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.
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.
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
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
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
This is the same '42 Dealer plate shown
above but this time with its companion 1943 validation tab. This image is
I'm going to go way out on a
limb and say that
Senate Bill 284 will pass. The Bill,
which is now under consideration in the House, will authorize “Honoring Our
Veterans” license plates for motorcycles. They would likely be similar to
Honoring Our Veterans plates currently in use. If passed, this
will be the first Special Fund
plate for motorcycles, and will likely be the first PA motorcycle plate to
display a graphic symbol. Watch for final action on the bill by the end of
This first generation Antique Motorcycle
plate was provided by Sarge at Klassy Karz. It appears that the initial
run went from A0 or A1 to D99 with PENNA on top and MOTORCYCLE along the bottom.
The legends were flip-flopped in the next series.
believe this very nice 1971 base Official Use plate on the far left is likely a
sample, but I'm not sure of this. Can anyone verify? The
plate picture was provided by Sarge at Klassy Karz. The image on the near
left is from a 1971 BMV license plate brochure.
I'm thinking this is likely a novelty plate, and
likely produced by the BMV. I've seen similar plates in the past without
any legend to identify the type, but never with 8 characters. Does anyone
know more about this plate? The plate picture was provided by Sarge at Klassy Karz.
Hard to believe this is still in use but
Passenger vanity has a 5-15 validation sticker. The
owner of this vanity likely has a current version of the same plate. This
image was provided by Adam Garrettson.
I don't have a single picture of a 1930 Trailer
plate, but thanks to Clayton Moore, I now have three. Note that this is a
trio of sequential plates. There was no identifying legend in 1930
only the T in this case.
I'm working on filling in some of the many gaps in the Dealer History section
and with some help from
Jeff Francis this 1916 Dealer and a number of others have been added to the mix.
For 1916 some 6600 pairs of Dealer plates were issued. This series would
have started at X1.
This 1949 Dealer
plate shows the second alpha character ('D'), in the 4th position instead of the
5th spot which is more common. When all of the A000A alpha-numeric series
was used, the next progression was A00A0, with the second letter now in the 4th
spot. The initial A does not advance. Image courtesy of
Next is this 1958 base New Car Dealer with a
59 sticker. The 58 base was renewable thru '61. Besides the legend,
the first letter also identifies the plate type. All dealer plates
beginning in 1957 were 6 characters, and the final character advances last,
while the initial A does not advance. Early plates had the tab slot while
later plates did not. Anyone have a '58 Dealer without? This image
is also courtesy of
Next in the lineup is this '62 Miscellaneous Dealer. It this case the 'X'
is the only alpha character on the plate and it does not advance. The '62
base was renewable thru 1963. Thanks again to
Jeff Francis for the image.
The final plate for this week is this
1967 New Car Dealer.
Again the initial 'A' does not advance, but the final letter does. Again
Jeff Francis for the photo.
This is the first image of a vanity
National Ski Patrol plate on this website. The system allows
up to 5 characters plus the S over P which are required. The image was
provided by Steve Ondik.
Also from Steve Ondik is this Repair Towing
plate which appears to be the current high for this plate type.
(Retired) plate image was provided by Colin M. He indicates
that there is another such plate in his area on the visitPA base. All
Retired Legislator plates seen so far have been on the older www base as seen
Here is Delta Waterfowl
plate picture from Brendan Sherry. These are not very common as there are
only about 36 such plates in use.
This grouping represents the progression of
plates likely issued around 1984 to '86. The center-left shows is a newly
identified plate variation. When the serial number sequence ran out at
MG-99999 (far left), and then changed over to 00000-MG (center-left), for a
period of time the MUNICIPAL legend used a wide font as in the previous series, then later
the legend switched to
MUNICIPAL on a narrow font on the
26775-MG plate. The changeover to the narrow font occurred before 24852-MG.
By the way, this new discovery comes from Clayton Moore. Need help narrow down this run of plates?
Here's a 4-16 PA0000 validation sticker from From Ryan
It is not my goal to provide extensive coverage of
YOM plates, but since they
are a part of the plate collecting hobby, I will provide some coverage.
Based on the plate I'm guessing that this is a '69 VW.
Tractor Dealer plates have been cross-listed from the Tractor Dealer section
into the Dealer section. The '64 is from Jerry McCoy,
is from Mike at
PL8SOURCE and the '70 is from Kelly Brewer.
This 1975 Tractor Dealer is also courtesy of
PL8SOURCE. The '75 Dealer series was issued as a 2-year plate and
could be renewed for 1976.
They don't get much lower than this. Well actually the O1 plate does
exist. That's the letter O for anyone not familiar. The letter O was
used on Bus or Omnibus plates since their inception in 1924 up to the present. The
series went from O1
to O9999, then progressed into the OA000 series. Thanks to Clayton Moore for sharing this find.
This 1930 Bus plate has also
added to the Bus History section. According to BMV records there were some
8460 buses registered that year.
This very nice low number Press Photographer
plate was recently spotted by
This relatively rare type has never used an identifying plate legend, even as far
back as 1956
when the plates were first introduced; however, the PP has always been part of
the serial number. They are also one of the few PA plate types issued in
pairs, but only the rear plate gets a sticker.
Operation Enduring Freedom in a personalized or vanity format.
The image is courtesy of Bruce Bufalini.
The law now permits the personalization of these plates with up to 5 characters.
The stacked E/F are required.
