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Pennsylvania License Plate History & Images

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.

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Posting 1/20/2019

Here's the latest high number Person with Disability plate.  These plates have had the small map outline since 72000PD.  The PD suffix is a part of the registration number, as were the HP plates in the past. This plate photo is thanks to Bruce Bufalini.


Here's the first image of a personalized 82nd Airborne Division Association plate.  This plate program dates back to 2007, and is considered an organizational plate rather than a military or veterans' plate.  Thanks to Tim Gierschick for providing the photograph.


This is the second image of a Gwynedd-Mercy University plate with the newer logo.  On the previous plate photo, the tag legend was covered by the frame.  Now we see that the earlier name Gwynedd-Mercy College has been changed to Gwynedd-Mercy University.  The number would suggest that this plate replaced the previous issue.  Thanks to Tom Perri for the image.


Here is a Rutgers University sample plate.  The Rutgers plate program dates back to 2011.  Samples of current type plates are not easy to come by, but they are still sought after by some collectors.  Some years back the state used to market samples of almost every type, then they choose to discontinue the practice.  Today a few samples are produced for each organizational plate at the start of the plate program.  These are intended for the organization to use as they see fit.  Thanks to Paul Bagnarol for sharing this plate photo.


West Virginia Alumni Association plate W/V01715 was recently spotted by Bruce Bufalini.  It was a new high, and Bruce reports that it now has the map outline.  Plate W/V01653 still has the sticker well.  These is no way to pinpoint at what number the change took place.  Photo not available.


This is a recent photo of a Severely Disabled Veteran plate that still has the sticker well.  Previously posted plate D/V95738 does not have the sticker well.  After looking at an old inventory sheet, it appears that the removal of the sticker well took place at D/V95700.  Thanks to Tom Perri for the plate photo.


Here is a very well preserved 105 year old 1914 Porcelain Dealer plate.  In addition it is an X+3 digit format.  The series that year began at X1 and ran to X3367 according to DMV records.  Four different plates lengths were used that year.  Thanks to eBay user Pars1-2 for the use of this image. 


These 1960 and 1961 Motorboat plates are the final chapter of this series that was part of John Willard's display at the Valley Forge ALPCA Convention.  The serial numbers of these numeric plates could have 1 to 5 digits making 1, 2 or 3-digit plates very desirable.  Note some similarities between the '61 MB plate and Motorcycle plates of the time.


These are both 1933 Format 3 Passenger plates.  Format 3 includes the series progression of 0A to 9Z999.  Plates with 4-character would be a tougher find than those with 5 characters.  Note that while these are both 1933 plates the legends are reversed.  PENNA 1933 is the correct legend, while the transposed legend on the 1B612 plate is considered an error, of which a sizeable number were produced.  4-character plates measured 6" by 10", while the 5-character plates measured 6" by 12".  Thanks to eBay user Hildenbrandmilitaria for the 1V10 plate photo, and America on Wheels for the other.


Next is this 1950 Format 4 Passenger plate.  This format consists of plates from10A0 to 99Z99.  All passenger plates for 1951 were 6 inches by 11 inches in size for both 4 and 5-character plates.  This plate is courtesy of eBay user Jeopardyboy1.  Anyone have a 1950 Sample?



This is a 1924 Class T Weight Class Truck plate.  The Class T series went from T1 to at least as high as the plate shown here.  This plate marks a new class high.  1924 was the first year for truck plates to use the R through Z prefix system to designate weight classes.  X was reserved for Dealer plates.  This plate measures 6 inches by 12 inches.  There were also 10 inch plates, and 15 inch (R & S only) plates depending on the number of characters.  Thanks to eBay user tw19670 for the use of this plate photo.


Here is a 1937 Class T Weight Class Truck plate.  Class T used 3 serial progressions that year including T000A, T00A0 and T0A00 of which the plate shown here is part of the first group.  All Class T plates had 5 characters and measured 6 inches by 12 inches; however, the R and S classes had some 6-character overflow plates that measured 6 inches by 15 inches.  This photo is thanks to eBay user centipede16.


Posting 1/13/2019

This personalized Antique Vehicle tag was seen as part of a display at the America on Wheels Antique Auto Museum in Allentown.  The plate suggests a connection to the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) located in Hershey.  The small map suggests that it is a relatively recent issue.


Couple of Blue Lodge items from Bruce Bufalini.  First, the plate shown here is from a short run of about 200 plates with embossed logos and legends on visitPA base.  These were issued around 2006.  On the next run the graphic and legend were flat.  Bruce also spotted M/B13255 with the map outline — no photo.


