Here's a recent photo of an Apportioned Truck
plate from Preston Turner. What the plate shows is that the
transition point to the map outline, which was previously thought to be
at AG-73000, has to be above the plate shown here. The next plate
spotted is AG-73399, so the map was added somewhere in between.
Here's another early
Distracted Driving Awareness plate from Jonathan Ortmann. Also
Irazabal for photo editing. It
appears that this series started at D/A00101
making this the 12th plate issued. These plates became
available back on February 21, and are eligible for use on passenger
cars, trucks not over 14,000 lb. and motor homes,
the plate is also available in this downsized motorcycle edition of the
Distracted Driving Awareness tag. Tim Martin recently
received this plate and posted it on Facebook. It appears that
this series may have started at D/A061 as
this number and D/A062 are the only ones showing
in the vanity check.
Irazabal reports spotting Official Use
plate PA-1063B on the blue base which is the highest number recorded on
that base. This helps to narrow the gap between the blue base and
the newer graphic base. The lowest plate spotted on the graphic
base is PA-2215B.
Here is the first plate spotted of
U.S. Coast Guard (Active Duty)series. These active duty
military types came out in February of 2017, but so far have been
elusive. The image was provided by Matthew Wehner, and the photograph
was actually taken in the state of Washington.
are a couple more pairs of
stickers. This week featuring an orange 1985 sticker with a
3-31-86 expiration from Bob Connison, and a green 1986 with a 3-31-87
expiration from Tom Firth. These stickers follow a 4-year color
cycle of blue, orange, green, and red.
The remainder of the 1909 Pittsburgh Press
newspaper clippings have been posted. The Pittsburgh City
record of the Green 98 plate can be viewed by clicking the image to the
right of the plate. Then zoom the jpg until you can see the
record for the single seat 98 and 2-seat 263. It also lists the
state-issued plate, 1295 belonging to one of the vehicles. Click
the image to the right of the brown 1160 to see the Pittsburgh City
record for that plate with the corresponding state-issued plate of 662. Again I
want to thank Eric
Tanner for the great work in researching and assembling these
newspaper articles. And thanks again to
Eric Taylor for the plate
This is a 1953 Format 3 Trailer
plate. Format 3 represents the serial number range of 0A00 to 9Z99.
All such plates measure 6 inches by 10¼" inches. Most plates for
that year were 4 characters; however there was also a run with 5 digits
as well. Thanks to Rob Baran for the photo.
This is a 1933 S-Weight Class Truck
plate. 1933 again used the R through Z, etc. weight classes, and
this is the first S-class photo. The size of truck plates were 6
inches by 15 inches. This plus the letter prefix, and the number of
characters were the features that identified this as a truck plate.
Thanks to eBay user hfritz2.570 for the use of this photo.
This plate is likely the first of its
Distracted Driving Awareness plate. The serial number may seem
strange but it's not unusual for plate serials numbers to start at 100 or
101. Sometimes the under 100 plates are kept in reserve. This
plate is thanks to Brandon Sowers, and was passed on by
Here's a new high Dealer plate
recently spotted by
Bruce Bufalini. This plate now
has the map outline, whereas the previous high, K51-037K, according to
Tom Perri's website, did not.
Based on an inventory sheet, it appears that this changer took place at
K51-500K, although the map was seen earlier on Dealer vanities.
This is a new high
Official Use Commercialplate for use on a PennDOT vehicle.
The term commercial in this case refers to use on a truck, loader, grader,
etc., not on an automobile. The type used on an automobile would be
formatted as T0001P/A. The state allows agency-specific plates to be used on PennDOT vehicles and PA Turnpike vehicles.
So far it does not appear that any agencies other than those have opted for
their own plates. Thanks to Charles Switzer for the photo.
We have seen this plate before back in
2012, but when such a rare plate is spotted again, it seems like a good
opportunity to show it again. Thanks to Rob Einhorn for sharing this
recent traffic shot of a U.S. Congress
1st District plate. After the 2000 Census, the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania was divided into 19 Congressional Districts, decreasing from 21
due to reapportionment. After the 2010 Census, the number of districts
decreased again to 18 according to Wikipedia. Then in 2018 the districts
center plate is a recent photo of an
Autism Society of America plate. It has no sticker well, while
the plate to its left still has that feature, and the plate to the right now
has the map outline. All of these changes happened within the span of
24 plates, but since graphic organizational plates are produced as the
orders are received, it's hard to pinpoint exactly when a change takes place.
