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Supporting the hobby & preserving the history of Pennsylvania License Plates

John McDevitt, Walnutport, PA

ALPCA #4376

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Posting 12/1/2019

With Thanksgiving this past week, it reminds me of so many things to be thankful for, and to express my gratitude and appreciation to the many friends, plate enthusiasts, eBay-ers, etc., who have contributed, shared or otherwise made available, many plate images and information.

 


Uber and Lyft want cars to have front license plates. Pennsylvania is one of 19 states without them, reads a Philadelphia Inquirer (or Philly.com) news article from 11/28/2019.  Thanks to Larry Resnick, who suggests that such a thing is very unlikely to happen.  At the present, there are no bills in the legislature that would authorize such a change.

 


The photos of this unused pair of Collectible Vehicle beauties came at the same time but from different owners.  The far left plate is thanks to Devan Ciemiewicz, and near left tag is from Tom Firth.  CV plates date back to 1996.  In 2014 a new format was (sadly) announced but not seen until 2017.  There is also a similarly-colored Collectible Motorcycle plate where vanity check shows only three registered.

 


Here is the first image, and the number 1 plate of the Edge Hill Fire Company.  The photo was provided by Tom Perri.  The plate frame was provided by the dealer and partially obscures this plate.  The reason to advertise for the dealer, unless the owner works for them, is beyond me.  At the present, Edge Hill has nine serial numbered plates on the road.

 


This is a very recent Virginia Tech sample plate configured to show a personalized version of such a plate with 'NAME' in place of the four zeros.  The latest samples have the word SAMPLE flat-screened instead of being embossed.  Thanks to Brendan Sherry for the photo.

 


Here's a new high number Conserve Wild Resources - Otter plate spotted by Tom Perri.  As you may recall these plates shifted from the full graphic plate to the thumbnail image starting in 2014 with personalized plates, then including all such plates in 2017.  The 2017 change also included the map outline.

 


Here's a nice image of an early www base University of Pittsburgh plate.  This tag would have been issued as part of the plate replacement process around 2/14/2002.  Originally this number would have been on a first generation blue on yellow Pitt Bicentennial plate.  Thanks to Nick Tsilakis for the photo.

 


These early Passenger samples represent 1930, 1932 and 1934.  The colors are the same since they are all even years.  There was a change in formatting between 1930 and '32.  I don't have a 1931 sample photo, so I don't know which serial format was used.  These photos are all from Paul Bagnarol.  Sample images are still needed for the years 1924 through 1927.

 


This is a fairly low 1953 Format 1 Passenger plate.  Format 1 consisted of plates from 1000 to 99999, so both 4 and 5-character plates were issued.  The were some 13 serial progressions that year.  All plates measured 6 by 10 inches.  Thanks to Rob Baran for the photograph.

 


This is a 1954 Passenger plate, but it's not a standard issue.  Like the plate above, the all-numeric standard issue plates started at 1000 and ran to 99999.  There has been a number of other 3-character plates issued in 1954 including 666, JD1 and B80.  Clink the link above and scroll down to Format 15.  Thanks to Tim Gierschick for the interesting photo.

 


I would be more inclined to call this odd color 1956 plate a paint test plate rather than a sample.  It appears that this plate used glass beads to make the plate reflective, and giving the plate a rough textured look and feel.  1956 marked the year when all full-size plates were standardized to 6 inches by 12 inches.  Thanks to Devan Ciemiewicz for the photos.

 

 


This is a 1945 Z-Weight Class Truck plate.  All Z class plates used the Z000A format.  Z class is the heaviest weight group 2-axle truck, which also make such plates much more rare than the R thru U classes.  This plate measures 6 inches by 11 inches, and the photo was provided by Timothy Guy.

 

 


Posting 11/24/2019

In Legislative News: Senate Bill 954, which if passed, would reinstate the requirement for registration stickers on license plates.  The bill has eceived first consideration in the Senate, Nov. 19, 2019.  If it gets approved, it would go to the house next.  See also House Bill 1509, which calls for the creation of a new two-in-one sticker to be placed on a vehicle’s license plate, and would combine the requirement that a vehicle pass inspection and be registered; however, this bill was tabled on May 23 of this year.

 


The Boy Scouts' Cradle of Liberty Council, is offering PA Eagle Scout license plates.  Their website indicates that the plates are available, and the number 00001 plate is being auctioned off.  None are on the street yet.  The application shows that the plates are also available for motorcycles.  Thanks to Paul Bagnarol for the heads-up on this plate.

