be exempt from registration as a motor vehicle, and
no tag required. Therefore I will not track this legislation.
There are additional bills to authorize a
“Child with Autism” Specialty License Plates (House
Bill 40), currently stuck in committee; and a recent bill to create a plate
to support Pediatric Cancer Research (House
Bill 1165). I will track these if they gain support.
Attending almost any PA car show and plates
like these and older Antique Vehicle plates are in abundance. This plate, now in the
'N' series, may be the new high, at least for a few days, before it is eclipsed
by something higher.
This is the first sample of an
International Association of Fire Fighters plate I've seen on the www
base. The original issue
on these plates dates back to 1993 on the yellow on blue base, and the plates
have gone through a few updates since then. Thanks to Devan Ciemiewicz for
the use of the photo.
Like the plate above, this is the first Emergency Vehicle
sample on the visitPA base that I have seen. This style EV plate dates
back to 2007 when a complete replacement of the previous EV plates took place.
This style also replaced any remaining Fire Department plates that were still in
use at that time. Another thank you to Devan Ciemiewicz for
the use of the photo.
Here is a new high NASCAR 8 Dale
Earnhardt, Jr. plate This is not to suggest that such plates are
still being issued, but rather that this is the highest photographed so far.
NASCAR plates were discontinued in 2010, but are still eligible to be renewed.
According my research about 1,028 such plates have been issued, but since the
numbering system started at
it went to N/C/81129.
Thanks to Bruce Bufalini
for the photo.
This new style PA Turnpike Official
Use passenger vehicle plate is the lowest number spotted so far.
It is not known exactly when these were first released, but they were first seen
back in May of 2018. Thanks to Tom Castelli for the use of this plate
These 1958 base School Bus
plates are very similar except for the character spacing. The plate on the
far left is not new, and typifies what most 4-digit plates look like. The
near left plates photo shows a wide separation between numbers. It is not
known if a this is part of a larger run with the wide spacing, or is an error. Thanks to Clayton Moore for sharing the photo.
And another pair Motorboat registration
stickers issued by the PA Fish & Boat Commission. Apparently they are
issued for a 2-year registration period. The 2018-2019 sticker expires
March 31 2020, thus the large 20 and similarly the 2019-2020 sticker expires March 31
2021, thus the large 21 making them visible from a distance. These
have the word POWERED near the top. There are also UNPOWERED stickers
for boats without motors.
This is a 1965 Validation Sticker from
Tom Firth. These were not used on passenger vehicles since they had been
issued new undated tags for '65. Non-passenger types such as trucks,
busses, trailers, etc. had new bases issued in 1964 and would have issued a
sticker like the one shown here.
Here is a 1944 Weight Class R Truck plate
thanks to eBay user Bclark58mx. The plate belongs to the last of the 4
serial progressions used that year, which included R000A, R00A0, R0A00 and R00AA.
Truck plates measured 6 inches by 11 inches and were issued as singles.
This is a 1948 Weight Class R Truck plate
thanks to Clayton Moore. For that year there were 5 serial progressions
including R000A, R00A0, R0A00, R00AA and R0AA0, of which this plate is part of
the fourth group. Truck plates measured 6 inches by 11 inches and were
issued in pairs.
Next in line is this 1955 Weight Class R Truck plate
thanks to Clayton Moore. For 1955 there were now 6 serial progressions
including R000A, R00A0, R0A00, R00AA, R0AA0 and R0A0A of which this plate is
part of the fifth group. Truck plates measured 6 inches by 10¼ inches and
were issued as singles.
This final truck plate is a 1956 Weight Class R thanks to
eBay user Vinylvish. 1946 again used 6 serial formats including
R000A, R00A0, R0A00, R00AA, R0AA0 and R0A0A with
this plate being part of the second group.
1956 also marked the standardization of plate size to the now familiar 6 inches
by 12 inches. These were issued as singles.
Here's a recent Amateur Radio plate
photo from Jonathan Sternthal. The number 8 in the call sign indicates
that it had originally been issued in Region 8 which includes Michigan, Ohio and
West Virginia. At some point the licensee moved to PA, bringing the call
sign with him.
Here's the first photo of a standard serial
Associated Alumni of the Central High School. It's also likely the
first plate issued, although earlier a picture of a vanity plate number 239 was
photographed. Anyway, it's a great find thanks to Matt Ciecka.