The far left photo was from Brandon Sowers, while the other two as thanks to
This plate is part of the first formatting
group of 1954 Bus
plates. The formatting consists of the letter 'O' + 1 to 4 digits, the second
formatting group is the letter 'O' + another letter starting with 'A', then 3 digits,
such as OA123. This plate is currently up for grabs on eBay.
Thank you to Drewski for the use of the photo.
Here is a continuation of Boat Registration
stickers from last week. Again my belief is that stickers with a 31 March 1984 expiration, would indicate that
it was valid for the previous year, 1983, and up to the expiration date
shown on the sticker. The other being a 1984 sticker with a 3-85 expiration. These stickers were provided by Bob Connison.
I was contacted by Eric Tanner concerning the small porcelain 1908 and
1909 Pittsburgh plates. Eric, as many of you know, is the
current editor of Plates Magazine, and a past Archivist for ALPCA.
He has done some great research on early Pittsburgh vehicle
registrations. Unlike the City of Philadelphia pre-state plates which
were used as drivers' licenses, the City of Pittsburgh plates were to be used in
addition to state-issued plates as a form of taxation on vehicles. As a result of his research, Eric has expanded that section on his website,
http://www.allaboutlicenseplates.com/, and I would encourage anyone
interested to read it. He has also discovered that the vehicle
registration records for 1909 were published in the Pittsburgh Press.
I have started to post some of the 1909 Pittsburgh
Press newspaper clippings of registration records, and will post
more next week. The photos
shown here were provided courtesy of Eric Taylor, and are from his website,
1908 white on blue plate above was for a 1-seat/2-person automobile,
while the white on slate or gray was for a 2-seat/4-person auto.
1909 followed the same format with the white on green 1-seat/2-person
automobile, and the white on brown was for a 2-seat/4-person auto.
Next week I should the remainder of the registration records posted.
This is the final group of newly
available plate types. These are both Historic
Military Vehicle plates with the option of a
Motorcycle edition for that type of vehicle. Full size plates
can be used on both trucks and trailer.
Here's the first photo of a serial
Gettysburg College plate on the graphic base. An earlier photo
was taken of a vanity plate; however, both plates still had '17 validation
stickers. The most striking feature of this plate is the 4-digit
serial number instead of 5. One might think that this is a vanity, but
Gettysburg plates have always been 4-digit. We don't know when the
switch to the graphic style took place, but it was listed back on 5/31/15. The previous
high was G/C3168. This plate was spotted by
far left full image and the cropped image are of a new high NRA Foundation
plate spotted on the fly by
Bruce Bufalini. This is also the
second plate spotted with wide character spacing between the serial
number and the NRA. Compare the 0828N/R/A
photo which shows the original narrow spacing. Can't say if the new
high retains the sticker well or not. That plate was previously
provided thanks to Brandon Sowers.
Here's the latest high number Combat
Infantryman Badge. The photo was recently taken by
Irazabal. These plates are part of a group of 5 combat-related
plates which date back to 2014. This plate series started at 20000C/O.
Plate 20179C/O was previously spotted with the map
outline. They are also available as a vanity.
Here's another high — this one
being a U.S.
Army Veteran. These date back to 2009, with quite a few of these now
sporting the small map. Personalized plates are permitted as well.
This plate photo was also taken by
Here is a WFMZ TV screen shot which shows an
electric-powered campus vehicle belonging to Lafayette College. The
vehicle dubbed a 'bubble car' is shown here with a Special Mobile Equipment
tag — strange. To my knowledge, PA does not offer any specialized tags
to electric vehicles, slow moving vehicles, autonomous vehicles, etc. and
the laws seem vague as they apply to certain vehicle types and uses.
The use shown here may even be exempt from registration as prescribed under
Act 57 of 2018.
This is a plate from the 1975 Governor's Inauguration. It is also one
that bears the name of Venango County. For that year, in addition to
the plates with serial numbers, there were also plates that looked similar
to 1965 Governor plates, but with Inauguration 1975 as the top legend and a
county names below. So far the counties of Allegheny, Philadelphia,
Cameron, Clearfield and Philadelphia have been documented. The
Philadelphia plate is on a different base. Thanks to Eric Conner for
the use of the plate photo.
