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Pennsylvania License Plate Images

John McDevitt, Walnutport, PA

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News and postings from 2017

Posting 3/26/2017

In legislative news, House Bill 215, which would create a special registration plate honoring women veterans, and also a plate for recipients of the Legion of Merit, has received final passage by the House on 3/21/17.  The Bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.


We lead off this week with two great shots of fire company plates.  This image is of a #3 Friendship Fire Company of Bressler plate.  This is also the first plate to be photographed, and it's all thanks to Tom Perri.  Tom runs the www.paplates.com/ website, which tracks high numbers of every current type of plate issued in PA.  This fire company currently has about 9 plates on the road.  Plates were first issued around mid-December 2016.


This next plate, also from Tom Perri, and also a perfect shot, is this Rescue Hose Company No. 1.  These plates have been around since about July of 2016.  They currently have about 40 plates in use.  Thanks Tom for sharing these outstanding photos.



It appears that the number of new organizations seeking their own license plate is slowing down.  At the same time the number of organizational members applying for vanity plates has increased.  The St. Charles Borromeo Seminary only has about a dozen standard-issue organizational plates out there — many of these remaining inside the confines of a secure facility.  For the purpose of categorizing this plate type, it has been listed with other educational or college plates.  This image was provided by Colin M.


The Disabled Veteran and Severely Disabled Veteran series have become popular as vanities.  The DV- is required. This plate might represent Operation Enduring Freedom 2010.  In my opinion this series is also popular due to the fact that they are not part of the family of plates.  As I recall this is due to the legislation which sponsored these plates which also spelled out what the plate would look like.  This image was provided by Steve Ondik.


This low number 1919 Passenger plate is a bit of a mystery.  The plate was up for auction on eBay recently and the owner, Kettering Enterprises, gave me the OK to use the image.  It was part of an estate sale so no further information was available.  The plate is the expected 6 inches high but only 8 inches wide.  The normal small version was 6" by 10".  The plate does not appear to have been altered based on several other photos.


This three-digit shorty on the far left and this 6-character alpha-numeric 1925 Passenger plates make a nice addition to that year's display.  The alpha-numeric plate also seems to use a narrower font than others of the same year.  These plates are thanks to Tim Gierschick.  Click the link to see more.


The far left 1926 #25 plate has a unique history.  Not only is it a nice low number, but it was part of the Good Roads campaign which was a North American initiative to improve road travel nationwide at the time.  Roads at the time were largely dirt on a good day, and mud the rest of the time.  The number 25 plate was issued in almost every state, possession and Canadian Provinces as a symbol of this effort.  Thanks Tim Gierschick for sharing this photograph.

These next two 1926 plates show a 5-digit format and a 6-digit format.  These plates measure 6" by 13" and 6" by 15" respectively.  The 5-digit picture is from Tim Gierschick and a 6-digit format was taken at a show in Bellefonte.





Next we move forward to 1927 Passenger plates.  The plates shown here show the three lengths as the number of characters increase.  The shortest length was used for 1, 2, 3 and 4 digit numbers as well as shorter alpha-numeric plates.  The first two plates above are courtesy of Tim Gierschick.


Here are several nice additions to the 1928 Passenger group, beginning with Tim Gierschick's 76 shorty, then a pair of 4-digit shorties, all three of which measure 6" by 10".  The final two plate are from Tim.  The 6476 plate is thanks to Chuck Sakryd.  Anyone have an alpha prefix plate they would be willing to share?  Beginning in 1924, and each succeeding year, saw an increase in the number of letter prefix plates with 1928 advancing into the 'E' series.


Moving on to truck plates.  Again 1926 Truck plates have no legend indicating what they are.  In this case the R prefix is the indicator.  The series ran from R to Z and excluded X which was used for Dealer tags.  The R thru Z letters designated truck weight classes.  With R being the lightest class, it also had the most trucks causing the numeric progression to exceed R99-999.  Then the R designator was plated in the suffix position.  Plate length also varied according to the length of the serial number.  This photo is thanks to Bob Connison.


For 1927 Truck plates we have a similar mixture of truck weight classes and plate sizes.  Shown here on the far left is a low number, 6" by 10" R-class 'shorty' from Tim Gierschick.  Next in line is a 6-character, 6" by 15", also R-class, full size plate from Bob Connison.  There was also a mid-size plate measuring 6" by 13" for 5-character plates.  Again for 1927 there were also R-class overflow plates with the 'R' in the suffix position.  Also notice that beginning in 1927, the letter size was smaller than the numbers.


Here is a 1928 Truck R-class plate.  Again the classes went from R to Z skipping X, and also used three plate widths depending on the number of characters.  Like the previous few years, 1928 also had R-class overflow plates where the R was in the final position.  This plate was provided by Bob Connison.



Posting 3/19/2017

This personalized Severely Disabled Veteran plate was recently snapped by Jordan Irazabal.  1966 and '67 was part of the Vietnam war era.  Only the 66-67 is embossed.



This Antique Vehicle vanity was recently snapped by Brendan Sherry.  Vanities seem particularly attractive to antique vehicle owners.




This 10 X NRA vanity plate was recently photographed by Bruce Bufalini.




Jordan also spotted this high number Permanent-Trailer plate, now well into the C-series.  The C in the next to the last character is the last to advance.  The PT prefix does not advance.



Here's a new high Official Use plate also photographed by Jordan.  This is the first one photographed with the B-suffix.  Soon we should be seeing the new version of this plate in the 'family of plates' edition.



This is the latest high University of Pittsburgh plate.  The current graphic format dates back to mid-2016, while several previous evolutions date back to 1988.  This plate image is courtesy of Brendan Sherry.



This nice 4-digit 1908 porcelain tag has been added to the plate gallery thanks to Drew Steitz.  With the addition of this plate, there is now an example of all four plate sizes used that year.



This brown on cream 1922 'shorty' passenger plate was provided by Tim Gierschick, and makes a nice addition.  Beginning in 1920 there was a shift in plate formatting which continued thru most of the 20s, with only minor changes to the plate design except for the color.



This 1923 Passenger 'shorty' has been added to last weeks posting of a 5-digit and a 6-digit plate.  Yes, it's a tough year for paint.  This plate is thanks to Tim Gierschick.  Click the link above to see additional details.



Here is an almost complete display of the 1924 Passenger plate series.  A couple features are worth pointing out — of the two 5-digit plates, one has strap slots and bolt holes while the other has bolt holes only.  I use the term strap slots to describe the wide openings, as many vehicles at the time mounted plates with leather straps.  The first three plates are courtesy of Tim Gierschick.  The 6-digit plate photo is from the America on Wheels Museum.  It is my understanding that 1-000-000 plate was commemorative plate to mark the one-millionth registration which first occurred in 1924.  It is unknown who owns the plate. CORRECTION 9/26 - plate is from the Sweigart Museum.  Plate  This also signified the start of an alpha-numeric plates series likely beginning at A-1, A-2 to at least A-45000.  Anyone have one?

This is a close-up of the upper right corner of the #3 plate above.  Note that the bolt hole area is pre-punched or scribed to allow a strap slot.




