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News and postings from 2018
This Honoring Our Veterans Motorcycle plate photo was sent to me by Gary Walker, an Australian collector. It was part of a larger group of plates. He indicated that the picture came from Facebook. I'd like to credit the actual owner of the plate or the photo. Aside from that, this is also the new high. These plates came out in late 2015. This is considered a Special Fund plate with both full-size and motorcycle-size tags. As of the end of 2017 registration figures for the full-size plates was 2,389, while the motorcycle-size registrations were only 140 plates. I attribute some of the lack of sales to the postage stamp size plate graphic.
This U.S Air Force Veteran plate was recently spotted by Bruce Bufalini. It is also the first plate spotted with the map outline. The highest previous plate with the sticker well was 22702A/F. The Air Force Vet plate came on line back in 2009.
Somewhere between HH-68620 and this plate, the sticker well on Motor Home plates was discontinued. These changes appear to be arbitrary, and therefore difficult to track. The high plate in this series is HH-70423. No plates with the map outline have been reported so far.
Here's a recent Passenger vanity plate where the letter 'O' (oh) and the number '0' (zero) are seen next to each other. As far back as 1926, with few exceptions, letters on Pennsylvania plates have always been smaller than numbers. Thanks to Jeff Lawson for the photo.
Shame on me for not posting this PA Choose Life plate photo sooner. Arthur Levine sent this to me some time ago. Even with the delay, it is still considered the current high, although I would not be surprised if plates with the map outline are already on the road. This plate type dates back to 2007.
This is a NASCAR 41 Casey Mears sample plate, not to be confused with another NASCAR 41 plate of Reed Sorenson, but not in the same year. The Mears plate was for the 2004 and 2005 racing seasons, while the Sorenson plate was for the 2006 season. Research suggests only 1 Mears plate was sold, and no Sorenson plates. The sample plate is likely the closest we'll get to an issued plate. The existing plate is believed to be N/4/10101. Thanks to Clayton Moore for the use of this photo.
Last week these Auto Wheel plate made their debut on this website. And as mentioned last week, there are still unanswered questions, but thanks to Ned Flynn for removing much of the mystery surrounding these plates through his research. Click the link to read more detail. The plate shown is a 1932 Auto Wheel plate. I have a very limited number of these Auto Wheel photos. So, if anyone has photos they'd be willing to share . . .
This is a 1936 Format 8 Passenger plate. That run included the serial range from AA10 to ZZ999. I spotted this plate in use at a car show. For those who enjoy the look of a professionally restored plate, they don't get much nicer. This plate measures 6 inches by 12 inches.
1947 Passenger plates saw 10 serial formats used, including this 4-character Format 2 plate. That serial progression ran from A100 to Z9999. All plates measure 6 inches by 11 inches regardless of the number of characters. Generally the 4-character plates are tougher to find. This plate is thanks to eBay user Carstuffstore.
Here's a trio of 1951 Passenger plates. The far left is a Format 2 plate with a serial sequence of A100 to Z9999, from eBay Carstuffstore. The middle plates is a Format 3 plate with a serial sequence of 1A00 to 9Z999, thanks to Peter Clericuzio. These 4-character plates are tougher to find than those with 5. The PA00 plate is a sample from Neil Breinig.
Here's another plate from Jake Eckenrode's outstanding display of early truck plates. Jake's display included the first 6 years of truck plates, spanning the period 1914 to 1919, which also included all of the years where weight classes were designated by the number of stars on the plate. Jake put together a complete series of those years with examples of all 5 weight classes from each year, including this rare 1917 5-Star Truck plate.
This is a 1940 S-Class Truck plate from Jeff Hinkle. For 1940 the S-Class included the following serial sequences: S000A, S00A0, S0A00 and S00AA, with the plate shown here belonging to the second series. All plates were 5 characters with the leading 1 or 2 letters indicating the weight class. All plates measured 6" by 12".
And this is a 1950 T-Class Truck plate courtesy of Peter Clericuzio. For 1950 the S-Class included the following serial sequences: T000A and T00A0, with the plate shown belonging to the second series. All plates were 5 characters with the leading 1 or 2 letters indicating the weight class. All 1950 Truck plates measured 6" by 11".
These organizational vanity plates with only a few characters are always eye-catching. This Blue Lodge plates appears to have been issued since the stickers ended but before the sticker box was eliminated. A Blue Lodge personalized plate was previously spotted with the map outline.
This Organ Donors Save Lives plate is meant to convey tongue-in-cheek humor, not disrespect. Thanks to George Kunsman for sharing this plate photo. This is the second vanity plate shown here, both having the map outline. That Feature has not yet been spotted on serial numbered plates.
Here is what I believe is a new Person with Disability high. The map outline has been in use since 72000PD. So far there is no evidence of this type without the sticker recess and without the map outline.
Here's the latest reported high Omnibus plate. I took the photo myself and as best as I could determine, both visually and from the photo, the plate does not have a sticker box. By comparison, OB-86003 still had that feature.
This is the first U.S. Army Veteran vanity plate spotted with the map outline. This plate type was part of a series of military veteran branch of service plates introduced in 2009. The series began at 10000A/R and is now over 14162A/R. Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for the use of the plate photo.
This is a NASCAR 31 Jeff Burton sample plate image. The image was part of a large group of NASCAR sample plate photos from Clayton Moore. This plate type was issued for the 2005 and 2006 racing seasons, with only about 7 plates issued. So far one actual plates have been photographed. There was another NASCAR 31 issued for the 2004 racing season, that one was a Robby Gordon plate.
I debated over this for a long time as to whether to include a section in the plate history about Auto Wheel plates. Many collectors have heard of them, but few know their history and use. If you are a member of ALPCA, you may recall the August 2012 article by Ned Flynn in Plates magazine. Ned did extensive research and learned that the Auto Wheel Coaster Co. of Tonawanda, NY. issued such plates for small 4-wheeled vehicles. The plates, like to one above, were issued by that NY company rather than by the PA Dept of Highways or Bureau of Motor Vehicles, therefore they were not official plates. Issue dates were from 1927 through 1942. There are still unresolved questions about these plates. See Ned's article for more in depth information.
This is a 1926 H-prefix Bus plate. Bus plates were first issued in 1924 with the letter 'O' prefix, then in 1926 another class of bus plates were introduced as shown here. These used an 'H' prefix and were only in use for 4 years ending in 1929. The explanation is a bit confusing: From 1926 to 1929 omnibuses that carried passengers for hire and not required to have a certificate of convenience were designated by an "H" prefix. This also included buses that were not registered for hire before 1/1/1914. In 1929 a new law was passed requiring all buses to have this certificate and thereby ending the "H" prefix plate. After this. all common carrier and for hire buses used the "O" prefix until 1968 when the "BA" prefix came into use. The information above from Jake Eckenrode and Eric Tanner. The plate shown above is the lowest number I have seen. It was also a part of a matching pair of plates owned by Clayton Moore.
Here is a 1945 Format 3 Passenger plate. Format 3 consisted of the serial range of 1A00 to 9Z999, so both 4 and 5 character plates were part of this group; however, all plates measured 6 inches by 11 inches in size. Many thanks to Peter Clericuzio for this and a number of other plate photos.
This is a 1955 Format 2 Passenger plate. Format 2 represents the serial progression of A100 to Z9999, so both 4 and 5 character plates were part of the mix; however, all plates were 6 inches by 10¼ inches in size. Another thank you to Peter Clericuzio for the use of this photo.
This week we begin truck plates with this 2017, 4-Star weight class plate. For 2017 plates were white on brown embossed painted steek. As other plates in the 1914 to 1919 range, the weight classification program was identified by the number of stars. The 4 and 5-star heavy weights are the toughest to find. One peculiarity, the legend of PENNA over 1917 was used on lower number plates, while PA over 17 was used on higher plates, as shown here. The plate shown here measures 6" by 16", while some plates with shorter serial numbers were 6" by 14". This plate was part of Jake Eckenrode's outstanding display at the ALPCA Valley Forge Convention.
Next is this 1931 S Weight Class Truck plate. While 1931 plates lacked any legend indicating it was a truck, the 5-character serial number with an R to ZZ (no X) prefix and another non-adjacent letter identify the plate as a Truck. This plate is yellow on dark blue and measured 6" by 12". This plate was provided courtesy of Peter Clericuzio.
Next we have a 1940 W Weight Class Truck plate. After 1934 the word Truck was prominently displayed on the plate, as were the 2-digit year and the state as PA. There was only one serial number format, W000A, used on 1940 W-class truck plates. All plates were 6" by 12". This plate was provided courtesy of Peter Clericuzio.
Here's another Passenger plate high. This was recently spotted by Tylar Scavello. For anyone not familiar, the 4-digit numeric portion is always the first to advance, next is the letter in the third position, then the second position, and finally the initial letter. Not all alpha-characters are used, and vowels are not used in the second position.
Here's the latest high in Dealer plates. It is believed that plates beginning at K46-500K no longer had the sticker box. I'm going to suggest that the small map outline should make its debut at K51-500K. This plate was recently spotted on the road by Bruce Bufalini.
These Antique and Classic vanities were recently spotted at one of the Macungie car shows. Both are the latest editions with the map outline. Neither plate presents much of a challenge figuring out what the plates was mounted on. The 'C' on the Classic Vehicle plates is a required part of the serial number; however, at least one plate has been spotted without the 'C'.
This Fraternal Order of Police vanity plate was recently spotted by Arthur Levine. FOP plates are one of the earliest organizational plates dating back to 1987 on the yellow on blue base. They are also believed to be either the 2nd or 3rd most issued organizational plate behind the Penn State Alumni Association plate. The other contender is the Fire Fighter plate.
This is the first image of a U.S. Coast Guard Veteran plate in a personalized format. This type of veteran plate dates back to 2009, but vanities were not allowed until mid-2014. The high listed so far is 00367C/G. Thanks to Jeff Lawson for this traffic shot.
This is a NASCAR 16 Greg Biffle sample plate image. The image came from a large group of NASCAR sample plates from Clayton Moore. This plate type was issued for the 2004 through the 2006 racing seasons, with only about 13 plates issued. So far two actual plates have been photographed.
This is not a new Duquesne University plate or photo, but it fills a gap in tracking. I needed a plate photo for the series that consisted of the yellow on blue base numbers reissued on the www base. This plate program dates back to 1991. The photo was provided by Tom Perri of http://www.paplates.com/.
This is the highest School Bus plate spotted so far, and is also the first plate observed without the sticker well. Plate SC-80015 still had the sticker well. Sometime in the foreseeable future I'm sure the small map outline will make an appearance.
This very nice 1935 Format 7 Passenger plate was provided courtesy of Ed Levine, and was part of a pair. For that year there were at least 8 formatting progressions, or according to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles at the time there were as many as 13. The difference is that my groupings and BMV's are not organized the same way. This plate with 4 characters measures 6 inches by 10 inches, while 5-character plates were 12 inches.
Next is this 1939 Format 9 Passenger plate. This group consisted of the series of 1AA0 to 9ZZ99. So both 4 and 5 character plates were issued, and like the plate above, also utilized both 6" by 10" and 6" x 12" sizes. This plate was on eBay; however, the owner wished to remain anonymous.
This is a 1952 Format 13 Passenger plate. Format 13 ran from D000A to P999Z. I believe the reason for this group starting at D000A was that the A, B and C000A series was reserved for the Dealer series. The ending, at P999Z was to avoid conflict with the Truck series starting at R000A. All plates measured 6" x 10¼". This plate was provided courtesy of Peter Clericuzio.
This is a 1949 Class R weight class Truck plate. R class was the lightest class, and the plates consisted of six serial progressions consisting of R000A, R00A0, R0A00, R00AA, R0AA0 and R0A0A. All such plates measured 6 inches by 11 inches. This plate was provided courtesy of eBay user Bapad.
Here is a 1954 ZZ weight class Truck plate. ZZ was the heaviest 3-axle truck class. The term 3-axle in those days meant a single front axle and tandem (2) rear axles, for a total of 3 axles. The plate in the photo also has a West Virginia Trailer Public Service Commission tag attached. As trucks evolved over the years and got larger and heavier, more classes were added between 1958 and 1967. Thanks to Clayton Moore for the use of this photo.
The final truck plate this week is another ZZ class plate for 1955. Again this is the heaviest weight class, but for 1955 there were actually two serial progressions — ZZ00A and ZZ0A0. The plate shown here is part of the second group. Another thank you to Clayton Moore for sharing so many photos.
The East Allen Twp. Vol. Fire Dept. recently ordered 4 new plates. What was expected was that the plates would have the map outline like other organizational plates have had as far back as July of 2017. What was received was one plate, 20039E/A, that still had the sticker well. The other three have no sticker well, and obviously no map. As far as I know such plates are produced on a per order basis, not stockpiled. As the program coordinator, I will attempt to get an answer from PennDOT.
Here's a low number West Manchester Township Fire Department spotted recently by Arthur Levine. West Manchester Township is located on the outskirts of York, PA. Their plate program dates back to 2010. So far about 35 plates have been issued.
Next is this West Virginia University Alumni University vanity plate, the first personalized one spotted. WVU's plate program dates back to 1996 on the yellow on blue base. Tom Perri's website lists W/V01653 as the current high. Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for sharing this street shot.
Here's a low and a new high U.S. Submarine Veterans Inc. The low number plate had been hiding in my archives — note the 12-06 sticker. The plates date back to 2005. The 00168S/V plate represents a new high. That plate was spotted by Bruce Bufalini who reports that the plate did not have a sticker well.
This is a NASCAR 0 Ward Burton sample plate image. The image came from a large group of NASCAR sample plates from Clayton Moore. This plate type was only issued for the 2004 racing season, and with only 2 plates issued, it was not made available for the 2005 season. So far no actual plates have been photographed.
Here's another low and high. These Repair Towing plates represent the small group from RT-70900 to RT-71899, and are without the sticker well, and without the map outline. Sometimes I wonder if all this tracking is worth the effort.
Turning to historic plates we start with this very nice 1944 Format 8 Passenger 'shortie'. Format 8 consisted of the serial sequence from AA10 to ZZ999. 4-character plates measured 6 inches by 10 inches, while 5 characters required a 6 inch by 11 inch base. This very nice plate belonged to John Willard. Still needed for 1944 are plate photos from these two series: 10A0 to 99Z99 and 000A to 999Z.
Next in this week's lineup is this 1954 Format 9 Passenger plate. Format 9 is made up of plates from 1AA0 to 9ZZ99. So both 4 and 5 character plates were used; however, all measured the same at 6 inches by 10¼ inches. This nice looking plate also belonged to John Willard. Still needed for 1954 are plate photos from these two series: 000A to 999Z and 00AA to 99ZZ.
Here's a super nice 1952 Trailer plate. The tag appears to have never been used. This plate is a Format 5 plate meaning the serial progression ran from 000A to 999Z. All Trailer plates that year were 4 characters except to Format 6 which consisted of 5 digits starting at 10000. All Trailer tags were 6 inches by 11 inches in size. Thanks to Clayton Moore for the use of this photo.
When Trailer plates were reissued for 1972, the starting point would have been TA-10000. Click the image to enlarge it, and note the 72 lightly embossed in the upper left sticker well. This plate run extended thru 1977 before being replaced in 1978. Thanks to Peter Clericuzio for the use of this picture.
1916 Truck plates saw the beginning of steel embossed tags rather than porcelain; however, the use of stars to designate weight classes continued through 1919. The plate shown here is a 5-star example. As mentioned in the past, the 4-star and especially the 5-star heavy weights are very tough to come by. This plate was part of Jake Eckenrode's remarkable display at the recent ALPCA Valley Forge Convention.
This is an S-Weight Class 1935 Truck plate. There were several S-Class serial sequences with this one running from S0A00 to S9Z99. The plate shown here, and most truck plates, used 5 characters and measured 6 inches by 12 inches; however, there were R-class and S-Class overflow plates that used 6 characters and measured 6 inches by 15 inches. This photo is thanks to Mike at Pl8source.
We finish this week with this 1951 U-Class Truck plate. That class was part of the R through Z class designations (lightest to heaviest) for 2 axle trucks. The X was reserved for Dealer plates and not used for trucks. There were 4 serial progressions used for the U class. All plates used 5 characters and measured 6 inches by 11 inches. Thanks to Clayton Moore for the use of this photo.
I was going to say that at least for the moment, this Passenger plate and Truck plate are the new highs, but my focus is not on highs as much as it is on design changes and serial progression variations. Thanks to Ryan Battin for the images.
This Bucknell University plate was recently photographed by Bruce Bufalini. He indicated that this plate did not have the sticker well, as was evident on a previous photo of B/U21718. Bucknell's plate program dates back to 1998 on the yellow on blue base.
The far left Misericordia University plate photo is not new, it was provided by Tom Perri some time ago, but I missed posting it. Then just recently Bruce Bufalini spotted the other plate in his travels. This is now the new high.
Here's a very nice National Ski Patrol plate that was recently photographed by Tim Gierschick. The current reported high is 00240S/P, with the program dating back to 2011. They currently sell standard issue plates, like the one shown here, for $45, and $145 for a personalized edition. I don't know what the membership requirement are.
Next up is this photo of a new high Presque Isle Partnership plate. This plate photo is thanks to Barefoot Jaime. Note that this plate has the small map outline, as did the previously spotted plate 01120P/I. We also know that as of 01069P/I the plates still had sticker wells. Wikipedia lists 5 lighthouses for PA, who would have thought?
This U.S. Army Veteran plate was recently spotted by Jordan Irazabal. While this is a new high, the use of the map outline was seen as far back as 13770A/R, and last seen on 13613A/R, suggesting the change took place somewhere between those numbers. This series dates back to 2009 starting with plate 10001A/R.
This personalized U.S. Navy Veteran plate likely stands for a Destroyer Designated Guided or Guided Missile Destroyer. DDG-18 was the designation for the USS Semmes. These branch-of-service veteran plates made their debut back in 2009, the small map outline is a more recent addition. Thanks to Jeff Lawson for the photo.
This nicely preserved very low number 1929 Passenger plate still appears to have its original paint. There is a good possibility that this plate was issued to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Bureau of Motor Vehicles, a predecessor to today's PennDOT. This plate measures 6 inches by 10 inches. The plate photo was provided courtesy of David Abla.
But wait, there's more!. This very unique 1931 Passenger plate was not repainted, so why the colors? Actually the plate is made of aluminum and only the background was painted, which was dark blue. The reverse side is not painted and shows the natural aluminum color. So what's the story? These plate photos were provided by Ned Flynn. Eric Conner suggests that there were other aluminum low numbered plates that year that were likely issued to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. The #1 plate to the left was spotted some years ago by Clayton Moore and it is similar in appearance to the # 3 plate. There was discussion at the time about this plate being a Governor's plate. Please read the article and comments on this plate. The 1931 Governor's plate is shown here for comparison.
Here's the first image of a 1949 Format 9 Passenger plate. Format 9 consists of the serial progression of 1AA0 to 9ZZ99, so both 4 and 5 character plates make up this group. All plates measure 6 inches by 11 inches. The photo was made available by eBay seller Jeopardyboy1.
Next up is this 1956 Format 8 Passenger plate. That group consists of the serial progression of AA10 to ZZ999 — so again both 4 and 5 character plates were issued. Later in the progression a new set of dies were used as shown on this plate. This plate, and all full size 1956 plates, were now standardized at 6 inches by 12 inches. Thanks to Clayton Moore for the use of this photo.