 


Here's the latest high Silver Star plate, thanks to Nick Tsilakis.  The Silver Star is awarded for Gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States, and is considered the third-highest personal decoration for valor in combat.  These plates have been around since 2012.  This is also the first serial-numbered plates seen with the map outline.

 


Two different faces of the Nittany Lion.  These are the first personalized plates I've seen with the map outline, one representing the Penn State Alumni Association from Brendan Sherry, and the other plate being Penn State University from Tom Perri.

 


Despite a few bends, this Trailer Dealer plate looked relatively new according to Preston Turner.  This plate also represents a jump from the previous high of TD1984D.  No sign of the visitPA base yet.  This isn't PA's rarest dealer type, but it certainly isn't common.  Other rare types include Dealer-Farm Equipment, Moped Dealer, Repossessor and Watercraft Trailer/Dealer.

 


The far left photo from Tom Perri represents a new high on Bus plate without the sticker well.  The near left photo from Preston Turner represents a new high on Bus plate with map outline.  The changeover point is believed to be BA-81900.

 


Nothing really new here — I've had this NASCAR 88 Dale Jr. sample plate photo for a number of years but never posted it.  While the NASCAR series ended 9 years ago after six racing seasons, there are still a number of NASCAR plate types for which only 1 or 2 or a handful of plates were issued, and none were photographed to document their existence.  Not many are seen at plate meets or auction websites.  Photo was from Paul Bagnarol.

 


Here are two pairs of Format 7 Passenger plates with the same number from sequential years, 1934 and 1935.  These plates measure 6 inches by 10 inches.  I understand that during this time period there was some latitude for personalization of plates, but within the bounds of the serial progressions.  Thanks to Ed Levine for sharing this photo.  This group shot will be posted on the Group Displays page.  One plate from 1934 has also been posted on the Passenger plate page.  One of the 1935 plates was previously posted.  It would be interesting to see who these plates were registered to at the time. 

 


We have a pair of additions to the 1948 Passenger display.  The first is a 4-digit Format 1 plate with serial numbers running from 1000 to 99999.  Next is a 5-character Format 2 plate which ran from A100 to Z9999.  They both measure 6" by 11".  The 8668 image came from Eric Tanner, and the A1126 photo is thanks to eBay user Eddspl8s.

 


Next is this pair of 1952 Passenger plates.  The far left plate represents Format 3 which ran from 1A00 to 9Z999.  The next plate, AM44, is part of Format 8 which ran from AA10 to ZZ999.  These plate were both 6 inches by 11 inches; however, several plate series toward the end were reduced to 6 inches by 10 inches.  Presumably this was in preparation for the 1953 run.  The first plate came from eBay user Life-after-work2, and the AM44 is thanks to Platedog.

 


This is a 1948 U Weight Class Truck plate.  Class U truck plates that year consisted of 4 serial progressions including U000A, U00A0, U0A00 and U00AA of which this plate is part of U00A0.  All such plates measured 6" x 11", and were issued in pairs.  Thanks to eBay user Humblehorder for the use of the photo.

 


This is a 1954 R Weight Class Truck plate.  Class R truck plates that year consisted of 6 serial progressions including R000A, R00A0, R0A00, R00AA, R0AA0 and R0A0A, of which this plate is part of R0AA0.  All such plates measured 6" x 10".  Thanks to eBay user Licpl8s who also operates a plate website: https://www.automobilelicenseplatestore.com/

 


Here are a couple sample plates from Paul Bagnarol.  On the far left is a 1944 Dealer Sample plate measuring 6" by 10".  Next is a 1957 Truck Sample plate.  While none of these plate say sample, the serial formatting is the key.  The truck plate might make a nice YOM plate on a '57 pickup.

 


Posting 11/17/2019

This exceptionally nice street shot was taken by Donald Harman.  While it is not the current high, it is a great image of this latest format Prisoner of War plate.  In speaking with the owner, Donald reports it was suggested that the series would be discontinued by the state.  As long as we place members of the armed forces in harm's way, I would hope we could recognize those who have endured and survived such an extreme hardship.  What a story this recipient must have.

 


Here's a U.S. Navy Veteran vanity plate.  This plate still retains the sticker well.  The BT2 likely stands for Boiler Technician Petty Officer 2nd Class.  This plate series dates back to 2009, but the vanity option did not become available until later.  Spotted this one myself.

