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Pennsylvania License Plate Images

John McDevitt, Walnutport, PA

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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 8/30/2015

PA U.S. Olympic plate?  You may recall that during the 2013-14 Legislative Session, Senate Bill 1187 was passed and signed into law as Act 109 on July 2, 2014.  One of the provisions of the law was the authorization of a Pennsylvania United State Olympic license plate.  It is now listed in the vehicle code section 1354.1 as United State Olympic plate.  This plate has never become available, why?  I have asked Senator Argall, a sponsor of the bill, and received no response. I have asked PennDOT about the plate. They thanked me for asking and told me “No information has been provided to us at this time.”  Finally thanks to Senator Scavello's staff I got an answer: the Olympic Committee would not give PennDOT permission to make the plate.  There may be more to the story.


This Adopt A Greyhound conceptual plate picture was spotted on the Nittany Greyhounds website.  (  It's not yet listed by PennDOT.  It's also using the GH prefix and 20000 number block assigned to Going Home Greyhounds.

This World War II Veteran plate is the latest reported high number, and was provided courtesy of Tom Perri.  As time moves on it is likely that very few of these plates will be issued in the future.  WWII vets are dying at the rate of almost 500 a day, and of the 16-million who served, fewer than 855-thousand remain.  I'm also guessing that this is the reason that this plate has not not be switched over to the family of plates design.


Bruce Sakson shares this very nice Ohio River Trail Council plate picture.  This is also the reported high in this series.



Like 'em low?  These # 1 and # 2 American Legion plates were recently spotted by Tom Perri.  On the other end of the scale the high plate on Tom's website is listed as A/L02631.  At this point in time the American Legion has not made the transition to the graphic base.


Bruce Bufalini shares this very low number University of Pittsburgh plate picture he snapped recently.  This plate number probably dates back to 1988 on the yellow on blue plates, and then was reissued in 2002 as shown here.  These Pitt plates are also available on the graphic base but every one I've seen has been U/P04000 and above.


Juniata College (Huntington, PA) has had plates on the road since 2001, and therefore did not have plates available on the earlier yellow on blue base.  This plate has also not yet switched to the newer graphic base although there is a Maryland Juniata plate available with a graphic symbol, so maybe it's in the works.  Anyway, Tom Perri's website lists the high as J/C00572.


Bruce Bufalini snapped this Corvette with a Classic Car plate.  It turns out it's one of those plates that changes the plate tracking number range.  Classic Car plates, at the time, flip-flopped the location of Pennsylvania and Classic Car several times.  I've revised the changeover point from 50500 to 50750.  It's still an estimate, but should now be closer to the actual changeover point.


This 1946 Motorcycle plate is courtesy of Aimer Senott.  The colors were yellow/dark blue although time has had its way with the original colors on this plate.  The series ran from 1 to 9999, then went to a A000 format.  Some 14-thousand plates were issued according to one source, and 20-thousand according to another source. 



Posting 8/23/2015

This nice low number Animal Friends plate picture has been added to several higher number images.  The image is courtesy of Brendan Sherry.



Here's a new reported high number for the Cetronia Ambulance Corps plate.  The image was provided courtesy of Steve Ondik.  These plates have been on the street since the end of 2007 or beginning of 2008.  Somewhere around 37 plates have actually been issued to date.



This Rotary International plate is not quite the latest high, but it's close to the reported high of R/I01298 on Tom Perri's PA Plates website.  Like the Syria plate below, this plate was also issued in two tiers.  The first ran from R/I00001 to about R/I00590.  The next series began at R/I01200.  The first tier is believed to be the plates that were the replacements for the first generation yellow on blue issue, and these would have been issued abound 11/20/2001.  Theses were issued on a number for number basis  The high number group is believed to be those that were issued since.  So far this plate has not transitioned to the newer graphic style base.