1925 Passenger plates had much in common with their 1924 counterpart.  Four different plate widths were used, three of which are shown here.  The plates progressed from single digits up to 999-999, then moved to the alpha-numeric format beginning with A-1 and extending beyond B57-000.  The 7-067 is courtesy of Drew Steitz, the 32-957 plate is thenks to Jeff Hinkle.  Anyone have a 1, 2 or 3 digit, or an A or B prefix plate they would be willing to share?


Again for 1923 Truck plates are all believed to be 6" by 16".  This is due to the very long legend of PENNA COMMERCIAL 1923.  The plates shown here are from Bob Connison on the far left and Clayton Moore on the near left.


This is a 1924 Truck plate, and for the first time truck weight classes were designated with letter prefixes.  These is no legend designating truck plates, only the alpha-numeric series described here.  The series started at R for the lightest weight and ran to Z for the heaviest, of course excluding X which was reserved for the Dealer series.  The series for example would start at R1 and went to R9999, once reached there was an overflow series with the R in the suffix position.


The final round for this week covers 1925 Truck plates.  In 1924 truck plates began to use the familiar R to Z prefixes to designate truck weight classes, and as seen here the practice continued into 1925.  The R series for the lightest weight class would have started at R1 and advanced to R99-999.  Once the series was full, the R was placed in the final position as seen on the 25-41R above.  This was only needed for R-class trucks.  The R5679 plate was photographed at the America on Wheels Museum, while the other two plate photos are thanks to Bob Connison.



Posting 3/12/2017

Here's the first image of a Commonwealth Constables Association plate.  These were considered active plates late last September; however, this plate was just received by a friend of Bill Ceravola who provided the photo.  Note this plate has no sticker well.



Spotted this personalized International Association of Fire Fighters plate.  The plate appears to reference IAFF Local 302 but the plate actually says 3O2, with the letter 'O'.



Here's a new high from Allegheny College (Meadville, PA) recently spotted by Bruce Bufalini.  Their plate program dates back to 1997.




No special reason for posting these Porsche Club of America plates, mainly to add some photo-variety.  This club got their plate program off the ground in 2002, so there are no earlier yellow on blue plates.  So far there has been no switch to the visitPA / graphic base.  The P/C00580 photo was taken by Jordan Irazabal.


These three Motorbike plates have been added to the mix starting with this 3-digit 1944 plate, followed by a 1948 and 1949.  Dave Lincoln was kind enough to send me these.  They are also on eBay.  Motorbike plates have kind of a limited history running from 1920 to 1949.  It seems that plates from the 20s and thru most of the 30s are very rare.


Here's another gem from Dave Lincoln — a 3-digit 1954 Motorcycle plate.  It's also available on eBay.



Here's a very nice 3-digit 1908 porcelain plate from Tim Geirschick.  These 3-character plates measure 6" x 7, and is one of four sizes issued that year.



Next in ascending order is this pair of 1914 porcelains.  They measure 6" by 12" for the 4692 plate and 6" by 13" for the other.  This 4692 plate was photographed Runkle's Notary in Hanover, PA, and the other at the America on Wheels Museum in Allentown, PA.  There were as many as seven sizes and configurations of plates for 1914.  Several sizes are still needed.  Click the link above to see more detail.


This nice 4-digit 1919 Passenger plate has been added to the display which now shows plates from that year starting from 2 digits and going to 6 digits.  Thanks to Jeff Hinkle for the photo.  The 1919 number 1 plate can also be seen in the Governor's Plate page.



These are the first 1920 Passenger on this site and we begin with a run of all four sizes of  plates.  The sizes ranged from 6" by 10" for 1 to 3 digits, and up to 6" by 16" for 6-digit plates.  These plates in the order shown are thanks to Jeff Hinkle, Tim Gierschick, the State Museum and Drew Steitz.


For 1921 Passenger we have this '17 shorty' (6" by 10") from Tim Gierschick.  And like the 1920 plates above there were four sizes including this 6" by 16" for 6-digit plates shown here.  That photo was taken at the America On Wheels Museum.  Over 630,00 passenger plates were issued in 1921.


Here is a nice 5-digit 1922 Passenger plate from Runkle's Notary and a 6-digit from Jeff Hinkle.  Paint was not good in the early '20s so many plates have been refinished.  I have also reconfigured the formatting groups and have reduced the groups from 6 to 4.  These formats (Format 1, 2, 3 etc.) are somewhat arbitrary groupings of plates usually based on plate size, legend variations and/or serial number ranges.  They are not official in any manner.  Note the different placement of the dash separators on these two plates.  Some are high-centered.  This is seen on some 1922 and '23 plates.


1923 Passenger plates ranged from plate #2 to over 985-000.  These were produced in five different widths depending on the number of digits; however, the final round of plates may have used a slightly different die allowing the plates to be 1 inch narrower.  The source of the 298 plate shown here is unknown.   If this is your plate, please let me know.  That plate measures 6" by 10".  The other two plates are formatted the same and are 6" by 16".  The 379-615 plate is from America on Wheels, while the 622-977 picture was taken at Runkle's Notary.


This 1918 3-star truck plate was provided by Bob Connison.  The colors were white on black, the 3 stars designated the weight class in a system of 1 to 5, with 5 being the heaviest.  As pointed out last week, the S prefix used on 1917 trucks has been replaced with a C.  The plate shown here is 6" by 16", however, shorter plates were produced for shorter numbers.  Click link above for more details.


1919 Truck plates saw the continuation of the C prefix.  These two plates have been added to the image gallery.  The far left is a 2-star weight class, while the higher number plate is a 3-star weight class, both are from Jeff Hinkle.  These plates measure 6" by 16"; however, there were shorter plates for shorter serial numbers.  In general lower weight classes had lower numbers, but this was not always the case.


During the teens and early 20s the Bureau of Motor Vehicles appeared to be struggling with how to best format plates.  Previously we had truck plates with weight class stars, the maker's number on the keystone, then came a C or S prefix, now the stars, letter prefixes and large keystones are gone, and along comes plates with COMMERCIAL and also had a top and bottom legend with no discernable weight class.  This 1920 Truck plate is from Bob Connison.  This plate measures 7" by 13".  The use of both a top and bottom legend forced the plates to go from 6" to 7".  There were also 7" by 12" plates with shorter serial numbers, and 6" by 16" for 6-digit plates which allowed for all of the legend to be placed along the bottom and making the 6" height possible.


The early '20s was a tough time for paint — it just didn't hold up.  As a result some plates were refinished, while many prefer the original look.  Anyway, this 1921 COMMERCIAL (truck) was provided by Bob Connison.  All truck plates for that year had the full legend spelled out across the bottom of the plate resulting in all plates, even those with short numbers, being 6" by 16".


For 1922, Truck plates were brown on cream.  Their formatting was much the same as the previous year with the full legend spelled out across the bottom of the plate, thus retaining the 6" by 16" dimensions from the previous year.  Unfortunately there just aren't a lot of plates surviving from the early '20s to provide numerous examples.  Thanks to Bob Connison for this plate and his help with early truck plates.


Posting 3/5/2017

We knew the revamped Street Rod plate was coming, but this "Family of Plates" initiative, where every PA plate looks like every other plate, is surely disappointing, not only to me as a PA plate enthusiast, but to many others as well.  The new series began at 7000S/R. This plate still has the sticker well.  Thanks to Bill Ceravola for the photo.


