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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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  2006 Archives (from 7/22)

Posting 7/26/2015

Bruce Bufalini snapped this image on the far left of a newly redesigned Persian Gulf War Veteran plate.  This was likely done to get the plate onto the visitPA family of plates base, which then also allows the plate to be personalized.  The other image is a recent example of Persian Gulf War Veteran plate before the makeover.  That image was courtesy of Ryan Battin.  I suspect there are a few other plates that have also received a facelift but so far have not been photographed including Disabled Veteran without the wheelchair symbol, Steel Worker, Hearing Impaired, and others.


Eric Conner spotted this Commercial Implement of Husbandry plate.  It's definitely not one you see every day considering PA has some 11,715,000 registered vehicles and only 54 Commercial Implement plates.  This also makes this plate one of the most collectible.  This series started at CI1500H when PA re-plated back in 1999.  This plate appears to be on a spray rig.  There is also another class of plates called Implement of Husbandry without the term commercial.


This PA DCNR Class 1 ATV registration plate is not a great image but it may be a new high if anyone's tracking such plates.  The alpha character started in the 5th place and has now progressed to an 'S' the 3rd position.  I'm wondering if there could be plates where the alpha character has advanced into the 2nd position.  Also this plate shows a 2016 validation sticker.


Not sure if this is a 1930 YOM plate or not but I'll call it that since I don't know the year of the car.  Anyway, if there was ever a question about the size of numbers vs. letters on PA plates, this plate should help settle the debate.  Of course the relative size varied somewhat over the years and there were passenger plates in 1924 and '25 where all the characters were the same size. 


These beautiful images of 1911 Dealer plates came from Peter Cohen who took the photos at the recent ALPCA Convention.  The image on the far left is the pair of 1911 Dealer plates while the other picture is the bottom plate with the other plate cropped out of the picture.  These were actually the 6th pair of dealer plates made in PA with the 'X' prefix.  Dealer plates first came into use in 1910 but did not use the 'X' until 1911.  These plates are believed to measure 6" x 10".  Does anyone know who owns these beauties?



Here is a pair of 1952 Dealer plates.  The image on the far left is a Used Car Dealer and the other is a Miscellaneous Dealer, but only branded as a Dealer.  Obviously the plates have lived very different lives judging by their appearance but both a good examples of the plate formatting.  Note that only 'X' or  Miscellaneous Dealer uses the small keystones by the legend.  The 'X' can also appear in at least the second and third position.  These small keystones were used up thru 1957, and were first seen adjacent to the plate legend as far back as 1924.  Thanks to Jeff Francis for the use of the 'X' Dealer image.


Next in the lineup is this 1954 New Car Dealer plate.  Note the serial number on this plate ends with 'Z', after the plate serial number reached A999Z, it then started a new series at A00A0.  The first A never changed or moved.  Again my thanks goes out to Jeff Francis for the use of the image.


The last plate is this '55 Miscellaneous Dealer plate again thanks to Jeff Francis.  This plate is similar to other Miscellaneous Dealer plates of the era, and like those others, the 'X' can advance to at least the second position.





Posting 7/19/2015

This personalized U.S. Navy Veteran plate images was snapped by Brendan Sherry.  The spacing and the arrangement gives the plate a distinctive look.  Would this be a Grumman A6 Bombardier/Navigator?



Pretty sure the characters on this plate are all the letter O and not the number 0.  In PA alpha characters are shorter than numbers.  Interesting find by Nick Tsilakis.



I love number 1 plates, and no, this image is not the product of some computer wizardry, it's actually a pair of Personalized Severely Disabled Veteran plates.  The use of two plates is now permitted to be used on vehicles equipped with a wheelchair or personal assistive carrying device mounted to the rear of the vehicle that would otherwise obscure the registration plate.  One plate is mounted on the vehicle in the normal fashion while the other is mounted to the rear of the carrier device described above. The image came from Ryan Battin.  This new provision in the law also permits this same practice with Disabled Veteran and Person with Disability plates.



More doubles!  Since Penn State University Official plates are issued in pairs, it seemed logical to take pictures of both plates.  Also since these are permanent plates they don't get validation stickers, and hopefully will always retain their Penn State blue and white colors.  This is not the current high number but it's very close.  According to Tom Perri's PA Plates website the current high is A43-44P.


Spotted this Philadelphia University plate the other day.  The school only has about 67 plates in use, but strangely they are using two different versions of their logo, and both are on the visitPA base.  The most recent plates use the newer logo.  This plate has the older logo.  Click the link above to see both graphic formats.  It also appears that the organization is subsidizing the cost of the plate as they are charging $20 for the plate which is less than what PennDOT charges the organization.


Jeff Francis has generously allowed me to use photos from his Felix2 website.  We begin the older plates this week with more Dealer plate photos.  On the far left is a '47 New Car Dealer.  All Dealer plates at the time used 5 characters, the A prefix here means New Car Dealer and does not advance.  The final alpha character, in this example M, is last to advance and can also occupy the fourth position.  The other plate is a Miscellaneous Dealer plate and uses the characteristic 'X' in the serial number.  The series would begin with X0000 then after reaching X9999 would advance to 0X000, and so forth.