Next is this 103-year old 1915 5-Star Truck plate. Five-star being the heaviest class and toughest to find. As mentioned in recent weeks, Jake Eckenrode assembled a very impressive display of PA's earliest issued truck plates beginning in 1914, and included the 6 years that used the star weight classification system.
Next up is this 1942 R-Class Truck plate with a 43 tab. For 1942 there were four R-class serial formats, including R000A, R00A0, R0A00, R00AA, with the plate shown here being part of last progression. Sizing of the plates was 6 inches by 12 inches. This plate is courtesy of Clayton Moore.
For 1947 Trucks there were the usual R through ZZ weight classes, and within the T-Class there were three serial progressions. These included T000A, T00A0, and T0A00. With the addition of the plate pictured here, there are now photos of all three. Plate size in '47 was 6 inches by 11 inches.
Finally we have this pair of 1953 Truck plates. The far left plate is an R weight class with an R0A0A serial format. This was one of six serial progressions used that year. That photo is thanks to Peter Cohen. The V-weight class plate was spotted in use as a YOM tag. There were two progressions used that year, V000A, V00A0 of which this plate is part of the second.
The old vs. the new. Where do you stand? I never really understood the purpose of having the words STREET ROD appear twice on the same plate. PENNSYLVANIA and PA also both appear. It is what it is. The 7174 plate is a new high, and that plate still retains the sticker well. Watch for that to change at the 7300S/R mark. Photos from Wheels of Time show in Macungie, PA.
This is one of those plate types that causes heartburn for those who track number progressions and highs. Clarion University has plate numbers starting at C/U40001 and progressing to about C/U40373. The plate shown here is the highest photographed plate in that number series. But wait, back in 2011 a group of outliers were identified forming a group running from C/U43045 to C/U43109. Why the jump of 3000 plates? I'm sure there is an explanation for this, but likely not a logical one. The plate shown here does not appear to have a sticker well. Thanks to Jordan Irazabal for sharing this photo.
Although PA's NASCAR plate program was discontinued back in 2010, their history continues to evolve. This is the first photo of a NASCAR 99 Carl Edwards Format 2 plate. The easiest way to describe the 99 plate is that during the 2005 racing season the 99 logo was green, then with a sponsorship change for 2006, the 99 became red, as shown here. Then in 2009 there was another Carl Edwards 99 plate with white numbers. So far no Format 1 plates have been photographed. Click the link to see more. Thanks to Tom Perri for sharing this photo.
These plates are easy to recognize when they have a 4-digit number following the E/F, but not quite so easy as a vanity with the plate legend completely covered. Anyway it's an Expeditionary Forces Veteran without the sticker well. Thanks to Jordan Irazabal for passing this image along.
Here is a pair of U.S. Marine Corps Veteran plates, both without sticker wells. The far left plate, which was spotted by Jordan Irazabal, is a new high number. Their starting point in 2009 was 10001M/C. In 2014 the law allowing personalized plate paved the way for the near left plate which was spotted by Kyle Goodhead. These both are without the sticker well, so it's probably a safe bet that the small map outline will be spotted soon.
This version of Official Use plate is still being issued to passenger vehicles owned by state agencies other than PennDOT and Turnpike vehicles. Those agencies have plates with their own logo. Eventually plates, like the one shown here, will be transitioned to the state coat of arms as has already been seen on commercial type vehicles.
Here is a photo of a Foreign Consul plate bearing a 67 sticker. The plate belongs to Brandon Sowers. Up to this point I was under the impression that beginning with the 1958 plates that Foreign Consul plates were formatted as FC-1000, with a 4-digit serial, yet here is a 1967 with a 3-digit serial. Interesting, and as I often say, it's part of what makes the hobby interesting.
This is a 1914 Motorcycle tag. This is also the first year that PA issued such plates for motorcycles. The plate is white on black porcelain, and measures 4½" by 8¼", although there were three other sizes depending on the number of digits in the serial number. The first character in the serial number is the letter O, not a zero, although you can't tell that by looking at it. Thanks to Jeff Hinkle for sharing this very nice plate.
This might look like a 1958 Sample with a 64 sticker to many, but the owner of this car is using it as his real tag. This plate originally was on display somewhere, the owner acquired it and registered it to his car, but in short order PennDOT told him, not so quick, remove it. Anyway, it's an interesting stretch of the YOM plate concept.
We start off this week's Truck plates with this 1915 4-Star porcelain beauty. This plate again was part of Jake Eckenrode's wonderful display of early PA Truck plates. Note the 4 stars on the vertical aluminum strip designating the weight class of the vehicle. The aluminum keystone emblem contained the Makers Number which would be equivalent to the VIN number used today. Plates measured 6" by 15¼". Note the presence of strap slots along the top.
This is a 1925 R-suffix weight class Truck plate. This was just the second year for the R through Z series, no X class was used. The initial R-series went from R-1 to R99-999, then the R got flip-flopped to the suffix position and the series went from 1-R to 90-87R. The suffix plates were considered overflow tags. This plate measures 6 inches by 12 inches. Thanks to Jeff Hinkle for sharing this very nice specimen.
Here is a 1929 S-Class Truck plate. The R through Z (ZZ?) weight classes were first used from 1924 and ended after 1929 before resuming again in 1931. The S-class would have started at S-1 and went a little higher than the plate shown here. Thanks to ebay user Rpkdog for allowing the use of the photo.
This 1931 Mystery plate image was recently posted by Rick Kretschmer. I contacted Rick and Eric Tanner for their take on the plate, as it does not fit any known 1931 format. It should be noted that in 1931 Truck plates went back to using the R through Z prefix to indicate the weight class. Eric offers a possible explanation where he suggests how this plate could be part of an early group of Truck plates. Eric suggests that the plate shown here is part of a group of 1931 R-weight truck tags which were made well ahead of time using the 1930 system before the decision was made to switch to a new system for 1931 truck plates. Click the link above to read more on this possible connection to the truck series. Also many thanks to Rick Kretschmer for the use of the photo and for sharing his thoughts. Check out his excellent website at http://www.ricksplates.com/. Also many thanks to Eric Tanner for sharing his wealth of knowledge. His website is http://www.allaboutlicenseplates.com/index.asp.
This 1934 Class R Truck plate is an example of formatting where the class prefix, R, is immediately followed by another letter, in this case a G. This is the fourth of 4 four serial progressions used that year. The other included R000A, R00A0, R0A00, where the A represents a second letter. All such plates were 5 characters and measured 6" by 12". Thanks again to Rick Kretschmer for the photo.
Here's another pair of new highs recently spotted. The far left plate was provided by Charles Sweitzer, and near left was thanks to Nick Tsilakis. Passenger plates are issued at a much faster rate than any other plates, so the actual high, if it could be tracked, would likely change by the minute. Once this series finally hits KZZ-9999, the next series will begin at LBA-0000.
Here's a new high Motor Home plate spotted by Jordan Irazabal. This plate represents a change in that it does not appear to have a sticker well, nor does it have the map outline. A number of plates types have have been documented with these 'in-between' characteristics. Likely the next plate run will have the map outline which may have to wait until HH-73000.
This Permanent Trailer plate was recently snapped on the road by Jordan Irazabal. Again this plate is a new series high. The small map outline was first spotted a year ago. The Perm-Trailer plate type dates back to 1997, on the blue base series starting at PT-00000.
This is a vanity version of a Blue Moon Cruisers Rod & Custom Association. I apologize to Bruce Bufalini who actually took this picture a couple years ago, but the photo never got posted at the time. This organization's plate program dates back to 2013.
This U.S. Army Veteran plate was recently spotted by Bruce Bufalini. Note that this plate has the latest features of the map outline in place of the sticker well. This change was first documented on April 1st of this year. It may be worth mentioning that in addition to the plate shown here, PA offers an Army Reserve plate that is part of the organizational plate program, but I don't think any have been issued in awhile. There is also a newer U.S. Army (Active Duty) plate available.
This new high U.S. Military Airborne Units plate was photographed by Bruce Bufalini. While the picture is recent, the plate still has the sticker well. This series goes back to 2013 with the series starting at 20001M/A. A plate check suggests that plates up to 20477M/A have been issued.
I don't put a lot of focus on these off-road vehicle plates. While they are state-issued, and are the same size as motorcycle plates, they come under DCNR or the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources rather than PennDOT. This plate is an ATV Class 2. Class 2 has a width which exceeds 50 inches or a dry weight which exceeds 1200 pounds. Class 1 would be 50 inches or less, and 1200 lb. or less. This plate is the first photo of a Format 4 with a serial sequence of 0X000 to 9Z999.
This 1929 Format 5 Passenger plate caught my attention. Clayton Moore had this plate on ebay recently. Early Passenger plates were all numeric, but beginning in 1924 the use of an alpha character became necessary. Unlike today's Passenger plates that are all 7 characters, in the '20s, the alpha-numeric plates started with A-1 making such plates very collectible and tough to find.
Another needed plate was a 2-digit 1931 Passenger plate. Eric Tanner came to the rescue with this very fine # 25 plate. That series started at 1 and progressed to 99999, after which several different alpha-numeric formats were utilized to accommodate the growing number of registrations. Plates up to 4 characters measured 6" by 10", while 5-character plates were 6" by 12".
Here is a 1932 Format 3 Passenger plate. That serial group runs from 0A to 9Z999, which amounts to 2, 4, and 5-character plates. This 5-character plate measures 6" by 12" while all of shorter serial numbers would have been on 6" by 10" bases. Click the link to also see a 2-character plate. Thanks to ebay user Jpaiewons for the use of the photo.
If you guessed 1926 Tractor, you are correct. The E-prefix is the giveaway — from 1914 up thru 1927 an E in the first position meant engine or traction engine, an early term for Tractor. After 1927 the E was needed in the passenger series and was replaced with TE up through 1933. This plate measures 6" by 13", and is one of three plate sizes used that year. Thanks to Tim Gierschick for the photo.
This next photo of a 1951 Tractor plate requires no guesswork. Beginning in 1934 and continuing to the end of such plates, the word TRACTOR always appeared. For 1951 the plates were 6 inches by 11 inches in size. As for serial numbers, there was an all-numeric series from 0001 to 9999, after which a letter was added beginning with A000, or in this case an L followed by 3 digits. Thanks to Clayton Moore for the use of this photo.
The final Tractor plate is this 1953 Format 2. This plate used the alpha-numeric format beginning at A000 and progressing into the M series. The layout and legend is similar to the plate above; however, the size has been reduced to 6 inches by 10¼ inches. This was done by shrinking the width of the east and west map borders. Again thanks to Clayton Moore for the use of his plate picture.
This 1915 2-Star Truck plate fills one of the gaps in early truck tags. The 2-star weight class is depicted on the vertical aluminum strip on the left side of the plate. Much thanks to Jake Eckenrode for his outstanding display of early Pennsylvania truck plates at the ALPCA Convention. Watch for more in future weeks.
Here is a 1924 R-Class Truck plate. This was also the first year that the R through Z weight class designation was used. X was reserved for Dealer plates. Those letters in the prefix position designate the plate for truck use. It should be noted that for the R-class only, there were some overflow plates that had the R in the suffix position. No other truck plate legend was used. In addition to the letter prefix, the serial number could be 1 to 5 digits. Plate length also depended on the number of digits and could be 6" by 10", 12" or 15". Passenger plates, on the other hand, were mostly all-numeric, with a smaller number using a series from A-1 to about A-46000. Thanks to Clayton Moore for the use of this photo.
Next up is this S-Class 1926 Truck plate. Again no legend indicating truck, just the prefix letters of R through Z (no X class), with some R-suffix overflow plates. Plate length again depended on the number of digits and could be 6" by 10", 12", 13 or 15". The plate shown measures 6" by 13". Again thanks go to Clayton Moore for the use of his plate photo.
This Passenger plate may not quite be the latest high, but it's close. This plate was recently spotted by Charles Sweitzer in York County. Not long ago KVF-5188 was spotted by Bruce Bufalini but he was not able to get a picture.
The far left plate is more or less a predecessor of the newer plate. Both of these are recent photos; however, the far left plate was part of a short run of Official Use plates issued around 2011 where the word Commercial was mistakenly used in place of Official Use. That happened because the plate was part of the Official Use plates intended for commercial (truck) type vehicles. This plate was on a PennDOT truck. The newer style plate, also spotted on a PennDOT truck, is part of the current initiative to allow agency specific plate logos for departments within state government. So far there are PennDOT plates with a T-suffix, Turnpike Commission plates with a U-suffix and generic plates with a B-suffix with the coat of arms. These suffix letters, T and U, are also used in the prefix position on non-commercial vehicles. No word on others state department or agencies embarking on their own plate program.
This high number La Roche College plate was recently spotted on the road by Bruce Bufalini. La Roche College is located in suburban Pittsburgh. Their license plate program has been active since 2013. There may actually be around 75 plates registered.
Here's a very low catchy number Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran plate spotted by Nick Tsilakis. Plates, such as this one, with numbers under 100 are considered 'reserve issue', which usually means a group of low numbered plates are made available to those with some distinction or perhaps played a roll in the creation of the plate. A similar process exists with organizational plates allowing the first order of up to 100 to be designated by the local plate program administrator. The current reported high is 04817I/F.
Plate mystery — in 2000 all blue-base Bus plates were replaced on a number for number basis. The numbers ranger from BA10000 to BA47999. I even have an old PennDOT document that confirms this. Those replacement plates did not use a separator between the BA and the serial number. Then plates that were issued on newly registered buses were from the next series starting at BA-48000 and did use a dash separator. The BA-48006 is formatted as expected. Then how does the plate 100 numbers higher not have the dash? Does someone has a definitive answer to this? The BA48106 plate is thanks to Clayton Moore and Rick Kretschmer.
Point of information: Generally the historic plates on this page are shown in alphabetical order, so Passenger, Trailer, Truck, etc.
These are both 1930 Passenger plates. The far left plate is part of the Format 2 group which ran from a single letter A to Z9999, so 1 to 5 characters. Finding examples of all of those is nearly impossible, but the plate history page now has 3 of the 5 Format 2 variations. The RR720 is part of Format 7 which includes the progression of AA to ZZ999. The history page now has examples of all 4 variants. Plates up to 4 characters were 6" by 10" and 5 character plates were 6" by 12". The owner of the first plate wished to remain anonymous, while the RR720 plate is thanks to Vic Baker.
Moving forward to this 1931 Format 3 Passenger plate which was part of the series that ran from 0A to 9Z999. Again plates up to 4 characters were 6" by 10" like the plate shown here. 5 character plates measured 6" by 12". This plate is being shown with permission from ebay user Donovan1998.
This 1935 Format 1 Trailer plate and 1942 Format 2 Trailer plate came from Tim Gierschick. Both plates measure 6" by 12"; however, the plate layouts are very different. For 1935 there were two formats, 1 to 9999, then A1 to Z999. Then for 1942 there were three formats, 0001 to 9999, A000 to Z999, and 0A00 to 9Z99.
It's not the same as seeing Jake Eckenrode's one-of-a-kind early PA truck plate display in person. Click the link to see the full display which featured all five weight classes for each year from 1914 through 1919, in other words, every year that identified weight classes with stars. This 1914 Truck plate is a 5-star, for the heaviest weight class. The 4 and 5 star plates are particularly difficult to collect.
Not nearly as noteworthy as the plate above, nevertheless this 1952 S-Class Truck plate helps to fill one of the serial progressions. For 1952 there were five serial formats including S000A, S00A0, S0A00, S00AA and S0AA0, with this plate being part of the fourth group. All plates that year measured 6" by 10¼".
Here's an S-Class 1955 Truck. Again for this year there were five serial formats including S000A, S00A0, S0A00, S00AA, S0AA0, same as was used for 1952 above. Classes ran from R to Z for 2-axle trucks and RZ to ZZ for 3-axle trucks. Again all plates in '55 measured 6" by 10¼", this being the last year before plates were standardized at 6" by 12". If this photo looks weird, the bottom of the plate was concealed by the truck bumper.
This is a 1958 - 63 ZZ-Class Truck plate. The ZZ class is the heaviest 3-axle truck class, although there were 4-axle truck plates as well. This plate does have a tab slot. I previously posted another '58 ZZ-class plate without the slot. Early plate had them and later ones did not. Of course the slots were never used, instead annual stickers were issued to revalidate the plate. This plate belongs to Drewski and is currently up for grabs on ebay.
Here's a newer AFSCME Council 13 plate. Unlike the previous lower numbered plates shown on this site, this one no longer has has the sticker well. Next change would be the addition of the map outline. It's very difficult to know when, or at what point in the sequence, these changes occurred. These organizational plates are produced on a made-to-order basis and are not held in inventory. Thanks to Jaska Börner for the use of this photo.
Here is a pair of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. plates. This organizational plate type dates back to 2012. The far left plate was spotted recently by Jeff Lawson, while the near left plate was photographed a while back by Jordan Irazabal. The current high is 00253D/S.
Here's the first image of a Girl Scouts of the USA vanity plate. As a point of information, vanities on organizational plates are only available where the logo is flat screened. They are not available on the www base with an embossed logo. The Girl Scout plate program dates back to 2008.
This appears to be the latest edition of a Fraternal Order of Police plate, and judging by the plate number, it appears to be a vanity. The current reported high is F/P21692. That would be quite a jump to F/P78106. This plate was recently spotted by Bruce Bufalini.
This PA State Nurses Association plate was recently photographed by Jeff Lawson. The current high is R/N00126, but that occurred back in 2013. That organization announced a new logo in 2015, but so far no plates have been spotted with the new symbol.
Here are two Syracuse University Alumni Assn plates. This type has been around since 2009. The far left plate was provided by Steve Ondik in early 2017 but never got posted. In spite of his loss, his efforts to support the plate hobby live on. The near left plate is the latest high and was spotted recently by Jordan Irazabal.
This Severely Disabled Veteran plate is not a new picture, but believed to be the most current design. It was shared with me in July of 2017 by Ryan Battin, but didn't get posted till now. Adding this plate also prompted me to update the formatting sections to separate where the sticker wells were discontinued on newer plates as seen here. The sticker wells had been in the upper left corner. There is no indication that these plates will use the small map outline.
Something old, something new. The far left plate is part of the original series of Limousine plates, which were first issued in 1990 starting with LM-10000. This plate would have been issued at or near the end of that original period. The early plate was provided by Lee Madigan. On or around 3/26/2000 all Limousine plates were replaced, with the new issue starting at LM-20000. This a new high Limousine plate. This plate still has the sticker well.
Here is a very nice pair of 1971 PA State Senator plates. Note the plates have 71 etched into the left sticker well. These plates represent two formats with the PA in both the prefix and suffix positions to allow the senator to register two vehicles. The 5 represents the 5th senatorial district. These plate belonged to Jake Eckenrode and were seen at the ALPCA Valley Forge Convention.
Here's another beauty form Jake Eckenrode's recent display at the ALPCA Valley Forge convention. This 1914 Truck plate is a Class 4 weight as designated by the 4 stars on the aluminum band to the left side of the plate. Both the 4-star and 5-star plates are tough to collect. The plate was manufactured by the Brilliant Manufacturing Co. in Philadelphia.
This a 1931 R-Class Truck plate. For 1931 there was no plate legend or weight band to identify it as a Truck plate. It can be confusing. The R thru Z prefixes identified the vehicle as a truck; however, there were some R and S overflow plates with the weight class letter in the second position. Truck plates always had a second letter in the serial number, and never next to the weight class letter. Click the link to see the serial progression formats. See also 1931 Passenger.