Ryan Battin spotted this Gwynedd-Mercy College plate on the far left sporting a newly revised graphic.  The near left plate is shown for comparison.  It is not known if all plates are being replaced or if it up to the individual.



This new high Bus plate was recently spotted by Bill Stephens.  New plate, still showing the sticker well and no tiny map.




It's sad that at least 688 family members display this license plate as a reminder of such a sacrifice.  This new high Gold Star Family was spotted by Steve Ondik.



This 1953 Motorboat License is an example of the only year for which steel plates and fiberboard plates were issued.  It was assumed that the fiberboard plates started at 10000.  Now we know that it was somewhere below that point.  Thanks to Bob Connison for the update.




This 1927 Dealer plate was photographed at America On Wheels, an over-the-road transportation museum in Allentown, PA.  It was part of a plate display listed as being from Kyle Gross.  The 'X' identifies the it as a Dealer plate.  This plate measures 6" by 13" and was added to a couple other 27 Dealer plates measuring 6" by 15" due to a longer serial number. 


These are 1904 Pre-State plates that were issued by the City of Philadelphia.  They are white on black porcelain and measure 4 inches by 7 inches.  The far left plate is from the Swiegart Museum in Huntingdon, PA, and was photographed by Eric Conner, and the near left photo was taken at the State Museum in Harrisburg.





I don't know if this will preview correctly on different screens, resolutions and operating systems, but I could not resist showcasing all of these early number 49 plates of Tim Gierschick's.  Some of these were from last week and some are new this week, see more below.


The far left 1915 Passenger plate was on display at the State Museum in Harrisburg.  Sorry, it's not a good photo.  The near left plate belonged to John Anshant & John Willard and was seen at a recent event in Bellefonte, PA.  These plate photos have been added to the mix of plate sizes.  1915 is a very complex and confusing year with raised and sunken characters, plates with and without a period after PENNA, six or seven sizes, even some truck plates used on cars.


Next in the lineup is this grouping of 1916 Passenger plates.  For 1916 the number of plate sizes was reduced to three.  The 49 plate from Tim Gierschick shows the shorty length at 6" by 11" for 1 to 3-digit plates.  The other plate photos are both 6" by 16" plates even though one is 5-digit and the other is 6-digit. plates.  The 5-digit plate was provided thanks to Jeff Hinkle, while the 6-digit was on display at America on Wheels.


Here is very nice run of 1917 Passenger plates showing four different lengths.  The 49 and the 140 plate are the same size at 6" by 11".  The 49 is Tim Gierschick's, the 140 is Jeff Hinkle's, as is the next larger 1421 plate at 6" by 13".  The 19642 was photographed at the America on Wheels Museum in Allentown, PA, and measures 14".  Finally the longest plate of the series belongs to Jeff Hinkle and is 16" across.


For 1918 Passenger plates we're back to 3 sizes and serial number starting at 1 for the Governor and going over 367 thousand.  With each year there is a marked increase in registrations.  The 93 plate photo is from Tim Gierschick.  The 440 plate belonged to John Willard and John Anshant.  The 60656 came from the State Museum and the final plate from America on Wheels.


Here's the last of the 49-ers.  This grouping shows all three plate widths for 1919 Passenger plates and the legend has been moved to the right.  The first three plates are the same size at 6" x 10", the 93063 plate is 6" x 13", and 394114 measures 6" x 16".  The 49 is from Tim Gierschick, the 140 & 503 belonged to John Willard and John Anshant, the 93063 was photographed at the State Museum, and biggest plate was photographed at the America on Wheels Museum.


A 1965 - '70 Passenger vanity with all letters?  I don't think so.  I remember there was a section in the Bulletin Almanac dealing with vehicle registrations way back before all letter vanities were permitted that said radio and TV stations were eligible to have their call sign on a license plate — not the same as amateur radio.  Anyway WHLM is a radio station in Bloomsburg, PA.  One of the early principals of the station was Harry L. Magee, a well known businessman in that part of the state, got his initials as the FCC call sign.


Last week I posted a single star weight class 1916 Truck, this week thanks to Bob Connison, this 3-star plate is being added.  It's still in the 20000 to 29999 range.  Please click the link above or see last weeks' description for more details.



Here's a nice pair of 1917 Truck plates from Jeff Hinkle on the far left and Bob Connison on the near left.  Note the layout is very similar to the 1916 Truck plate above.  One notable change from 1916 is the S prefix.  This did not denote the weight class since all 1917 Truck plates had an S.  These plates were white on brown, the S757 has a single star for the weight class while the other plate has three stars.  The single star plate has PENNA over the keystone over 1917, the 3-star has PA in place of PENNA and 17 in place of 1917.  I can't say where this change took place, PENNA and 1917 were used on lower number plates, while PA & 17 were used on higher plates.   


1918 Truck plates again are similar to the '17 plates, but with a few changes.  Plates are now white on black.  Gone is PENNA replaced by PA over the keystone, and the four digit year is now just 18.  These changes were seen in the later 1917 plates.  Another difference the S prefix has been replaced with a C.  Generally higher numbered plates had more stars, but not always.  Thanks to Jeff Hinkle for the plate photo.


Posting 2/26/2017

PA has given its Official Use plates a facelift, or in their words bringing them into the "Family of Plates".  The plate on the left would be for passenger vehicles, where plates are issued in pairs, the other plate is for commercial vehicles or trucks where a single plate is issued.  The formatting appears just the opposite of current plates.  State agencies will have the option of using their own logo in place of the coat of arms shown here.  That should be interesting with 14 universities, and numerous state government agencies.


Ryan Battin snapped this photo of the latest Antique Vehicle plate.  This plate still has the sticker well and has not moved to the redesigned base with the small map outline.



Matt Z. passes along this Honoring Our Veterans plate photo.  This is part of the Special Fund plate group which means that a portion of the fee goes to benefit the Veterans' Trust Fund.  This plate is also the new high for this plate type.  This plate is also available in a motorcycle version.


From W. Young comes this Harley Owner Group plate.  This organization has had plates since 2004, then some, but not all, plate holders switched to the newer graphic style which was first available in 2006.  Today the reported high according to Tom Perri's PA Plates website is H/D01864.


And from Jordan Irazabal we have this low number University of Delaware plate.  UD has been in the plate business since 2001 but so far has not made the transition to the graphic base.



Here is the first image on this site of a 'reverse order' House of Representatives / Legislator plate on the 1971 to '76 base with this one wearing 75 and 76 stickers.  The photo was provided by Matt Boyer, who suggests that if the number correlates to the district, this tag would have belonged to Benjamin H. Wilson who held the seat in Bucks County from 1969 until he died in office in 1988.


Last week we had several very nice 1940s to 1950 Motorcycle Dealer plates from Dave Lincoln.  This week's catch is a little newer, with these 1964 and '66 Motorcycle Dealer very low number gems, also thanks to Dave.  These were recently auctioned on eBay.


My attempt to put together pages showing the history of Passenger and Truck plates has blossomed into a monumental effort, but thanks to a number of friends and supporters steady progress is being made.  Thanks to all who have had a hand in this, couldn't do it alone.  And hey, it's also been fun.