This 1949 Miscellaneous Dealer plate has been added to a pair of '49 New Car Dealer plates.  While this plate has the 'X' identifier in the first position, the 'X' is also known to be used in the second position, and possibly the third spot.  Thanks to Jeff Francis for the use of the image.



This 1951 New Car Dealer plate is an update to a previously posted image.  Thanks to Jeff Francis for the use of the image.




Finally we have a 1955 New Car Dealer plate.  This is the first image of a '55 dealer plate on this site.  The serial format is A000A as shown here, then A00A0 as the series progresses.  The initial A does not advance.  There was also a B-series Used Car Dealer, a C-series Transit Dealer, and an X-series Miscellaneous Dealer.  The C-series is the most difficult to come by.  Thanks to Jeff Francis for the use of the image.



Posting 7/12/2015

In Legislative News, Senate Bill 284 has been signed into law by the Governor as Act 17 on July 8.  The act will take effect in 90 days, which would be October 6, 2015.  If you recall, this bill authorizes “Honoring Our Veterans” license plates for motorcycles, making it the first Special Fund Motorcycle plate, and likely the first graphic PA motorcycle plate.


It's back!  The PA District Kiwanis International was first posted as a pending/proposed organizational plate back in late 2005, later moved to the approved list of Special Organization plates in late 2006, but before the plate went into production, the organization chose to cancel the program due to lack of plate orders in 2009, then a couple months ago the program was reactivated.  They only have a few plates on the road so far.  Michael Phillips spotted one near Easton, but was unable to get a picture.  This image is from their website.


Bruce Bufalini spotted this low number Seton Hill University plate in his recent travels.  Seton Hill is a small facility with about 2,500 students and is located in Greensburg, PA, a suburb of Pittsburgh.  They have a little over 100 plates in use.  The plate program has been around since 2006.



Arthur Levine snapped this image of a personalized Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue plate.  If you put all the letters together you get TAILBGR, which I read as TAIL BIGHTER.  The organization has been in the plate business since 2013 with a little more than 200 plates in use, not counting any vanities.



Here's the latest in the progression of Passenger plates.  When the plates were first issued in 1999 the series started at DAA-0000, then in December 2004 a slightly redesigned base was released starting at GBA-0000.  Since then the G and H series were exhausted and now the current J series has progressed to JXF.  There was no I series as not all letters are used.  Thanks to Ryan Battin for sharing.


From a low of 02 to a high of 177, Eric Conner captured these pictures of special event plates from the 2015 US Women's Open Golf Tournament taking place in Lancaster, PA this past week.  Is this piece of cardboard really the best a state like Pennsylvania can do to help support an event such as this?  With tens of thousands of visitors from all over attending, and $4-million in prizes.  I don't know much about golf, and I'm sure the spectators and players didn't come to look at license plates, but cardboard?


This beautiful, white on green, low number porcelain 1913 Dealer plate on the far left is courtesy of Jeff Francis.  The series began at X1 and ran to approximately 3391 according to DMV records for that year.  Plates were sized according to the number of characters on the plate and ranged from 6" x 8" for X+1 digit, 6" x 10" for X+2 digits, 6" x 12" for X+3 digits and 6" x 14" for X+4 digit plates.

The other plate, for comparison, is an earlier post from Clayton Moore.  Notice that the x2666 plate uses an smaller x than the X278 plate.  This change seems to have taken place between X278 and x913.


This 1917 Dealer plate shows an X+4-digit format on a painted white on brown base.  Porcelain was used up thru 1915, then all plates were made of steel for many years.  Again plates were sized according to the number of characters in the serial number.  Sizes were 6" x 13" for X+1, 2 or 3 digits, and 6" x 16" for X+4 digit plates.  This 1917, and the 1918 and '19 shown below were photographed at the recent Trexlertown meet.  I got permission to photograph them, but unfortunately did not get the name of the owner.  Can anyone ID the owner?


This 1918 Dealer is another nice example.  The colors were white on black and the plate was made of steel.  Sizes may have been as small as 6" x 10"; however, this is not confirmed, then 6" x 13" and 6" x 16" depending on the number of characters.  The plate shown here is believed to be 6" x 16".  The series is believed to have run from X1 to about X7771 according to old DMV records.


The final entry for the week is this 1919 Dealer.  The colors were red on black and the plates were again made of steel.  They are similar to the 1918 plate except that the legend has been moved to right-hand side.  The same comments on size would also apply.  The series is believed to have run from X1 to about X9199 according to old DMV records.  It is unknown if Tractor Dealer plates which were introduced in 1916 were included in these numbers.



Posting 7/5/2015

In Legislative News, Senate Bill 284 has been presented to the Governor for his signature on June 29, but it seems like he's not in a mood to sign bills right now, since he and the legislature are not seeing eye to eye over the budget and a few other matters.  I believe he'll eventually sign it.  Check back next week.