Next up is this 1938 U-Class Truck plate. 1938 was the first year for Truck plates to have the map outline as the plate border. The word TRUCK was also part of the legend. The first letter identified the weight class of 2-axle Trucks, and the first two letters showed the weight class of 3-axle Trucks. There was always a second letter in the serial number. This plate photo is thanks to Tim Gierschick.
This is a 1949 V-Class Truck. These were very similar in design to the '38 plate above except for the addition of the expiration date.. The '49 V-class used 2 serial progressions — V000A and V00A0. Plate measures 6" x 11". Click the link above to see photos of both variations. This plate was on the front of a mid-size truck at a recent truck show in Macungie.
Here is a pair of 1950 Truck plates representing the U-weight class and the W-class. The U-class used 4 serial formats of which this plate is part of the last progression. The W-class, being on heavier truck, used only a single serial progression. These plates also measures 6" x 11". Thanks to Peter Cohen for the use of his plate photos.
Here's a new high Truck plate. I post these in both the current plates section of Miscellaneous plate and the Truck History page. Truck plates with small map have been in use since April of last year. Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for sharing this recent image.
Here's a recent Passenger plate photo sent in by Charles Sweitzer thought to be a new high. (The original angle of the shot and reflection make it hard to see the map.) Right before this, Bruce Bufalini spotted plate KVF-5188 but was unable to snap a photo. Don't forget to also send new highs to Tom Perri at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two plates, same organization, different logo, 23 plates apart. These Pennsylvania SPCA plates underwent a change to their symbol. This change happened a while back as the later plate has a 3-17 sticker. The early plate photo came from Tom Perri's PA Plates high numbers website, while the later plate was just spotted by Nick Tsilakis. PennDOT still shows the old design on their webpage.
It's a little tough to see through the plastic frame, but this is a personalized Blue Lodge plate. The presence of the map outline suggests that it was issued in 2017 or 2018. According to my information, the Blue Lodge plate program dates back to 1984, and was one of the earliest.
Here's the latest Antique Historic Vehicle plate also from Bruce Bufalini. Back in June the format seen here, 00A0, was first spotted, and already it has advanced into the letter C. Once this series is exhausted I see A0A0 and 0A0A as the only remaining combinations.
Here's a recent photo of a personalized Classic Vehicle plate. Note that the plate has the small map outline, and also has the C-prefix. Classic vanities are supposed to have a C-prefix, but this rule has not been applied uniformly. It appears that this plate makes reference to a 1998 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra. As a point of information, I regrouped some of the Classic vanities to correct some errors.
This is a new high Dealer-Multi Purpose plate. This low-issue plate is still on the www base, and may not make its debut on the visitPA or new map base for a while. If you're wondering what a Multi-Purpose Dealer is, you're not alone. I can not define it, but I have seen them in use on vehicles used by mobile home dealers, but their use is not limited to that purpose. PennDOT has a Fact Sheet on such plates which I did not find very helpful.
This is a 1942 Format 5 Passenger plate with a 1943 metal validation tab. Since this is a '42 plate with a needed serial format, I'm placing it with plates of that year, not '43. 1942 plates were both 6" by 10" for 4-character plates and 6" by 12" for 5 character as shown here. Thanks to John Willard for the opportunity to photograph this plate.
This is a 1953 Format 8 Passenger plate. That serial format went from AA10 to ZZ999, so both 4 and 5 character combinations were used. All plates, regardless of the number of characters, measured 6" by 10¼" in size. Another thank you goes out to John Willard for this photo op.
This plate is a very welcome addition to the 1914 Truck series. 1914 was the first year for Truck plates. The indication of the plate being as a truck was the aluminum band on the left side of the truck. This band indicated the weight class of the Truck, with this being a 2-star class. The classes ranged from 1 to 5 stars indicating the weight rating from low to high. The plates were porcelain and measured 6" by 15¼". This photo was from the outstanding early Truck plate display at the recent ALPCA convention by Jake Eckenrode. Watch for more in the future.
This is a 1939 Class R Truck plate with an interesting number. That year the R Class plates used 4 different serial progressions, with this plate being a part of the second series, or R00A0. The plates were the standard yellow on dark blue, all had 5 characters, and all measured 6" by 12". Thanks to Pete Madsen for the photo.
Next is this 1948 Class S Truck plate with an S00AA serial progression. That year there were 4 S-class serial progressions. All plates were 6 inches by 11 inches. This plate was spotted at a recent truck show.
This 1958 - 62 Y-class Truck plate was spotted in use at a recent truck show. The Y-class was for the next to the heaviest 2-axle class. Click the link above to see a table that lists the Weight Class Prefixes, Serial Progressions and Axles. There are also some 25 photos depicting most of the classes.
Here are two additions to the 1964 to '67 Truck series. During the 1958 and 1964 Truck series, there was a big expansion in the number of classes. Not only were trucks classified by weight, they were also divided up by the number of axles, and the ZT-class shown here was for the heaviest 3-axle Truck Tractor. The Z-class was for the heaviest 2-axle class Truck. The Z-class plate is thanks to Drewski.
Here's a recently reported Passenger plate high sent in by Matt Flamini. Admittedly I don't put a lot of emphasis on tracking Passenger and Truck plates, but now and then it's good to post a new waypoint on the plate progression journey. The current formatting with the map outline was first seen on standard passenger plates back in June of 2017, with the starting point of KLF-0000. Vanities were seen earlier.
Here's the first issue of an Autism Awareness plate. In most cases the lowest number plate started with 1 rather than a 0 as seen here. This plate was recently spotted by Jeff Lawson. Unfortunately the frame blocks the legend which would read Autism Awareness, somewhere around or before plate A/U20041 the legend was changed to Autism Society of America. The current reported high is A/U00455.
This pair of low numbered Pennsylvania Auctioneers Association plates was spotted by Nick Tsilakis — one recently and one some time ago. A plate check reveals that so far only about 24 serialized plates have been issued, and at least one vanity. The Auctioneers plate program dates back to 2013.
This School Vehicle plate on the far left is not a new high, but is is the highest number in the plate group just prior to the removal of the sticker well and the addition of the map outline. Plate SV-26883, previously posted is shown again for comparison. The changeover point is believed to be at or around SV-26800.
This is the current high plate spotted in the Special Mobile Equipment series. It still has the sticker recess. This was on one of the largest cranes I've ever seen, and it was just sitting there waiting to have its picture taken. A plate check shows that plates in the low D-series are currently being issued, so it won't be the high for long.
We start off this week's group of older plates with this 1949 Motorboat Dealer — note the X prefix. This year's plates were yellow on red, measured 5⅛ inches by 11 inches. The dealer series could be X+1, 2 or 3, with X+2 digits shown here. Click the link to see a 3-digit plate. Thank you to John Willard for his great display.
Next is this 1956 Motorboat Dealer plate. In 1950 Motorboat and Motorboat Dealer plates became the same size as Motorcycle plates, then in 1955 the map outline became a part of the plate. Also in 1955 the MBL legend had been shortened to MB, and also the expiration date was added to the top border. The serial number formatting remained much the same as other years. The color for 1956 was white on dark green. Thank you John Willard.
This 1958 Motorboat Dealer plate is the last of the dealers series I have to post. So if anyone has any to photograph, quite a few images are still needed. This photo also came from John Willard's Valley Forge display. The short X3 serial gives the plate some extra appeal.
This is not the first time this Penna 1907 plate has been shown here, but Eric Tanner was able to take this photo with the plate outside of its glass enclosure at the Sweigart Museum, thereby eliminating any reflections and shadows. This 111 year old beauty is the lowest number 1907 plate known to exist. The size of the plate is only 6 inches by 7 inches — that was all the space needed for 1 and 2-digit plates.
Here is a 1930 Format 7 Passenger plate. This serial progression started at AA and extended to ZZ999. So the serial number could be as short as 2 letters or as long as 5 characters. 2, 3 and 4 character plates were 6" by 10" in size while the 5 character plates were 12". Click the link above to see other 1930 plates. Many thanks to John Willard for the opportunity to photograph many of his plates. Still need Format 8 from 0AA00 to 9ZZ99.
For 1936 Passenger plates had some 9 serial progressions or formats. The plates shown here represent two of those formats. The far left plate is part of Format 4 which includes 10A0 to 99Z99. So both 6" x 10" and 6" x 12" plates were used. The near left plate is part of Format 8 — which includes AA10 to ZZ999. Again this allows for 6" x 10" and 6" x 12" sizes. Both of these plates are 10" shorties. The plates are thanks to eBay-er Pinkocelot and and Jeff Francis, respectively.
If you made it to the recent ALPCA convention, you know what this display is about, if not, this was one of the finest displays there. If you're a Pennsylvania enthusiast, this one ranks right at the top. Jake Eckenrode put together an amazing display of early PA truck plates beginning with 1914, the first year for Truck plates, up through 1919, the final year for stars. During that 6-year period Truck weight classes were identified by the number of stars on the the plate ranging from 1 star for the lightest gross vehicle weight, up to 5 stars for the heaviest. The 4 and particularly 5-star plates are tough to collect, but Jake has every class from every year. Sorry it's difficult to read the caption above the display which describes the weight class system of the time. Click the thumbnail for a larger image.
WOW — the first truck plate made for the first weight class! This 1933 Truck plate is quite a find and in excellent condition. It wasn't until 1934 that the word TRUCK first appeared on plates. For 1933 the size of the Truck plate was always 6" by 15" while Passenger plates used 6" by 10" and 12". All Truck plates used 6-character serial numbers with the initial character being a letter from R to Z, then RZ, etc. A big thank you to Clayton Moore for the use of this photo.
Part of this period from July 11th to the 14th was spent at the 64th annual international ALPCA License Plate Convention and Show which was held at the Valley Forge Convention Center. It was an outstanding show and venue for Pennsylvania collectors since it has been 9 years since the event was last held in PA. Lots to see with great displays from all over, thousands of plates for sale and trade, and great camaraderie with old friends and new acquaintances. Watch for some photos from the event over the next few weeks and months. Above is my pair of ALPCA souvenir plates.
I haven't looked at the Associated Alumni of the Central High School's plate program in a while, but a recent check shows that they now have 2 sequentially numbered plates in use. Vanities are unknown. With so few plates in use, photographing one will be a tall order.
The far left Cumberland Valley Corvette Club plate photo was taken some months ago by Nick Tsilakis and posted to PAPlates.com, but is a nice representative image and still the current reported high. The vanity edition of a was recently spotted by Jordan Irazabal. This plate type went active around March of 2016.
This Fraternal Order of Police plate was recently spotted by Jordan Irazabal. This is one of those in-between plates where the sticker well has been removed but map has not yet been added. By the time plates reached F/P21420, the map was added. The FOP logo shown would have been attached by the owner.
This recently spotted Women in Transition Inc. plate is one of only five such plates registered, and only the second photographed. It's unknown if there are vanities in use. The plate program has been around since 2009. Thanks to Jordan Irazabal for sharing this photo.
The Vietnam War Veteran plate on the far left does not have a sticker well, while the higher number plate in the center does have a sticker well — aggravating! I just received the photo with the map outline and is also the new high. The inconsistencies of the first two plates is tough to track. I'm just going to state what has been observed, not try to explain it. The V/W10573 plate photo is thanks to Jordan Irazabal, while the V/W10717 was photographed by Tom Perri. The V/W10920 is thanks to Arthur Levine.
Here's a new high Trailer plate recently spotted by Jordan Irazabal. The use of the map outline is believed to have started back at XKY-0000. If the long bolts on the plate look peculiar, it's because I cropped, skewed and sized the original photo to give the plate a straight-on look, but that process does not do the same for the bolts.
Here's a mystery, oddball, unknown Bicentennial State '76 plate. The colors are reversed for that period. I'm wondering if this might have been an early prototype or test before the liberty bell found its way to the center. Charlie Metz recently snagged this on ebay. Can anyone help identify the plate?
Finding Motorboat Dealer plate photos or plates to photograph has never been easy. There is even some uncertainty as to the earliest such plate. Anyway, we have this very nice multi-year 1934 thru 1936 Dealer plate, which could be renewed annually thru 1936. Like automotive plates at the time, the 'X' prefix indicated Dealer. The MBL stood for Motorboat License. These were 6 inch by 12 inch plates, but unlike automotive plates at the time, these plates had a beveled edge. This plate was owned by Jake Eckenrode and seen at the recent ALPCA Convention.
John Willard had a nice Motorboat plate display along with a smaller group of Motorboat Dealer plates. Here is a low-digit 1939 Motorboat Dealer. Beginning in 1937 the plate design was changed, and the size was reduced to 5⅛" by 9½". The '39 plates were white on green. We have no statistics on the number issued.
Next up is this 1948 Motorboat Dealer plate. While the colors of the '37 above and this plate may look similar, this plate is actually yellow on green. The other noticeable difference is the size, which is now 5⅛ inches by 11 inches. Thanks to John Willard for the fine display. Check back next week for a few more.
Here's an ALPCA Convention photo of Tim Gierschick proudly displaying his newly acquired and very nice original 2-digit 1920 Passenger plate. Tim has a great collection of 2 and 3-digit early passenger plates. This plate helped to fill a gap in Tim's collection, as well as on this website. Single, two and three digit plates for 1920 were 'shorties' measuring 6 inches by 10 inches. Three other sizes were used that year for 4, 5 and 6-digit plates measuring up to 6 inches by 16 inches All plates were white on dark blue. *** Tim is also the foremost collector of PA Tractor plates, not to offend other PA Tractor plate collectors, but Tim has put together an amazing collection. He is still very much in need of a 1929 Tractor plate. Tim has always been a great help to me with plate photos.
These are both 1935 Passenger Format 5 plates. While it appears confusing that both 4 and 5 character plates would be a part of the same 'format', it is my understanding that this progression started at 000A, then 001A, and after hitting 999A, it continued now with the addition of another digit in the final position, 100A0, 100A1, etc The entire A progression was used before going to the B, so as usual, the letter is the last to advance. With the plates shown here, the 12-inch plate with the 'A' in the serial would have been produced before the 'shortie' with the 'J'. Confusing, absolutely! The far left plate is thanks to Stephen, who goes by ohghcllc on ebay. The 984J is thanks to John Willard.
Speaking of such plates, here's a 1922 Tractor courtesy of Tim Gierschick. As best as I can figure, all '22 Tractor plates were the same size at 6 inches by 16 inches. This is because the Tractor base used PENNA TRACTOR 1922 as the legend spread across the bottom. So the size of the plate was determined by the legend rather than the serial. Still I'd very much like to see a plate with an E+1 digit serial number to know for certain.
Here is a 1955 Tractor plate. Beginning in 1934 Tractor plate were limited to 4 characters and the length was shortened to 10¼" by 1953. This then required alpha-numeric plates once the all numeric series topped 9999. Click the link to see several other '55 Tractor plates. Another thank you to Tim Gierschick for his ongoing help and support.
Due to time away at the ALPCA convention in Valley Forge this past week, this will be a shortened edition.
First new style Commonwealth Official Use plate photographed. This was on a state-owned pickup truck used by the PA Game Commission. Some state agencies have opted to use their own logo such as PennDOT and the Turnpike Commission, but apparently the Game Commission has chosen to go with the more generic state coat of arms version. It is unknown at what point this change took place, but PA-0409B was still on the white on blue base.
Here's another example of the recently 'discovered' PA Turnpike Official Use plates. So far only PennDOT and the PA Turnpike have opted to use their own logo on Official Use plates. Compare this to the plate above that uses the more generic coat of arms insignia.
The vanity plate photo on the far left we recently taken by Bruce Bufalini. Nick Tsilakis pointed out the use of the bold visitPA.com legend, which happens to be the same as is being used on the Teen Driver plate in the center. Compare this to the normal visitPA legend of the 89 vanity and other standard issue plates. The Teen Driver and 89 plate photos were from Ryan Battin.
This is a 1927 'O' series Bus or Omnibus plate. Click the link and go to the top of the section for an explanation of this plate type. This O+4-digit plate measures 6 inches by 13 inches. Plates with 'O'+3 or fewer digits measured 6 inches by 10 inches and did not use the dash separator. Thanks to Drewski for the use of this plate photo.
Here's a needed 1956 Used Car Dealer plate. At the time there were letter prefixes designating dealer types — A for New Car Dealer, B for Used Car Dealer and C for Transit Dealer. There were also X plates for Miscellaneous Dealers, but the X could be in any of the first 3 positions. This picture is thanks to Rodd Day, and was passed along to me by Eric Tanner.
This is a 1935 Format 1 Passenger plate. Format 1 was all-numeric from 1 or 2 up to 99999. I have several 2, 3 and 4 digit plates but this is the first all-numeric with 5. Plates up to 4 characters were 6" by 10" and 5 digit plates were 6" by 12". Both 10 and 12-inch plates were used in most of the serial progressions that year. Thanks to eBay user Yosteveyo for the use of the photo.
Here's a very nice 1931 R-Class Truck plate. Clayton Moore had this plate and another up for grabs on eBay as a matching pair. Plate size was 6 inches by 12 inches and there were 4 serial formats — R0A00, R00A0, R000A and 0R0A0, whit this plate being part of the second group.
This is a 1945 R-Class Truck plate. For that year the R-Class employed 4 serial progressions including R000A, R00A0, R0A00 and R00AA of which this plate is a part. Therefore all truck plates were 5 characters in length, and were 6 inches by 11 inches in size. Thanks to Peter Cohen for sharing his photos.
The formatting of this 1947 Truck plate is much the same as the plate above; however, for 1947 there were now 5 serial formats — R0A00, R00A0, R000A, R00AA and R0AA0, with this plate being part of the last group. Again the plates were 6" by 11", still issued in pairs. More kudos to Peter Cohen for the photo.
Here's the latest high Bronze Star for Valor plate. It's also the second one spotted with the small map outline. The map outline would have arrived between 00148 and 00167. The real mark of distinction is not the map or the plate, but the award reflected on the plate. It is also is not the same award as the Bronze Star. Thanks to Brendan Sherry for the photo, and thanks to the owner of the plate for his (or her) service to our country.
Here is another plate that distinguishes the owner as having served in the U.S. Navy. These veteran 'branch of service' plates go back to 2009 with some 2500 navy Veteran issued. They are also popular as personalized plates as shown here. This plate also shows the map outline. Another thank you to Brendan Sherry for the photo.
Here's a link to a news article about Honoring Our Veterans license plates. If you are not aware, these HV plates have been available to PA motorists since late 2012 — no need to be a veteran. The cost is $36. They are available in full size and motorcycle size plates, and also can be purchased as vanities. Proceeds benefit the Pennsylvania's Veterans' Trust Fund. Thanks Larry.
Two weeks ago we featured the two Repair Towing plates on the far left, and this week the latest plate on the near left. The RT-70730 still has the sticker well, the RT-71818 has no sticker well, and the latest image of the RT-72026 now shows the map outline. Based on inventory records, it is believed that those with sticker wells ended at RT-70899, then those without sticker wells extended to RT-71899, with the latest version starting at RT-71900. Thanks to Kat Keegan for the use of this new photo.
Here's a new high number FFA Association plate. This plate type has been on the road since 2006. Plate check suggests that the issued high is actually 00078F/A, so there is a very good chance that no plates have been issued with the small map outline yet. This plate was spotted by David Wilson in East Lancing, Michigan.