 

 


This World War II Veteran plate photo was snapped by Bruce Bufalini, and is also a new high, and much like the POW plate above, very few such plates are issued today.  In fact, plate check indicates that W/W03226 is currently the highest issued plate.  Since this plate has never been updated, it seems logical that this one could be discontinued in the not too distant future.  Same could be said for the Pearl Harbor Survivor plate.

 


Here's the latest in Emergency Vehicle plates, just arrived this week from PennDOT.  This is part of the upper tier plates that started at EV-50000.  These plates added the map outline at EV-71000.  It's nice to see that everything on these plates but the state is still embossed.  To see the early history on these plates dating back to 1977 click here.

 


Here is another new high.  This Therapy Dogs United plate was recently spotted by Bruce Bufalini.  Vanity check shows the registered high as 00063T/D.  This plate still has the sticker well but no evidence of a sticker.  Their plate program was approved in 2010, and the plates still appear to be available.  The organization is located in Erie, PA.

 


Here is a prototype image of a Tall Cedars of Lebanon plate.  This is a computer generated vinyl image of what the actual plate will look like except for the area where the 5-digit embossed serial number will go.  These are presented to the organization for their approval of the plate design.  The image shown here does not represent a change to the plate.  Thanks to Paul Bagnarol for the image.

 


Here's the latest sample plate from Virginia Tech, now with the map outline.  Virginia Tech's plate program dates back to 2006, with over 400 serial-numbered plates being issued so far.   Thanks to both Brendan Sherry and Paul Bagnarol for the image.

 


This is a 1916 Motorcycle plate.  Motorcycle plates were first issued in 1914, even though registrations were required starting in 1910 with homemade plates.  During 1914 and '15, plates were porcelain and used the letter 'O' as the leading character.  This plate had the lower left and right corners snipped.  This was a John Willard & John Anshant plate seen at the recent Nazareth meet.

 


Here we have a 1935 Trailer Sample and a 1936 Trailer Sample.  They are similar in size at 6 by 12 inches, but have the colors reversed, and the legend rearranged from one year to the next. Samples fill a niche for some collectors, especially early plates.  Both of these photos are from Paul Bagnarol's collection.

—> TRAILER PLATE ALERT!  Still need trailer plate photos for these years: 1920, '22, '23, '24, '27 & '28.  Any help appreciated.

 


Which plate is more collectible?  The serial numbered 1938 Trailer plates came in two progressions 0001 to 9999 and A000 to Z999 as shown here.  We are fortunate enough to have a sample tag to go along.  The A622 plate is thanks to John Willard and John Anshant.  The sample is thanks to Paul Bagnarol.

 


This is a 1956 T-Weight Class Truck plate.  Class T used two serial progressions that year — T000A and T00A0.  In 1956 plates were standardized to 6 inches by 12 inches in size.  Thanks to eBay seller Brushcreekstudios for the use of the photo.  Here is a link to the listing if interested.

 


These are both 1956 W-Weight Class Truck plates.  The far left plate was previously posted, while the near left plate is a new photo.  The reason for showing them both is that the near left plate is a later issue and uses what is frequently referred to as '57 dies.  Note that the plates uses different serial progressions — W000A and W00A0.  Also compare the W on both plates.  The map outline base is also different.  The far left photo was provided by Jeff Lesher, and the near left photo was from Clayton Moore. 

 


Posting 11/10/2019

Light week, too many other time demands.


For whatever reason I never posted the prototype image on the far left of the Lebanon Valley College graphic plate.  These date back to about 2010.  The sample plate image was provided by the the college to Paul Bagnarol.  I still need a photo of a first generation yellow on blue Lebanon Valley plate.

 


Yes, this is a Lehigh University Alumni vanity plate — the first one photographed to my knowledge.  It also has the latest feature of the map outline, although this is frequently seen on vanity plates ahead of serial numbered plates.  Lehigh University's plate program dates back to 1988.

 


This hot-off-the-press Thiel College plate photo was provided by Dale Bernecker.  This plate has now switched to the map base.  The previous reported high was 00126T/C which still had a sticker.  Thiel's plate program dates back to 2013.  The college is located in Greenville, Mercer County.

 


Couple change are evident on these La Roche plates.  First the logo on the near left plate has new colors, and La Roche College is now La Roche University.  We don't know if plates with the new format are in use yet.  These plates have also been around since 2013.  Thanks to Paul Bagnarol who found this change on their website and shared it with us.