Tim Gierschick has shared a number of porcelains.  Look at this amazing trio of number 49 plates from 1912, 1913 and 1914, here and below.  I have a copy of the page from the 1912 registration book from the State Highway Department which I shared with Tim.  It gives the name and address of the person to whom the plate was originally issued.  It's likely that the 1913 and '14 plates went to the same person as the Maker's Number is the same on all three plates.  The center plate above is also from Tim, while the highest number plate belonged to John Willard and John Anshant.  Note the progression of sizes.


The 1913 plate, except for the color is very similar to the 1912 above and 1914 below.  Again this fine plate is from Tim Gierschick.



These 1914 Passenger plates show two formats.  The two larger plates are the same size at 6" by 14", but there are actually three sizes in between the 49 (6" by 8") and the other two, and there is one size larger.  Click the link above for a better description of sizes and serial numbers.  The 49 comes from Tim Gierschick, while the center plate was from eBayer ouily2013, and the right hand plate was courtesy of John Willard and John Anshant.


Here's a group 1958 to 64 Passenger plates.  Each plate shows a different alpha-numeric format.  This is the first year for multi-year plates aside from the 1942-43 thing.  The original plan was to issue metal tabs for placement over the 58, thus early plates were issued with tab slots.  Instead validation stickers were issued.  The first two plates are courtesy of Drew Steitz, while the 3rd and 4th plates are my own.


This is a 1915 Truck plate.  Truck plates at the time were similar to car plates with the addition of a weight class strip riveted to the left side of the plate, thus making the plate wider at 6" by 15".  The weight strip could have 1 to 5 stars depicting the weight class.  This is not a great image — hard to read the weight class.  I got it many years ago from Kelly Brewer and have been unsuccessful in contacting him.  Anyone know how to reach him?


For 1916 porcelain was gone, being replaced by embossed steel as on this Truck plate.  The formatting was much the same but now the weight class was embossed into the plate and the maker's number was stamped into the keystone.  An aluminum keystone maker's number was only issued if the plate was transferred to another truck, and a weight class strip could be issued for a weight class change.  Truck plates were generally in the 20000 series; however, some truck plates were issued outside that series.  Thanks to Jeff Hinkle for this image.  I just received a number of great images from Jeff which will find their way onto this site over the next several weeks.


Here's a 1922 Truck plate from Kelly Brewer.  From 1920 thru 1923 truck plates were branded Commercial and for 1921 thru '23 they had PENNA then COMMERCIAL and the 4-digit year along the bottom.  All this verbiage necessitated making the plates 16 inches long even for relatively short serial numbers as seen here.  Gone are the weight class stars and the connection between plate serial number and weight class may be related to the first digit in the serial number.  The serial number can have 1 to 3 digits in the first grouping, then a dash or a space, then the second grouping which can have up to 3 digits.


This 1928 Truck S-47 could leave you scratching your head.  By 1924 the use of the term Commercial was gone with no plate legend replacing it until 1934. At the same time PA began showing truck weight classes of R thru Z in the prefix position.  It is believed that as some of the lighter weight prefix series ran out of numbers, then some plates were issued with the class letter in the suffix position.  This S-class, shown here, started at S-1, with this being the 47th in that series.  Also the numbers of characters allows this plate to be 6" by 10".  There were also 6" by 13"  for 5 character and 6" by 15" for 6 character plates.  Thanks to Jeff Hinkle for this image which was part of a very nice plate pair.


We move ahead to 1945 Trucks with this group of plates.  This group shows four of the weight classes as designated by the first letter.  All plates were 5 characters. Classes run from R to Z, and then TZ to ZZ for larger classes — no X class as they were reserved for dealer plates.  These photos are thanks to Bob Connison.


The final plate for the week is this 1948 Truck.  Again all plates were 5 characters in length with the first letter or first two letters designating the weight class.  All plates measured 6" by 11".  Plates were not standardized until 1956 when 6" by 12" was required for full size plates.



Posting 2/19/2017

Alvernia University, Reading, PA, is the latest organization to start a license plate program.  No plates are in use at this time.



This Honoring Our Veterans personalized plate was provided by W. Young.  This plate is part of the Special Fund plate group.  With the vehicle code now permitting vanity plates, these are becoming more common.  There are currently over 2000 regular issue Honoring Our veterans plates in use.  The plates are also available in a Motorcycle version.


Arthur Levine spotted this U.S. Army Veteran personalized plate.  These, like the plate above, are popular with those who want more than a serial number on a plate.



Whenever a plate goes thru a transition, such as these Expeditionary Forces Veteran plates, marking the transition point is always a goal.  Based on these plate photos from Tom Perri, it appears that the change likely occurred at E/F2000  This change was not recent, and actually dates back to march of 2014. 


Concerning Disabled Veteran plates, for a while now we've been seeing DV- vanity plates where the DV- was flat screened.  Recently Nick Tsilakis spotted DV-37007 with the DV- now flat screened.  Disabled Veteran plates in the previous DV-36000 series were still completely embossed.  This is not to be confused with Severely Disabled Veteran that uses the wheelchair symbol and stacked D/V.


Jordan Irazabal spotted a plate on line that helped to narrow down the transition point from the Format 4 Antique Motorcycle with narrow hole spacing to Format 5 with wide hole spacing.


These Motorcycle Dealer plates are courtesy of Dave Lincoln.  These and a couple others are also currently on eBay till around 8PM eastern time today 2/19.  Anyway, the 1940 MCD plate is in addition to a 2-digit plate previously posted.  The 1946 MCD is the first such plate of that year on this site — a welcome addition.  And the 1950 MCD is also in addition to a 2-digit plate previously posted.  Check back next week for more MCD plates.


These 1910 porcelain plate photos were taken at the Antique Automobile Club of America or AACA Museum in Hershey, PA.  For 1910 there were some 33,000 plates issued.  The far left plate is in the 10000 to 19999 series and therefore measures 6" by 13", while the near left plate is in the 20000 and above group and measures 6" by 14".  The difference being the space required for the 1 is less than that required for plates beginning with a 2 or 3.  The end result was 5 different plate widths that year.


For 1911 there were some 43-thousand plates issued.  Like the plates above, there were 5 different plate sizes depending on the number of digits and if there was a leading 1 on 5-digit plates.  Click the link for a more detailed description.  The 6666 plate is from the Sweigart Museum and was provided by Eric Conner.  The 37650 plate was  from Tim Gierschick.  This plate also has beveled edges.  This feature seemed to be common on higher numbered plates and some replacement plates.


Here's a group of all sizes of 1929 Passenger plates.  Three sizes were used depending on the number of characters, and ranged from 6" by 10" to 6" by 15".  The plates shown here are in the order in which they were issued.  Click the link above for more information.  The first plate is from, AACA; next is Joe Bosche; the C-1 is Jeff Hinkle, and the last is a photo I snapped.


Next up a number of truck plates starting with this 1914 Truck 3 star.  1914 was the first year for truck plates, and while they looked similar to passenger plates, except for the aluminum band to the left end of the plate.  Plate size is 6" by 15".  This particular band or strip has 3 stars which is the weight designation of this truck.  The strip could have 1 to 5 stars.  These plates in the 20000 range were also issued to solid rubber tire passenger vehicles.  Apparently too many plates were produced and some were issued to cars without the weight strip but with the gap on the left side of the plate.