Here's a vanity edition of a Mayflower Descendant plate. This is a very new organizational tag with no prototype image available. A vanity check of this plate type shows only 1 standard plate in use — seems a little odd. The formatting of standard plates would be 00001M/D. Thanks to John Fedorchak for the image.
On the far left is a recent traffic shot of a Temple University Alumni plate taken by Julian Marrero. It's an eye-catching vanity plate with just a single character. A couple friends have commented on this plate design, wondering why Temple didn't choose to go with the school colors when they redesigned their plate.
As time goes on, and more-and-more plates are added to fill the needed plate gaps on this website, it also becomes tougher to find plates to fill the remaining holes. This 1926 Passenger plate helped to fill one of those gaps, and is currently on eBay offered by Greg and Peg from Aged2PerfectionStore1. Alpha-numeric passenger plates began in 1924, and in 1926 the size of the letter characters were made smaller than numbers for the first time.
Here's a very nice looking 1954 Tractor plate. Note the use of the leading 0 as this series started at 0001. As has been the practice after hitting 9999, the alpha-numeric series was used with a single letter in the first position. Click the link to see a couple examples. Plates measured 6" x 10¼". Thanks to Tim Gierschick for sharing his photos.
In 1956 all full size PA plates were standardized at 6 inched by 12 inches in size Since that time that has remained the standard size for U.S. plates. Despite the increase in plate width, 1956 Tractor plates retained the same 4-character formatting, with the alpha-numeric plates likely running into the S series. Thanks again to Tim Gierschick for sharing his Tractor plate photos.
Here's a very nice 1939 S-Class Truck plate which I'm sure has been refinished. The S weight class that year used four serial progressions including S000A, S00A0, S0A00, S00AA, with this plate being part of the last group. All truck plates were 5-character and all measured 6 inches by 12 inches.
Next up is this trio of 1940 R-Class Truck plates. The R weight class, which is the lightest weight class, consisted of three serial progressions including R000A, R00A0, R0A00 all of which are shown here. The far left photo was taken at a truck show, the center plate was spotted at Jerry's Classic Cars & Collectibles Museum in Pottsville, and the third was kindly provided by Peter Cohen.
Like the other plates shown above, 1942 Truck plates started with the R-Class for the lightest weight and ran through the ZZ-Class for the heaviest, although the 2-letter prefix / 3-axle classes almost seem non-existent. Within the 1942 ranks there were four different serial progressions for the S weight class. All plates were 6" by 12". Another thank you goes out to Peter Cohen for photos from his collection.
In 1944 Truck plates saw a reduction in plate size from 6" by 12" to 6" by 11". The format shown here, R0A00, was the third of four formats used that year for the R-Class. The other included R000A, R00A0 and R00AA. All truck plates, regardless of class, used a 5-character serial number. More thank you to Peter Cohen for photos from his collection.
I don't normally post editorials on this website, and it is not my desire to take on PennDOT, but a recent investigative report made me see red. PennDOT is actually selling drivers' personal information, including names, addresses and driving history. In fact, since fiscal year 2016, PennDOT has made $88.9 million by selling your data. But when I have contacted PennDOT with legitimate questions about the format of a registration plate, I was summarily told that to answer my question would violate confidentiality, which it clearly would not. It was a ploy to stonewall me. Apparently if you have enough money, all things are possible.
It's not a great picture, but it does show that the sticker well is gone on this Dealer plate. Based on an inventory report, the dropping of the sticker well appears to have started at K46-500K. Can't say when the map outline will appear. I find it both challenging and frustrating how these changes are taking place. Tracking such changes is not easy. Of course we've already seen the small map outline on a Dealer vanity.
A week ago I spotted a new Antique Vehicle serial progression, and this week I came across the first issue of that new series. This series took the place of the 0A00 series after reaching 9Z99. The use of these plates appears to be growing at an increasing rate. Total antique vehicles registered in 2010 were 127,000, and 181,000 at the end of 2017.
Over the past several weeks we've seen plates in the 0R00, 0S00, 0V00, and 0Z00 all with with the small map outline, while it appears likely that the entire 0W00 series does not have the map. With the plate shown here we now know that the 0X00 series has the map. So far no 'T' series plates have been spotted, and no 'U' series plates were issued.
'Tis the season for spotting so many Antique Vehicle and the occasional Antique Motorcycle plate. The current format and plate size date back to around May of 2013. The current plate series started at 01000 and has progressed at least as high as the plate spotted here by Bruce Bufalini.
This Share The Road vanity was recently spotted. This is part of the Special Fund plate group. It may be a little hard to see because of the shadow, but this plate does not have the sticker well, and no map. As for the Share The Road plates with the standard serial numbers, it is difficult to say for sure whether plates with stickers wells are still being issued. Anyone have anything additional about sticker wells or map outlines on these plates?
Here are three different generations of Municipal Government plates all still on active duty. There are actually more variations if you include the white on blue without the letter suffix, followed by white on blue with the MG in the suffix position. And if you want to back to the 1971 to '76 issue, the first series of yellow on blue Municipal plates. Photo credit for the center and right plate goes to Jeff Lawson.
This is a 1935 'shorty' Passenger plate. A 3-digit plate was needed to fill a gap in the photo gallery. For 1935 there were some 8 different serial formats, and 7 of the 8 formats were made up of both 6 inch by 10 inch, and 6 inch by 12 inch plates. Credit for this plate goes to 8 year old Josh Vanchure.
Here's a 1937 Passenger plate where we see the start of the state map outline on Passenger plates. This feature continued on Passenger plates until the Bicentennial plates came along in 1971. That feature is still in use today on Municipal Motorcycle plates. Again for '37 both 10 inch and 12 inch plate sizes were used. This is also the year with a short run of plates with keystones flanking the 1937 PENNA.
I've always been fond of plates in the '34 to '37 era with their neatly arranged and easy to identify, PENNA, TRACTOR and 1936. 1936 Tractor plates were all numeric, beginning at 1 and extending to over 4800. All Tractor plates were 6" by 12". Thanks to Clayton Moore for sharing a group of his tractor plate.
By 1941 Tractor plates saw a number of changes. The map outline border was added to Tractor plates in '38, and beginning in '41 the expiration date was added to the top border as 3-31-42. The serial progression ran from 0001 to under 9999. All such plates were 6" by 12". Another thank you to Clayton Moore for this photo.
Next up is this 1945 Tractor plate also thanks to Clayton Moore. Note the use of the leading zero in the serial number which started at 0001. It is not confirmed whether the serial sequence extended into the alpha-numeric series, i.e. A001, etc. One source indicates that the progression ended in the 6000 series, while another suggests it extended into the alpha-numeric series. Plates measured 6" by 11".
Next up is this 1946 Tractor plate from Tim Gierschick. These were similar in size and other features to the '45 plate above. The obvious difference its the reversal of the pant colors. We also know that in '46 the alpha-numeric series was used as we just posted plate B434 last week from Clayton Moore. Click the link above to see more plates.
The final Tractor plate for this week is this 1947 alpha-numeric format. I'm sure in the post war era, there was a big shift away from horses for draft work on farms, and a switch to more modern tractors, thus an increase in the number of Tractor registrations. A lot has changed since then, today's farm tractors rarely use plates. Those few that do, have Implement of Husbandry or Commercial Implement. I've only seen one Implement of Husbandry on a farm tractor, the others I've seen were on anhydrous ammonia trailers. Thanks to Tim Gierschick for this image, check back next week for more.
Here's a very nice 1935 R-Class Truck plate. This plate was part of the first R-Class serial progression which ran from R000A to R999Z, then the final letter moved one space to the left for the next series. This process continued until the letter was shifted just next to the R. At that point the process went to a 6 character plate using R00-00A as the format. The 6 character plates increased the size from 6" by 12" to 6" by 15". Thanks again to Peter Cohen for this plate image.
We finish up with an S-Class 1936 Truck plate. Like the '35 plate above, this is also the first sequence of the S-Class, with a similar series of progressions, and also with a 6-digit overflow run which required the use of 15 inch plates. Another thank you to Peter Cohen for providing this, and many other truck plate images.
If you are a regular on my website, PAPL8S.com, you are probably also aware of Tom Perri's PA Plates website where he tracks the highs of all of the current PA plate types. The web address is PAPlates.com/. We both use the term PA Plates, and I do post highs, so there could be some confusion. Anyway, Tom just recently did a major update. If you haven't been there, check it out!
This is a new high number Penn State Alumni Association plate showing the third iteration of the Nittany Lion. This current version was first seen in July of 2017. This version always had the small map outline.
Here is the latest Antique Vehicle plate showing a new serial progression. The previous format likely ended at 9Z99 then switched to the new progression, 00A0, as shown here with the letter shifting one place to the right. The letter in this series is the last character to advance. This plate was spotted at the Macungie Truck Show.
Here is a pair of personalized Antique Vehicle plates spotted on opposite ends of PA. Both plates have the most current features of the small map outline where the sticker well used to be. These plates allow up to 4 characters. The SNO plate was seen at the Macungie show, and the SCWS plate was photographed by Bruce Bufalini, in Irwin, PA.
I spotted both of these plates a few minutes apart at the Macungie Truck show. The far left plate is an Apportioned Truck without the sticker well and without the map outline, while the near left plate has the small map outline. For now I'm going to put the changeover point at AG-73000, but my confidence level in that number is not high. Doesn't PennDOT realize that there are people out here who need to track this stuff?
Here's another pair of with and without plates, in this case the far left Repair Towing plate has the sticker well and the near left plate does not. No sign of the small map outline yet. The RT-70730 was spotted months ago but not posted. The other plate is a new high.
Here's a new high Press Photographer plate that was issued within the past few months. It still retains the sticker well. These plates are stockpiled in the warehouse, and with so few plates being issued, it may be quite a while until these are seen with the map outline. The few that have been seen with the map outline were vanities or remakes. Thanks to Chris Post for sharing this photo.
This is a 1933 Format 5 Passenger plate. That group included the serial progression of 000A to 999Z9, so there were both 4 and 5 character plates. This plate measures 6 inches by 12 inches, while plates with 4 or fewer characters were 6 inches by 10 inches. Credit for this plate photo goes to Glenn Timmons.
On Fathers' Day we visited Jerry's Classic Cars & Collectibles Museum near Pottsville. There were quite a few plates on display, mostly passenger and a few truck, and mostly from PA. I photographed this needed 1939 Format 9 Passenger plate. The serial progression was 1AA0 to 9ZZ99, so both 10 and 12 inch sizes were used.
This is a 1949 Format 8 Passenger which included the serial progression of AA10 to ZZ999. All plates that year measured 6 inches by 11 inches. Serial number were either 4 or 5 characters. Something I seldom mention is that the plate expiration date is in the top border. This plate was from the Macungie Truck Show.
Also from Jerry's Classic Cars & Collectibles Museum I came away with this unusual 3-character 1955 Passenger plate photo. Plates with fewer than 4 characters that year were considered a non-standard issue. Standard plates had 4 or 5 characters. All passenger plates that year were 6 inches by 10¼ inches.
Next in the lineup are several Tractor plates beginning with this 1928 - not bad for a 90 year old plate. After 1927 the E prefix on Tractor plates was replaced with TE as the E was needed for passenger plates. The TE stood for Traction Engine. It appears, but is unconfirmed, that all such plates, even those from TE1 to TE-999 serial numbers, were 6" by 15" in size. Thanks to Clayton Moore for the plate photo.
Here is a pair of 1946 Tractor plates showing both Format 1, all-numeric, and and Format 2 alpha-numeric serial numbers. The serial numbers were were all 4 character. All plates measured 6 inches by 11 inches. The far left plate was photographed at a truck show, and the near left photo is thanks to Clayton Moore.
On the far left is a restored John Deer R tractor, which was a large 2-cylinder tractor with a hand clutch. This 1949 Tractor plate is the last of such plates for this week — more next week. This is also a Format 1 plate which runs from 0001 to 9999. An alpha-numeric plate photo is still needed for a number of different years. Like the '46 above, all '49 plates were 6 inches by 11 inches. Thanks to Tim Gierschick for this photo. I want the tractor!
This is a 1933 Class T Truck plate. All Class T plates follow this serial progression, T10-000. All plates are 6 inches by 15 inches, and are yellow on dark blue. 1933 is one the early years of 3-axle plates. As I understand it, 3-axle referred to a truck with a single front axle and tandem or dual rear axles. Those plates use an RZ to ZZ prefix, and appear to be extremely rare. Thanks to Peter Cohen for this image.
Here are two additions to the 1934 Truck series plates. The far left is a Class R series running from R0A00 to R9Z99, and was one of four serial progressions for that weight class. For the U Class there was only one progression, that starting at U000A. The R Class photo was from a recent truck show, and the U Class is from Peter Cohen, with my appreciation for all his photographic help.
Here's a very nice photo of a recent Organ Donors Save Lives vanity plate. Note the map outline attesting to its newness. The Organ Donor plate was one of the first plates to use the color graphic format. They were first seen on 10/27/2004. Since that time almost 1,900 plates have been registered. Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for sharing this image.
On the far left is a recent photo of a NASCAR 88 Dale Jarrett. It would have been issued for the 2004 or 2005 racing season, and it is the highest number documented so far. The sample plate on the near left represents a 2006 variation of the 88 graphic possibly due to a change in sponsorship. So far it has not been determined how many of the 2006 plates were issued, if any. With so many unanswered questions about NASCAR plates, the final history may never be written. Thanks to Jeff Lawson for the 0173 photo, and Paul Bagnarol for the sample.
This pair of sequential Municipal Government plates are believed to be the latest reported high numbers. As you may recall, this new Municipal plate format started at M/G9000J, and was first seen in early February 2017. Thanks to Steve Noll for the photos.
This Severely Disabled Veteran plate was spotted by Nick Tsilakis who remarked that this may be a remake of an old base or the owner is a Trekkie. Both the Disabled Veteran and Severely Disabled Veteran vanities seem popular, as I'm sure there's a story behind each one.
Sorry, it's barely recognizable, but it is a new high Permanent Trailer plate. This plate type made its debut back in 1997 with its yellow on blue colors. The plate type until recently always had a sticker well but never had a sticker since the plates are permanent, but for the last 10 months the plates have the small map outline in the upper left.
Clayton Moore has shared a group of older Tractor plates including this 1920. The legend TRACTOR along the bottom of the plate makes identification easy. The 'E', for Engine, is another identifying feature which had been used on all Tractor plates since they started in 1914 up through 1923. It appears that all 1920 Tractor plates measured 6" by 16", with the original colors being white on black. Click the link above to see several others.
Here's a 1921 Tractor also from Clayton. This plate had been on this site previously under a different owner. The 'E' prefix and 6 inch by 16 inch size is the same as the 1921 plate above. After the serial number hit E1-000, a dash separator was added. Plate colors are black on yellow.
Do you recognize this as a 1927 Tractor plate? The E is the identifier, short for engine or traction engine — an early term. They're kind of rare, rare enough in fact that this is only the second 5-character plate I've seen from 1927. So in spite of there being a hole in the plate, it's a great find, and does help to confirm plate size and formatting. Thanks to Clayton Moore for the use of his plate photo. Check back next week for more of Clayton's plates.
The 1930 Truck plate is likely one of the most difficult to collect, or even identify. There is no legend saying Truck, and no weight class prefix letter as in earlier or later years. The final 2 letters designate weight class for 1930. In this case this is a Class R, which was authorized to run from 01AA to 999FZ. The R thru ZZ class system was still in place but identification was much more cryptic, and not shown on the plates. This plates measures 6" by 12", but 4-character plates were 6" by 10". Thank you to Peter Cohen for sharing this plate photo and so many others.
Next in line is this 1931 Truck plate. Apparently the 1930 experiment with puzzling serial numbers was discarded in favor of a more logical system. The new formatting used the weight class as the prefix, in this case R, then used another letter in the number in order to hold the plates to 5 characters. The colors were yellow on dark blue, and all plates are believed to be 6 inches by 12 inches. Another gracious thank you to Peter Cohen for sharing this plate photo.
By 1932 Truck plate size went back to 6 inches by 15 inches. All plates contained 6 characters, with the first character representing the weight class. So the T-class, as shown here, would have run from T10-000 to under T50-000, however the plates were likely authorized as high as T99-999 if needed. This is another Peter Cohen plate photo.
Just for fun, here's another pair of 1932 plates. The plate legend is the same, the 'T' prefix is the same, but has a different meaning. If you haven't figured it out, these are Trailer plates. Since the 'T' prefix did double duty, the number of digits is the deciding factor. These trailer plate photos were provided by Eric Tanner.
Back in March the Antique Vehicle plate 3W34 was documented without the sticker well and without the small map outline. This is after plates in the R, S, V and Z series were known to have the map outline. Recently Bruce Bufalini photographed three additional W-series plates at a recent event all with the map outline missing. Not sure what's happening, but plate production is inconsistent. We need to see plates in the T, U-series (if there was a U-series), W, X and Y. The 3W34 plate was from Ryan Battin.
Here's the latest high number Classic Vehicle, also spotted by Bruce Bufalini. These plates added the small map outline at C40900 and it appears that they have stayed the course, unlike the plates above. The difference between antique and classic registration is that an antique must have been manufactured more that 25 years ago, while a classic requires 15 years.
Here's a new high Emergency Vehicle plate. These plates are generally seen on fire department and EMS vehicles, although Municipal plates are also seen. They are fee-exempt. There is also a lower tier of EV plates, those in the EV-30000 range, that are issued when a registration fee is required.
The PA Society Sons of American Revolution plate program dates back to late 2006. The number of these plates registered is under 200. It is unknown if any vanities exist, or if the map outline has made an appearance yet.
This Appalachian Trail Conservancy vanity plate was recently spotted by Jordan Irazabal. This plate type dates back to 2014. Did you know the AT stretches 229 miles mainly through the south east to south central portions of PA? The plates cost $52, more for personalization. The current listed high is AT00325.
Here is a Radnor Fire Company of Wayne plate. Their plate program goes back to 2013. I think this plate would be a new reported high for this series. This plate was recently spotted by Jordan Irazabal.
This is likely one of the very last PA Permanent Fleet stickers issued, that is based on the belief that Fleet stickers were discontinued at the end of 2016 as were other stickers. Thanks to Steve Noll for the photo from a Duquesne Light fleet vehicle.
This photo helped provide a needed image of a 1914 Format 2 plate. Format 2 were all 3-dgit plates ranging from 100 to 999, and all measured 6 inches by 10 inches. The plates were porcelain and were made by the Brilliant Manufacturing Co. of Philadelphia. This was a John Willard & John Anshant plate.
Here's a 1924 Format 2 Passenger plate, which were 5-digit plates. This plate helps narrow the point at which the strap slots were discontinued which is likely somewhere between this plate and the 35000 series. Tim Gierschick comments that he never seen a tractor, trailer, truck, omnibus plate from 1924 with a slot, but he has seen home-made slots on these plates up to and including 1929. Interesting — and one of those things that make the hobby interesting, and deserves more follow-up. Thanks to Pinkocelot for the use of the photo.
Here's a photo of a nicely preserved 1930 3-digit Passenger plate. It's part of Format 1, which ran from 1 to 99999. This plate measures 6 inches by 10 inches. That size was used for 1 to 4 digit plates. 5 digit plates were 6 inches by 12 inches, with that being the largest size used that year on passenger plates. The owner of the photo gave me the OK to use it but did now wish credit.