What's new?  It's not hard to see the difference between the old and new logos of these Children's Hospital of Philadelphia plates.  The plate with the updated logo also features the map outline.  Both plates were spotted by Tom Perri.  The changeover point is unknown.


This is a new high Juniata College plate.  This is one of those plates that came along not long after the www plates were introduced and it has remained on the same base since that time.  It appears that affiliation with the college is not necessary to purchase a plate.  The college is located in Huntingdon, PA.


The first two Lebanon Valley College plates on the far left are part of the upper tier of the www plates.  When the www plates (3 fading bands) were first issued, they were the result of the replacing the yellow on blue plates on a number for number basis.  New plates that were issued afterward were from a higher number block of L/V01000 to L/V01172.  The L/V01035 is an example of later plates issued on the visitPA graphic base.  These are not new photos, but thanks to Tom Perri they do help to fill some gaps.


Concerning the Mario Lemieux Foundation plate series, Bruce Bufalini spotted tag 01680L/F which had the map outline, but was unable to obtain a photo.  This helps to narrow the gap between those known to still have the sticker well, 01520L/F, and the plate mentioned above.


Here's a University of Notre Dame plate recently spotted by John Fedorchak.  Note that the plate no longer has the sticker well, but does not yet have the small map outline.  Plate 02646N/D, shown on Tom Perri's website still had the sticker well, so the change occurred between these two plates.  The Notre Dame plate program dates back to 1988.


This low number Seton Hill University (not to be confused with Seton Hall which is in New Jersey) plate was recently spotted by Bruce Bufalini.  The college is located in Greensburg, PA.  Their plate program dates back to 2006, and about 111 numbered plates have been issued to date.


The change to the prototype of this Shady Side Academy took place some time ago.  I blame myself for not noticing that the logo had been redesigned.  The original prototype is on the far left.  The revised prototype is in the center.  The other photo is a comparison of the two logos side by side.  Click to enlarge.  It is unknown if the redesigned plates are on the street.


*** The focus of this website has always been to keep up with newly issued PA plates, and current plates that as they go through changes.  Over the past few years this website has also focused on older plates by listing them according to type, date range, formatting, etc.  Much progress has been made, but much more work remains.  The task of finding pictures, or rare plates to photograph, in order to fill the remaining gaps, has become increasingly challenging.  As a result the weekly posting of older plates will not be as plentiful. *** 


This is a 1924 Format 3 Dealer plate.  Format 3 consisted of the sequence from X10-000 to X20-404 or above. Because the plates were 6 characters they measured 6 inches by 15 inches.  Plates with X+1, 2 or 3 characters were 6 inches by 10 inches, and X+4 plates were 6 inches by 12 inches.  This plate is courtesy of Drewski.


Dealer plates for 1926 was one of the years where the 'X' identifier could be in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd position.  Plate serial numbers could be as low as X1 or 1X to a high such as shown here.  Plates are believed to be 6" x 10" for 4 or fewer character and 6" x 12" for 5-character plates.  Thanks to Chuck Sakryd for the use of this photo. 


Posting 1/6/2019

Here is a U.S. Air Force Veteran personalized plate.  Thanks to Arthur Levine for sharing this image.  This is the first of this plate type spotted without the sticker well.  About 2 months ago a sequentially numbered plate was spotted that had the map outline.  As I've stated on previous occasions, the evolution of plate design appears to be inconsistent at times, and frustrating to track.


The original block of numbers on this Lebanon Valley College series was believed to be L/V00001 to L/V00414, then Jeff Lawson sent me this image of a plate outside that range.  Some additional checking suggests that a block of numbers from L/V00445 to L/V00482 was also issued.  Any attempt to explain this 'number gap' would only be conjecture on my part.  Still need a photo of the first generation yellow on blue Lebanon Valley plate.


This Warwick Twp. Vol. Fire Co. No. 1 photo is not new.  It actually dates back to 2012, but it got buried in my archives until now.  The photo came from Tom Perri, who has the current Warwick high listed as 10017W/T.  A plate check shows that about 23 tags have been issued.  They are located in Bucks County.


Prior to two weeks ago we didn't even know that a Zeta Phi Alpha Sorority, Inc. organizational plate existed.  Now we have two nice photos to provide a low and a high.  Thanks to Nick Tsilakis for the #2 plate photo and to Jordan Irazabal for the #29 photo.


This is a 1958 Amateur Radio plate.  The FCC call sign is the identifier.  This one is without the tab slot, a feature that is present on the other two photos I have posted.  The tab slot is generally considered to be a part of the initial run, but dropped from later issues even though they all have 58 even if issued after that year.  Thanks to Platedog for the use of this photo. 


