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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.

This is a reference-only website, no plate sales.

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Posting 5/19/2019

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.  Jordan 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 spotted Emergency 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 is a new high U.S. Marine Corps active duty or reserve, thus the the AD suffix.  These are much less common than the U.S. Marine Corps Veteran plates which date back to 2009, while the active duty type shown hear only goes back to 2017.  Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for sharing this photo.


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 to vehicles such a small trailers with a 5-year registration.

WHITE ON BLUE 1999 2007 2015
BLACK ON WHITE 2000 2008 2016
WHITE ON GREEN 2001 2009 2017
BLUE ON WHITE 2002 2010 2018
WHITE ON RED 2003 2011 2019
GREEN ON WHITE 2004 2012 2020
WHITE ON BLACK 2005 2013 2021
RED ON WHITE 2006 2014 2022


Posting 5/12/2019

Here is a pair of recent photos of Antique Vehicle plates.  The letters F and L mark the progress as the letters are always the last character to advance.  The far left plate was snapped by me, and the near left plate is thanks to Jaska Börner.  Out of curiosity I put  a table together to show the serial progressions since the beginning of the Antique Car plate.  I can't predict what the next series will be.












Here's a new high Repair Towing plate spotted a few days ago.  Do you remember the earliest tag legend on these plates, and the prefix?  They were caller REP / SER TOWING and the prefix was RS.  Click to see plate history



Here's a new high Fire Fighter plate from Jordan Irazabal.  While this plate variation has the Maltese Cross and the plate legend flat screened, it still has the sticker well.  According to an inventory sheet, a new batch of plates is expected at FF38950, and according to vanity check, the current high is FF38965.  It is not known if this will show the removal of the sticker well or addition of the map.  While this is an organizational plate, it must be requested from PennDOT rather than through a fire department; however, the chief still must sign the application form.   


Here's a recent photo of the number 1 Seaton Hill University plate courtesy of Bruce Bufalini.  Plate enthusiasts always seem have a special fondness for #1plates. This plate type dates back to 2006, and likely the plate does also.  Seton Hill is a Catholic liberal arts university located in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.


Here's a Virginia Tech vanity.  We've seen a couple of these in the past; however, this appears to be the first without the sticker well.  Virginia Tech's plate program goes back to 2006.  At this point a little over 400 such plates have been issued.  Thanks to Jeff Lawson for the photo.



Every now and then a single letter Passenger Vanity shows up.  This plate with the the map outline would have been a more recent issue, quite possibly a remake of an older plate.  Don't expect to apply for one of these though, I just checked all single latter vanities are spoken for.  Thanks to Ryan Battin for this photo.


If you are a PA plate enthusiast, it shouldn't be hard to tell the difference between these  Vanity plates.  They are not the same.  In PA letters are always slightly smaller than numbers, in this case the difference can be seen between the number '0' and the letter 'O'.  Thanks to Nick Tsilakis for the photos.


It's not a new high, and as Jordan Irazabal, who snapped the picture said, it's not a commonly seen type either.  The Korean Defense Service Medal must have been earned by the individual.  This plate type came out in 2010 and so far the reported high is 00155K/D.  There is an also a Korean War Veteran plate which dates back to 1993 that still retains its original appearance.


Prisoner of War plates date back to 1982, and this was likely part of the first group issued.  This plate has all the signs of having never been vehicle mounted.  I'm sure there is quite a story behind such a plate, the owner having been held captive in an enemy prison camp.  Devan Ciemiewicz shared this recent acquisition with us.


These 1955 Passenger plates represent two sample versions.  All plates that year measured 6-inchs by 10¼-inches, and since both 4 and 5-character formats were used that year, thus the samples.  The far left plate is a new addition from Devan Ciemiewicz, the other plate photo was previously provided courtesy of Jeff Francis.


This is a 1941 Truck plate.  It comes courtesy of eBay user Scottketch71.  The plate is a Weight Class T.  That group consists of 2 serial progressions including T000A and T00A0, with this plate being a part of the second group.  With the addition of this plate, the T-series is complete.  All Truck plates that year measured 6 inches by 12 inches.


Posting 5/5/2019

It's finally here — the L-series Passenger plate that is.  LBA-0000 would have been the starting point as no LAA plates would have been issued since PA no longer puts vowels in the second position.  The J-series was first spotted in early 2016, then the map outline was added in June of 2017 with KLF-0000.  Thanks to Jeff Lawson for the timely photo.


These two Passenger plates could actually form bookends around the plate above.  Jay Hughes just forwarded these photos to me.  The far left plate would be one of the last plates of the K-series, while the near left plate shows the next series LBB following the LBA plate shown above. 


Here's the latest in Bus plates, now with the map outline.  Bus plate BA-81047, without the sticker well, but prior to the map outline, was spotted back in October of 2018.  Click here to see the history of Bus plates dating way back to 1924.