Vanity check shows only 3 serial numbered plates in use.
These Harley Owners
Group plates are essentially the same with the exception of the plate on
the near left now having the map outline. The far left plate is several
years old but has been listed as the current high on Tom Perri's
website The color difference is due to the far left plate photo
being taken in a dark setting. The far left plate is also thanks to Tom
Perri, while the newest plate is thanks to Jonathan Ortmann.
Just one week ago we posted an image of
an updated prototype image of a
Lemieux Foundation plate, then in a few days this photo arrived from Rick
Koll showing his new plate. The previous high 01791L/F
was just posted last week, so this change took place between these two plates.
Here's a recent photo of a
Pennsylvania Hunting Heritage vanity plate. I'm guessing that the
WCO14 stands for Wildlife Conservation Officer 14. These plates help
support the mission of the Pennsylvania Game Commission. This plate
program dates back to 2014. Thanks to
Irazabal for the plate photo.
This is a Person with Disability Vanity
Motorcycle plate. The plate has prompted much discussion among my
plate friends. First, thank you to Bruce Bufalini,
this was a great find and a great shot of this first of its kind spotted.
You may recall that the PD is not part of the registration number. The
full-size P is part of the number, but is a static, non-advancing character.
So the remainder of the registration is ONU or is it 0NU? So, is it the
letter 'O' or the number '0'? Vanity check indicates that the actual
registration is P 0(zero) N U. Some other cycle plates with known zeros
have a more rounded interior at the top and bottom, whereas this character is
flat. My belief is that the letter 'O' and number '0' are different dies,
but at times used interchangeably. This issue deserves more focus.
Here is another new high
plate thanks to Bruce Bufalini.
As mentioned in a recent post, the M and the C are static non-advancing
characters. Only the characters in the second, third and fourth positions
advance. The order of the progression is such that the number advances
first, then the letter in the 4th position, and finally the letter in the 2nd
spot. Confusing . . . yes, but not out of character for Pennsylvania
plates. These plates are the same dimensions as regular motorcycle plates,
just meant for vertical display.
This nice pair of Farm Truck plates features
two plates in the D-suffix series. The plate on the far left was snapped
over a year ago by
Irazabal, but it's the last reported high, now Brendan Sherry took this
recent photo of another D-series, but now with the map outline. As is
often the case, it's tough to establish the transition point. Hopefully
more time and photos will narrow it down.
This is a photo of a PennDOT Official truck
displaying a neat number, which I believe is also a new series high. The
photo came courtesy of Bill Young. You may recall that there is also
a similar issue for automobiles but the progression runs T0000P/A.
Here are a couple more Motorboat registration
stickers. These are listing the expirations as March 31 2018 and March 31
2019, thus the larger 18 and 19 making them visible from a distance. These
have the word POWERED near the top, apparently there are also UNPOWERED stickers
for boats without motors.
This is a 1949 Format 11 Passenger
plate. That appeared to be the final group used that year, and was likely
authorized from 000AA to 999ZZ, but only went as far as 655FF according to
Eric Tanner's data.
The plates were issued in pairs, and measured 6" by 11". Thanks to eBay
user X1fstsolx for the use of the photo.
This gem of a 1924 Tractor plate
was snagged by Tim Gierschick this past weekend at the ALPCA plate meet in
Trexlertown. The E-prefix was used from the earliest tractor plates in
1914 up through 1927. It stood for Engine, or Traction Engine, better know
as Tractor. This series began at E1 and ran to at least E1250 in 10 inch
and 12 inch widths depending on the number of characters.
Passenger vanities don't get much lower than this. The lowest
current issue plate in PA is 3. The 1 and 2 plates are believed to be kept
in reserve in case the Governor and Lt. Governor decide to go flashy. For
many years the need for security seems to trump use of such plates. This is
a Tom Perri photo passed along by
Here's a new high Severely Disabled Veteran
plate now in the 97000 series. Everything on these plates is flat screened
except for the 5-digit serial number. A distinguishing feature
about these plates is that they have retained their original color scheme of
blue characters on a white background with Disabled Veteran in red.
Here is a pair of recent Omnibus plates. The
low numbered plate on the far left is missing the sticker well, while the other
plate, about 750 plates later, has had the map outline added. A look at
another source suggests that this change took place at OB-88200; however, this
is not always reliable. The far left plate photo is thanks to Tom Perri,
while the map outline photo came from Preston Turner.