The Syria saga.  These Syria AAONMS plates do not exist on my (eastern) end of the state, so if you want a picture, you either go there or live there.  In this case I'm referring to the Pittsburgh area.  By going there it may take several trips to photograph one.  Anyway the plate on the far left is the product of Tom Perri's and Jordan Irazabal's efforts to photograph such a plate.  They took this picture some time ago.  The other picture was a street shot from Brendan Sherry.  This plate type seems to have two distinct number series.  The first group runs from S/T00002 up to around S/T00700 with lots of gaps.  Then it stops.  The next series is from S/T01301 to about S/T01345.  The first series is believed to be the plates that were the replacements for the first generation yellow on blue issue, and these would have been issued abound 7/25/2001.  Theses were issued on a number for number basis  The high number group is believed to be those that were issued since.  So far this plate has not transitioned to the newer graphic style base.


It's been a while since anything NASCAR-related was posted, but here on the far left is a NASCAR 88 Dale Jarrett plate from Steve Ondik.  These Jarrett plates were issued for the 2004, 2005 and 2006 racing seasons.  About 135 were issued.  On the near left is a different NASCAR 88 Dale Jarrett sample.  Little is known of this plate but it is believed to have been issued during the 2006 racing year.  It is unknown how many, if any, of this version were actually sold.  The sample image is courtesy of Paul Bagnarol.


If you're a Penn State fan or a low number fan — check this out.  The Penn State Alumni Association saw the opportunity to get into the plate business early on, like late 1985.  Since then they have had some 15,000 plates on the road as far back as 2005, almost twice as many as the next highest organization — the FOP with 9,000.  If these stats are not enough, there is also a Penn State University license plate, not shown above.  10 other states also offer a Penn State plate.  But wait there's more, the Pennsylvania College of Technology is an offshoot of Penn State and has its own plate.  The #1 plate above is from Nick Tsilakis, and the #2 is from Jordan Irazabal.


License plate trivia.  Did you know that the Fire Fighter plate was the first of many modern organizational plates to be issued in PA?  They were first issued in 1983 and are the only organizational plates to be issued in the blue on yellow color scheme.  The legislative bill that authorized the plates actually called for them to be red and white.  Obviously that never happened.  At first these plates could also be configured as vanities, then that option was quickly withdrawn.  (Yes, there were National Guard plates back in the '30s, but I don't consider these to be organizational plates.)


Here's an '84 base B-series Dealer plate with '88 and '89 stickers.  It is my understanding that the '84 base Dealer plates no longer assigned the letter prefixes to particular dealer type, but rather merged into a single dealer type.  So as the series progressed the remaining A, B, D, and E series were all used and the F series extended well into the F88-000F series.  It is not believed that any G-series plates were ever issued.  Thanks to Clayton Moore for the use of the image.



Posting 8/16/2015

Here's the latest Motorcycle Dealer high spotted at a recent bike event.  The MCD along the bottom of the plate is not only the plate legend but also part of the actual serial number making this plate MCD705D.  This also applies to the Moped Dealer series which started at MPD4000, again with the MPD within the yellow color band.


These are not new finds, they are older images showing the progression of Motorcycle Dealer plates since 1999.  If you want to see older Motorcycle Dealer plates starting with the first year of issue in 1914, click the link.  A few gaps exist if anyone can help.


This Motorcycle plate is also a new high, and is part of the recent 0AA00 series.  This plate was actually mounted vertically making it kind of hard to read.  The vertical mount below would have been a better option.



In speaking to some bikers, quite a few are still unaware of the vertical M/C plate option on the far left.  Also while the serial number consists of 5 characters, only the 3 in the center advance, while the M and the C are static characters, meaning they do not advance.  At least they don't advance at this time.  The center alpha character, in this case the letter G is the last to advance.


The other plate was my personal conceptual suggestion for a vertical plate.  It would allow more space for larger more legible characters while retaining the PA color scheme.





These Pennsylvania Hunting Heritage plates have been on the street for some two months, but this is the first one I've seen.  More than 590 of these plates are now in use.  The plates cost $56 of which $25 goes to the Game Commission to be used for conservation efforts.