This is a low-number steel 1953 Motor Boat License.  Serial numbers ran from 1 to at least 28406; however, at some point in between 4251 and 9433 the plate material was changed from steel to fiberboard.  If anyone has an in-between plate, please let me know.  1953 was the only year for non-metallic plates.  Plates measure 4" by 8".  Thanks to Jeff Hinkle for the use of the plate photo.


Here is a nice 3-digit 1959 Motor Boat License plate.  Notice that the MBL designator has now been shortened to MB, not to be confused with Motorbike which ended after 1949.  Also the use of the state map outline was added in 1955.  The colors could also be confusing, but at least for 1959 they were the opposite of automotive plates.  This photo is from a John Willard display at the ALPCA convention.


This is a very nice 1958 Motorcycle Dealer plate, which may have been professionally refinished.  This was the first year for multi-year plates with the exception of the 1942 - '43 used during WW2.  The slots were never used, instead stickers were used in their place, and the plates could be revalidated through 1961.  Thanks to ebay user jeopardyboy1 for the plate photo.


This 1972 Base School Bus plate may not win any prizes for beauty, but it does provide two important pieces.  First it presents a new high in the SA-series.  Secondly, and of greater importance, this plate was photographed as part of a larger group of older Bus plates with 7-00 validation stickers.  Previously I listed that series of plates as used from 1972 to 1977.  Thanks to Clayton Moore for sharing a larger group of photos of which this plate was a part.


These are Vehicle Registration Credentials for yellow on blue Omnibus plates.  They show that Omnibus plates were issued at least as high as OB-49201 on the 1984 thru 2000 yellow on blue base.  These credentials also indicate that plates were not necessarily issued in order.  The OB47415 registration has a validation date of 2/3/2000.  The next generation of plates on the www base began issue shortly thereafter on 4/16/2000.  Thanks to Clayton Moore for sharing these and other bus-related images.


Here is a 1940 T-Weight Class Truck plate.  Class T for 1940 consisted of three serial progressions — T000A, T00A0 and T0A00.  The plate shown here is part of the first group.  All such plates used 5 characters and measured 6 inches by 12 inches.  Thanks to eBay user Pinkocelot for the use of this photo.


Next is this 1953 U-Weight Class Truck plate.  Class U plates that year used four serial formats — U000A, U00A0, U0A00 and U00AA.  The plate shown here is part of the second group.  All such plates used 5 characters and measured 6 inches by 10 inches.  Thanks to eBay user Carstuffstore for the use of the picture.


Posting 12/30/2018

Here's the latest Classic Vehicle high.  According to the 2017 Report of Registrations, there were 75,000 Classic Vehicles registrations in PA.  By comparison, there were only 717 Classic Motorcycle registrations.  Antique Vehicles, on the other hand, had 181,000 registrations, and 14,000 Antique Motorcycles.  Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for spotting this plate in amongst the traffic.


Several weeks ago we had the first and only sighting of a Fairview Township Fire Dept. plate, provided by Arthur Levine.  Now this week we have a photo of a personalized plate from Nick Tsilakis.  Personalized plates can have 1 to 5 characters plus the organization's prefix or suffix and logo.


The first and only one of these Pennsylvania Fraternal Order of Constables plates was posted back in July of 2017, now a year-and-a half later the #2 plates was spotted by Nick Tsilakis.  It appears currently that there are only 4 of these plates in use.


This very low number Second Alarmers Rescue Squad was spotted recently by Jordan Irazabal.  A number check suggests that the highest plate is 00012S/A.  This plate program dates back to 2006.  The organization is an EMS provider located in Willow Grove, Montgomery County.


This Saxonburg Volunteer Fire Company photo was snapped by Tom Perri and Jordan Irazabal more than four years ago, but recently came across it in my plate photo archives.  You can tell its age by looking at the validation stickers.  The Saxonburg Volunteer Fire Company has had a plate program since 2013.  They are located in Butler County.


Here's the latest reported high U.S. Navy Veteran plate.  These plates first hit the streets back in late 2009, with the starting point being 10011N/A, which seems a little odd but it would appear that 11 is the lowest plate registered.  My thanks to Jeff Lawson for the plate picture.


This appears to be the new high Municipal Government plate.  If you recall, this new design started at M/G9000J around February of 2017.  Since that time, the series has progressed through the 'K' series and is now in the 'J' series.  Thanks to Nick Tsilakis for sharing this traffic shot from a School Vehicle.


This is a 1954 Format 4 Passenger plate.  That serial format includes plates from 10A0 to 99Z99, so both 4 and 5 character plates were issued.  With the addition of this plate there are examples of both.  Regardless of the number of characters, all plates measured 6 inches by 10 inches.  Thanks to eBay user Jbirds1971 for the use of this photo.