Here's another personalized plate, this one
Severely Disabled Veteran from Tom Perri. As with the above plate, the stacked letters D/V are
required and up to 5 additional characters are permitted. You may wonder
why this plate type is not using the same 'family of plates' coloring as most
others, this is because the legislation that authorized this plate also
specified the formatting that the plate must follow.
Here's a Robert Morris
University plate. Robert Morris is located near Pittsburgh,
and I have never seen a plate here in eastern PA, but did spot this one even
farther away and out of state.
Governors' plates added. At the recent ALPCA plate meet at
Trexlertown, PA, John Willard had his Governors' plate display. From that
display I captured these two images of 1953 and 1957
plates. Take a look at the page, it includes the first Governor's plate
from 1912 up thru the last plates issued on the '77 base and likely used into
the early 1980s. Unfortunately several years are missing and may still be
out there in someone's collection. Also check out Eric Conner's site,
"Pennsylvania Politicals" -
to the weekly Dealer plate updates. Toward
the end of the run of the '79 base dealer plates, it appears that the A-series
New Car Dealer and B-series Used Car Dealer plates were running out of numbers,
and since the '79 base Dealer plates were not being replaced by the new '84
series, it was decided that for the future, all dealer types would be merged
into a single dealer type as far as plate serial numbers. Therefore it
appears that the new '84 Dealer plates used the few remaining A & B-series plates and
then moved into the D-series, and likely started where the '79 base D-series
Tractor Dealer left off. It also appears that the first D-series plates
had PENNSYLVANIA on top whereas later plates at some point after D27-270 had
DEALER on top. The A-series image is from Clayton Moore and the two
D-series images are courtesy of
continued. As the now-generic Dealer plates progressed from
the D-series into the E-series, the E-series would have started above where the
E-series Trailer plates left off on the '77 base. Then as the E-series
filled up, the progression eventually expanded into the F-series which had not been used on
the '77 base. The F-series ran at least as high as the F88-000F series.
It is not believed that any G-series plates were ever issued. When the
full scale plate replacement was done in 1999 - 2000 the new series started at
H00-000H. These images are courtesy of
Also for 1984, the C-series M.V. Business
plates were no longer issued; however, those in use on the '79 base were allowed
to continue and to be renewed. The
Business category was then split into four groups, the largest of which
Repair/Service Towing. The other three included
Each of these new types had their own distinctive prefix. RS & RT for
Repair/Service Towing which used the legend REP / SER TOWING and later
changed to REPAIR TOWING. Salvage Yard used a WL prefix, while Transporter
and Repossessor used DT and RE respectively. So for a number of years
M.V. Business, Rep/Ser Towing, Salvage Yard, Transporter and Repossessor all
As a side note, about 1991 or '92, dealerships that
had been listed as Tractor Dealers, even though their plates no longer indicated
such, were given a new plate type called
Equipment. About the same time another new dealer type was
introduced called Dealer-Multi Purpose. Then in 1995 another new type with
legend was issued. If all of this is not confusing enough, around the same
Watercraft/Trailer Dealer plate was issued.
Here's the first image of an Ohio River Trail Councilplate. The picture was provided by Bruce Sakson. I failed to
track this plate type; however, Tom Perri (www.paplates.com/)
lists them as having 18 active tags back in December of 2014.
The Arizona State
University (Alumni Association I presume) is the latest organization
to get an organizational plate in PA. No plates on the street yet.
old plate gets a new look on the far left. An unusual feature of the old
style plate was that the serial number was limited to 4 digits. Normally
organizational plates have 5 digits, with a handful of exceptions. Wonder
if the new design will stay with the old format or go with 5?
Here's the latest ATV Class 2
plate with a 2-year validation sticker. It was provided by Vern Kreckel.
Class 2 ATVs are larger and heavier than their smaller counterparts. It
appears that all Class 2 plates use the letters X, Y or Z. The first
plates issued had the letter in position 5 , then later in the 4th position and
now in the 3rd position. These plates are issued by DCNR (Department of
Community and Natural Resources) and not by PennDOT. DCNR also handles
I'm not completely certain if the Auto Manufacturer
came out in '78 or '79, but since it is undated and has sticker wells, so I'm going
to list it with the other '79 dealer
types. (Note that this is not a new plate on this website.)
According to the December 1988 issue of the ALPCA Newsletter, Governor Shapp
asked for 125 Auto Manufacturer plates to be made as a courtesy to the new VW
plant in Mt. Pleasant. These plates were used up to the late '80s or
possibly 1990. The exact beginning and end numbers are uncertain but they
are between A38-800A and A38-999A. This number series came right out of
the New Car Dealer series as there was no such Auto Manufacturer plate type up to that point.
Obviously upon closure of the plant, these plates have become highly
collectible and sought after. I've been fortunate enough to acquire the one shown here.
Here are examples of the 1979 New Car
Dealer base on the far left from Clayton Moore and Used Car Dealer
on the near left from
The '79 base was issued up thru 1983, and could be revalidated up to around 2001
or so when the www base plate replacement took place. Beginning in 1984,
both the '79 base and '84 yellow on blue base were in use concurrently.
This C-series Motor Vehicle
Business is being cross listed to help complete the series.
This is a '79 base with 1981 and 1982 renewal stickers.
This 1979 base
D-series Tractor Dealer and E-series Trailer Dealer are also being cross listed
from the Tractor
Trailer Dealer sections. The Trailer Dealer picture is thanks to