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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.

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  2006 Archives (from 7/22/06


Posting 7/21/2019

Here is another photo of one of PennDOT's digital license plates that are part of a test.  The photo was provided by Bill Ceravola, who describes the colors as being not as bright.  Check out the previous posting from 7/7/19 for additional information on this pilot project.  With the ability of a digital plate system to store and track information, it may be a plus for law enforcement.  It also raises a big red flag for many motorists who don't want their every move tracked by big brother.  Are you aware that the state already markets your driver information to many third-party users?

 


While we're on the subject, here is another metallic, not digital, PennDOT Official Use plate.  It has the T (for Transportation) in the prefix position and the P/A in the suffix position indicating that it is for use on a passenger vehicle.  It is also a new high.  This is part of the same numeric series as the digital plate above.

 


While this plate type dates back to 2005, the PA State Nurses Association announced a facelift in 2015 which was recently seen for the first time on the far left plate.  We don't know exactly when this revision hit the street.  The plate does not appear to have a sticker well.  Thanks to Jaska Börner for the plate photo.  The R/N00121 plate is shown for comparison, and was photographed by Tom Perri in 2013.

 


This pair of Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix plate photos was recently snapped by John Fedorchak.  It's always nice to have a photo of the number 1 plate in a series, and G/P00292 plate is one number off the current high.

 


Here is another 'first of its kind' plate photo.  This is a U.S. Army - Active Duty plate, note the A/D suffix.  The are also U.S. Army Veteran plates with an A/R suffix.  For each branch of service there are both Active Duty and Veteran plates.  One big difference is the number of plates issued.  For the U.S. Army - Active Duty there are only about 43 plates in use, whereas the U.S. Army Veteran has some 4,500.  Thanks to Nick Tsilakis for sharing this plate.

 


This is a first generation Repair / Service Towing plate distinguished from the next edition by the flat screened legend at the top of the plate.  What this plate does is narrow down the the transition point to the next variation which had the top legend embossed and the state name using the "You've got a friend" font for Pennsylvania.  This change is now believed to be between RS-02000 and RS-02300.  Thanks to Clayton Moore for the use of the plate photo.

  


Here's a pair of 1937 Format 8 Passenger plate which includes AA10 to ZZ999  As can be seen here, the 4-character plates are shorties measuring 6-inches by 10-inches, and the 5-character version is 6-inches by 12-inches.  Thanks to Alpca 754 Neale for the short plate, and to Frank and Ryan Vonderhey for the full size plate.

 


Here is a pair of 1931 mystery plates.  They do not fit the Passenger serial progressions of 1931.  They are believed likely to be an early run of Truck plates that continued to follow the 1930 format prior to the decision to use the R through Z weight classes for 1931.  Click the link above to see additional explanation from Eric Tanner, and a previous photo from Rick Kretschmer.  

 


This is a 1951 U-Weight Class Truck.  For that year there were four U-Class serial progressions including U000A, U00A0, U0A00 and U00AA, with this plate being part of the first group.  The photo display now shoes 3 of the 4 groups.  The plates measured 6 inches by 11 inches.  Thanks to Frank and Ryan Vonderhey for the use of the photo.

 


These kind of speak for themselves, but if not, the group consists of a 1972, 1974 and 1979 unused validation stickers, likely for passenger car use.  They measure 1½ inches wide and 1 inch high.  Thanks to Tom Firth for the photos.

 


Posting 7/14/2019

Back in February of this year, a new prototype Pennsylvania State University (Official) plate was announced.  Now thanks to Bruce Bufalini we have the first actual plate photo on the far left.  With this in mind I visited my local campus and got the center image.  By comparison, the plate on the near left was the highest number spotted on the previous base.  Credit for that plate goes to Jordan Irazabal and Tom Perri.

 


These hot off the press Distracted Driving Awareness plate photo was provided by Barefoot Jaime.  The plate numbers may suggest that these are the 121st and 122nd plates issued since their late February 2019 debut.  Actually the series began at D/A00101 making these the 21st and 22nd plates issued since that time.  It also appears that only three Distracted Driving Awareness Motorcycle plates have been issued so far.  By comparison, since late 2013 only about 90 serial-numbered Teen Driver plates have been issued.

 


Here's the lowest number Share The Road plate spotted so far.  It was provided by Arthur Levine.  This is a  Special Fund plate with proceeds maintaining PennDOT's central office position of Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator and funding highway bicycle signage.

 


This is a photo of a personalized U.S. Navy (Active Duty) taken by Nick Tsilakis.  It's also the first personalized plate spotted, and only the second plate of this type seen so far.  There are about 42 serial-numbered plates issued so far, with this plate series dating back to 2009.