The latest Motorcycle plate debuts with a new alpha-numeric format.  After the most recent format reached Z9999, the series switched to a new format, 0AA00, as seen in this picture from Ryan Battin.  The numbers advance first, then the second letter, and finally the first letter, A, will advance last.


Here's the first image of a Moravian College vanity.  I drove past this thing and did a quick turnaround.  We're seeing more personalized organizational, special fund and veterans' plates.  Eventually I would expect to see these on Limos, maybe some dealers, but not on the likes of Implement of Husbandry vehicles.


Here's a nice personalized or vanity PA Breast Cancer Coalition plate recently received by a member of Steve Ondik's family.  This plate replaced the, now available, Honoring Our Veterans plate below.



As mentioned above, Steve Ondik has replaced this Honoring Our Veterans plate.  If anyone is interested in this plate, Steve will consider offers on it.  His email is



These are not only the first images but also the high and the low number for this new organizational plate from Northampton Fire Department.  The far left plate was my find and the near left plate picture came from Tom Perri.



Here's the first image of a Pennsylvania Hunting Heritage plate.  It was sent to Ryan Battin from a coworker.  If the picture seems a little strange it was taken at a steep angle and Photoshop helped to straighten and square it.  As mentioned last week, about 525 of these were released in the first run.


Back to the weekly Dealer additions.  Here is a 1944 Dealer plate.  The X Dealer identifier could be used in at least the first two positions, for example X1234 and 1X234.  According to a DMV tally, there were some 18-thousand dealer plates in 1944.  It is also likely that the series began at X1 and went to X999 in the 6" x 10" plates before going to 6" x 11" size for 5-character plates.  This plate is courtesy of Jeff Francis.


For 1947 Dealer plates, the series had branched out to 3 types, New Car Dl'r with the A prefix, Used car Dl'r with a B prefix (not shown) and Miscellaneous Dealer with the X in the serial number but as shown here, not necessarily in the prefix position.  It is believed that these additional variations actually started in 1946.  Of course there were also Tractor Dealer, Motorcycle Dealer and Motorboat Dealer.  These plates are also courtesy of Jeff Francis.



Posting 6/28/2015

In Legislative News, Senate Bill 284, which authorizes “Honoring Our Veterans” license plates for motorcycles, has passed both the Senate and the House.  Assuming the Governor will sign the bill into law, it will then take effect in 90 days after signing, and will be the first Special Fund plate for motorcycles.  


It appears that about 525 Pennsylvania Hunting Heritage plates are now on the street or soon will be.  No image yet.  Total cost for the new plates is $56 with $31 of that going to the PA Game Commission.



Bruce Bufalini captured this passenger vanity image of a plate that in his words ". . . got past the censors."  Always good to have the camera or smart phone handy.  Just never know what you're going to see, and not just license plates.



Jordan Irazabal spotted this vanity version of a Vietnam War Veteran plate.  These plates are allowed to be personalized for a fee with up to five characters.  The stacked V/W prefix is required and helps identify the plate type.



Here's a pair of 1920 Dealer plates.  The colors are white on dark blue.  For many years beginning in 1911, and continuing until about 1965, the 'X' was the hallmark of a PA Dealer plate, but like everything else there are exceptions.  For example, in 1934, the letter A was used, and of course in later years additional dealer configurations were used.  According to BMV records there were some 12,680 Dealer sets issued, but this plate might suggest at least 13,925 were issued.  Likely all Dealer plates measured 6" x 16" due to the way the legend is spaced out.  This 95 year old pair of plates is courtesy of Jeff Francis.


This yellow on dark blue 1923 Dealer plate picture was provided by Clayton Moore.  These steel plates were issued in pairs and it is believed that all Dealer plates that year measured 6" x 16".  The wide legend helped to dictate the size of the plates.  It is believed that the series began at X1, the plate pictured here may be a high.


Beginning 1923 and lasting thru 1933, Dealer plates did not have any identifying legend, and while the use of 'X' is generally considered the Dealer plate identifier, there were some variables that can not be conclusively verified.  For example, the 1931 Dealer plate shown here is limited to 5 characters as all plates were either 10" or 12"; however, there were some 28,000 plates issued.  The solution seems to be moving the 'X' into the second or third position considering that each move would allow another 10-thousand plates; however, additional research is warranted on alpha-numeric formatting.  This plate is courtesy of Jeff Francis.


Here's a pair of 1942 Dealer plates.  As stated above more research is needed on the alpha-numeric formatting; however, we do know from the images shown here that 4-character and fewer plates were 6" x 10", while 5-character plates were 6" x 12".  In addition, it is likely that the 'X' could occupy various positions.  What is really needed is a copy of the registration plate design for each year.  Such a document is known to exist for 1935 only.  Certainly they were made for other years, but have any others survived?  Also, notice the expiration date of 3-31-43 is now embossed in the top of the map outline.  This started in 1941.  This pair of plates is thanks to Jeff Francis.


This is the same '42 Dealer plate shown above but this time with its companion 1943 validation tab.  This image is courtesy of Jeff Francis.





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John McDevitt, Walnutport, PA

ALPCA #4376