You really can't call the three pictures on the far left license plates.  Steve Ondik provided the truck picture and the homemade Farm Permit pictures on the far left.  The yellow on black plate was one I snapped.  These are not required but are often put on a vehicle rather than be stopped by the police for not having a plate.  A vehicle with a farm permit, actually called a 2-year Certificate of Exemption, receives a rectangular sticker as shown above in place of a standard registration plate.  These stickers are to be displayed on the side of the truck forward of the drivers door.  A farm permit also places certain limitations of how and when the truck may be used, as well as a reduced registration fee. 


Back in 2009, with some help from Chuck Harrington, I was able to complete the section on Foreign Consul plates covering their entire run from 1958 up thru 1984 or '85.  Missing from that effort was the earlier run of Consular plates from 1929 up thru 1935.  ALPCA member Larry B. Niederschulte has allowed me to use his very nice 1935 Consular plate shown above.  The '31 plate I had in my photo collection, but I don't know where it came from.  I'd like to credit the owner if possible.  The 1935 image depicts the plate design drawing from an old BMV document.  It should be noted that while all the plates shown here have the date stacked on the left and PENNA stacked on the right, several years were reversed.  It is believed, but not confirmed, that plate numbers were authorized up to 100.  The low number was likely 10, but may have been 1.  Plate pictures from several years are still needed to complete the 1929 to 1935 history.


This 1925 Tractor plate is rough and a little hard to see.  Click the image to see a larger picture of the plate.  So far it's the only example of a 1925 Tractor plate, so it helps provide some basic information.  There is no tractor legend; however, from 1924 until 1933 there was no identifying legend, and from 1914 to 1927 the E prefix meant engine, traction engine or tractor.  It is unknown if the dash separator was used on this series at the time but it was used on other '25 plates.  This image came from Aimee Senott.



Posting 8/9/2015

The Eastern Berks Fire Department has now been approved for an organizational license plate.  So far no plates have been issued.




PA Society of Professional Engineers has also been approved for an organizational license plate.  So far no plates have been issued.




This Gettysburg 1863 vanity plate picture was provided by Bruce Bufalini.  This is a Special Fund plate intended to help support the monuments on the Gettysburg battlefield.  Eric Conner suggests this particular plate, with PA11, likely belongs to a re-enactor associated with the 11th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment.





Here's another vanity — this one on a Person with Disability plate.  The vehicle code now allows up to 5 characters not counting the required PD symbol.  A space or a dash is permitted, but not both, and these are not counted as part of the registration number.  This photo was provided courtesy of Bill Stephens.


This PA Choose Life plate was provided as a road shot from Steve Ondik.  These plates seem to be selling fairly well with Tom Perri's PA Plates site reporting a high of 01327C/L , while the Planned Parenthood plate is listed with a high plate of 00020P/P .



Here's a low number example of the latest Motorcycle plate format.  This format began at 0AA00 and was first seen a few weeks ago.  This is the 4th numerical sequence since the plates were issued on the www base in April of 2000.  The first series was 3 letters followed by 2 numbers, such as AAA00, then the visitPA base came along in 2005.  When that series ran out in 2009, the format went to 4 numbers and 1 letter, such as 0000A.  This series included the 60,000 plate run of "Live Free Ride Alive" plates.  Then about mid-2012 the series again changed to 1 letter and 4 numbers, such as A0000, and when that series ran it course, the series shown in the above image made its debut.  PA has some 400-thousand bikes registered.


This 2S Antique Motorcycle plate seen at a recent show does not seem to fit any of the known formats. The first series, or Format 1, ran from A0 to D99, was the only series where I've ever seen 2-character plates and I have well over 100 images.  It was suggested that possibly it was a Format 6 plate as seen in the 02S plate below, however, it just doesn't seem likely or logical that both 2S and 02S would be produced in the same series.  Also as mentioned above no 2-character plates have been seen outside of the first series.  The 2S plate also has wide hole spacing indicating that it was not an early plate.