Back to older Truck plates starting with this 1926 S-Class tag. The weight class series ran from R to Z skipping X, with R being the lightest weight. The S-Class series likely ran from S-1 to above S33-000. The size of the plate depended on the number of characters in the serial number — 6" by 10" for 2 and 3 characters, 6" by 12" for 4 characters, 6" by 13" for 5 characters, although some 5-character plates were 6" by 15", and 6" by 15" for 6 characters as shown here. Thanks to Peter Cohen for the plate photo.
The R to Z lettered weight classification system for 1927 Trucks is similar to the '26 above. The V-Class ran from V-1 to at least as high as the plate shown here. The size of the plate depended on the number of characters in the serial number — 6" by 10" for 1 to 4 characters, 6" by 13" for 5 characters, although some 5-character plates were 6" by 15", and 6" by 15" for 6 characters as shown here. This is another one of those oddities that make this hobby enjoyable. Another nod to Peter Cohen for his generosity in sharing so many truck plates.
Again the weight classification system for 1928 Trucks was similar to the plates above. Here is an R-Class plate with 5 characters. The R progression would have started at R-1 and went to R99-999, then the R prefix was shifted to the suffix position, 1-R, etc. Click the link above to see all three plate sizes and 2 to 6 character serial formats. Another thank you goes out to Peter Cohen.
We finish this week with this 1929 U-Class Truck plate. The U class took its place in the R to Z progression, but a ZZ class was added for heavier weight trucks. The plate shown here being 5 characters in length is also 13 inches in length. There were also 10-inch and 15-inch plates for those with shoeter and longer serial numbers. Again I wish to thank Peter Cohen for this and more plates to come.
This is a vanity edition of a Bronze Star plate. The standard edition is 5 digits plus the B/Z suffix, the personalized or vanity can be had with up to 5 letters and/or numbers with the flat screened B/Z suffix. Vietnam 101st Airborne? You decide. Thank you to Jordan Irazabal for the plate photo.
Here's an interesting pair of sequentially numbered Animal Friends plates. The far left plate, which was spotted back in April, does not have the small map outline, while the other more recent plate photo does. Bruce Bufalini took both of the photos. The graphic organizational plates are produced upon receipt of an order, not produced and kept on inventory.
College and university plate programs are fairly plentiful, but high school plate programs not so much. Here we have a low number LaSalle College High School. These have been on the street since 2005, with the current reported high of L/S00134. The plate shown here was recently spotted by Jeff Lawson.
Here is a pair of low-numbered Villanova University Alumni Assoc. plates. These would have originally issued on the yellow on blue base, then reissued in July 2001. The far left plate was borrowed from Tom Perri, while the near left plate is from Jeff Lawson. There is also a later version of the Villanova University plate on the graphic base, but with the V/U in the suffix position.
To the average driver there may be nothing special about this plate. It's not a high or a low, but a Repossessor plate is definitely not one you see on the road every day. It's also one of PA rarest Dealer types. I thought the name on the side of the truck of 'Financial Adjusters' kind of says it all.
These are recent National Rifle Association plates. The serial numbers are only 13 plates apart, but the 0841 plate has an obvious space between the serial number and the NRA suffix. In fact the 0841 is also shifted to the right. This was not seen in any earlier plates. The 0828 plate is courtesy of Brandon Sowers, while the 0841 plate was previously posted, and was provided by Steve Ondik.
The Ruffed Grouse Society plate program dates back to 2005 with some 140 sequential plates registered. This is the first personalized or vanity edition I've seen. Note that the 5 is the only embossed character on the plate, all other characters are flat screened. It does make you wonder how long until the entire process goes flat. Thanks to Jordan Irazabal for the nice photo.
Probably not much chance of PennDOT running out of these plates anytime soon. After all, it appears that these sequential plates are the latest high numbers in the Teen Driver plate series which dates back to 2013. This is considered an optional plate similar to the In God We Trust plate. The Teen Driver has a bargain price tag of $11, as long as you don't decide to go vanity which adds another $104. On the other hand, the In God We Trust plate goes for $21. Also $104 to personalize it. The In God We Trust plate have over 1000 plates registered so far. I wouldn't be surprised if the Teen Driver plate program was discontinued. Thanks to Barefoot Jaime for the photo.
Here's the latest high Temporary Intransit plate spotted by Jordan Irazabal. The photo was added to the Miscellaneous plates page and the N to Z History page. It may be worth mentioning that there are some fake or counterfeit Temporary plates out there, usually with the wrong font or the an out of range serial number.
First time I've seen one of these Superior Court plates with an embossed keystone and the word JUDGE. It appears that at one time the plate had the state coat of arms in the center of the keystone. At one time I had a Superior Court plate with with a brass keystone and state seal. Click link to see image. Unfortunately there are no photos of actual Superior Court plates prior to 2000. They did exist. Thanks to Lee Madigan for sharing this and other photos.
This week we have a few more older Trailer plates starting with this 1951 Format 4 shown here. Format 4 consisted of the serial progression of 00A0 to 99Z9. All plates were 4 characters that year; however one source indicates that there were 5-digit plates toward the end of production, while another source does not support that. It's one of those mysteries that makes the hobby interesting. All plates were 6 inches by 11 inches. Thanks to Bob Connison for providing this photo.
Next in line is this 1953 Format 6 Trailer plate. Format 6 plates were all 5 digits. Beginning in 1953 the plates were reduced in width from 11 inches down to 10¼ inches as part of a cost saving measure. Even with the narrower plate, 5 numeric characters were squeezed into the available space. Another thank you to Bob Connison for providing this photo.
The final trailer plate for this week is this 1954 Format 5. This is one of 6 serial progressions. This serial format includes 000A to 999Z. This plate is also a continuation of the 6 inch by 10¼ inch plates used during 1953, '54 and '55. This calls for another thank you to Bob Connison for providing this photo.
This is a 1922 Commercial plate. The term Commercial has been used interchangeably with the term Truck over the years. In fact the use of the word Truck was not actually used as part of the plate legend until 1934. Based on research done by Eric Tanner it appears that there were likely 8 truck weight classes which were identifiable by the first digit in the plate serial number, making this a Class 6 plate. The plate colors were brown on cream. Many thanks to Peter Cohen this and other truck plates.
Next in this week's lineup is this nicely refinished 1923 Commercial plate. It is believed that the same weight class system was used up thru 1923, making this a Class 1, or lightest weight class as designated by the 1 at the beginning of the serial number. The plate colors were yellow on dark blue making this the first year for the annual flip-flop of those colors. Again my thanks to Peter Cohen for the plate photo.
The final plate is this 1926 U-class truck. Beginning in 1924 weight classes were changed to the more familiar R for the lightest weight through Z for the heaviest. There was no X class as that was reserved for Dealer plates. The progression for the plate shown here likely ran from U-1 to approximately U25-000. The colors were dark blue on yellow, and sizes varied with the length of the serial number. Thank you Peter Cohen.
I had to look twice at the photo when John Clark sent me this Official Use plate image on the far left. Back in February of 2017 PennDOT announced that they would bring Official Use plates into the 'family of plates' giving them a new look. It was also stated that other state agencies would have the option of using their own logo in place of the generic coat of arms which still has not made its debut. Up to this point only PennDOT has been issuing agency-specific plates. Examples to the left. Now we see that the PA Turnpike has followed suit. Note the logo and U suffix where the PennDOT plates use T. Other state agencies could follow.
Here's a new high number Official Use plate. This is part of the series issued to passenger vehicles which also means that two plates would have been issued. Sometime in the future these are expected to switch over to the visitPA 'family of plates' format with a flat screened coat of arms. Thanks you to Bruce Bufalini for the use of this photo.
Here's a new high Motorcycle plate. The current alpha-numeric progression is 0AA00, but notice the use of the letter I in the serial number. That is one of the letters that is not normally used in serial progressions, but lately the letters I and O have also been seen on Antique Vehicle plates as well. Thanks to Ryan Battin for this interesting photo.
This is the latest high Antique Vehicle plate. These plates have been around since the 1950s with many changes in formatting over the years. The Z on this plate would suggest that this serial format is about to shift. I'm thinking that 00A0 could be the next progression. Another thank you to Ryan Battin for his timely photo updates.
This is a new high Apportioned Bus plate. This plate type switched to the visitPA base at BN-04000. But unlike most other plates that made that switch, these plates retained the dash separator instead of the expected keystone separator. Not sure when the sticker well go away, or the addition of the small map outline.
My crystal ball suggested that by this point the Apportioned Truck series would have been using the small map outline, but not yet. It's hard to say for sure, but the plate does not appear to have a sticker well. This is a new high recently spotted on the dirty rear end of a dump truck.
Here's a recent street shot of a new high number Dealer plate. It does not appear to have the small map outline yet. So far the map outline has only been seen on a Dealer vanity plate. I'm not going to speculate on the presence or absence of the sticker well. Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for the use of this photograph.
This is a new high Severely Disabled Veteran plate, now in the 96000 series. Don't look for these plates to take on the visitPA look. The design and coloring of both the Disabled Veteran and Severely Disabled Veteran plates are spelled out in the legislation that authorized these plates. Another thank you to Bruce Bufalini for the use of this photograph.
I took this Operation Enduring Freedom Veteran plate picture back in March, and then missed posting it. The serial number, 1090Y, makes this a vanity plate. The plate features the Afghanistan Campaign Medal. This plate type has been available since 2005. According to Tom Perri's PA Plates website, the high is 01798E/F.
We're adding a few more older trailer plates this week starting with this 1947 Format 1, all numeric (0001 to 9999) plate. There were also three additional alpha-numeric sequences. Click the link above to see examples of the other three serial formats. All trailer plates were 4 characters and all were 6 inches by 11 inches. Thanks to Bob Connison for this photo.
This is a 1949 Format 4 Trailer plate. Format 4 consisted of the run from 00A0 to 99Z9. There was a total of 5 formats used that year. All trailer plates had a 4-character serial number, and all measured 6 inches by 11 inches. Thank you to Bob Connison for this photo.
Here's a complete run of 1950 Trailer plates. The all-numeric Format 1 plate on the far left was provided by Michael Wiener of Bestplates. The G548 is a format 2 plate and is thanks to Bob Connison. These are both new additions to this website. The three remaining plates were previously posted but are being shown here to show all 5 formatting sequences for 1950. Note that the serial progressions starts with all-numeric, then with each succeeding plate the alpha character shifts one space to the right.
Here's the first image of a Eureka Volunteer Fire and Ambulance plate. They are located in Stewartstown, York County, PA. Their tag program has only had plates on the street for a couple months, with about 5 in use. Thanks to Arthur Levine for the plate photo. Unfortunately the photo did not capture the upper portion of the plate.
Here are two National Ovarian Cancer Coalition plates. This group has had plates on the street since mid-2012. The current reported high is 10103C/S. The far left plate was recently photographed by Bruce Bufalini, near left plate picture was taken a couple years ago by Tom Perri, but never posted.
It looks like a new organizational plate is in the works called Mayflower Descendant. Can't find much information on the plate yet, but it may be a creation of the Society of Mayflower Descendants or Pennsylvania Mayflower Society. No prototype photo yet. The serial coding on the plate will likely be 00000M/D.
Back in March of this year it was announced that a new PA National Guard plate would soon be available. Apparently it is now available with about 7 plates registered so far. The image on the left is a prototype and is one of the 'active duty' (AD) series of veterans' plates.
Here's a new high number School Vehicle plate. This plate type has seen a lot of variations over the years. So far ten variations have been identified since they first transitioned to the www base. Note the presence of the small map outline which is believed to have started at SV-26800. Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for sharing this photo.
This is a recent issue Amateur Radio plate — note the presence of the small map outline. These plates have a long history, dating back to 1956. The plates show the radio call letters of the owner, which can have A, K, N or W as the first letter. They always contain a number in the second or third position to indicate the region of which PA is in region 3. For additional information click the link above.
Here's the earliest cardboard Temporary plate photo I have. It's dated 1949. At least for now I'm going to treat this format as being the original design. One feature that makes this design different from the next are the dashes between the Ts and PENNA. The next design had the T's with PENNA without dashes. I'm hoping that as more examples come to the forefront, more details can be recorded. Thanks to ebay seller Pat Damico / Libertysales2 for the use of the photo.
Here's an all-numeric version of Temp tags used from around 1968 to around 1974. When I said all-numeric, I'm not counting the first T which appears to be a static, not advancing character. This version spells out the word TEMPORARY above the serial number, then above that feature are spaces for the following data: Issued; Make; Serial and Expires. Thanks to Bob Connison for the use of this photo.
While this plate may look similar to the Temporary above, the T has been replaced with a number that is now part of the serial number The word TEMPORARY is now at the top between the bolt holes. The data line is now below the word temporary and includes additional fields which are: Issued; Year; Make; Model; Serial; Expires; Dealer I.D. Another thank you to Bob Connison for the use of this plate photo.
This is a 1940 Format 2 Trailer plate. Format 2 plates were authorized from A000 to Z999, which does not necessarily mean the series was fully utilized. Format 1 was all-numeric. All trailer plates were 4 characters, and all were 6 inches by 12 inches. Thanks to Bob Connison for sharing a group of older trailer plate photos.
Next in the lineup is this 1944 Format 1 Trailer plate. That format included numbers from 0001 to 9999, all of which were 4 digits. Note the use of a leading zero. All alpha-numeric formats were also 4 characters, and all plates were 6 inches by 12 inches. Thanks to Bob Connison for sharing his older trailer plate photos.
Next comes this 1945 Format 4 Trailer plate. Format 4 included the serial progression of 00A0 to 99Z9. All trailer plates were 4 characters since 1938; however, for 1945 the plate size was reduced from 6 inches by 12 inches to 6 inches by 11 inches. Again my appreciation for all of Bob Connison's help.
This 1946 Format 1 Trailer plate is the last of this type until next week. Format 1 included 0001 to 9999. Again all plates were 4 characters. There were 4 serial number progressions used that year, and the plates measured 6 inches by 11 inches. Thank you Bob Connison. Check back next week for more older trailer plates.
In the years following World War 2, the increasing number of car registration led to a growing number of serial progressions. For 1948 Passenger plates there were 10 such groupings with this plate being part of Format 6. Some progressions used both 4 and 5 character serial numbers. All plates measured 6 inches by 11 inches.
Here is a 1950 Format 8 Passenger plate. Format 8 consisted of the series AA10 to ZZ999, so both 4 and 5 character serial numbers were issued. All plates measured 6 inches by 11 inches. 1950 used a total of 11 serial format progressions. Click the link above to see examples of each. Still needed are several 4-character examples. Thanks to Michael Wiener for the use of this photo.
Very sad news — long time friend and fellow license plate collector Steve Ondik has passed away after a long struggle. If you didn't know him personally, you will likely recall his name associated with many contributions to this website. Rest in peace Steve.
This is a fairly recent Antique Vehicle plate judging by the number series progression and the map symbol. It is not a high however. The high plate, 3W34, does not have the map symbol and it does not have the sticker well. We still don't know why a later plate would be missing the most current features.
Here's the latest photographed high Collectible Vehicle plate. The first batch of these newer style plates runs from CV1600 to CV1699 and dates back to 2014, but so far only about forty-some plate have been issued. This is why this plate still has the sticker well and no map. The plates will likely remain so until the CV1700 mark is reached.
This Severely Disabled Veteran vanity plate was spotted recently. The standard issue has D/V followed by a 5-digit serial number, the vanity format usess the same D/V with up to 5 letters, numbers, a space or dash. One unique feature of the Disabled and Severely Disabled Veteran plate is the retention of the original plate coloring, no visitPA family of plates here.
Here's the latest high Pennsylvania Hunting Heritage plate as recently spotted by Bruce Bufalini. The plate type dates back to 2014 and appears to have widespread appeal. The plate shown here does not yet have the small map outline. It is also available in a personalized version.
We start this week's oldies off with this 'shorty' Format 3 1939 Passenger plate. Format 3 included the series 1A00 to 9Z999 which included both 4 and 5-character plates. 4-character plates were 6-inch by 10-inch, and 5-character were 6-inch by 12-inch. Thanks to ebay seller Powerfullhammer for the use of this plate.
This is a 1944 Format 9 Passenger plate. Format 9 was the last run for the year and the progression would have been 1AA0 to 1AA99, then 2AA0 to 2AA99, finally ending at 4NB8. 4-character plates were 6-inch by 10-inch, and 5-character were 6-inch by 11-inch. They were issued as singles due to the war. Thanks to Michael Wiener at Bestplates for the use of the photo.
Here is a 1949 Format 6 Passenger plate. That format used a serial progression starting at 000A0 and going to 999Z9. All plates were 6 inches by 11 inches that year. This plate was spotted at a recent car show, and was being used as a YOM (year of manufacture) plate.
This is a 1956 Format 2 Passenger plate. For this format the serial progression ran from A100 to Z9999, so both 4 and 5 character plates were part of the equation. 1956 also saw the standardization of plates at 6 inches by 12 inches. Thanks to ebay user Powerfullhammer for the photo.
This is the earliest cardboard Temporary plate photo I have. This plate is dated 6-26-57. Considering the fact that this plate has progressed to a U-prefix, and an early all-numeric plate in the ALPCA Archives suggests that these plates may date back to 1941, this could be the earliest format for these cardboard temp plates. Thanks to ebay seller Harlots.n.hussies for the use of the image.
The more of these late '50s to late 60s vintage cardboard temp tags I see, the more it appears that the order in which they were made has little to do with the order in which they were issued. I'm going to suggest that this round of plates started with a 6-digit, all numeric format, then when that series became full it went to an alpha character in the first position, then in the second position, for example: 123-456, A12-345, then 1A2-345. I'm only referring to the plates with T PA T as the top legend. For this reason I'm going to group them by alpha-numeric sequence but then also list their known or approximate issue date. Thanks to Bob Connison for these photos, with a couple more from Bob next week.
This is a 1938 Format 1 Trailer plate which included the all-numeric run of 0001 to 9999. There was a second sequence of alpha-numeric plates starting with A000. All plates were 4 characters and all measured 6 inches by 12 inches. Bob Connison sent me this photo and was kind enough to send me a bunch of Trailer images that will be posted over the next few weeks.
This is a nicely refinished 1920 Class 2 Commercial or Truck plate. Information on weight classes is very sketchy; however the first digit in the serial number is believed to designate the class. The term 'Commercial' was used to designate a Truck in the early '20s and then again from 1968 to '77. This plate measures 7 inches by 13½ inches. The extra one inch in height is due to the placement of plate legend at both the top and bottom of the plate. Some 16 inch plates (see below) were 6 inches high since the extra length allowed all of the plate legend to be placed along the bottom, while other 16 inch plates had the legend at both the top and bottom and were 7 inches high — confusing. Thanks to Peter Cohen for the photograph.
This is also a 1920 Commercial plate, but this one is a Class 3. Like the plate above, it contains 5-digits, but unlike the plate above it is on a 6- inch by 16-inch base, and therefore the entire legend fits along the bottom of the plate. Another big thank you to Peter Cohen for the photo.
When PA finally embarked on a major plate replacement initiative in September of 1999, the first passenger plates to be replaced were those 1977-base yellow on blue plates. See License Plate Replacement Fact Sheet. The replacement plates were reportedly the first plates in the U.S. to have a web address on the plate. The plates also used flat screened legend and fading color bands. While the plates were completely new, the alpha-numeric serial numbers picked up at DAA-0000 after the previous yellow on blue base ended at or about CEG-3865. The plate shown here is one of the first issued replacement plates still on the road, and in pretty decent condition. Thanks to Jeff Lawson for the photo.