 


This is the first plate in the Passenger K-series.  No KAA plates were issued as vowels in the second position are no longer used.  This plate was spotted by Tom Perri.

 

 


Vanity check indicates that there are currently only three Associated Alumni of the Central High School plates with serial numbers.  We know that there is at least one vanity plate.  In any case they are scarce.  Thank you to Tom Perri for sharing this image.

 

 


This number was likely issued with the first round of Temple University Alumni plates back in 1987, then reissued at least one more time on the www base.  Now the plate is showing the latest features which would have resulted from a remake of the original number.  Thanks to Noel Torchio for the photo.

 


On the far left is a personalized Fraternal Order of Police plate with a unique USA-1 number.  It looks to me that this plate has the map outline.  Thanks to Jeff Lawson for sharing this photo.  On the near left is a first generation FOP plate with lots of stickers attesting to it's age.  This image came from Devan Ciemiewicz. These date back to 1987.

 


This pair of American Legion (link to history page) plate photos came from Devan Ciemiewicz.  The American Legion plate program dates back to 1984.  The far left plate is the highest number I've seen on that base.  The near left plate is an usual sample since it has only 4 zeros instead of the more common 5.  It also uses the "You've got a friend" font for Pennsylvania.  Link to organizational plates.

 


These 1913 Passenger plates were produced using the technology of the day, and were intended to last 1 year, yet here they are 106 years later looking almost like new.  The 309 plate belonged to John Willard and John Anshant and measured 6 inches by 10 inches.  The 1447 plate belongs to Tim Gierschick and measured 6 inches by 12 inches.

 


Here is a 1939 S-Weight Class Truck plate.  S-Class trucks used four serial progressions including S000A, S00A0, S0A00 and S00AA, with this plate being part of the second group.  This plate measures 6 inches by 12 inches.  Thanks again to Drewski for the use of the photo.

 

 


Posting 7/7/2019

Does this spell the beginning of the end of the license plate hobby as we now know it?  This is an electronic digital display PennDOT Official Use plate. The photo and information below were received from Bill Ceravola.  PennDOT is starting a new pilot project for the use of digital license plates that allows a license plate’s status to change in real-time.  PennDOT has rolled out these registration plates on several types of PennDOT vehicles to include dump trucks, foreman crew cabs, and passenger vehicles in PennDOT’s District 8 (Dauphin County) and District 1 (Erie County); as well as on passenger vehicles and trucks used by PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services.  See a related article from the Reading Eagle.

 


Here is the first image on this website of a Camp Papillon Animal Shelter prototype.  Tom Perri noted that this organization has a prototype image on their website; however, that image showed a very strange numeric starting point of 22000.  With that in mind, I visited the facility in Stroudsburg and got a photo of what is believed to be a more likely starting point of 30000C/P.  It was also confirmed that plates are now available and several are already in use.

 


Here are a couple new highs recently spotted by Bruce Bufalini.  These are both traffic shots with the far left being a Passenger plate and the near left being a Truck.  For a comprehensive listing of PA highs, check Tom Perri's PA Plates (www.paplates.com), not to be confused with the current website PAPL8S, www.papl8s.com.

 


The simple explanation of this Gettysburg College plate is that it is a remake of a an earlier plate.  The actual high is G/C3200 or above.  The earlier plate would have been on the www base with embossed logo and legend.  This is also the first plate spotted without the sticker well.  It may also be worth mentioning that Gettysburg plates were always 4 digits in length thus giving them a distinct look.  They originally started at G/C2001.  Thanks to Nick Tsilakis for the photo.

 


On the far left is a personalized version of a U.S. Army Veteran plate.  Such plates are allowed with up to 5 characters, or a space or a dash (but not both) which can take the place of one of the characters.  On the near left is a new high serial number plate.  This photo was captured by Bruce Bufalini.   This plate type was introduced in 2009 starting at 10001A/R.

 


This is a 1935 Legislative plate photo provided by Eric Conner.  It was part of a pair.  The early Legislative plates were issued between 1928 and 1935, after which they were discontinued until 1957.  The authorized range of numbers is believed to be 1 to 400.

 

 


Over and under, or side by side, either way these low-number 1934 plates would make a desirable addition to anyone's collection.  They are part of the first group of Format 1 Passenger plates that ran from 1 to 9999, and measured 6 inches by 10 inches. The second group were 5-digit plates which used the 6 inch by 12 inch base.  Thank to Clayton Moore for the use of the photo.  Wonder if there are any single digit plates out there? 

