Who would have thought a year ago that
such an organizational vanity plate would be possible in PA? And yes,
it's real. Here is a comparison
between the older Virginia Tech 00001VT and this hot off the plate press 1VT
plate. Brendan Sherry, the Virginia Tech plate program administrator,
shares these images. This is the first one of these organizational
vanities shown on this website. The change to allow this came about as
the result of
Act 23 being signed
into law on 3/19/14 and taking effect 7/17/14. Now most (but not all) organizational
and many other plate types can be personalized for a fee. In most
cases it's an additional $100 on top of the standard fee and for some plate
types it's a mere $50.
A little PA Plate trivia.Did you know that PA now has over 500 plate types? That
number does require some explanation. The largest single group
are organizational plates of which there are about 332 listed; however, of
that number there are about 18 with no active plates on the street, but they
are authorized. There are also over 50 NASCAR varieties. These
are no longer issued, however, they are still considered current. It should be
noted that a handful of NASCAR plates were never issued due to lack of demand.
The remainder of the 500 are made up of miscellaneous, special fund,
official, bus and mass transportation related plates, car enthusiast plates,
political and dealer plates. This number does not include the many
type variations seen with certain plates, nor does it include plates no
longer on the street
such as Foreign Consul, Auto Manufacturer, Fire Department, and a few others.
As mentioned last week there are two new
special organizational plates being released. The first of these is ChildFirst Pennsylvania.
Here is a link to their website,
but as of today, there is no mention of plates, and no plates are in use yet.
I'm guessing that the organization will make plates available to the public
as a fundraising effort.
The other plates is this St. Charles Borromeo Seminary
plate. Like the plate above there is no listing of the plate
on their website. And again
no plates are on the street. I've also moved this plate listing to the
college and university page.
Your choice of colors?
Not really. The white on blue Emergency
Vehicle plate is likely an error plate that
was painted with the municipal plate color scheme. Possibly there was
a short run of these. For some reason this plate is still in use; it
should have been replaced back in 2007. The white on red plate is an
example of correct formatting. Thanks to Nick Tsilakis for this unusual
Back to the weekly pursuit of historic
Bus plates, we begin with this 1953 plate.
Beginning with the '53 plate, the expiration date for bus plates, which is
embossed in the top border, was changed from 3-31 of the following year to
5-31. As with previous weekly postings, this plate uses the letter O
prefix followed by 4 digits. When the 4-digit number sequence ran out,
the plates used OA000 to OA999, then OB000 etc. The high number is
unknown, although records show that some 12,000 plates were issued which may
have extended the progression into the OC000 series.
This '51 Bus plate is an excellent
example of the low-numbered format. It appears that the series started
at O1, that's the letter O and the number 1, making this the 13th plate that
year. The scarcity of the low numbered plates makes it difficult to
say for certain how many years followed this progression. I can say
for certain that the 1935 plates were authorized to run from O1 to O999,
then O1000 to O6000. This image is courtesy of Clayton Moore.
plate shows the use of the alpha character in the second position. While
this may look like OB stands for Omnibus, the progression after O9999, went to OA000,
and eventually OB as seen here. Bureau of Motor Vehicles records for
1950 shows almost 12,700 bus registrations, which would likely extend the
sequence into the OC000 range. The source of this plate picture is
Plate News. Two more tag
types have been added to the list of organizational plate. These
include ChildFirst Pennsylvania and St. Charles Borromeo Seminary.
Prototype images will be posted by next week. Neither of these
organizations have plates in use yet.
Vern Kreckel of Kreckel Enterprises
passes along these images of a high number trailer plate with a
validation sticker. The explanation is that this is a 5-year trailer
registration. It is my understanding that stickers are on their way
out and soon will be discontinued. I don't know the exact date, nor do
I understand how the system will function as normal without stickers.
Here is an actual Honoring Our veterans
sample plate. This is a
Special Fund plate. It's unfortunate that PennDOT choose to discontinue
marketing samples some years ago; however, a few samples are produced with
each plate type. This one found its way onto a display area at PennDOT
As we move back thru Bus plate history,
we are starting this week with a nice '58 Bus tag.
All Bus plates from 1924 and prior to the '68 base used the letter O as an identifying prefix.
Note that the letter O is smaller than the numbers. This plate series
started at O10-000.
Moving backward to '57 Bus plates
we have two examples. Besides the colors being reversed annually, the
keystone separator has not come into use yet; however there are now
keystones flanking the word BUS. The plate on the far left is from Chuck Sakryd,
and the near left is from Clayton Moore.
The final bus plate this week is a 1955 Bus from Clayton Moore.
Note that plates now measure 6" x 10¼" use only 5 characters and use a
larger font. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this series
likely started went from O0001 to O9999, then OA001, etc. The further
back in time bus history is pursued, the less certainty there is.
Anyone have a '56 Bus plate or picture
A note about early bus plates:
Prior to 1924 buses or omnibuses used commercial tags. There has
always been some confusion about the early years of bus plates and omnibus
plates. There is also confusion about the term bus and omnibus.