Here's a unique Penn Alumni, that's the University of Pennsylvania if you're not familiar. Their plate program has been around since 2005. The current reported high is 00448U/P according to Tom Perri's highs website. Thanks to Matt Boyer for this attention-grabbing vanity photo.
This is likely the second National Wild Turkey Federation plate issued when the program started back in 2002, and it's still on the road today. This plate program has never moved into the next generation of graphic formatting, and I have never seen an actual sample plate. Thanks to Nick Tsilakis for sharing this image.
Here's the latest image of a Rosedale Technical College plate. This plate program has an interesting history. The program began back in 2012 with the legend 'Rosedale Technical Institute'. Then in 2016 the facility changed its name and logo. It is unconfirmed, but possible, that both the original 2012 format and the 2016 update are in use. Both styles of the plate use the same serial progression of 00000R/I. Click the link above to see photos of both variations. Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for sharing what is also the current new high.
Here's a new high number Villanova University plate, now sporting the small map outline. The previous high, according to Tom Perri's PA Plates website, was 00442V/U and did not appear to have the small map. You may also recall older Villanova University Alumni Assoc. plates on the www base. They had the V/U in the prefix position. Many of those older plates are still in use. Thanks to Jaska Börner for the use of this plates
This is a 1956 Miscellaneous Dealer plate with the X-identifier in the first position. The X could also be in the second or third position, click the link above to see variations. Also plates toward the end of the run began using narrower dies often referred to as '57 dies. Thanks to Arthur Levine for the plate photo.
This is a needed 1935 Format 8 Passenger plate. The serial progression ran from 0AA to 9BD99, which would have allowed for 3, 4 and 5 character versions. The 3 and 4-character plates measured 6 inches by 10 inches, while those with 5 characters were 6 inches by 12 inches. Thanks to ebay user Powerfullhammer for the photo; however, I recently purchased this plate from him.
Not beautiful, but it does show the short version of a 1937 Format 8 Passenger plate. Short version means 4 characters with the serial format from AA10 to ZZ99 and 6" x 10" while 5 character plates had an additional digit and measured 6" x 12". Another thank you to Powerfullhammer for the use of the photo.
Here's a 1947 Format 7 Passenger plate. This series went from 0000A to 9999Z. Some other series had 4-character plates; however, both 4 and 5-character plates were 6 inches by 11 inches in size. Thanks to Arthur Levine for this photo. Still need a Format 9 (1AA00 to 9ZZ99) plate to complete the '47 run.
This Temporary Cardboard 1970-issue has been added. I'll be the first to admit my knowledge of these temp-tags is limited, but they do deserve coverage. Since these plate don't have any natural date legend, and since they may lie on a dealer's shelves for an extended period, it's not easy to give the plate a year unless the hand-written portions are legible. This plate is dated 1970 and was issued on to a Cadillac ambulance. The image came from Andy Vereen.
This is a 1939 Format 1 Trailer plate. Format 1 included the serial progression from 0001 to 9999, then the next progression started at A000 with the letter advancing last. All serial numbers contained four characters and all plates measured 6 inches by 12 inches. Thank you to Peter Cohen for sending me a group of older trailer plates.
Next is this 1949 Format 2 Trailer plate. Format 2 included the series A000 to Z999. The first series was all-numeric from 0001 to 9999. All together there were 5 serial formats used that year. From 1945 through 1952 trailer plates were all 6 inches by 11 inches. The source of this photo is unknown.
Next is this very nice 1951 Format 2 Trailer plate. The Format 2 progression again ran from A000 to Z999, and followed the initial all-numeric run. By 1951 five digit plates came into use toward the end, it is unknown if any were issued prior to 1951. I have no 5-digit photos. Again thank you to Peter Cohen for the older trailer plates.
Here's the latest Conserve Wild Resources - River Otter plate. I thought it was strange that the only two plate photos I have are well over 01000. I did some checking and find that very few plates below R/C01000 have been issued. I'm not going to speculate as to why this is the case, but it does suggest that plate sales have not been as brisk as the plate number shown here might suggest. Thanks to Steve Ondik for the photo.
This Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society plate photo was provided by Jeff Lawson. I only have two additional images of this plate type, as a result, this is the low number. These plates date back to 2015. Somewhere around 164 of these plates have been issued so far.
This Teen Driver vanity plate was spotted recently by Bruce Bufalini. Apparently not too many teen drivers want to be identified as such. This plate type made its debut in 2013, and since that time only about 70 plates with a numeric serial number have been issued. With sales that weak, I'm surprised they are still available.
This recently spotted Permanent-Trailer plate is the latest reported high. Note that this plate does have the small map outline. That feature was previously spotted as far back as August of 2017, and is believed to have come about at PT-500D0. Vanities are not permitted. Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for the use of the image.
This pair of plates was spotted on the front of a vehicle. Apparently the owner likes PA rail trails and Delaware beaches. The PA Rails to Trails Conservancy plate program dates back to 1997, then they were reissued on the www base in September of 2001. Again in 2007 the plate was given a facelift and now appears on the visitPA base with color graphics. Of course those who choose to keep their plate on the www base could do so. The newest edition is also available as a vanity. The photo shown hers is courtesy of Jeff Lawson.
This is a 1927 Bus plate. The first character is the letter 'O'. Between 1926 and 1929 there were actually two types of Bus plates. There were plates with the 'O' prefix as shown here, and there were also plates with an 'H' prefix. From 1926 to 1929 omnibuses that carried passengers for hire and not required to have a certificate of convenience were designated by an "H" prefix. This also included buses that were not registered for hire before 1/1/1914. In 1929 a new law was passed requiring all buses to have this certificate and thereby ending the "H" prefix plate. After this, all common carrier and for hire buses used the "O" prefix until 1968 when the "BA" prefix came into use. Thanks to Drewski for the use of this photo.
These are two very welcome additions to the 1934 Passenger display. On the far left is a Format 2 plate which consists of the progressions A to Z999, in 6" x 10", and A1000 to Z9999, 6" x 12". The near left plate is a Format 8 which consists of series of AA100 to ZZ999, all of which are 6" x 12" in size. I want to thank ebay user Powerfullhammer for the use of these photos.
Here is a pair of 1949 U Class Truck plates. While these are both from the same weight class, they represent two of the four serial progressions used that year. Click the link above to see additional '49 truck plates and an additional U-class format. The far left plate is thanks to Jde609 and the other is from Peter Cohen.
Here's an addition to the 1951 Truck plate display. It's a Class T weight class of which there were two serial progressions including T000A, T00A0, with this plate being a part of the second group. Still need photos for the W to the ZZ class. Thanks to ebay-er Suzelush1 for the use of the photo.
Truck plates for 1952 were very similar to the '51 series with the obvious reversal of the colors, and plates were issued as singles rather than in pairs. The plate shown here shows one of the six serial formatting progressions - R0AA0 to R9ZZ9. Thanks to ebay user Bennyjoebob for the use of this photo.
Here's a U-weight class 1957 Truck plate Several changes are evident here, for starters the serial numbers of all truck plates are now 6 characters, thus simplifying the serial progressions. The additional space for 6 characters came from the plate width being standardized at 12 inches, and the use of a narrower font. Thanks to from Suzelush1 for the use of this plate photo.
This is the first photo-documented International Association of Fire Fighters (aka IAFF) plate with the map outline. It is also a vanity plate since it has only 4 character instead of the usual 5. Personalized plates with the map outline are often spotted before that feature is seen on the standard-issue plate. This photo was taken by Jordan Irazabal.
Here's a low-number vanity on the www base. At one time plates between 3 and 23 were reserved for cabinet members, and 24 and 999 were held in reserve for state officials and dignitaries. Could this plate be a carryover from that era? While today they are considered vanities, good luck getting a number under 100. The number 1 and 2 plates are unissued but are held in reserve for the Governor and Lt. Governor but have not been used as such in a number of years. Thank you Ryan Battin for sharing the photo. By the way, Tom Perri has a web page that features plates up to 100.
This low number Friendship Hook, Ladder, Hose & Ambulance plate was spotted recently. This fire company's plate program dates back to 2009. It appears that about 14 plates have been issued, and somehow we have photos of # 1, 2 and now 3. Thanks to Steve Ondik for the photo.
Here on the far left is a nice example of a Classis Car plate with the wrong serial number font. Next to it is a Classis Car with the correct font for reference. Classic plates date back to 1977, with the serial number likely starting at 10000. There was a series of 1000 plates between 20000 and 20999 that were stamped with conventional or passenger dies in place of the 'antique' dies. Who really knows what goes on behind prison walls? Thanks to Jeff Hinkle for sharing this photo.
This 'shorty' is a 1926 Format 1 Passenger plate. That group includes the numerical progression from 1 or 2 to 999 and measure 6" by 10". Click the link above to see a 2-digit plate and most of the additional seven formats with the exception of Format 5 which includes A to C-99 and Format 7 which includes A1-000 to C9-999. Thanks to Mike at Pl8source for the use of the photo.
Here is a very nice pair of 1937 Passenger plates that should not have the keystones flanking the plate legend. There was a run of these toward the end of production in the M, N and P-series. 1937 was also the first year to use the state map outline. Thanks to Peter Cohen for sharing these photos.
This seems like the week for 1917 Truck plates. I have been fortunate enough to acquire three new images this week. While the images are helpful in documenting the progressions and variations in formatting details, they also create new questions. This 1-star weight class is the first I've seen on the longer base and with the shorter legend of PA over 17 instead of PENNA over 1917. The S indicates solid rubber tires. Thanks to ebay-er 51jnj61 for the use of the image.
The two far left images are new postings. The plate on the near left is a previous posting shown for comparison. They are all a 3-star weight class 1917 Truck plates. The far left plate is S+4 digits and measures 6" by 14". The center plate is also S+4 digits but measures 6" by 16". Both use PENNA over the embossed keystone with the maker's number over 1917. The S+5 digit plate is also 6" by 16" but uses a shortened legend of PA and 17 in place of the above. So we're seeing three variations of 1917 3-star truck plates. Credit for these plates from left to right goes to Charlesgilbertantiquetoys, Peter Cohen and Bob Connison. If all of this weren't enough, the ALPCA Archives (members only) also shows a 1917 3-star S8799 plate with the shorter legend, making a total of 4 format variations for the 3-star series.
This is a 1938 Class R Truck. It is also part of the the fourth and last serial progression of R-series plates starting at R00AA. The use of two letters in the 4th and 5th position made it unnecessary to go to longer 6-character plates as was done in the previous several years. Thanks to Mitzipinehigh for the use of this photo.
Here is a pair of 1939 R-Class Truck plates. They represent the first and the third of the four serial formats used that year, which include R000A, R00A0, R0A00, R00AA. All plates were limited to 5 characters and all were 6" by 12". The far left plate is thanks to Peter Cohen, and the other is thanks to ebay user Likesandclicks.
This is a 1941 S-Class Truck plate. For that year there were four serial progressions within the S-weight class. These included S000A, of which this plate is a part, then S00A0, S0A00 and S00AA. As with other Truck plates of that era, all plates were 5 characters and all were 6" by 12" in size. This plate was provided thanks to ebay user Mg000000.
Here's a very nice photo of a Slippery Rock University plate. This is also a new high plate number. Slippery Rock has not moved their plate program into the 'family of plates' with the graphic formatting. I'm not being critical, many plate enthusiasts prefer the older, all embossed formatting shown here. This photo is thanks to Jordan Irazabal.
Here is a recent highway shot of a PA State Senator plate. Unfortunately when the image of the plate itself is cropped and fully zoomed in, the the image becomes a bit grainy. Anyway, the plate reads PA 21 and appears to be on the www base. A few plates have been seen on the visitPA base, none so far with the map outline. Thanks to Jake Vincent for sharing this photograph.
Here are some recent Person With Disability plates — one with numbers, one without. They both have the small map outline. The 72245PD is the latest reported high — there is no tracking of vanities, but the combinations are sometimes attention-grabbing. Thanks to Steve Ondik for the personalized plate photo.
Here is a recent photo of a Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue plate. It's the lowest number on this website. The current high is listed as 00210G/R on Tom Perri's website. These plates date back to 2013 — popular plate, popular dog. This plate photo came from Steve Ondik.
This is a Combat Action Ribbon plate. The number is 1 shy of the current reported high. This plate is part of a series of five Combat Action plates that came about as a result of Act 109 of 2014. Thank you to Steve Ondik for the plate photo.
We just showcased a pair of these last week. This Share The Road vanity was spotted this past week. It still has the sticker well. The one plate from 4/8 did not. Brendon Sherry suggests the owner might be saying, "I'm a triathlon". Anyway, the vanities seem popular. The numerical high is listed as under 500.
The Official Use - Commercial plate photo on the far left changes the the cutoff point for the use of the word COMMERCIAL. That word should never have been used on Official Use plates for trucks to begin with, but since it was used, it gets tracked. Previously it was believed that dropping the 'COMMERCIAL' legend and going back to 'OFFICIAL USE' took place at PA-2500A; however, the change took place between PA-2627A and PA-2996A.
Compare these two 1925 Passenger plates. Based on the serial numbers, both plates were produced toward the end of production for that year, yet the B series, which would have been closer to the end, is on a decidedly narrower font. The far left plate is from an anonymous ebay-er, while the 'B' plate was provided by Tim Gierschick a while back.
This is a photo of an interesting plate. It's a 1920 Commercial plate, which is the first year for that term to be used to designate a truck plate. That term was then used through 1923. It also has legend on the top and the bottom which caused the plate size to be increased to 7 inches high instead of the usual 6 inches. It should be noted that some 16-inch Commercial (Truck) plates from 1920 had all of the plate legend on the bottom line, thus enabling the plate to be 6 inches high. Click the link above to see additional formats. It was also the first year that truck plates did not use stars to designate weight classes. Instead, the first digit of the serial number is believed to indicate the weight class. By 1924, the weight classes were switched to the more familiar letter prefixes starting with R, S, etc. The plate is thanks to ebay user Charlesgilbertantiquetoys.
Here is a 1935 S-Series Truck plate. For many years the truck series ran from 'R' to 'Z' for lightest to heaviest single rear axle trucks, and 'RZ' to 'ZZ' for lightest to heaviest with 2 rear axles. Also within the 'R', 'S' and 'T' classes there were several serial progressions. In the 'S' series there were S000A, S00A0 (as shown here), S0A00, SA000 in 6" by 12" size and S00-00A in a 15" length.
This is a 1937 S-Series Truck plate. The '37 run included the following 5-characteer progressions S000A, S00A0, S0A00, SA000 on 12-inch plates and an overflow series of 6-character plates that were 15-inch and used the S00-00A series. Click the link above to see 3 of the 5 progressions. Thanks to ebay-er Nickelsndiamonds1013 for the use of this photo.
During the 1958 to '63 run and the 1964 to '67 Truck run, there were 21 truck classes in use. There was the usual R to Z weight classes for trucks with a single rear axle, RZ to ZZ for trucks with 2 rear axles, of which this plate is a part. Next was WT to ZT for truck tractors with 2 rear axles, and finally YX and ZX for trucks with 3 rear axles. This mint condition plate shown here is thanks to an ebay user who did not want credit. Beginning in 1968 an entirely new truck plate numbering system was used. Truck weight classes and axle combinations were no longer linked to the plate serial number.
You're not seeing double, but these personalized Person with Disability plates were issued as a pair. There is a two-plate option that applies to both standard and personalized Person with Disability plates. Vehicle owners who have a carrier on the rear of the vehicle for transporting a wheelchair or personal assistive device are authorized to be issued two identical plates since the assistive device and carrier may block visibility of the vehicle mounted plate. Standard issue dual PD plates come from the 98000PD series. The two-plate provision is also available to those who use Disabled Veteran plates or Severely Disabled Veteran plates.
Here's a new high number Animal Friends plate. This plate type dates back to mid-2009. Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for snapping this recent traffic shot. These plates cost $36, or if you'd like one personalized, the cost is $140. The organization is headquartered near Pittsburgh.
Here's a recent street shot of a Pittsburgh Harlequins Rugby Football Assoc. This organization has had a plate program since 2008. A plate check indicates they've had about 22 plates registered, vanity plates are unknown. This plate was photographed by Bruce Bufalini.
The Share The Road plate on the far left was recently spotted, while the plate on the near left was previously posted. While the 3-letter vanity arrangement makes them very similar, note the inconsistent spacing between the stacked prefix and the first letter. Thanks to Nick Tsilakis for the SAG image and for making the comparison. Since these vanities are not made as a series, there may not be a standard for spacing. The WNH plate photo came from Arthur Levine.
The Steel Worker plate photo on the far left I took in 2002 or 2003. To my knowledge no plates at the time had a colored logo. Aside from that, the plate appeared normal and legitimate. The plate photo in the near left was a recent shot of what at first glance looks like the same plate. Upon closer examination the fading bands of the www base are now solid like the visitPA base, the PENNSYLVANIA at the top, however, has retained the font used by the www base. It may have been repainted, but then the shape of the zeros is a little different. I really don't know what to make of this plate. Thanks to John Clark for the plate and the mystery.
This is a 1922 Format 1 Passenger plate. Click the thumbnail for a better view. Format 1 plates ran from 1 or 2 to 999, and measured 6 inches by 10 inches. The original colors on this plate were brown on cream. Click the link above to see a 2-digit plate as well as 4, 5 and 6-digit versions. Thanks to Ed for allowing the use of this plate photo.
Here's a pair of 1930 Passenger plates. The far left plate is a Format 3 plate with that series running from 0A to 9Z999. The near left is a Format 4 plate plate with that series going 00A to 99Z99. As can be seen the Format 3 series could be 2 to 5 characters, while the 4 series could be 3 to 5 characters. Either series can be 10 inches in length like the plates shown here, or 12 inches for 5 character editions. The far left plate is thanks to ebay-er Pinkocelot, and the other plates is thanks to ebay-er Powerfullhammer.
This is a 1934 Format 5 Passenger plate. That serial progression consists of 4 character plates from 000A to 999Z, and measuring 6" x 10", and 5-character plates running from 100A0 to 999Z9 which measure 6" x 12". Thanks to ebay-er Jeopardyboy1 for allowing the use of the photo.
Here is a 1945 Format 1 Passenger plate. This format includes the all-numeric progression of 1000 to 99999 Previously I posted a 4-digit plate, now with the addition of this 5-digit plate Format 1 is complete. Even with both 4 and 5 characters, all plates measured 6" x 11". From 1944 through 1946 plates were issued as singles. Again thanks to ebay user jeopardyboy1 for allowing the use of the photo.
Next up is this 1946 Format 3 Passenger. The Format 3 progression ran from 1A00 to 9Z999, so both 4 and 5-character serial numbers were used. Again the plate size was 6 inches by 11 inches, and they were issued as singles. Thanks to ebay user Fruitie1 for the use of the photo. For 1946 there are still three format groups for which I have no images.
The final photo for this week is this 1949 Format 5 Passenger tag. Again, as in other years of this era, both 4 and 5-character plates were issued; however, all measured 6 inches by 11 inches, and again from 1947 through 1951 they were issued in pairs. Another thank you to ebay-er Pinkocelot for the use of this plate photograph.
A short edition this week. Too many other projects and commitments.