 

 


Here is another interesting pair.  On the far left is a 1947 Format 5 Passenger plate.  The near left plate is a similar looking 1953 Format 5 Passenger   That group covered the serial progression of 000A to 999Z, with all plates being 4 characters, but here's the difference.  The 1947 measures 6 inches by 11 inches, while the '53 is slightly shorter at 6" x 10¼".  Thanks to Jeopardyboy1 for this plate.  There was also a 1946 edition of the 191A plate which I posted previously.

 


For various reasons older truck plates are more of a challenge to collect, and so far this is the only 1927 S-Weight Class Truck for which I have a photo.  Plate size varied between 6" by 10" for 1 to 4 characters, 6" by 13" for 5 characters (as shown here), and 6" by 15" for 6 characters.  PA didn't start using the word TRUCK on plates until 1934.  Thanks to eBay user Tiedup for the use of this photo.

 


Posting 7/3/2019

Happy Birthday America

 

 


Posting 6/30/2019

Last week plate AG-85688 was posted as a new Apportioned Truck high, and this week we have a new high that's 1,500 numbers higher.  This is not to suggest that such plates are being issued at that rate.  Vanity check shows a high of AG-88099.  Thanks to Preston Turner for the plate image.

 

 


This is a new high number Disabled Veteran plate.  Note that the 5-digit serial number is the only embossed feature.  The tag legend and the DV- are screened, however, the plate still retains the sticker well.  I frequently make the comment that I'm pleased that these plate have retained their original color scheme, and have not joined the family of plates look.

 


This plate represents the highest plate spotted on the LiveFreeRideAlive Motorcycle base which ran from 7600L to 7599T.  These plates were supposedly released in March of 2010, and were part of a 60,000 plate run.  The "Live Free Ride Alive" motorcycle registration plate therefore was a limited edition plate.  This theme was to encourage motorcycle safety.  Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for this photograph.

 


Here's the latest reported high Motorcycle plate.  As is the practice in PA, the numerical digits advance first, then the second letter advances, in this case the T, and finally the K.  Thank you to Bruce Bufalini for this photograph.

 

 


It's not a new high, but it's the first Classic Vehicle plate I've seen in the 45000 series.  Tom Perri's PA Plates site lists C45745 as the current high.  This plate was spotted at the West End Car Show in Gilbert, Monroe County.

 

 


This was part of a run of Official Use plates that used the word Commercial in place of Official Use, and is actually the high number observed.  While these are considered error plates, they were used on trucks or commercial type vehicles owned by the State of PA.  The run is believed to have begun at PA-1500A and ended between PA-2700A and PA-2900A.  Before and after this group the plates were correctly marked Official Use.  Thanks to Charles Sweitzer for the use of the photo.

 


Here is a personalized Bucknell University plate.  It's also the first image showing the map outline.  This does not necessarily indicate that serial numbered plates, now in the B/U21700 series, also share the this feature.  Bucknell plates date back to 1998.

 

 


Here is a pair of Delaware Valley Chapter of the BMW Car Club of America vanity plates.  I think this plate has the distinction of having the longest organization name of any PA plate with 54 characters and spaces.  The characters is so compressed between bolt holes that it is hard to read.  Click the link above to see other examples.  The next longest legend is PA State Society Daughters of the American Revolution.  Thanks to Jeff Lawson for the photos.

 


Here is a 1972 State Senator plate courtesy of Devan Ciemiewicz.  This would have been from the same time period, 1971 to 1976, that the Bicentennial plates were issued.  The number represents the senatorial district.  Plates could also be issued with number preceding the PA to allow for two vehicles to be registered.

 


Here are a few recent additions to Tim Gierschick's tractor plates.  These include plates from 1939, 1944 and 1968.  Tractor plates date back to 1914 with many of the early plates being a challenge to collect.  The 1977 to '83 base was the last run of PA tractor plates.

 


This is a 1940 Format 9 Passenger plate.  Format 9 includes the serial progression running from 1AA00 to 9ZZ99.  All plates in this progression measure 6 inches by 12 inches, although some 4-character formats are 6 inches by 10 inches.  This photo is thanks to Frank and Ryan Vonderhey.

 

 


Next up is this 1941 R-Weight Class Truck plate.  R-Class trucks used three serial progressions including R000A, R00A0 and R0A00, with this plate being part of the third group.  The addition of this plate photo completes the R-Class display.  Thanks again to Frank and Ryan Vonderhey for the use of the photo.