There was reportedly a bus type plate that used the letter H as a prefix.
My guess is that the "H" plates were used on buses "For Hire" and the "O"
plates were considered "Omnibus" plates, although this conflicts with one
source. In any case, I have never seen an H bus plate, or even a photo
of one. This is certainly an area needing additional research.
From Michael Wiener here is an image of
State Senator with the serial number (18) before the PA.
The PA could be used in the prefix or suffix position to permit the
registration of 2 vehicles. The 18 likely represents the 18th PA
senatorial district. PA has 50 senatorial districts. This plate
may have been unused.
The senator elected from PA's 1st
senatorial district would have had this plate during the 1971-76
period, however, it looks like this plate was never used.
This is a Jake Eckenrode plate.
This is a 77 base State
Senator plate. Theses were issued from 1977 thru 1983 and
could be revalidated until the www base was issued in 1999 or 2000.
Judging by the general condition, the wear marks around the bolt holes and
the mid-80s validation stickers, this plate saw a fair amount of time on the
street. The image is from Michael Wiener.
Veteran — from the beginning to the present. These plates
debuted in 1999. Until very recently all the plates were the same.
The low-numbered plate on the far left had the Vietnam Service Medal hand
painted, probably by the owner. Theis plate type has recently seen a switch to the "family of
plates" look which replaced the familiar red, white and blue format seen
over the past 15 years. The two most recent plate pictures shown here
are from Ryan Battin.
This is a prototype image of the new Pennsylvania Monuments
- Gettysburg 1863 plate. As mentioned last week, this is also a
new special fund plate. The cost of the plate is $54 of which $23 goes
to support the cleaning, repairing and restoration of Pennsylvania's
Gettysburg Civil War monuments. The plate can be personalized for an
This next prototype is the
Pennsylvania Hunting Heritage plate. This is a new a
organizational plate available for $25 plus an additional fee for the PA
Game Commission, again personalizing the plate will
In other plate news — concerning the
"In God We Trust"
plate, no image yet, but the plate is available and will have an image of an
eagle. The United States Olympic
plate remains a mystery. It was part of the legislation, but so far no
listing or info for the plate.
Here's a new pending/proposed plate from the
Philadelphia Animal Welfare
Societyor PAWS. The organization has the PennDOT
application form on their website
with tag type IT and is now taking pre-orders. Their website is
http://phillypaws.org/. There is
no listing on PennDOT's organizational plate list yet. Thanks to Sarge
from Klassy Karz for the heads up.
Continuing on from last week with more
history, a new base was issued in 1972 and remained in use thru
1977. The series started at BA-10000 or BA-10001 and progressed at
least into the 30000 series. These plate were similar to the '84
series; however, the '84 series used a dash separator while the '72 base
used a small keystone separator. Sticker well placement was also
different. The image on the far left is from Clayton Moore.
This previous bus issue ran from 1968
thru 1971. This was the last run of bus plates to use the state map
outline, if you can really call it a map, and it was the first time the BA
prefix was used on bus plates. Again the starting point was BA-10000
or BA-10001. The far left plate picture is from Clayton Moore and near
left is from Chuck Sakryd.
The final Bus plate for this week in the
movement back thru time is this 1964 base.
This base was used up thru 1967 with renewal stickers. It uses a more
realistic map but the biggest
difference is the use of the letter O as a prefix where all later bus plates use
BA. The O was used every year back to the first plates in 1924. This picture is from Clayton Moore.
This rare single-digit 1939 Motorboat License
is quite a beauty, and has been added to the Motorboat run. This picture is from Clayton Moore.
Sarge of Klassy
Karz shares this rare pair of 1932 Official plates. Most pairs of
older rare plates have been split up, which makes this group a nice find. These plates measured 6" by 12"
and with the large serial number font, any plates that exceeded 3 digits
required the dropping of the keystone on the right side.
There is so much plate news this week
it's hard to decide where to begin.
NEW PLATE TYPES — According to
Act 109, several new plates were available as of 10/30/2014. These
are now a part of the PA Vehicle Code Section 1369.1 and
include the following plates:
Action Badge registration plate is one of five Combat Action
veterans' plates now available.
is the Combat Infantryman Badge.
Note that all plates use the C/O identifier, and the plate numbers are assigned in blocks of 20-thousand.
The "In God We Trust"
plate appears to be available as optional registration type, available to any PA
vehicle owner for $20.
The formatting will be G/T00000. No image available.
The United States Olympic plate is a mystery.
Perhaps it's still going thru the development process. So far it is not listed on the PennDOT website.