 


The far left plate appears to be an unused Special Mobile Equipment plate.  This first generation plate with the SME identifier in the prefix position came from Tom Firth.  The near left plate represents the next iteration, with the SME moved to the suffix position.  This plate also helps refine the series high point after which Pennsylvania stopped using the "You've got a friend" font, and changed to block letters.  Click the link above to see more.

 


On the far left is a rare sample version of a 1938 Official plate.  The near left plate is an issued plate which was previously posted.  The serial numbers appear to be part of a reserve block of numbers from the passenger series.  The range of such numbers is unknown.  Thanks to Paul Bagnarol for the sample, and to Clayton Moore for the issued plate.  

 


Next are these 1942 Trailer and 1944 Trailer plates.  The 1942 is a Format 3 with the letter in the second position and the series starting at 0A00.  The 1944 plate is a Format 2, which ran from A000 to Z999.  Trailer plates at the time did not exceed 4 characters until 1951 or '52.  Thanks to John Willard and John Anshant for the opportunity to photograph some of their plates.

 


Posting 11/3/2019

Pennsylvania Monuments - Gettysburg 1863 plates, both standard issue and vanity, seem to be very popular among both collectors, and Gettysburg enthusiasts in general.  These are Special Fund plates intended to support the cleaning, repair and restoration of the Pennsylvania monuments.  They cost $56 with $23 going to the fund, or $108 if the choice is to personalize a plate.  Thank to Bill Ceravola for the photo, and to Arthur Levine for passing it along. 

 


While the state has not sold sample plates for a number of years, a few manage to find their way into the hands of collectors.  Displaying such a plate is certainly better than being stashed away in a filing cabinet never to see the light of day.  This very nice Heritage Region Jeep Alliance sample was recently posted by Brandon Sowers.  The plate program dates back to 2007, and according to the PA Plates highs website, the high is 00047H/R.

 


While were are doing samples, we have this Eastern Berks Fire Department plate from their website.  They serve the areas of Bally, Bechtelsville and Barto in Berks County.  Their plate program dates back to 2015 with some 28 serial numbered plates registered.  It appears that their license plates are available to the public to show support - check their website for more information.

 


On the far left is a personalized Bronze Star plate somewhat hidden behind the West Point plate frame.  This plate has a 5-17 sticker.  Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for the photo.  The other plate is a brand new arrival.  The photo is thanks to Danny Schell.  This plate has the map outline which was first spotted on 00583.  At the recent Dubois plate meet I ran into Bruce, and met Danny Schell in person for the first time.  To the two recipients of the Bronze Star Medal, thank you for your service and your sacrifice.

 


To the casual observer, it's just another old plate, but to Tim Gierschick, this 1932 Traction Engine (TE) plate was a great find.  Traction Engine is an old, now archaic, term for tractor.  These plates are very sought after by some collectors.  While the serial number may suggest that at least 4,747 plates were made, there is likely only a handful of plates remaining in the hobby today.  These plates measure 6 inches by 15 inches.

 


This appears to be an unused Transporter plate and was provided by Tom Firth. Transporter plates date back to about 1984; however, this was a much later issue judging by the number and sticker.  The Archives suggests that the series went at least as high as DT-03437. 

Anyone have a yellow on blue Transporter plate or photo where the word Pennsylvania in the Friend font?

 


This is a pair of 1921 Commercial or Truck plates.  The leading 1, regardless of the number of digits, indicates that these are both Class 1 or Class AA plates.  This also means they are from the lightest weight class truck vehicle.  Both plates measure 6 inches by 16 inches and were issued in pairs.  The far left plate is thanks to eBay user MNTCompany, and the other plate is thanks to Clayton Moore.  To anyone who finds the Commercial plates from 1920 through 1923 interesting, you may wish to read a great article on such plates in the February 2019 issue of ALPCA's Plates Magazine by Rob Baran.

 


Next is this 1951 Class S Truck plate.  For that year Class S consisted of 5 serial progressions including S000A, S00A0, S0A00, S00AA, S0AA0.  The plate shown here being part of the first group.  Plate measures 6 inches by 11 inches.  Plates were issued in pairs, this being the final year.  Thanks to eBay user Brenstar1 for the photo.

 


This is a 1955 Class W Truck plate.  For that year Class W consisted of 2 progressions including W000A and W00A0.  The plate shown here being part of the first group.  The plate measures 6 inches by 10 inches.  Thanks to Jeff Hinkle for the use of this eBay plate.

 


 

 

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Images and photos are always welcome.  Please send to:

John McDevitt, Walnutport, PA

ALPCA #4376

 

 

 

 

 

 

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