 


The final plate this week is a 1951 R-Weight Class Truck plate.  By 1951 the R-Class had jumped to six serial progressions including R000A, R00A0, R0A00, R00AA, R0AA0, R0A0A of which this plate is part of R00AA.  With this plate the gallery now shows 4 of the 6 serial formats.  Thanks again to Frank and Ryan Vonderhey for the use of the photo.

 


Posting 6/23/2019

In Plate News, it looks like 4 new organizational plates are in the mill.  These include Camp Papillon Animal Shelter, Citizen's Hose Fire Company, Edge Hill Fire Company and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc.  More will be posted as it becomes available.

 


Here is a recent Apportioned Truck high provided by Jeff Lawson.  These plates have been using the map outline for about 12 months.  During that period plates advanced from the 73000 series to the 85000 showing an increase of 12-thousand plates.  The next series would likely be AH-00000.

 


While the above plate and this plate share the same Apportioned tag legend, this is an Apportioned Bus plate.  And while this type dates back to 1982, until recent years there were only a few hundred such plates in use.  In 1999 there were only 207 Apportioned Bus registrations, in 2009 there were 627 plates in use, and 2018 the number is up to 1548.  No Apportioned Bus plates are known to have survived from the previous base.  Please let me know if you have, or know of such a plate, or photo.

 


In spite of this being a www base Repossessor plate, close examination suggests that it is a new plate.  The number is also a new high.  Vanity check shows RE-06525 as the actual high.  The plate type dates back to 1984, with all plates being reissued in September of 1999 on the www base and the series starting at RE-05000.  So in a span of almost 20 years, some 1600 plates have been issued, included in that number are 421 carried over from earlier plates.

 


Here is the latest high Street Rod plate.  After many years of the legacy Street Rod plate depicting the open cab roadster, it all changed to the visitPA base with its redundant verbiage.  This change dates back to late 2016 and early 2017, but so far plate retains the sticker well.

 

 


These are the 'have nots' and the 'haves' of the Penn State Alumni Association plates.  The far left plate, from Jordan Irazabal, shows the highest plate spotted before the map was added.  The near left plate, from Tom Perri, shows the lowest plate spotted  with the map.

 


Here's a very nice Slippery Rock University plate thanks to Jordan Irazabal.  It is also a new high according to Tom Perri's highs page.  This of just one of a number of plates still on the www base with no indication of a move to the graphic base.

 


The Official Use highs just keep on coming at least with this legacy base.  This is part of the series issued to passenger type vehicles, and normally in pairs.  Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for this photograph.

 

 


This very nice 1934 Consular plate appears to have been professionally restored.  The serial number range is uncertain but likely from either 1 or 10 to 100.  Unfortunately there are not many examples from this early series which ran from 1929 to 1935.  Thanks to Clayton Moore fore the use of the photo.

 


As with Passenger plates, new undated plates were issued in 1965, and so it was with Legislator or House of Representatives plates, however, they were not initially identified as legislative plates.  See the far left plate.  Only by recognizing the HR prefix could the plate be identified. Then in 1966 the legislative plates were redesigned with the HR encased in a keystone and the word Legislator spelled out.  The legend 'Pennsylvania', was now enclosed within the top border.  Thanks to Eric Conner for both images.  The HR106 image is new.

 


This is a 1958 base Member of Congress plate with a '63 validation sticker.  The 25 is believed to represent the congressional district.  This plate is formatted with the district number followed by MC.  Click the link to see another plate with the MC first, followed by the district number.  This allowed the owner to register two vehicles.  Thanks to Eric Conner for the use of this photo.

 


This is a 1971 to '76 base U.S. Senate plate on the Bicentennial base.  Since there are only two senators in PA (and other states), collecting such plates is next to impossible.  During that same period there were two formats of Congressional plates.  The second format had the US stacked and did not have the Liberty Bell.  It is unknown but quite possible that U.S. Senate plates followed suit.  Thanks to Eric Conner for the use of this photo.

 


The final plate this week is the first 1946 Format 5 Passenger plate on this site.  This format encompasses the progression of 000A to 999Z, so all plates were 4 characters.  All plates that year, regardless of the number of characters measure 6 inches by 11 inches.  Thanks to eBay user Jeopardyboy1 for the use of the plate photo.

 


Spotted this Powered Boat Registration on a boat up for sale in front of someone's home.  The 14 means it expired on March 31, 2014, therefore, as a 2-year registration it would have been valid during 2012, '13 and '14 up to the expiration.  I'm describing this sticker as being orange based on the color rotation and its appearance.

 


 

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Images and photos are always welcome.  Please send to:

John McDevitt, Walnutport, PA

ALPCA #4376

 

 

 

 

 

                  

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