DELAYS WITH PERSONALIZED PLATES —
I was contacted by someone who was interested in getting a personalized Preserve
Our Heritage special fund plate only to receive
a letter from PennDOT saying the plate is no longer available for
personalization; however, the vanity check page is states "This registration plate is
not yet available for
personalization." One source says 'no longer available' the other says 'not yet
available.' If that's not enough, the application form, MV-911, shows
no restrictions or delays. Upon checking other plates on
the vanity check page, the message "This registration plate is not yet
available for personalization" also applies to
Pearl Harbor Survivor, Korean War Veteran, WWII Veteran, and Street Rod. It appears that before a plate is eligible to be
personalized, it must be on the all-too-familiar family of plates base which
requires the change depicted below. Compare the two Conserve Wild
Resources plates below. On the left is the design that has been in use
for almost 15 years, and next to it is the new 'family of plates' version.
Tom Perri image
wonder why it is necessary to rid PA of many of the most beautiful license
plates ever produced. What a shame. I’m sure once these beautiful plates
take on the generic look of the ‘family of plates’ that sales will drop off
dramatically. And little by little PA's beautiful picture plates will
the history pages, the newer court-related plates from the 1980s and later,
which include Commonwealth Court,
and Supreme Court,
which had been with the Judiciary
plates, have been relocated to their own respective sections. In addition, I have added an '84 base Supreme Court
plate from the ALPCA Archives. I have received permission from
the ALPCA Archivist to use images.
These two 1984 to 1999 vintage U.S. Congress plates have been added to the
Congressional History section. The U/S 1 plate image is from Eric
Getchell. The source of the 23 U/S plate is unknown. Please let
me know if it's yours.
Here's the first image of for the U.S. Senate plate history section.
It's a '58 base with a '61 sticker. The plate is from Jake Eckenrode's display. There may also
have been a US2,
and 1US and 2US plates. It may not have been until the 1970s that the
plates actually had U.S. Senate as part of the legend. Today neither
of Pennsylvania's senators use state-issued senatorial plates, probably for
The Bus History section has been started.
Plates from 2000 and newer have been posted on the history page but not
shown on this page. Working backward from the current plates, next is the
yellow on blue base that dates back as far as 1984. Unfortunately the
two plates from that vintage shown here have been revalidated well beyond
their expected replacement date of around 2000. The next older grouping
will be the blue on yellow '78 base shown below. The '78 base was
still eligible for renewal up thru 2000 or 2001. Watch for additional images in the upcoming weeks.
The BA-36157, BA-16696 and BA-23810 images
are thanks to Clayton
the first image of Pennsylvania's newest plate from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. These plates hit the
street this past week with about 117 now in use. The #29 plate shown
here is from Ryan Battin. If you are interested in one of these plates
this link. AT plates are also available in Virginia,
Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia. By the way, 230 miles of the
Appalachian Trail runs thru PA.
Little League Baseball plate was shown here about a year ago but
without a sticker. It was provided by Bruce Sakson. This newer
image was taken recently by Bruce Bufalini and now has a 9-15 sticker.
This is the current National Wild Turkey Federation high. Anyone have a
sample plate or image of this type? They don't seem to exist.
There is no indication that these plates are being updated onto the visitPA
base and color graphics. For all the latest PA highs, check out
Tom Perri's PA Plates website.
The Motorboat section is complete in
that at least one image and data are being shown for every year the plates
were issued. Now I'm adding a few additional images with more or fewer
characters than the plate previously posted. So it is for this
5-character 1955 plate;
the previous posting showed a 4-character configuration. The source of
this plate is unknown.
Next is this 4-character '59 Motorboat
plate. The previous 1959 posting was a 5-character plate. This
plate is from my own collection.
Here's a 4-character '63 Motorboat
plate. This plate is now a companion to thr rare 3-character that was
previously posted. The source of this plate is unknown. If
anyone has any 1- or 2-character plates or images they would be a welcome
Here is a very nice 1970 PA State
Senator plate on what I describe as the '66 political base.
It is from the collection of Jake Eckenrode. In 1965 a new base was
issued. Senator plates were issued with PENNSYLVANIA below the top
border, and PA plus a 1- or 2- digit number — pretty plain. About 1966
the plates were given a facelift and the result is what you see here — a
more distinctive and attractive plate, in fact the configuration is very
similar to plates in use today, with the obvious changing of bases.
Anyone have a '57 Sate Senator plate or
This is a 1965
Member of Congress (MC) or a Congressional plate. One of
these could have been issued to each Member of Congress from PA. It is
unknown if the number, in this case 1, stood for the congressional district
or not. Today it does, although not many are issued. The plate
configuration could also have been reversed with the 1 followed by MC.
This practice allows for two vehicles to be registered. The plate is
from the collection of Jake Eckenrode.
This plate configuration is unconfirmed
but is likely a 1966
Member of Congress update that was seen in other political
plates at the time. PENNSYLVANIA was now embossed in the top border,
US stacked on the left, a C and a 1- or 2-digit number. The U/SC
stood for United States Congress. A reversed configuration, such as 16
U/SC was also likely available. The sources of
this image is unknown. If you own this plate, please let me know and
I'll give you credit for the image. If you know more about this plate,
any information would be appreciated.
I am giving some thought to adding a
history section on PA Bus plates. There aren't many bus plates in my
collection and I'm certainly not an expert on such plates, but why not.
Watch for more in the near future.