Starting 3/17, I'm planning to add some
history and images of early Pittsburgh plates. These plates are very
scarce, at least for now the focus will be on 1908 and 1909 plates. Thanks to
Eric Tanner and
Eric Taylor for their help.
Here we have another group of Boat Registration
stickers. As before, I'm not very familiar with theses stickers, but
believe that stickers with a 31 March 1981 expiration, would indicate that
it was valid for the previous year, 1980, and up to the expiration date
shown on the sticker. So here we also have 1981 with 3-82 expiration,
and a 1982 with 3-83 expiration. These stickers were provided by Bob Connison.
Here is a pair of Trailer plates from 1934 and 1936. 1934
was the first year of a new serial numbering system. Up through 1933
plates used T or TT to designate it as a Trailer. Then beginning in
1934 plates used 1 to 9999, then A1 to at least A118, they also now had
the legend TRAILER on the plate. Thanks to eBay user simbacurt for the
use of these photos.
This is a 1938 Class U Truck plate.
Class U includes the following serial formats: U000A, U00A0, U0A00, with
this plate being part of the second progression. All 1938 Truck plates
measured 6 inches by 12 inches. Thanks to Clayton Moore for the use of
Here's a new high Severely
Disabled Veteran plate that was recently spotted. One thing I
like about this plate and several other Veterans' plates is that they have
not joined the 'family of plates' movement. It is my belief that this
is because the legislation that authorized such plates, also spelled out the
colors and design of the plate.
Here's a group effort thanks to several
friends. This group of Veteran plates were
all photographed recently. The far left plate is from
Irazabal showing a plate that was likely issued not too long before the
sticker wells ended. The center plate shows the lowest known
number without the sticker well and is thanks to
Tom Perri. The right-hand photograph of was taken by
Bruce Bufalini. This plate is
the current new high, but still no map symbol.
This is a recent photo of a
Blue Knights International Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club plate
from Jeff Lawson. The current reported high is 00036B/K.
With the recent change in the law which now allows for organizational
motorcycle plates, I would think that this club would welcome such an
The far left
International Association of Fire Fighters photo was snapped by
Tom Perri back in August of 2017.
I photo-shopped it a bit to try to square it up. Anyway the photo appears
to show a plate without the sticker well. The near left photo I took
recently showing a plate with the map.
This is a continuation of Boat registrations from
last week beginning with 1998 with a 3-31-99
expiration. The others are stickers from 2005-06 and 2008-09.
Thanks to Tom Firth for the sticker photos.
These are all
1977 base Motorcycle
plates that were issued between that year and 1985.
Andrew Turnbull has shared his research
on the progression of PA's Motorcycle plates. He unveiled the fact that while
almost all '77-base plates had narrow bolt hole spacing, there was a run of
plates toward the end where the wide hole spacing came about in preparation
for the '85 issue. This is new information for this website, and has
resulted in splitting Format 4 plate progression into 2 groups. Format
4A, as seen in the center plate has the narrow holes, while 4B, right-hand
plate, has the wide spacing,
The far left plate is an example of a low number Format 1 (0A000) plate.
The 1AP6S came from an unknown eBay auction.
Andrew Turnbull also focused on the
1985 Motorcycle base.
The alpha-numeric progression remained the same throughout the series;
however, Andrew noted the use of a wide font and a narrow font used for the
legend PENNA. At times the heavy or light application of paint can
also create some confusion as to which font was used. The far left
plate, from Andrew, has the thicker font, while the other plate has the
skinny font. Check back next week for some additional refinement of
the www base Motorcycle plates from Andrew.
Here is a very distinctive 1924
Format 1 Passenger plate from eBay user V16. This group
consisted of all-numeric plates from 1 to 4 digits. All such plates
were 'shorties' measuring 6 inches by x 10 inches. Plates with 5
digits went to 12 inches, and 6 digit plates were 15 inches. Toward
the end of the run, alpha-numeric plates made their debut.
What's up with the sizes of these 1920 Commercial (aka Truck) plates?