This is a high number first generation Combat Infantryman Badge plate. By first generation I mean those plates that were issued prior to the removal of the sticker well and the addition of the small map. Plate 20179C/O was previously spotted showing the map. Thanks to Steve Ondik for the photo.
The U.S. Army Veteran plate on the far left was spotted this past week, and the plate on the near left was spotted a couple weeks ago. Note that the far left plate is now sporting the small map outline. This change likely took place at 13701A/R. Thanks to Tom Perri for both photographs.
Here's a traffic shot of a low number Lower Frederick Fire Company plate. Lower Frederick is part of Montgomery County. Their plate program has been around since 2011. Thanks to Steve Ondik for the plate photograph.
Here's the first image of a regular issue Fraternal Association of Professional Paramedics plate. There was a previous image of a vanity. A plate check shows there have been some 45 plates registered since early 2016. This plate was spotted by Bruce Bufalini in Pittsburgh in the rain.
Eureka Volunteer Fire and Ambulance now has 5 plates in use. They are located in Stewartstown, south of York. Fairview Township Fire Dept. has 2 plates on the street. They are located a little south of Camp Hill. It won't be easy to spot plates with so few in use.
Legislative Update — House Bill 215 provides for the creation a special registration plate honoring women veterans, and for a special registration plate for recipients of the Legion of Merit. This bill was passed by the House in 2017, and first consideration by the Senate on March 26, 2018. This bill is likely to be passed.
This is a 1921 Format 3 Passenger plate. Format 3 covers serial numbers from 10-000 to 99-999. The plates measure 6" x 13½". Four sizes were used that year ranging from 6" by 10" for 1 to 3 digits up to 6" by 16" for 6 character plates. Thanks to ebay user Securityautoparts for the use of the photo.
Here's a 1955 Format 9 Passenger plate. I actually posted this on the Passenger page last week but missed posting it here on the home page. Format 9 plates consisted of the serial sequence of 1AA0 to 9ZZ99, allowing for both 4 and 5 character plates. Thanks to ebay user Jukeboxman for the use of this nice plate photo.
This plate might not look like anything unusual, especially since there is no identifying legend except for the year and state. It turns out that this is an R-Class overflow Truck plate. The R-series started at R-1 and after hitting R99-999, the R prefix became a suffix and the sequence started over. I saw this on ebay and the owner, Egostarlynx, gave the OK to use it.
A couple words to those who visit this website: As time goes on the, number of plate types continues to grow, and with that growth comes variations in formatting. Some variations are planned, some are unexplainable. In any case, it makes tracking the changes a growing challenge. On the plus side, this website would be nothing without the support of so many generous viewers, and members of Facebook and eBay.
Case in point. These are both recent Antique Vehicle issues. The far left plate in the V series would (or should) come before the the W series on the near left, but somehow the V-series has the map outline as expected, while the W series does not. At this point we don't know if the W without the map is one of, or if more of the series is like this. Thanks to Vern Kreckel of Kreckel Enterprises for sharing the V series photo, and thanks to Ryan Battin for the W plate which was previously featured.
In a previous post I had indicated that it seemed likely that Apportioned Truck plates would add the map outline at AG-67500. Obviously that didn't happen. I really don't like to make predictions, but when I do, they are usually based on some kind of data, not just on a wild guess. Anyway, it now appears that the change to the map will likely be at AG-72500. Thanks to Tom Perri for the use of his photo.
Here's the latest high Severely Disabled Veteran plate. This semi-flat version was first seen around June of 2013. Noteworthy is that this plate has escaped being brought into the family of plates. To the best of my understanding this is because the design of this plate is spelled out in the law that enabled the plate. Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for the photo.
This is also a new high U.S. Army Veteran plate. This series started at 10000A/R, and dates back to the latter part of 2009. It's a little hard to tell if this plate still has the sticker well but it does not have the small map outline. Thanks to Tom Perri for the use of this photo.
The continuing effort to locate pictures of older plates is becoming more of a challenge. As photos of the many format variations are found and posted, those remaining have become increasingly difficult to find.
These three Motorcycle Dealer plates have been added. For 1977, DLR plates were a single year issue after the '75 and '76 multi-year plate. Then in 1979, DLR plates were undated and used stickers up thru 2000. That series started at 1000 and likely went at 6999. That series never reversed the colors to yellow on blue as regular Motorcycle plates did around 1985. The 8874 plate is un-stickered, but likely issued toward the middle of the 7000 to 9999 issue which ran from September of 1999 to early 2006. Both blue and yellow plates are courtesy of Dave Lincoln.
Here's a 1923 Format 5 Passenger high number. What's unique about this plate is that Format 4 plates that ran from 100-000 to 852-394 or so were all 6" by 16" plates. Then plates starting somewhere around 883-073 and above were 6" by 15". This was likely done as a cost saving measure by reducing the size. Chuck Sakryd is offering this plate on his website.
This is a 1934 Format 4 Passenger plate. Format 4 consisted of plates from 00A to 99Z99. This format can be further broken down into 00A to 99Z as 6" x 10" plates, then 00A0 to 99Z99, also on 6" x 10" plates, and finally 00A00 to 99Z99 on 6" x 12" plates. The photo gallery now has images of all three sub-formats. Thanks to John Willard for the use of this image.
Here is a 1944 Format 7 Passenger plate. Format 7 was made up of the serial progression of 0000A to 9999Z, all of which measured 6" by 11", although some other progressions using 4 character were 6" by 10". Still needed for 1944 are Format 4 - 10A0 to 99Z99, Format 5 - 000A to 999Z and Format 9 - 1AA0 to 9ZZ9. Thanks to ebay-er Barklywheat for the use of the photo.
This is a 1945 Format 3 Passenger plate. Format 3 included the serial progression from 1A00 to 9Z999. This format includes both 4 and 5 character plates; however, all measured the same at 6" by 11". Still needed for 1945 are Format 5 - 000A to 999Z, and Format 9 - 1AA0 to 9ZZ9. Thanks to Charles Gilbert for allowing me to use this image from ebay.
Here's a 1951 Format 6 Passenger plate. Format 6 was made up of the serial progression of 000A0 to 999Z9, all of which were 6 inches by 11 inches. Still needed for 1951 is Format 10, which is made up of plates from 00AA to 99ZZ. This plate was made available from ebay user Ricksbestbuybooks.
While looking thru vehicle registration records of 1917, I noted that there were two classes of 1917 Traction Engine or Tractor registrations, and a two-tiered plate numbering system. I received help from Jake Eckenrode with the law and from Eric Tanner concerning the registration numbers. First Class traction-engines or tractors were used exclusively for agricultural purposes, road-grading, and transporting the machinery and appliances, which, when at rest, they operate with their own power; and excluding engines used for hauling of freight of any kind. Second Class traction-engines or tractors were used for freighting, which shall include all hauling upon the public highway, excepting such as is specified in [First Class]. The law dates back to 2015. So far there is nothing to suggest that there were physical differences in the plate classes themselves. It is also unknown how long the 2-class system was in effect, but is believed to be in use at least until 1920.
This the first U.S. Marine Corps (Active Duty) plate photographed. While this may seem like the 14th plate issued, plates 60001A/D and 60002A/D have been issued but then none until 60011A/D. It appears that this may be another 2-tiered numbering system, but I can't confirm this. This and other active duty plate types were announced in February of last year. This photo is thanks to Jordan Irazabal.
Here's another first-of-its-kind photo. This is the newest plate version from Saint Francis University, now on the visitPA base with a color graphic, and apparently the new series started at S/F00800. Thanks to Tom Perri's diligent efforts in getting this image. These may have been on the road for a while but a check indicates that there are only about 25 of the newer plates in use. Still need a photo of the first generation yellow on blue plate if anyone has one.
Here's another western PA organizational plate, this one from Point Park University, located in downtown Pittsburgh. Their plate program goes back to 2008. This low number photo is thanks to Tom Perri who indicated that these plates are in use on many of the college's own vehicles. There are about 40 or so plates in use.
Here's a new high Fraternal Order of Police plate. Somewhere between F/P21314 and F/P21420 this plate type made the transition to the small map base. These plates made their debut in 1987 on the yellow on blue base, and after being reissued in 2001 on the www base, they have made several minor changes. Thanks to Jordan Irazabal for sharing this photo.
I have to give a lot of credit to Tom Perri for his diligence and persistence in spotting these recent issue fire department plates now with the small map outline. From left to right these include Berwyn Fire Company, Brookhaven Fire Co. No. 1, and Tinicum Township Fire Company. As new plates are ordered, they are coming thru with the map. For all the latest in Pennsylvania highs, check out Tom's website http://www.paplates.com/.
This is a 1930 Format 2 Dealer plate. Starting in 1924, plates had no legend identifying them as a Dealer plates, the X in the serial number became the identifier. This format had the X in the second position with the serial progression as follows — 0X to 9X999. This also means that 4-character plate were 6" by 10", as shown here. 5 character plates measured 6" by 12". This plate is courtesy of ebay user oldies_museum.
Here is a 1930 Format 6 Passenger plate. This serial format consisted of plates from 0000A to 9999Z and was 1 of 10 formats. Plates with 4 or fewer characters were 6" by 10" and 5 character plates measured 6" by 12". This plate was part of a pair on ebay and was provided courtesy of contorakes1234.
This is a 1931 Format 3 Passenger plate. The serial numbers for this format ran from 0A to 9Z999, which would include 2, 3, 4 and 5-character plates on both 6" by 10" for 2 to 4 characters, and 6" by 12" for 5 characters as shown here. Thanks to ebay user 1bidder for allowing the use of this photo which was a part of a pair.
Here are two nice additions to the 1933 Passenger plate section. The first is a 4 character Format 4 plate which included serial numbers from 00A to 99Z99. As can be seen, plates can be 3, 4 or 5 characters. The 3 and 4-charater plate measured 6" by 10" as shown here. This plate is thanks to ebay user carstuffstore. The KV444 plate is a Format 8 plate with the serial progression from AA100 to ZZ999, all plates being the larger 6" by 12". Credit for this plate goes to ebay seller licenseplatekingcompany.
Here is a nice example of a 1932 R-Class Truck plate. The legend Truck or Commercial was not used at the time; the alpha-numeric formatting was the clue. For 1932 truck plate weight classes went from R to Z, excluding X, for single rear axle vehicles and RZ to ZZ for duel rear axle trucks. All truck plates had 6-characters and measured 6" by 15". Thanks to Troy E. Payson, fellow ALPCA member #8766 from New York who was offering this plate on ebay.
This is a 1936 R-Class Truck plate. For that year, there were five serial progressions for the R-class including R000A, R00A0, R0A00, RA000 all of which were 5 characters and measured 6" by 12". Then there was an overflow series of R00-00A, which because of the 6 characters were on 6" by 15" plates. The plate shown here is part of that overflow series. The photo was provided by ebay user ustho-dffvjx.
This is a 1954 Y-Class Truck. For that year, there were two serial progressions for the Y-class including Y000A to Y999Z and Y00A0 to Y99Z9. The Y was the weight class, see description under the 1932 plate above. All truck plates in 1954 measured 6" x 10¼", and all were 5 characters. The photo was provided by ebay user allmdona.
This is definitely not one you see in your everyday travels — especially the #1 plate. The Retired Legislator plate type was first seen back in 2004. It is believed that the numbers are issued, where possible, to correspond with the legislative district of which there are currently 203 districts in PA. Thanks to Eric Conner for this great plate find.
Another PennDOT anomaly. Beginning in 2005 Antique Vehicle plates went to the 'Family of Plates' format with a sticker well that was never used, then more recently several vanities were seen with no sticker well and no map outline, then regular issue Antique Vehicle plates were seen without the sticker well and with the map outline. Now as the progression continues, we see plates, like the one shown here, without the sticker well and without the map outline. At this point it is unknown if this is an error plate or another formatting variation. Thanks to Ryan Battin for the plate photo.
Here's a recent traffic shot of a Share the Road high number plate. These are part of the Special Fund plate series. Plate sales are intended to fund the position of Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator as well as funding highway bicycle signage. The program dates back to August of 2016. Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for the plate photo.
Here's the latest Expeditionary Forces Veteran high number plate. As can be seen, this series still has the sticker well. Removal of that feature and the addition of the small map is expected at E/F3100. While I'm not a fan of the 'family of plates' look, I do like the the use of a 4-digit serial number over the more common 5-digit format on most other plate types. Thanks to Steve Ondik for sharing this traffic shot.
Added these very nice Motorcycle Dealer plates from the 70s. They are not the first of such plates on display here but they do add some variety and depth to the displays. The far left is a 1970, in the center is a 1974, which is followed by a stickered 1976. All of these images came from Dave Lincoln some time ago.
Here is a pair of Temporary tags from 1960 on the far left and likely 1961 on the near left. Unlike regular registration plates of the time, these were issued as needed and were not likely directly associated with an annual registration period.
Last week we featured a group of 11 plates from 1916 to 1935 all with the same 3000 serial number. This week we have a another group of 10 plates from 1923 to 1935, not all inclusive, but all with 3001 as the serial number. These were part of the same Guy W. Moore estate sale. See last week's article for more details. This week's 3001 plates consist of 1923, 1924, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1932, 1934 and 1935. Or to view all the plates on the same page click here. Many thanks to Bongocruiser2 for allowing the use of these images.
A pair of 3002 passenger plates from 1934 and 1935 have also been added. They are also part of the groups shown above and last week, and are also thanks to Bongocruiser2. To view all the plates on the same page click here.
Here is a 1940 Format 4 Passenger plate. Format 4 is made up of the series 10A0 to 99Z99, with 4 character plates measuring 6" x 10", and 5-character being 6" x 12". The plate gallery also shows a 5 character plate from this series. Thanks to ebay-er timelesscollections for the use of this photo.
This is a 1951 Format 9 Passenger plate. Format 9 consists of the series from 1AA0 to 9ZZ99. There were both 4 and 5-character versions of this series. In 1951 all plates were 6" by 11". Still need a Format 6 — 000A0 to 999Z9, and a Format 10 — 00AA to 99ZZ for '51. Thanks to hpr4661 for the use of this image. This was on ebay as part of a 3 plate series.
At long last the PA National Guard gets it own plate for current members of the Guard. Yes, there is another National Guard plate also shown here. That plate has been around for many years but has always been listed as an organizational plate rather then a military plate. None of the newer plates are on the road yet, but they are available. It is unknown if the vintage version of this plate will continue to be available. The new plate requires form MV-150AD and $21.
Here's another new organizational plate in the works — Associated Alumni of the Central High School. This refers to the Central High School of Philadelphia. This school has a long history, and very stringent admissions and academic standards. As of now, there are no plates registered.
Here's a hot-off-the-press 2018 Passenger vanity plate showing the new map. This plate is definitely an eye-catcher with its unique serial number. Thanks to Nick Tsilakis for sharing this plate photo.
A photo of this plate type has been a long time coming. These U.S. Merchant Marine plates first hit the streets around June of 2013 but for some reason have managed to avoid the camera lens until now, but thanks to Ed Pfaeffle we now have a photo. This is also the highest number plate registered.
Here's a very nice shot of the latest high Classic Vehicle plate from Bill Stephens. Classic plates have been popular for many years. They date back to 1976 with a starting serial number of 10000 using what I call the antique font. After hitting 99999, The letter 'C' was added as a prefix and the number series started again. Then after reaching C27899, the traditional appearance was replaced with the family of plates look and the redundant use of Classic Vehicle twice on the plate.
Recently I saw a unique group of passenger plates on ebay and contacted the owner about using some of the plate images to fill gaps. Then I thought, why not show them all. After all this was a run of the same number plate starting with 1916 and going to 1935, with a few years missing. The owner, Bongocruiser2, was good with the idea. Obviously there had to be a story behind this long succession of like-numbered plates. The 1917 plate registry indicated that the number 3000 plate was registered to Guy W. Moore, 296 Wyoming Ave., Kingston, PA. A census search showed that he was 72 years old on the 1940 census, making him 49 in 1917. He was a successful figure in the newspaper and banking business in the area. He also owned a unique Spanish-style home that was built in 1912, and torn down in 2016. Here is a link to a Citizens' Voice article which tells more about his life and home. The plates came from an estate sale which suggested that they had been owned by the same person. The 1917 Passenger plate shown above is the first Format 3, 4-digit plate on this website.
Next in this series are these 1918 Passenger and 1921 Passenger plates. The highlight of this pair is the 1918 plate, which is the first Format 2, 4-digit plate photo on this website. Format 2 is the second of three plate sizes used that year. Also the 1921 plate used a dash separator.
Here is a trio of even numbered year passenger plates including 1924, 1926 and 1928. The odd years in between would have had the colors reversed. The '24 and '28 plates measure 6" by 10", while the '26 plate with the dash is 6" by 12". The '28 also has the legend moved to the top of the plate.
This last group of four #3000 plates shows a 1930, 1932, 1934 and a 1935. Note the 1934 plates uses a new font with a flat top 3. This change actually took place in 1934. The 1934 plate is also the first 4-character numeric plate on this website.
Check back next week for a similar run of 3001 and a couple 3002 plates between 1923 and 1935.
Click the thumbnail for a better image. This is a 1939 Format 7 Passenger plate. This is from the progression 0000A to 9999Z, and measures 6" by 12". For 1939 there were also some 4-character formats that measured 6" by 10". Thanks to ebay user avintagefind for the use of this and other photos. This plate was being sold as part of a pair.
Next up is this 1951 Format 11 Passenger plate, which included the series of 00AA0 to 99ZZ9. In '51 all passenger plates measured 6" by 11", even 4-character plates. There were also 13 format progressions used that year. Thanks to ebay user avintagefind for the use of this and other photos. This plate was being sold as part of a pair.
This is a 1956 Format 6 Passenger plate representing the serial progression from 000A0 to 999Z9. In 1956 all full-size plates were standardized at 6" by 12". Even with the wider plates, no more than 5 characters were used. Toward the end of the '56 run, narrower serial dies (fonts) came into use, all of which helped set the stage for the start of 6-character plates in 1957.
The Barren Hill Volunteer Fire Company is also in the process of establishing their own organizational license plate program. They are located in Lafayette Hill, Montgomery County, a little northwest of Philadelphia. They have no plates on the street yet.
Here's another of the seemingly endless variations of Flyer Wives Charities/Charity plates. So far we've had Charities plural, then Charity singular, then plates with no sticker well and no small map outline, and finally with the addition of small map outline. Each of these variations also came with the standard serial number and as an optional vanity. Matt Ciecka spotted this latest iteration.
Here's a new high number Mount St. Mary's University plate. This plate program dates back to 2010. The facility is a small private Catholic college located in Emmitsburg, MD, just south of the Mason-Dixon Line, not far from Gettysburg, PA.
A recent check now shows that the following facilities, which initially had no plates on the street, now have plates in use: Mount Aloysius College — 2 plates; Eureka Volunteer Fire and Ambulance — 5 plates; Fairview Township Fire Dept. — 2 plates. With so few plates in use, it will be a challenge to find and photograph any of these.
Here's a very recent photo of the latest high Operation Iraqi Freedom plate. This veteran plate type dates back to 2005. This plate still has the sticker well. Bases on some research data, I believe that 04900I/F will have the small map outline. Thanks to Jordan Irazabal for sharing this photo.
Here are a couple pictures I dug out of my photo archives. The far left is a 1947 Motorcycle Dealer plate, near left is a '49 MCD. Their designs are essentially the same with the serial numbers starting at 1 each year and going to at least 367 in '47 and to at least 459 in '49. The 218 is from Dave Lincoln, the source of the 42 plate is unknown. If this is your plate let me know so I can credit you.