Next is this Z-series 1957 Truck plate.  1957 saw the start of 6 character plates after many years of plates being only 5 characters.  To accomplish this the east and west map borders were pulled back to allow more space.  In addition a new font was used with thinner characters.  The formatting consisted of one and two-letter prefixes indicating the weight class and number of axles.  My listing of weight classes has not been confirmed.  This was also the final year for single-year plates.  This is a John Willard plate.


In 1958, truck and other plates began a multiyear run to 1963.  All plates, regardless of when issued, had 58 embossed in the upper right corner.  Early plates also came thru with a rectangular tab slot to the left of the 58.  Tabs were never issued, instead annual renewal stickers were issued to be placed in the upper left corner.  Later plates had no tab slot.  Also note the use of a small keystone separator between the 3rd and 4th characters.  Above we have an R-class with the slot and one without.  Note the R-series plate progression is R00-00A, then R00-0A0, and finally R00-A00 as the final letter moves left.  Note also the heavier weight class ZZ and ZX plates.  I believe the ZZ is a 3-axle truck and ZX is a 4-axle truck.  The first 3 plates are courtesy of Chuck Sakryd, while the remaining two are from John Willard.


Here are three 1964 R-Class truck multi-year plates showing all three alpha-numeric progressions.  A Class R is the lightest weight 2-axle truck.  Remember the R is a non-advancing character while the final alpha character starts in the 6th position, and as the series fills it moves to the 5th position and finally to the 4th position.  The first and the third plates are from Chuck Sakryd, the center plate is from Jeff Lawson.


Just to add a few more 1964 truck classes, here are Classes S, T, and V, each licensing a heavier weight vehicle.  These are all Chuck Sakryd plates.



For 1968 to '71 Truck plates took on a new appearance, a new name, COMMERCIAL and PENNSYLVANIA fully spelled out.  We also have the addition of an outlined box for the renewal sticker.  For now lets limit the discussion to the far left plate only.  Early plates had 68 etched into the sticker well.   A completely new plate coding system is also evident with CA-10000 as the starting point, and unlike the past, the plate display had nothing to do with vehicle weight.  The 'C' at the start of the serial number was a non-advancing character.  The second character, always a letter, advances after the 5-digit number reaches 99999.  The cneter plate with BC-54870 is an error plate with the CB reversed.  That plate is from Clayton Moore.  The CA0 000 is a test plate.  Originally it had a decal of the outline of a large keystone in the center.


Posting 2/12/2017

Municipal Government plates, such as the one on the far left, have received a major facelift as seen on the two plates in the center.  The older plates are still valid and can continue to be used.  The new plate pictures were provided by Bill Houser.  The small plate on the right side a a prototype of the revised Municipal Government Motorcycle plate.


Not an easy plate to spot, but Tom Perri snapped this # 13 Cumberland Valley Corvette Club.  This is also the first picture taken of this this plate type.  The club has about 23 plates on the road, and they have been in use since around March of 2016.



The Silver Star plate on the far left was photographed by Tom Perri, I snapped the Bronze Star image.  For those not familiar: The Silver Star Medal, is the U.S. military's third-highest decoration for valor in combat, and is awarded primarily for gallantry in action against an enemy of the U.S.  The Bronze Star Medal is awarded to members of the U.S. Armed Forces for either heroic achievement, heroic service, meritorious achievement, or meritorious service in a combat zone.  There are some 542 Bronze Star plates in use and only about 42 Silver Star plates.  Note, there is also a Bronze Star for Valor medal and license plate.


This Disabled Veteran vanity plate was spotted recently in traffic.  Not sure why the DV is on the plate twice, but my guess is that the owner wanted DV718 as the entire serial number, but since the DV is a 'required' part of the vanity, it's there twice.  Also note that the two DVs are different sizes.  The first DV is screened, while the second DV is embossed.


This Dealer vanity plate was spotted by Nick Tsilakis.  Click the link to see a couple others.  It appears that all of the dealer types allow personalized plates, but so far the only other type to be spotted as a vanity was a Repair Towing plate.



The word AMENDMENT appeared below this plate leaving no doubt about the owner showing his or her support for the 2nd Amendment.  I've always liked the triple stacked suffix on these NRA Foundation plates.  For those who follow the numbers, the current reported high is 0798N/R/A according to http://www.paplates.com/.



Brendan Sherri spotted this Fraternal Order of Police plate belonging to this Bon Jovi Junkie.  The plate frame does a good job of blocking most of the state and the organization names.  Legal frame?



Every once in a while one or two of these all-zeros plates turns up which are not samples.  This appears to be more common with organizations that have had plates since the yellow on blue plate days, but this is not always the case.  This National Greyhound Adoption Program picture was provided by Jeff Lawson.  The Community LifeTeam EMS plate photo is from Tom Perri and I'm guessing was the first plate issued, rather than a vanity plate.  Hideous frame covers up the name of the organization and the state.


This 1968 Republican Governors Conference plate was issued to Governor Shafer who was PA's Governor from 1967 to 1971.  The image came from Chuck Harrington who commented something to the effect, it's not a PA plate but it was issued to a PA Governor.  It was added to the PA Governors' Plate Page.


These are both '71 Member of Congress plates on the Bicentennial base.  Later in the '71 to 76 run there was a change similar to the design shown below but with less space between the numbers and letters.  The far left plate is from Eric Conner and the near left plate is from Barefoot Jaime.  Both plate have 71 etched in the upper left sticker well.


These are also Member of Congress plates issued during the 1984 to '99 period.  The formatting allowed for a congressman to register two vehicles.  Both of these plate photos are from Eric Conner.  Today's congressional plate are seldom seen for a number of reasons, and no senatorial plates have been issued, although they have been produced.


Check out these Motorbike plates from 1941, '42-'43, '44 and '45, and no they're not motorboat plates.  The layout of the plates is essentially the same except for the colors.  The 42 with the 43 tab is original and the first I've seen on a Motorbike plate.  Unlike Motorcycles these were all issued in relatively small numbers.  The highest number issued among the plates shown here was about 2265 in the 1942-43 series.  Thanks to Jake Eckenrode for allowing me to take these photos, and best wishes to Harry Campbell who may now own some of these.


This is a 1906 Pre-State plate issued by the City of Philadelphia.  This was at the same time that the state began issuing plates.  The matter turned into a legal battle.  If you want to read the details see Eric Taylor's website on the history of porcelain plates.  By the following year the Philly plates were history.  This is a John Willard and John Anshant plate.


These plates are all nice enough to be shown separately but here they are grouped together.  The far left plate is a black on yellow 1908 from Tim Gierschick, as are all three plates.  The black on white 1909 plate is as nice as any I've seen.  Tim does say the characters on the plate were professionally restored.  Both of these plate measure 6" by 7".  The white on dark blue 1910 plate, now wearing the badge with maker's number, is slightly larger at 6" by 8".


We finish out this week with these 1955 Truck and 1956 Truck, both Z-series.  Aside from the color difference, the '56 plate has a wider base as the plate went from 10 inches to a width of 12 inches, making the 6 x 12 plate the standard from that year forward.  Both plate are thanks to John Willard.