Here's an Arizona State University with the number 1 A/S as a vanity plate.  This was recently snapped on the fly by Bruce Bufalini.  These plates came on the scene in 2015.  Tom Perri's highs lists 00043A/S as the summit.  Vanity check is a little higher at 56.  In any case they are not plentiful.



Who would have thought that the first photo of an Associated Alumni of the Central High School of Philadelphia plate would be a vanity?  It's not the first time.  Thanks to Jaska Börner for spotting and photographing this plate.  These plates only date back to 2018 so it's not surprising that a serial numbered plate hasn't been photographed yet.


This Chatham College, now Chatham University, plate was probably issued when the program first got off the ground in 2007.  This is one of only a couple plate types that lists their web address, as part of the plate legend, rather than the name of the organization.  That feature is covered by the plate frame.  Thanks to Arthur Levine for the photo.


This low number California University (of Pennsylvania) plate was spotted on the highway by Preston Turner.  If you look closely, there is a map outline on this plate.  CU's plate program began in 2007, so a stickered plate with the same number would have been issued at that time.  While many recent organizational plates now have the map outline, seeing this feature on a plate with an older number leads to speculation.  Was this a remake, a replacement or something else?


This is the first photo of a Philadelphia Fire Fighters' Union plate in a vanity format.  Thanks to Colin M. for the picture.  The plate does not have the map outline, can't tell about the sticker well.  These Philly Fire Fighter plates date back to 2005.  Click the link above to see more.



This is a low number South Newton Twp. Vol. Fire Co. recently spotted by Nick Tsilakis.  Tom Perri' website shows the highest plate spotted as 00008S/N, and the vanity check indicates that about 18 plates have been issued.  The fire company is located in Walnut Bottom, Cumberland County, PA.


It's not a new plate, but it's a new photo.  Brandon Sowers took this photo of a Disabled Veteran plate.  It still has the sticker well but it's also new enough to have the DV- flat screened.  In addition the previous version had Disabled Veteran in a wide font across the top, and Pennsylvania on the bottom.  This plate helps to narrow down the changeover point.  Thanks also to Jordan Irazabal for passing the image along.


This is a 1939 Format 4 'shorty' passenger plate.  That series ran from 10A0 to 99Z99, with the 4-character plates measuring 6 inches by 10 inches and the 5-character plates being 6 inches by 12 inches.  The 4-character plates are usually tougher to find, but eBay user 3540markb was kind enough to let me use this photo.


This is a 79 year old 1940 Truck plate.  It comes courtesy of eBay user Scottketch71.  The plate is a Weight Class S.  That group consists of 4 serial progressions including S000A, S00A0, S0A00, S00AA, with this plate being a part of the third group.  With this plate, only a plate from the last group is needed to complete the series.  All Truck plates that year measured 6 inches by 12 inches.


Posting 4/28/2019

Here is the first Honoring Our Women Veterans plate, "hot off the press" as Jonathan Ortmann describes his new plate.  The plate serial number seemed high for such an early plate.  Vanity check shows plates 00001, and 00166 to 00168 in use — strange.  Also this plate's flag symbol differs from the early prototype, click the link above to see both.  This plate type and the two Distracted Driving Awareness plates were recent additions to the Special Fund group. 


On the far left is a sample of the latest issue from Mercyhurst University.  The plate features a new logo, a new name — Mercyhurst University, a new prefix — M/U, and new number series. It also has the map outline.  Preston Turner spotted one of these on the road but was not able to get a picture.  In the center is an image of an updated prototype plate from 2011.  It is still unknown if this variant ever made it into production. An example of the original plate is also shown here for comparison.


A recent FB posting and discussion about dual plates for persons with disabilities prompted Nick Tsilakis to share this image again.  On the far left photo you can see the second plate in the background.  This dual plate concept allows vehicle owners who have a device on the rear of the vehicle for carrying a wheelchair or personal assistive device to be issued two plates since the assistive device and carrier may block visibility of the vehicle mounted plate.  This concept is allowed on Person with Disability (98000PD series) plates as shown here.  In addition it is available for Severely Disabled Veteran (D/V99000 series) plates and Disabled Veteran (DV-79000 series).


Here's a recent photo of a new high Municipal Government plate on the far left, followed by a first generation Municipal plate.  The plates have gone through several phases starting with the yellow on blue plates.  These were issued between 1971 and 1976.  The early plate is thanks to Tom Perri.


The 'G' and 'H'-series Permanent Trailer plates were recently photographed.  The center plate image came from Preston Turner.  This series has been using the map outline since back in the 'D'-series and was first spotted in August of 2018.  The other Perm-Trailer plate dates back to the late 1990s, and was part of the first format used, and shown here just for comparison.  The series itself dates back to 1997.


Here's a recent high Taxi plate which appears to still have the sticker well.  I do have some information that suggests that the current batch of plates ends at TX-51999, so TX-52000 could mean a change or two.  But I'm not taking any bets.  The blue on yellow plate is another first generation Taxi plate on the 1977 base.  