These plates are part of that 1920 to '23 period that has been the subject
of many questions. As previously mentioned Rob Baran's research has
shed a lot of light on such plates. Rob has also provided the center
and right-hand plate. Those plates with legend on both and top and
bottom of the plate measured 7 inches in height, as compared to the plate
with the legend along the bottom which measures 6 inches.
This is an extraordinarily nice and very rare 1927 V-Class Truck plate.
It would have been the first V-weight class plate produced that year. At
least 13,096 V-class plates were issued that year. The plate measures
6" by 10", which is the shortest of the three sizes used that year.
It's up for grabs on eBay by eBay user Me, also known as Drewski in the
license plate community.
A lot of drivers probably wish this were an option,
but it's not. It appears that the owner had this white on black
plate made up with the same serial number that had been issued on the
owner's passenger vehicle plate. The plate also features a
'Blue Lives Matter' flag. Can't really say for
certain what the legend says along the bottom of the plate, again maybe
'Blue Lives Matter'. Judging by the JLL-6741, the
original plate was probably issued late in 2013. The plate was
photographed by Nathan Krawzyk.
These next three plate types are a
continuation of the announcement about the Penn State Official plates last
week. Here we have a complete facelift of the Temple
University Official plates. No word when this change will take
Next plate up for remodeling is the
University of Pittsburgh Official plate. It appears that
except for the addition of the map outline and the flat plate legend the
plates will look much the same as they have since they have been on the
Here's a seldom seen plate type.
Lincoln University Official plates were first issued on the yellow
on blue base, then replaced with the www base on 9/1/1999. So far only
30-some plates have been issued, and how many remain in inventory before
they are switched to the new design? The disturbing thing is that it
appears that not a single plate has survived from the original yellow on
Here is a new high Official Use
Commonwealth-owned passenger vehicle plate. These tags are
issued in pairs. They are slated to switch to the family of plates
design; however, if this change does not occur until the current inventory
is exhausted, it could take a while, possibly up to 41999-PA. Thanks
Bruce Bufalini for the photo.
This Dealer - Farm
Equipment plate is one of the most unusual dealer types.
According to the 2017 Report of Registrations, there was a total of 41 farm
equipment dealers in PA with a combined total of 51 plates. This is
also the highest plate spotted. With so few plates, who knows if we
will ever see these tags on the visitPA base, let alone the map base. Thanks
Bruce Bufalini for the photo.
Here is a pair of Support Our
Troops license plates. The far left plate, with a 1-13
sticker, is from Clayton Moore who had this plate up for grabs on eBay
recently. The near left plate is from
Tom Perri. This plate is the current reported high and no
longer has the sticker well. We don't know at what point this change took
place, but 00203S/T still had the sticker well.
Tom helped me narrow this down.
If you guessed Boat Registration
Stickers you are correct. I'm going to suggest that the stickers on
the far left were for
1987 with an expiration of 3-31-1988. Same with the 1990 stickers
expiring in 1991. Not sure if these were issued every year since PA
boat plates were discontinued after 1963. These and a few other photos
were passed on to me by Tom Firth.
This is a
1939 Format 2 Passenger plate.
That series ran from A100 to Z9999, so both 6 inch by 10 inch and and 6
inch by 12 inch bases were used, with this one being 10 inch. Thanks
to eBay user ALPCA3217, who some may know better as Jeff.
Here are two welcome additions to the 1953 Passenger series.
On the far left is a very nice Format 4 (10A0 to 99Z99), 4-character plate
from eBay user ALPCA3217. The near left plate is an example of a
Format 10 plate which runs from 00AA to 99ZZ. Thanks to eBay user
hpr4661 for the photo. All '53 plates measure 6" x 10¼".
week I featured a series of three 1923 Commercial or Truck plates, along
with some explanation of these Pennsylvania plates for the period 1920
through 1923. This week we have a pair of very nice 1922 Commercial plates.
Many thanks to Rob Baran who recently authored a great article in Plates
Magazine about this series. Rob has kindly sent me a number of
plate images. This week features a continuation of that period with
this Class 3 or B plate, and low number Class 6 or E plate. The 6 88
has a space where a dash might be expected. Again, the weight classes
of these vehicles was identified by the first number of the plate serial
number. More next week.