I could very much use truck plate images/pictures/photos from almost all years, especially older stuff.  Thank you.


Posting 2/5/2017

These new plates, announced on 2/1, are in response to Act 108, signed into law on 10/4/16, which called for the creation of special license plates for current members of the U.S. Armed Forces including members of the reserves, including Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Pennsylvania National Guard.  Images from PennDOT announcement.  Plates are $20, personalized for an extra $100, form MV-150AD.


Jeff Lawson sent this PA State Society Daughters of the American Revolution plate picture.  The title is so long it makes reading it difficult from a distance, but it's not the longest.  That distinction goes to the Delaware Valley Chapter of the BMW Car Club of America.



This is an encore appearance of this beautiful 1929 Tractor plate belonging to John Willard.  When I originally posted this plate on 10/16/16, I suggested that the plate had been refinished.  This plate is original as you see it, just as it came out of the wrapper, never refinished.


These fine US Congress plate images were provided by Barefoot Jaime.  The plate on the far left is a 1965 base with a 66 sticker U/SC18 and was used by Congressman Robert J. Corbett (R), Pittsburgh.  The 1971 base with a 75 sticker was used by Congressman Joseph Gaydos (D), 20th District, McKeesport, PA.


Here is a 1905 Pre-State porcelain plate issued by the City of Philadelphia.  Such plates were issued in Philadelphia from 1903 up to and including 1906, when the state began issuing plates.  Yes, there was an overlap.  These were smaller in size than most plates measuring 4 inches by 7 inches, but since manufactured license plates were new at the time there was no standard size to go by.  Eric Taylor has an excellent website on the evolution and eventual demise of porcelain plates, http://porcelainplates.net/ .  This plate was photographed at by Eric Conner at the Sweigart Museum in Huntington, PA.


This very nice 1907 porcelain plate was recently being auctioned on eBay.  The owner, Don Bucchi, kindly gave me the go-ahead to use the image.  These five-digit plates measured 6" x 10", and was the largest of the four sizes used that year.  From 1906 thru 1911 the plates were manufactured by Ing-Rich, also known as Ingram Richardson of Beaver Falls, PA.


The following year, 1908, again thanks to Don Bucchi we have this near perfect black on yellow porcelain plate.  Like the plate above, also being 5 digits, it too measures 6" x 10".  The wide slots seen at the top of most of these early plates was for leather straps used to fasten the plate to the vehicle.  At that time vehicles didn't come with predrilled plate mounting holes.


Beginning in 1910 the aluminum maker's number tag, as described last week, was riveted to the left side of the  porcelain plate.  Colors were white on dark blue.  This particular plate measures 6" by 12".  There were also two smaller sizes and two larger, all depending on the number of digits.  Another thanks to Don Bucchi.


Here are three examples of 1915 Passenger plates.  There are a number of variations with 1915 and I have rewritten the description on the Passenger Plates Page.  The first and the third plates shown here are courtesy of Tim Gierschick.  The center plate is mine, and while not a great plate, it does does show PENNA. with a period.  It also has sunken numbers.


These are the first 1945 Motorcycle Dealer plates to be shown on this site.  Tim Gierschick spotted these at a recent event.  Nice numbers.



This very nice pair of 1953 and 1954 Z-Class Truck plate are again thanks to John Willard.  These were both 'shorties' measuring 6" by 10".  It wasn't until 1956 that plate dimensions were standardized at 6" by 12".  Weight classes ran from R to Z on 2-axle trucks, with Z being the heaviest.  Of course X was reserved for Dealer plates.  Then for larger 3-axle trucks the series went from RZ to ZZ.  I remember as a kid seeing ZZ plates on big tandem-axle cement mixers.  Apparently this 'license plate thing' was in my blood even back then as a kid.


Posting 1/29/2017

New Military plates just around the corner Act 108, signed into law on 10/4/16, calls for the creation of special license plates for current members of the U.S. Armed Forces including members of the reserves, including Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Pennsylvania National Guard.  These plate are due 2/1/17.


Tom Perri shared this picture perfect Knights of Columbus plate.  After those who got earlier plates re-issued, the series jumped ahead to K/C02000 for those getting plates for the first time.  This plate is a part of the latest series.  Click the link above to see the plate gallery which may make it easier to understand.  The K/C plates have a 30-year history.


Here's the latest high Antique Vehicle plate from Jeff Lawson.  In this series the single letter in the second position is the last character to advance.  This plate was just received and notice the presence of the sticker well and no map outline yet.  There appears to be a large inventory of these plates, so it will be a while before any change is expected.


This Penn State University plate was photographed by Jeff Lawson.  As you may know there is also a Penn State Alumni plate as well as a Penn State official plate.  There's also the Pennsylvania College of Technology which has affiliation with Penn State.



This Bronze Star vanity plate was also provided by Jeff Lawson.  Personalized Veteran plates seem to be increasingly popular.  The plates are displayed proudly and the personalization tells an additional story.



Both 1907 # 6 white on red porcelain plates are actually photos of the same plate from the Sweigart Museum in Huntington, PA, as is the # 1820 plate.  The photo on the far left is from Eric Conner, while the other #6 photo on the near left is thanks to Tim Gierschick.  The #72 plate belongs to Tim Gierschick.  The 1820 photo is also from the Sweigart Museum.  These 3 plates on the left measure 6" high by 7" across.  The 4-digit plate is 6" high by 8" across.  This being the second year for state-issued plates, there were almost 20-thousand plates issued.  Anyone have a 3 or 5-digit plate?


Here's a nice trio of 4 and 5 digit 1909 black on white porcelain plates.  Notice that the two 4-digit plates are different widths, this is unexpected.  And the 4 and 5-digit plates are the same width, this is also unexpected.  When I post images I do try to maintain the correct aspect ratio.  The source of the plate on the far left is unknown, the middle plate was photographed on a vehicle, and the final plate belongs to Clayton Moore.


Next in the lineup is this group of 1913 white on green plates.  Note the aluminum keystone on the far left.  This feature came out in 1910, and is usually referred to as the makers number, which in today's parlance would be called the VIN or Vehicle Information Number.  The aluminum tag reads, NOT TRANSFERABLE, over the number itself, over MAKERS NUMBER.  Note the two 5-digit plates are different lengths.  Clink the link above to see a further description.  These plates are all thanks to Tim Gierschick. 

Update 1:00 PM 1/29: Ned Flynn points out that the 18596 is one of the "rare “overfires” where the ’13 was created over a 1912 base.  Note the red where the green has chipped off."  Ned also suggests that the back of the plate likely has the boxed Brilliant seal of the early ‘12s.


The 1915 plate posted earlier on 1/29 has been removed pending further refinement of facts.  The plate shown earlier was a truck plate with the left portion of the photo showing the weight strip being cut off.


Last week I posted a single # 51 1935 Passenger plate from from an unknown source.  Tim Gierschick took ownership of the plate and sent me a nice shot of this great pair.  With one-and-a-half-million passenger registrations that year, and with plates limited to a maximum of five characters, the result was at least thirteen different registration formats were used.  These were split between 6" by 10" plates and 6" by 12" depending on the number of characters in the plate.  The plates shown here were 6" by 10" shorties.