Here's a nice 1955 Passenger Sample plate.  Thanks to Jeff / Felix1 for the use of the photo.



Here's an image of a 1935 T-Weight Class Truck plate.  For that year there were 3 T-Class serial progressions — T000A, T00A0, T0A00.  All 5-character plates measured 6 inches by 12 inches; however, there was a series of overflow R and S series plates that used 6 characters and therefore were increased to 6 inches by 15 inches.  Thanks to MG00000 for the use of this photo.


Here is another pair of unusual 1958 to '63 Truck plates.  The far left YZ plate represents the next to the heaviest 3-axle truck class, while the YX plate represents lightest of the 2 classes of 4-axle trucks.  My thanks to Sal Dodd for these and a number of other plate pix.


Posting 12/23/2018

Recently the picture on the far left was sent to Colin M. asking what's a ZP plate?  No one had ever seen one, and it was not listed in any reference sources.  Bruce Bufalini did some research and in short order solved the mystery.  The plate is very new and was identified by Bruce as a Zeta Phi Alpha Sorority, Inc. from their Facebook page.  Strangely, although this plate was issued by the state, it does not appear anywhere on PennDOT's website; however, a vanity check shows that there are some 35 plates currently in use. 

I wonder how many other new organizational plate types there are on the street?


But wait, there's more!  A check of pending legislation showed that House Bill 1294 was passed by the legislature and signed into law by the Governor as Act 108.  This act authorizes 2 new plates.  The first is a Purple Heart/Combat Wounded Veteran Motorcycle plate.  The second plate will be for recipients of the Legion of Merit military award, which will be available for passenger vehicles and trucks with a gross weight of not more than 14,000 pounds.  The plate related portions of the legislation are expected to take effect on or about 2/21/2019.  No prototypes yet.


Here's a recent photo of a University of Notre Dame plate in a personalized format.  Note that this plate does not appear to have a sticker well.  The current high in the numerical series is 02646N/D according to Tom Perri's PA Plates website.  Notre Dame's plate program dates back to 1988.



Here is a pair of Pennsylvania Hunting Heritage vanity plates.  I've had these photos for a while but never got them posted.  They both have validation stickers.  A photo of a more recent vanity appears to not have the sticker well.  Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for the 30-30 photo, and to Arthur Levine for the HEBE plate.


The far left Shippensburg University Alumni plate is from the series of S/U01500 to S/U01689 which was a separate numbering group issued to new purchasers after the re-plating in 2001.  It shows a jump in plate numbers leaving a block of numbers skipped.  Photo was taken by Jordan Irazabal and passed on to me by Tom Perri.  The other plate is the new high, however, it also is the first one documented with the map in place of the sticker recess.  That photo was taken by Preston Turner and also passed on to me by Tom Perri.   


There is nothing all that special about this Official Use Commercial (truck) plate, but it does help to narrow the point at which these white on blue plates moved to the coat of arms design.  The lowest reported plate with the coat of arms is PA-2215B.  So far only PennDOT and Turnpike vehicles have begun to use plates with agency-specific logos.


Here's the latest high University of Pittsburgh (official) plate.  Still retains the sticker well.  These are issued to university-owned vehicles and are not the same as plates issued to alumni and friends.  Similar official plates are also issued to Penn State, Temple and Lincoln University.  Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for the photo.


This is a 1944 Format 4 Passenger plate.  Format 4 included the serial progression of 10A0 to 99Z99, meaning both 4 and 5 character plates were produced.  The 4 character plates measured 6 inches by 10 inches, and the 5 character plates were 6 inches by 11 inches.  This plate photo is thanks to MG00000.


We move ahead to this 1957 Format 3 Passenger plate.  Format 3 included the serial progression of 1A00 to 9Z999, and like the plate above both 4 and 5 character plates were issued, but unlike the plate above all were 6 inches by 12 inches.  Thanks to Peter Clericuzio for the plate photo.



This pair of 1956 Truck plates represents the S Weight Class on the far left and the V Class on the near left.  The S Class is one or five formats used including S000A, S00A0, S0A00, S00AA, S0AA0.  The V Class actually had three formats including V000A, V00A0, V0A00.  The S Class plate is thanks to eBay user rqb507, and the V Class is thanks to pl8source.


Here's another 1958-63 3-axle Truck Class.  As you may recall, these weight classes progressed from RZ to ZZ, with no XZ class.  The WZ class identifier never advances; however, the final letter, in this example, C, advances after the numbers.  Thanks to Sal Dodd for the use of so many photos.





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Images and photos are always welcome.  Please send to:

John McDevitt, Walnutport, PA

ALPCA #4376