Here's a '42 Dealer with a '43 tab, but what's interesting here is this example of a Dealer plate with the 'X' in the 4th position.  At that time all regular dealer plates used an 'X' in the serial number with early plates having it in the first position, then it became necessary to move the 'X' from the first position to the second and so forth.  I don't think it ever moved to the fifth position.  Thanks to Clayton Moore for the use of the image.


Here's a nice 1927 Official plate.  The image was received from Clayton Moore but never got posted.





Posting 8/2/2015

The Spring Mill Fire Company No. 1, Whitemarsh Township, Montgomery County, now has, or soon will have, about 10 plates on the road.




Well, we knew this was coming, just didn't know when.  The plate on the far left is the newly redesigned Classic Motorcycle recently spotted by Bruce Bufalini.  Of course it's now on the visitPA family of plates base.  On this new design only the 0977 is embossed while the stacked C/L and CLASSIC MC are now flat screened.  By comparison the other plate is the traditional, all embossed, map outline base, from Ryan Battin.  In my opinion, the older base is far more befitting a classic motorcycle.


The plate on the far left is a personalized or vanity version of an Antique Vehicle plate.  Up to 4 characters are now permitted when personalized.  It was spotted at a recent car show.  Hideous frame.  The unframed plate in the center is the new high number for that series.  This 3TY5 image was provided by Ryan Battin. 

And just to see how far the series has come in the last 60 years or so, here's the first plate issued.  It's still a valid plate on the front of a vehicle at the Swigart Museum in Huntingdon, PA.  Thanks to Jake Eckenrode for the # 1 picture.




Steve Ondik captured this image of a Knights of Columbus plate.  This organization has had a plate program since 1987 and the current high is in the mid-24 hundred range.  What I don't understand is why someone would spend the extra dollars to get a nice organizational plate and then completely cover up the name of the organization with a dealer frame.


This picture, also from Steve Ondik, shows a fairly low number Bloomsburg University plate considering their current high is B/U01835 according to Tom Perri PA Highs website.



This image has a interesting story behind it.  The owner, had this registration, KFG-670, as a remake on the current visitPA base until it was damaged by vandals.  He inquired of PennDOT as to what he should do.  The response he received was, "Thank you for contacting PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services.  You would be able to keep and use the undamaged plate.  Please destroy the other plate so that no one else may use it."  Really, that's the solution, instead of surrendering the damaged plate then issuing him a new plate, have him use his "You've Got a Friend" plate?  While many would be happy to use this mid-1980s plate, that sulution doesn't speak well for PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services.


This week's dealer plates include this 1956 Miscellaneous Dealer plate with the serial progression showing the 'X' in the third position, indicating that all of the combinations were used with the X in the first and second positions.  This year also signifies the standardization of full size plates at 6" x 12".  Also in 1956 two different dies sets were used.  Early '56 plates used the older wide dies, while later plates, as in the example shown here, have the narrower dies (or fonts) often referred to as '57 dies.  Click the link above to see both die types used in 1957.


For 1967 the biggest change was the switch to 6 characters on all full size dealer plates as seen in this Miscellaneous Dealer plate.  Also notice the map border has been reduced to allow the six characters.  The use of six characters meant that the final character in the New Car Dealer and Used Car Dealer plates, such as A1234A would never run out of alpha-numeric combinations necessitating the movement of the final letter to the fifth position, such as A123A4.


And for the 1958 Dealer series we see the addition of the small keystone separator, while gone from the plate is the expiration date and the keystones flanking the word DEALER.  This was also a multi-year plate, and could be renewed thru '61.  Originally the plan was to issue metal tabs to be used over the 58.  Later the metal tab plan was scrapped in favor of validation stickers.  Early plates had a tab slot, later ones did not.  For what it's worth I've seen X11-254 without the slot, X13-737 with the slot, and X14-740 shown here without.  Apparently the transition was not a hard break.  Thanks to Mike at pl8source for the image.

At this point I've pretty much used up my dealer images, but many pictures are still needed and much historical information remains to be documented.  I'd like to thank all those who helped out with the dealer series.





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John McDevitt, Walnutport, PA

ALPCA #4376