These 1950 Truck and 1952 Truck plates share a lot of characteristics.  In fact almost everything except the year, expiration and serial are the same.  The serial denotes the same weight class truck as designated by the 'Z' prefix indicating the heaviest class of 2-axle trucks.  Thanks to John Willard for allowing me to photograph so many of his plates.


Posting 1/22/2017

They're here!  The updated plates with the small map outline were not expected out till mid-2017, but they have made their debut on vanity plates.  The far left is on a Trailer vanity of Codey Bowman.  I would have expected the legend TRAILER, but this is the first Trailer vanity I've seen.  An earlier Truck vanity had TRUCK spelled out.  The other plate is an anonymous submission of a remake of an older Press Photographer plate which I've placed with Passenger vanities.  According to a PennDOT bulletin, the updated design will be noticed first on personalized and special organization registration plates. Starting in the summer of 2017, the updated design will be seen on the standard-issue plates as the old-style plate inventory is depleted.


Here's another of the University of Pittsburgh's latest plate revisions.  This one was spotted by Brendan Sherry.  It appears likely that Pitt switched to this new graphic format at or around U/P05000.  This plate is also the new high.  If you want to keep up with the latest highs, check Tom Perri's PA Plates website.


Here a new high Omnibus spotted recently.  This series started at OB-50000 on the www base, then switched to the visitPA base at OB-69000.  There were some minor variations along the way with the font used for the OMNIBUS legend.



These Operation Iraqi Freedom plate photos are from Ian Emmett, who served as a U.S. Marine in Iraq from 2002 to 2006, hence the Devil Dog vanity.



Last week I posted a photo of the 1903 # 46 and 47 leather pre-state license plates.  This week thanks to Tim Gierschick we have the  provenance for the # 47 to go with the picture.  Below left is the Berks County registration document, followed by a photo of the proud owner of the first car in Fleetwood.  The final document is the treasure's receipt for the fee for the license to operate the vehicle.

The vehicle is a 1903 Oldsmobile (spelled Olds Mobile on the document) belonging to Allen Seaman.






Spotlight  on 1906.  Next are these 5 very nice 111-year old 1906 state issued plates.  These are all white on dark blue porcelain.  Most plates from this era are not nearly so nice.  Many thanks to Tim Gierschick for sharing these photos for the benefit of the hobby, and for helping preserve and share plate history.


The next plate for this week is this 1928 Passenger.  The colors were dark blue on yellow.  This 6-digit plate measures 6" by 15".  The plate series went from a single digit to 6 digits, then started again with an alpha-numeric series starting with A, A1 and extending into the E series + 5 numbers.  Plates with shorter serial numbers also used shorter plates.  Up to 4 characters were 6" by 10", 5 character were 6" by 13" and 6 character were 6" by 15" as shown here.  Dash separators were used on 5 and 6 character plates placed before the final 3 characters.


This 1934 Passenger plate is similar to the 1931 plate posted last week with the letters ER, and the '35 UF plate below.  John Willard, owner of the plates, believes these are all early vanity plates.  We do know that two-character plates were believed issued (AA to ZZ999) as part of the 1934 and other plate runs.


Here is a grouping of 1935 Passenger plates.  It shows several different formats.  On the far left are 2 and 4-digit examples on the 6" by 10" base, then a two-letter format variations also on the short base, and finally a 5-character 6" by 12" base.  Source, 51, unknown; 3075, Chuck Sakryd; 90R5, Joe Bosche; UF, John Willard, and PS509, Jeff Hinkle.


These 1943 registration tabs were issued in place of new plates, and were to be bolted over top of the 1942 plates.  This was done to save steel as part of the war effort.  The plates measured 1⅞ by 2⅛, were made of steel, painted red, had 43 painted black and embossed with the 4 and the 3 to the left and right of the bolt hole.  Below the 43 was the expiration date of 3-31-44 , below that etched into the tab was a serial number of up to 6 digits or an alpha character and up to 5 digits.  Thanks to John Walters for the photo. 


The final plate this week is this Z-series 1948 Truck form John Willard.  The Z-series was likely the heaviest class of 2-axle trucks, then there were 3 axle trucks with a 2-letter prefix.  All plates were 5 characters.



Posting 1/15/2017

Bruce Bufalini recently snapped this new high Conserve Wild Resources - Otter plate — a Special Fund plate.  This style of plate has bee around almost 17 years.  This and the Preserve Our Heritage - Railroad plate appear to still be selling well since they are the only remaining picture plates.  In my opinion moving these plates to the family of plates format with a tiny image will be their death knell.


These 1979 base Moped Dealer plates are certainly a rare find.  The first image was left larger to make it easier to see the details. The four shown here are from the same dealership.  I don't know their history but note the final picture is in the 2200 series suggesting that over a thousand plates were issued.  Also the low number plates don't seem not to have a stack of stickers, while the 2215 plate has an 11-89 sticker.  Were they not issued in order? At the present time there appears to be about 14 Moped Dealer plates in use.  More questions than answers.  These plate images were provided by Jordan Irazabal.


This is a 1977 base State House of Representatives plate with 1-86 being the most recent sticker.  The legend used on these plates is a bit confusing.  There was an early group in 1928 and early '29 that had no legend but likely included the House and Senate, then later in '29 used Legislative until 1935 after which no plates were issued until 1957, and again no legend was used until Legislator was added in 1966, and later changed to Representative in 1984.  Thanks to Lee Madigan for the image.


Lee also provided this rare 1977 base number 3 U.S. Congress plate on the far left with 78 and 82 stickers.  Not certain if the 3 was used to designate the congressional district at the time, but likely it was.  The owner of this plate also had been issued this 3-USC 1977 base vanity plate, although the vanity plate does not appear to have ever been used.


This would appear to the first 1971 New Car Dealer plate, and '71 was the first year for the 7-character plates and marked the end of the map outline which had been in use since 1938 on Dealer plates.  Thanks to Lee Madigan for the image.



Pennsylvania passed legislation as early as 1903 requiring automobiles to display a rear registration number.  Pennsylvania did not issue plates until 1906, so earlier plates are referred to as pre-state plates.  The registration process was handled at the county level, while the vehicle owner was responsible for placing the assigned number on the rear of the vehicle.  Many used leather tags and fastened numbers as shown here.  These 1903 Pre-State tags are from Berks County and were provided by Tim Gierschick.  Information on the 46 tag is unknown, but the 47 has provenance and is from Fleetwood, PA.


This 1931 Passenger plate is similar to the 1930 plate posted last week with the letters CR.  John Willard, owner of the plate, believes this is also an early vanity plate.  We do know that two-character plates were believed issued (AA to ZZ999) as part of the 1931 plate run.



Fellow ALPCA member Robert Rosengarten gave me the nod to use this 1919 Tractor Dealer plate from an eBay auction.  The TX prefix has always indicated Tractor Dealer starting with the earliest plates in 1916 up thru 1970 with the exception of a few years in the mid-1930s, and not to be confused with later Taxi plates.  This plate measures 6" x 16".  It is not known if shorter lengths were used for TX+1 or 2 digit serial numbers.