Currently this is the highest Dealer plate still
sporting a sticker well. It is believed that the sticker well departed at
K46-500K, and the map appeared at K51-500K. Of course these numbers are
always subject to correction. Thanks to
Irazabal for sharing this photo.
Last week I posted an updated
Lemieux Foundation prototype. Along with that I listed the current
high on the original series as 01707L/F.
Then Preston Turner sent me another new high on the original base. So at
this point all we know is that plates at least as high as 01791L/F
have not yet made the switch. Vanity check indicates a actual high of
01809L/F, but no way of knowing which base that
Late entry, check back next week for the first photo of the
Parenthood of PA plates are pretty rare, but Brandon Sowers spotted this
low number tag. They have been around since 2007 but vanity check suggests
that only 27 such plates have made it onto the street. In contrast, the
PA Choose Life
has issued about 1,400 plates.
Here's a nice Ohio State Alumni
plate that likely dates back to the May of 2001 plate replacement. The
previous yellow on blue edition of the plate would have been issued in 1997,
which marked the start of the Ohio State plate program. The newest plates
have retained the same logo but now with a colored graphic.
This recent photo of a Mass Transit plate was
It appears that this plate still has the sticker well — clearly no map.
The first Mass Transit plates date back to 1982, on the yellow on blue base,
beginning at M/T10000. There have been
several iterations of this plate over the years, including a run with the MT
prefix in-line rather than stacked. Click
to see their history.
is a 1920 Truck Class 2 or A.
Between 1914 and 1919 truck plates used 5 weight classifications designated by
the number of stars. Then in 1920 and running thru 1923 there was a new
system consisting of 8 weight classes. In this case the first digit in the
serial number designated the weight class. The plates used a fully
embossed legend like the one shown here with Commercial on top and Penna 1920
along bottom and measured 7" high. Some plates had COMMERCIAL and PENNA
1920 along bottom and they measured 6" high. Plates with 4 or fewer digits
measure 12 inches wide, 5 digit plates are 13½ inches, 6 digit plates are 16
inches. Thanks to Clayton Moore for the use of the photo.
This is a 1949 S-Weight Class Truck plate courtesy of Jeff Hinkle.
S-Class plates consisted of the following serial progressions, S000A, S00A0,
S0A00 and S00AA, with this plate being part of the second group. All truck
plates that year measured 6 inches by 11 inches.
On the far left is a revised Mario
Lemieux Foundation prototype. It is not known if the plate is
actually on the street yet. The other plate is the prototype from the
original series. The latest plates spotted were 01680L/F
and 01707L/F both of which had the map outline
but still used the original logo. The organization's website and the
application form for the new plate now allows for a motorcycle version. Unfortunately it appears that PennDOT seldom maintains their page depicting their
Approved Special Organizations' plates.
the far left yet another Antique Vehicle high, this one was
recently spotted at a car show near Slatedale in Lehigh County. On
the near left is the oldest ancestor to the current plate, back then
Antique Historic Car. The #1 image courtesy of Jake
Eckenrode and the Swigart Museum.
Here's a Classic Vehicle
vanity. The PennDOT application form, MV-11, states that up to 5
characters are permitted, but also states "A pre-printed letter
configuration of 'C' will precede your personalized configuration on
your registration plate and cannot be changed. There is clearly no
'C' as part of this registration plate. It appears that around
half of the Classic Vehicle vanities follow that rule. This plate
appears to still have a sticker well, while the use of the 'C' prefix
seems to be more uniform on the newer plates with the map outline.
Bruce Bufalini managed to snap this
very tough shot of a Dealer error plate. The error is in the
placement of the keystone separator, the number itself appears correct.
I tried to skew the image, but If you're still having trouble reading
it, it reads K0-3321K, but should read K03-321K. Interesting
plate. I wonder if this was one of a kind, or did a few of these
slip through as the only one number die is changed after each plate.
Here's the latest high Official Use
Passenger plate now in the 40000 series. As you may be
aware, the current series of Official Use plates has been split into
three main sub-groups, and each of those groups further divided into
passenger and truck. The plate on left is the sole remaining
legacy plate. It may be easier to visualize these changes in the form of
a table. The 40023-PA was photographed by Nick Tsilakis. The
switchover to the new format may occur at 42000P/A.
At this time there is no
indication that other state agencies will take advantage of the
option to have department / agency-specific plates.