This is the first issue Commercial Implement of Husbandry plate.  It was recently auctioned on eBay by Geekboy92 who gave me the OK to use it.  It is my understanding that Implement of Husbandry (IMP) plates came about in 1984, then in 1997 a segment of those vehicles was split off and then those vehicles were issued Commercial Implement of Husbandry plates.  Both types were reissued on the www base.  Today Commercial Implement plates are generally seen on large truck-mounted spreaders and sprayers; while Implement of Husbandry plates are exceedingly rare.  Those I've seen were on anhydrous ammonia farm trailers. 


Yes, the color is wrong on this repainted 1936 Format 9 Passenger plate, but it's a nice representation of the formatting of that group which included 1AA0 to 4GN86 according to the ALPCA Archives.  The correct colors would have been dark blue on yellow.  Sizes were 6 inches by 10 inches for 4-character plates, and 6 inches by 12 inches for 5 character plates.  Thanks to Wayne Tyler for the use of the photo.


This is a 1940 U-Class Truck plate which consisted of three serial progressions — U000A, U00A0 and U0A00.  This plate is part of the second group.  In that year all truck weight classes consisted of 5 characters, preceded by the weight class from R to Z for 2-axle trucks, and 2-letter prefixes for 3-axle trucks.  All truck plates also had another letter in the serial number, and all measured 6 inches by 12 inches..


Posting 4/21/2019

Here's the latest high 82nd Airborne Division Association plate spotted by Preston Turner.  The previously reported high was 00269A/B, which was still sporting a validation sticker.  These plates date back to 2007, and are also available in a personalized version.



This Fraternal Order of Police plate was recently photographed by Jordan Irazabal.  This plate still has the sticker well and helps to narrow down the point at which that feature stopped being issued.  Then there was a run without the sticker well, and before the map outline came out.



The Penn State Alumni Association was one of the earliest organizational plates dating back to 1985, but if you wanted a Penn State tag and were not a member of the Alumni Association, then the Penn State University plate, as shown here, was an option.  These became available in 2009, and now with the map outline as can be seen here in this photo from Tom PerriJordan Irazabal also recently spotted 11174P/S but was not able to get a picture.



This is the only Villanova University vanity photo I've seen.  Thanks to Jeff Lawson for the image.  Note that the plate has the latest feature of the map outline.  Their plate program dates back to 1987.  There was a graphic redesign in 2006; however, the redesigned plates were not spotted until 2009.


These are the first images of a Severely Disabled Veteran plate that is part of the 2 plate series intended for use on a vehicle that carries a wheelchair or personal assistive device.  Such vehicles are authorized to be issued two plates since the assistive device and carrier may block visibility of the vehicle mounted plate.  In the photo shown here no assistive device or carrier is visible.  Originally I had listed this series as starting at D/V98000.  This is not the case with the starting point actually at D/V99000.  Thanks to Preston Turner for the photo and to Tom Perri for passing it along. 


Here's a recent shot and a new high of the latest generation Official Use Dept. of Transportation Commercial plate.  In simpler terms it's a plate on the rear of a PennDOT truck, thus the PennDOT logo on left.  This is also one of the agency-specific plates which also includes a PA Turnpike edition with their logo and a generic version with the state coat of arms.


Back in February Matt Ciecka spotted this high number We The People plate, Commemorating the 200th anniversary of US Constitution. This plate was only issued during a 3½ month period in 1987 ending on December 31 of that year with fewer than 5000 being issued. This is the only remaining legal yellow on blue plate.  The actual high is believed to be U/S04635, only three numbers above the plate shown here.  I am fortunate enough to have an unused mint condition plate in my collection — sorry, not for sale.


This is a 1945 Format 2 Dealer plate.  This serial group could run from from 1X00 to 9X999, although according to the Archives, the series likely ended around 8X921.  Format 1 plates included X100 to X9999.  The plate size was 6 inches by 11 inches for all plates.  Thanks to Pl8source for the use of the picture.


Here is an unused, near mint condition, 1972 New Car Dealer plate photo from Tom Firth.  This series started at A10-000A and went at least as high as the plate shown here.  Other full size dealer plates at the time included B series Used Car Dealer, C series M.V. Business, D series Tractor Dealer, and E series Trailer Dealer.


This is a 1931 Format 7 Passenger plate.  Format 7 included the serial progression of AA to ZZ999.  So 2, 3, 4 and 5-character plates were part of this group.  Plates up to 4 characters measured 6" by 10", and 5-character plates were 12" as shown here.  The photo gallery has an example of each of the four character lengths.  Thanks to Kenny Kuhns for the use of this plate photo.


This is a 1946 Format 3 Passenger plate.  That group included the series of 1A00 to 9Z999, so again there are both 4 and 5-character plates.  Beginning in 1945 the plate size became 6 inches by 11 inches regardless of the number of characters.  And again the alpha character is always last to advance regardless of the number of characters.  This photo was from an ebay seller who did not want credit.




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Images and photos are always welcome.  Please send to:

John McDevitt, Walnutport, PA

ALPCA #4376