These 1919 Truck plates are courtesy of Kelly Brewer (far left plate) and Phil Tedeschi (near left plate).  Phil's plate is up for auction on eBay.  All 1919 truck plates used a 'C' prefix.  The manufacturer's number or VIN is inscribed into the keystone.  These are 3-star plates which designates the weight rating of the truck.  Plates ranged from 1 star for the lightest to 4 stars for the heaviest.  There was also a numerical association between the serial number and number of stars — low plate number had fewer stars.  These plates measures 6" x 16", while shorter lengths were used with shorter serial numbers.


This is a 1941 Z-Class Truck plate.  For '41 all plates were 5 characters with the first 1 or 2 alpha characters designating the weight class and number of axles.  It is not my intention to publish the entire matrix of plates serial numbers, number of axles, unladen weight and gross vehicle weight.  The classes run from R to Z skipping X, then RZ to ZZ again skipping X. This is a John Willard plate.


Posting 1/8/2017

Here's the first photo of a Pennsylvania Coal Alliance Inc. plate that was approved in 2016.  The plate image was provided by Brent Blake.  The organization is headquartered in Harrisburg.  About 140 of these plates have been issued to far.



Bruce Bufalini spotted this University of Pittsburgh high number.  Not only is this a new high, it's also the first 'Pitt' script plate spotted from the serial number series.  A vanity plate was spotted a few weeks ago.  It appears that the transition to the new style plate likely took place at or around U/P05000.



Last week we had a personalized Fraternal Order of Police-Survivor and this week a plate with a serial number, which is also the new high.  Both variations are quite rare.  Bruce Bufalini also provided this photo.




Bill Stephens just got under the wire getting this 2-22 Validation Sticker.  Yes, PA quit issuing stickers as of the end of 2016, and this sticker is part of a 5-year renewal which is allowed on light-weight trailers.  The Trailer plate is also the new high.



Last week I called the Lincoln University Official plate rare, but not as rare as this week's Commonwealth Court plate C/C 1.  The addition of the gold coat of arms certainly adds to the mystique of the plate.  So far every one of these plates spotted has had the coat of arms and used the C/C prefix followed by a single digit number, or C/C J followed by 2 numbers.  So far no plates have been seen with the C/C in the suffix position.  Thanks to Tom Perri for the image.


It's always a bonus to be able to display a plate format that has not been shown on this website before.  Lee Madigan sent me a number of images of political plates beginning with this 1984 State Representative base with '92 and '93 stickers.  The use of the PA and the HR makes this plate unique, although a State Senator plate with comparable features has also been documented.  There are also samples with the HR inside a keystone and no PA, so there could very well have been two formats used, in addition to the reverse formatting.  At this point additional photos and data are needed.  Check back next week for more political plates from Lee Madigan.


This trio of 1922 Passenger plates raises questions.  Yes, they were issued in pairs, but how do you account for the third plate with the same number?  It appears that two of the plates had a similar environment, but the third plate did not.  John Willard provided this mystery.


This interesting 1928 Passenger plate is believed to be a test plate.  The colors should be dark blue on yellow.  This plate is also made of aluminum, believe me, I handled it.  The other formatting seems to be as expected.  The plate measures 6"x 15", and belongs to John Willard.


Here is a 1930 Passenger plate.  Note the unusual 2-letter configuration.  John Willard, owner of the plate, believes it to be an early vanity plate.  We also know that two-character plates were issued (AA to ZZ999) as part of the 1930 plate run.  Information obtained from the 1930 Bulletin Almanac.


Bruce Sakson sent me this image of an early Passenger plate on the visitPA base.  This plate was likely issued very late 2004 or early 2005 with a 1-06 sticker.



These are all 1930 Truck plates.  The three plates on the left are for Class R trucks based on the 2-letter suffix.  Class R series are the lightest weight trucks and with the lightest carrying capacity.  The series progresses from Class R to Class Z, or possibly ZZ.  Click the link above for a listing of the weight classes, number progressions and letter suffixes. 

This plate is a Class S plate again based on the 2-letter suffix.  All of the 5 character plates are thanks to John Willard.  The 32DG plate was spotted in use as a Year of Manufacture or YOM plate. 




Happy New Year!

Posting 1/1/2017

Couple changes for 2017, thumbnail images of standard size plates on this home page will be slightly larger, while motorcycle size will be slightly smaller to better match actual plate sizes and aspect ratios.  As mentioned a while back, new pages on older Passenger Plates and older Truck Plates are up and running but with very limited content for now.


Here's a very rare Fraternal Order of Police-Survivor plate which happens to be configured as a vanity, thus personalizing the term 'Survivor' in a more sad and telling manor.  Thanks to Tom Perri for sharing this image.



Here's one of PA's rarest modern plates, with only about 30 of these plates in use.  Lincoln University is a state-related facility, thus has been issued official plates for their vehicle fleet.  The facility is located in Chester County, PA.  Other college or university-related official plates include Penn State, Pitt and Temple.  This plate was spotted by Jordan Irazabal.  It appears that none of the yellow on blue first generation LU plate exist today.


These '77-base Municipal Government plates are getting pretty old looking, much older in fact than the vehicle it is currently on.  This plate type was not subject to replacement when the majority of PA plates were reissued during the 1999 to 2002 replacement program.  There was a later issue in 1984 with the colors reversed, but these older '77 base plates were not replaced.


I'm getting close to the end of the large group of plates that were made available for picture taking by John Willard.  This 1952 Bus plate, along with a group of other '52 plates, is believed to be a sample.  In fact I have another '52 Bus plate with the same serial number previously posted from Jerry McCoy.  They are not the same plate, so apparently more than one group of samples was made.


This trio of 1952 Dealer plates are also considered samples, and include New Car, Used Car and Tractor varieties.  They all measure 6" x 10" and were also provided courtesy of John Willard.  Also see Transit Dealer (C000A) below.


While looking at some old emails I came across this image of what does appear to be a 1952 Transit Dealer sample plate.  This plate was part of an eBay auction in 2012 and unfortunately I didn't get a better image, BUT the most important fact is that it does show a '52 Transit Dealer with C000A format.  Official records are unclear or lacking as to when this plate type was introduced.  Could it have been as early as 1946 when the A New Car and B Used car were introduced?  This same auction included many 1952 Truck samples from various classes from R to YZ.


The next sample is this 1952 Motorcycle.  This group of samples looks like they were pulled right off the production line, therefore leaving them without the typical serial numbers used on samples, such as PA00 or 0000.  Again another thank you goes out to John Willard.


Next in the lineup is this '52 Truck sample.  The 'R' in the serial number is the indicator of the weight class.  There is a long series of 1 and 2 letter prefixes indicating different weight classes and number of axles.  The R class is for 2-axle trucks with a gross weight of up to 5,000 lb.  So far I have next to nothing in the new Truck section, but it's a start.  Again thanks to John Willard for the opportunity to photograph his plates.


We're almost at the end of samples which brings us to this 1952 Trailer.  This, like most of the plates above, is a shorty and has a width of 10"




This 1952 Passenger sample is the last plate for this week, and now we're moving to Passenger History, a new section for this website.  At this point the page is essentially empty.  This plate, unlike the others above, measures 6" by 11", while some later plates measured 6" x 10".  It wasn't until 1956 that plate size was standardized to 6" x 12".  Again I express my appreciation to John Willard.




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