Personally I'd like to see the State Police take advantage of this
Here's a 1985 base Motorcycle Vanity
plate with an 11-00 validation sticker. Nice plate, sorry about the
shadow. I'm going to guess the plate means 3 cubic inches, which may be
more commonly expressed in motorcycle jargon as 50 cc (or cubic centimeters), as
the size of the bike's engine. The sticker covers the PENNA legend.
This is a Passenger Vanity plate issued on
the 'You've Got a
base between 1983 and '87. In
spite of when it was issued, it has 12-99 and 12-00 validation stickers.
This nice plate photo is courtesy of Jeff Hinkle.
These are both 1944 Passenger plates.
The far left is a Format 4 which included the progression of
10A0 to 99Z99, with the 4-character plates
being 6" x 10" and while 5 character plates measured 6" x 11". This plate
is courtesy of Pl8source. The near left is a Format 5 plate which ran from
000A to 999Z, with all measuring 6" x 10". This photo is courtesy of
This is a 1948 V-Weight Class Truck
plate. For that year there were two V-class serial progressions, V000A and
V00A0, of which this plate is part of the second group. All truck plates
measured 6 inches by 11 inches. Thanks to eBay user totommyto for the use
of the photo.
This is an early edition of the Disabled Veteran
with 11-85 and 11-86 stickers. After all of the first edition 4-digit
(DV-0000) plates were issued, the 5-digit series was next. Both
versions so far had sticker wells in the upper left and right corners as
seen here, making this plate the observed series high. The next group beginning at
DV-22000 had the sticker well moved to the bottom left.
Irazabal spotted this plate on ebay, and the owner, Darren Bianco, gave
me the OK to use it. Some of these early plates are still on the road.
Here are two recently spottedEmergency Vehicle
plates. The EV-36580 may be a new high. They are both from the
lower tier of plates issued to paying customers, as opposed to non-profit
organizations who receive the upper tier (plates above EV-50000) at no cost.
These lower tier plates still have the sticker well, unlike the plates above
EV-71000 that now have the map outline.
This pair of Vertical Motorcycle
plates were posted by Tim Martin. They represent a move to a new
serial format. The first format was M0A0C, with only the three
characters in the center advancing. The M and the C are static
non-advancing characters. After the series above hit M9Z9C, a new
format was introduced starting at MA0AC. Again only characters in the
2nd, 3rd and 4th positions advance. The progression is such that the
number advances first, then the letter in the 4th position, and finally the
letter in the 2nd spot. These are also eligible as vanity plates with
up to 5 characters.
Nothing all that special about this Penn State
University plate, but thanks to
Tom Perri, it does help establish the approximate high on the this
series prior to the addition of the the map outline. The low number
spotted with the map was 11110P/S, also
thanks to Tom Perri.
This is only the second photo of a Saint Francis
University plate displaying the color graphic format. This
plate may actually be the low point on this base. No plates without
the sticker well or with the map outline have been spotted yet. The
history of these plates dates back to 1999 with the yellow on blue base.
These were about 335 issued for which I have no photos. Thanks much to
Bruce Bufalini for providing this photo.
This is a 1946 Format 1 Motorcycle
plate. This format started with 1 and ran to 9999, then switched to
Format 2 which was alpha-numeric format as A, A1 to A999, then B, B1, etc.
All motorcycle plates measured 4½ inches by 8 inches. Thank you to
eBay user Spillercb21 for the use of the photo.
This very nice 1954 Format 5 Passenger
plate image came from Shane Oake. Format 5 consists of plates from
000A to 999Z, so only 4-character plates in this group, while some other
groups had 5. Plate size was 6 inches by 10¼ inches regardless of the
number of characters.
Not quite sure what to call this plate.
The owner, Jeff Hinkle, suggests that it's a prototype, so I'm going to
agree. Anyway it appears to be a 1965 (to '70) base,
and I have placed in with the passenger series. There were samples at
that time but configured with SAM-PLE.
This group shot of Validation Stickers below was
recently acquired by Tom Firth and shared with this website. As you
may know the sticker colors are cyclic, and repeat themselves every 8 years
as shown in the table below. The individual stickers have been added
to the Sticker page. You may also be aware that PA discontinued
issuing stickers at the end of 2016; however, stickers as far ahead as 2022 were issued
vehicles such a small trailers with a 5-year registration.