We jump ahead to this low-number 1964 Motorcycle Dealer plate. Note the 2-digit stacked year and the MCD designator are the same as above but the PA has been changed to PENNA and moved to the space where the expiration date had been. The source of this plate is unknown. If this is your plate let me know so I can credit you.
Here's a 1968 Motorcycle Dealer plate. Backing up a year to 1967 the MCD was changed to DLR and the word MOTORCYCLE was added to the bottom border. It is also believed that in 1968 the numeric sequence started at 1000 instead of the traditional 1.
This is a 1937 Format 6 Passenger plate. That progression went from 000A0 to 999Z9, and all measured 6" by 12", although some 4-character plates from other formats measured 6" by 10". 1937 was also the year where a short run of plates used a keystone on either side of the plate legend. The most striking 1937 feature, however, was the use of the state map outline to form the plate border. This plate is courtesy of Pl8source.
Here is a very nice 1948 Format 2 Passenger plate with the series running from A100 to Z9999. So both 4- and 5-character plates were used in some progressions. From 1944 until mid-1952 plate size was kept at 6" by 11" regardless of the number of characters. This plate is also thanks to Pl8source.
Here's another 4-character plate, this being a 1952 Format 4 Passenger. Format 4 went from 10A0 to 99Z99. So again 1952 plates used both 4- and 5-character displays. It was also the year of the shrinking plate. Part-way thru the year the plate size was reduced from 6" by 11" to 6" x 10¼". Again thanks to Pl8source for the use of the image. Many of Pl8source plates are available on ebay.
Next we add this 1946 V-Class Truck plate. The truck letter prefixes designated the weight class and number of axles starting with R and going to Z for 2-axle, and from RZ to ZZ for 3-axle trucks. No X class as the X is reserved for Dealer plates. All truck plates that year measured 6" by 11". This plate is thanks to Chuck Sakryd.
We knew that this plate was somewhere in the pipeline. Now we have a plate to put with the name, that being North Strabane Fire Department, and only a prototype so far. As of now there are no active plates. They are located in Strabane Township, adjacent to Canonsburg Borough in Washington County, Pennsylvania, 18 miles southwest of Pittsburgh. Watch for a couple more new plates in the next couple weeks.
This Honoring Our Veterans vanity plate was recently spotted. While this plate benefits the Veterans Trust Fund, it is not a veterans' plate, rather it's part of the Special Fund plate series. This plate type dates back to late 2012 with current serial numbers around 02695H/V. The small map outline has not been seen yet. This is the only Special Fund plate available in a Motorcycle format.
Here is a pair of Bronze Star for Valor plates. Noteworthy here is the presence of a validation sticker on the 00147B/V plate, while the 00167B/V plate has the small map outline. These originally came out in 2012, and so far only about 170 of these plates have been issued. The far left plate is courtesy of Jaska Börner, and other image, which is a recent photo, is from Ryan Battin.
Next is this pair of U.S. Marine Corps Veteran plates. The 13407M/C plate is considered a new high, and was recently spotted by Steve Ondik. This series started at the 10000 mark back in 2009. The SMOKEM/C plate is an older photo of a vanity. That photo is courtesy of Arthur Levine.
This very low number 1927 Motorcycle Dealer plate. There appears to be different opinions as to the size of low numbered M/C Dealer plates. This X+2-digit plate measures 4½" by 8". One thought is that X+1 digit plates measure 4½" by 6". If this were true, it doesn't seem logical that the 6-inch size would be used for only 9 plates — X1 to X9. On the other hand, 4½" by 6" Motorcycle plates were issued that year for 1 to 3-digit plates. Anyone wish to weigh in on this? This plate is courtesy of ebay user sree5440.
You don't see 'em any nicer than this. This 1927 Format 6 Passenger plate was a needed image. Format 6 means the plate is within the series of A10-000 to D99-999, and the 6-characters also means that the plate will measure 6" x 15". There were also 10" and 13" plates where fewer characters were used. A plate photo in the A to D999 range is still needed. The plate is courtesy of Jake Eckenrode.
Here's a 1946 Format 6 Passenger plate. Format 6 plates ran from 000A0 to 999Z9, with the letter advancing last as always. All plates for that year were 6 inches by 11 inches, most were 5-character plates but some were 4-character. This plate and a few others belong to Ray Liller. If anyone is interested in any of his plates, let me know and I can provide contact information.
This is a 1951 Format 13 passenger plate. Format 13 plates included the series D000A to P999Z. It is my belief that the reason this series started at the letter 'D' was because the 'C' series (C123A) would have been reserved for Transit Dealer plates. 1951 is the first year where the series was above 'D' was reserved, meaning A, B and C. It then continued thru 1956, after which dealer plates went to 6 characters. This plate is also courtesy of Ray Liller.
Here's a 1955 Format 7 Passenger plate. Format 7 included plates from 0000A to 9999Z. All plates measured 6" by 10¼". There were some 16 formats that year which were probably pushing the limits of what could be done with only 4 and 5 character combinations. Thanks to Pl8source for the use of this image.
This 1955 Format 3 Trailer plate is actually one of 6 different serial progressions used that year. That may seem like a lot, but all except one of the formats were limited to only 4 characters. The last of the formats is a 5-digit all numeric arrangement. All '55 plates measured 6" x 10¼", this being the last year for these short plates. This very nice plate photo was provided by Steve Ondik.
Here's the latest Amateur Radio plate — that term being used interchangeably with Ham Radio. Note the addition of the small map outline in place of the sticker well. Aside from those anticipated changes, the plate remains essentially the same as previous plates. Click Older Plates to see the history of Amateur Radio plates in PA. This plate image is thanks to Craig Wanner.
This Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue plate was spotted recently. It's not a new high, but it's close with the current reported high of 00210G/R according to Tom Perri's website. This plate program dates back to 2013. This does appear to be an active plate program, and does not require membership as a prerequisite.
This Vietnam Veterans of America organizational plate program dates back to 1992. The original yellow on blue plates were replaced in 2001 on a number for number basis up to V/N01159. When new plates were requested after the completion of the replacement process, the number series jumped ahead to V/N02000, creating a two-tiered system, with this plate being the first issued in the higher group. Since 2005 this organization has also issued a color graphic version for those who wanted them.
This Person With Disability plate photo is the second photo of this plate type with the standard serial number and with the small map outline, the first was seen back in December. Also a P/D vanity with the map was spotted as far back as last June. This addition of the map outline took place at 72000PD.
Here on the far left is the latest high Official Use plate. This is part of the group that is issued in pairs for passenger type vehicles. At some point in the future, this plate type will be redesigned on the visitPA base as depicted in the prototype shown next to it; however, this may not happen until reaching 42000P/A.
Click on this 1911 Dealer thumbnail. This plate may very well be the nicest porcelain plate I've ever seen. At first I wondered if it was a reproduction, but the rear of the plate showed the Ing-Rich manufacturer's marking. It measures 6" by 14". This 108 year old gem was seen at a recent Sporting Collectors Meet in Bellefonte. Unfortunately I did not get the name of the owner.
Here's a 1921 Dealer plate. After 1915 all early plates were steel. This plate, and all '21 Dealer plates, measured 6-inches by 16-inches. The colors were black on yellow. The serial progression that year went from X1 to beyond X11-000. This plate belonged to John Willard and John Anshant.
Here's a needed alpha-numeric 1942 Motorcycle plate. These came along after the all-numeric series of 1 to 9999 was exhausted. There was also a third format of 1A00 to 9A99 of which I have never seen. Thanks to Harry Campbell and Todd Mickinak for allowing me to photograph their plates.
Here's another needed alpha-numeric 1942 Motorcycle plate with a 1943 Motorcycle validation strip. As you may know, there were no plates stamped 43, so the black on red validation strip was added to a 42 plate for 1943. I'm guessing that if you registered a new motorcycle or other vehicle for the first time in 1943, you would get a new 1942 plate + the 43 strip. Again thanks to Harry Campbell & Todd Mickinak.
And another needed alpha-numeric plate. Like the D806 plate from 1942 above, this 1946 Motorcycle also would have been issued after the all-numeric series of 1 to 9999 had been used. All of the motorcycle plates shown here and above measure 4½" by 8". Again many thanks to Harry Campbell and Todd Mickinak for the photo op.
While this 1972 Motorcycle plate appears to be nothing special, it does fill a gap. Some time ago Harry Campbell and I collaborated on a project to categorize the serial ranges of the 1971 to 76 plate run by material — steel or aluminum, and by reverse paint color — blue or yellow. The plate shown here is a Format 1B which means it is made of aluminum, and the reverse color is blue. Again thanks to Harry and Todd.
This 1942 Format 2 Tractor plate represents the alpha-numeric format which was used after the all-numeric format was exhausted. The numeric series started at 0001 and all plates were 4 characters. The actual high is not known. This plate measures 6 inches by 12 inches. Thanks to John Willard and John Anshant for allowing me to photograph their plates.
The final entry this week is a 1951 Format 2 Tractor. Like the plate above, this also represents the alpha-numeric series which followed the all numeric series, which also started at 0001. Unlike the plate above, the size had been reduced to 6 inches by 11 inches. Again my thanks to John Willard and John Anshant for the opportunity to photograph their plates.
Here's a Flyers Wives Charities vanity plate. This series of plates which had its start back in December of 2006, has gone thru a couple variations. The first edition, of which this plate is a part, used Flyers Wives Charities as the plate legend, then came the switch to the singular Flyers Wives Charity. The sticker well was removed, at or around, the same time. The next change was the addition of the small map outline. Not easy to stay on top of all these changes. Thanks to Nick Tsilakis for the plate photo.
While on the subject of Philly sports teams plates, and with it ironically being Super Bowl Sunday, I received a recent confirmation from Ralph Lindken that the Eagles Youth Partnership license plate program has been discontinued. I suspected this back in 2016 and now it is confirmed. This plate type had its start back in 2010, from then until the program ended, about 788 plates were issued. The plates shown here are not recent photos. The 00652E/P is thanks to Steve Ondik.
This is the first Trailer plate spotted with small map base and without sticker well. It is believed that this series started at XKY-0000, after the previous format progressed to XKX-9999. The small map outline had been previously seen on a Trailer vanity plate, and like other plate types, the vanities hit the street before regular issue. This plate was spotted by Bruce Bufalini.
This is a 1942 Passenger plate. For that year there were 10 different plate formats. This is a Format 4 plate which goes from 10A0 to 99Z99. That progression includes both 4 and 5 character plates, so 6" x 10" and 6" x 12" sizes were used. This plate was listed on ebay, and the owner, OldiesMuseum, was kind enough to let me use it.
Next in line is this 1947 Passenger plate. For that year all passenger plates are believed to be 6" by 11". This is a Format 8 plate running from AA100 to ZZ999. This plate is also listed on ebay. Again many thanks to Make at Pl8source for allowing the use of many plate photos.
These 1947 Passenger plates are a Format 2 using the progression A100 to Z9999, and a Format 6 using 000A0 to 999Z9. The the far left plates is thanks to ebay seller Bigspike5100 and the near left plate is from ebay seller Southernstylenc.
Here's a 4-character 1948 Passenger plate. This plate is part of Format 5 which consists of plates from 000A to 999Z. There were 10 different serial formats used that year. Most '48 plates had 5 characters, however all plates measured 6 inches by 11 inches. Thanks to atomicamericana for the use of this image.
This 1957 Passenger plate fills the Format 6 gap which includes the series 000A0 to 999Z9. This leaves one remaining plate format of 00AA to 99ZZ. 1957 had 13 passenger formats consisting of 4, 5 and 6 character. There also three different serial number fonts used. More on the fonts in the near future. This plate photo is courtesy of ebay user SecurityAutoParts.
These 1957 Passenger plates were added as replacement images where the previous photos were of lesser quality. The NN17 plate is thanks to John Willard and John Anshant, the 51AA9 photo is thanks to Pl8source.
These Temporary Transit cardboard tags are from Steve Ondik. The far left tag has a handwritten date of 1977, while the other plate has a 1979 date. The Temp Tags themselves don't correspond directly with a year of issue. If anyone has early Temp Tags from the 1940s thru the 1990s they would be welcome.
Here's a 1958 Class S Truck plate with a 60 validation sticker. There were two serial progressions for the S-class including S00-00A, of which this plate is a part, and S00-0A0, a photo of which had been previously posted. 1958 had more truck classes than ever before including, 2 axle, 3 axle, 4 axle and even several classes for truck tractors. Thanks to Pl8source for the use of the image.
Most of these Antique Vehicles go into hibernation this time of year, but Bruce Bufalini spotted the latest high on this 1988 Toyota that appears to have survived more than a few Pennsylvania winters. The current format of Antique Vehicle plates started at 0R00 and signaled the debut of the small map outline, and this format was first spotted on Antique Vehicle plates back on November of 2017.
Here's a recent photo of an American Legion plate that is showing signs of its age. This number would have been issued originally on the yellow on blue base, and would have been replaced number for number on the www base back on 8/10/2001. So yes, this plate has been around for a while. Plates issued after the 2001 replacement process started at A/L02500.
Here is a 1935 Format 6 Passenger plate from eBay seller 1982boova. The plates are yellow on blue. Format 6 consists of plates from 0000A to 9999Z all of which are 6" x 12", although some formats with 4-character plates measured 6" X 10". This 1935 plate is currently up for grabs on eBay as item 192434828273. Thanks to 1982boova for the use of the photo.
Here is a 1942 Format 7 Passenger plate from eBay seller 1982boova. This is actually part of a plate pair. The plates are blue on yellow. Format 7 consists of plates from 0000A to 9999Z all of which are 6" x 12", although some formats with 4-character plates measured 6" X 10". This 1942 plate is currently up for grabs on eBay as item 192434825262. Thanks to 1982boova for the use of the photo.
This week's installment of Snowmobile Dealer plates or stickers are from 2000 and 2001. The use of these vinyl stickers has been the standard for snowmobile dealers since 1975 up to the present although the most recent one I have is 2005. These images came from Jeff Lesher. Hopefully there will be more of these in the future.
While I don't intend to make Temporary plates a high priority, it has been added as a new plate category to the N to Z History Page. This plate is in nearly-new unused condition. It measures 6" by 11", along the bottom are spaces for the following data: Issued; Expires; Make; and Serial. Unfortunately none of these plates are dated, only a hand-written date at the time of issue which this tag does not have. I'm guessing this plate is from the late 1960s. I do have good photo-documentation of the Temporary Intransit plates from 2000 to today. Those will be added as time permits.
This 1951 Tractor plate has been added. All tractor plates for '51 were four character, which could be all-numeric as shown here, or alpha-numeric such as A123. Presently I have no alpha-numeric photos. All plates were 6 inches by 11 inches. Thanks to Clayton Moore for this photo.
Next is this low number 1953 Format 1 Tractor plate. Like the '51 plates described above, all '53 plates were also 4 characters. This is a good example of a low number plate with a leading zero. The series actually started at 0001. The one difference between the '51 and '53 is that the size has been reduced to 6" x 10¼". Thanks to Tim Gierschick for the plate photo.
With the two different plate sizes above, why not add a third size with this 1956 Format 1 Tractor plate. This plate measures 6" by 12" which had become the standard size. This plate also follows the same serial formatting progressions as the tractor plates above. Again the image is thanks to Tim Gierschick.
While on the subject of tractor plates here's a nice addition of a 1930 Tractor Dealer plate. These plates were 6" by 12" with a likely serial progression of TX-1 to TX-99. Tractor Dealer plate history is very sketchy at best, with plates being scarce or non-existent. I have little information and no plate photos from 1931 to 1949. This photo was provided by Tim Birkmire.
Here's a 1938 S-Class Truck plate. For 1938 there were 4 plate serial number progressions within the S Class, with this plate being part of S000A format. All truck plates were 5 characters with the weight class designated by the first letter. Weight classes started with R and went to ZZ, skipping the X. This plate was made available thanks to Pl8source.
This 1955 S-Class Truck plate also has 5 characters, but for this year there were 5 plate serial number progressions within the S Class, with this plate being part of S00AA format. Weight classes again started with R and went to ZZ, skipping the X. Truck plates with a 2-letter prefix are very rare, as 3-axle trucks at the time were much less common. This plate was made available thanks to from Pl8dog.
Per the request of some viewers, the text color has been changed to a more subdued tone for new postings.
Here's the latest high Emergency Vehicle plate spotted. It appears that the addition of the small map outline came about at EV-71000. This change has not been seen yet in the lower tier of EV plates currently in the 36000 series. That group advances much more slowly than the upper tier. While overhauling the Emergency Vehicle history section, several images were added to the current plate section and a couple were removed. See updates below.
The Emergency Vehicle History Section has been reorganized and enlarged with the addition of a number of photos, too many to show here. That section now starts with the EV-10058 shown here, the lowest number EV plate I've seen. The series started at EV-10000, and 1977 is believed to be the starting year. That plate is thanks to Steve Ondik. At EV-15000 the plate colors were reversed as seen in the EV-23280 plate from Jim Moini. Then for a while the word VEHICLE was pluralized, and later made singular again. When the plates went to the family of plates / visitPA base they were split into a 2-tiered numbering system. And today the plate can even be configured as a vanity.
This is a Format 5 1930 Passenger plate. That progression ran from 000A to 999Z9, so both 4- and 5-character plates were issued. This plates measures 6 inches by 12 inches; however, there were also 6- by 10-inch tags where the serial number was 4 characters or less. Thanks to Shane Oake from Australia for the use of this plate photo.
This 1949 Passenger plate is part of the group I call Format 5 which is made up of plates from 0000A to 9999Z. Some '49 formats include both 4 and 5 character plates, but all are 6 inches by 11 inches, and were issued in pairs. Thanks much to Shane Oake for the use of this plate photo.
This very nice 1952 Passenger plate photo helps fill the Format 4 gap which consists of 10A0 to 99Z99. This group is made up of both 4 and 5 character plates. Early and mid-year plates (Formats 1 to 9) measured 6" x 11", later plates (Formats 10 thru 13) were reduced to 6" x 10¼". 1952 was the first year that PA switched to single plates. Thanks again to Shane Oake for the use of this plate photo.
Here's a 1953 Passenger 4-character Format 9 plate. Format 9 consisted of plates from 1AA0 to 9ZZ99. There were both 4- and 5-character serial combinations; however, regardless of the number of characters, the plates were all 6" x 10¼", and issued as singles. Thanks to Pl8 Source for the use of this plate photo.
This week's installment of Snowmobile Dealer plates or stickers are from 1992 and 1999. I've been posting these for the past couple weeks, but if you missed that, these are all 3" by 5" and made of vinyl. Thanks to Jeff Lesher for the use of his photos. Check back next week for a couple more.
This trio of Suburban plates has been added to the Suburban History section, which also received a facelift. Some viewers may be old enough to remember these short-lived plates, with their characteristic 'Q'. These were used on station wagons at the time, which is almost an archaic term today for a sedan with an extended roofline over a passenger or cargo area. They also had tailgates in place of a trunk lids. Today the closest body style would be an SUV or crossover. These plates were issued from 1960 thru 1964 with sticker renewals, and employed some 8 serial formatting progressions from 4 to 6 characters. The far left plate is from Pl8 Source, the center plate is thanks to John Willard, and the 4-character plate is from Drew at Pl8s.com.
These Tractor plates from 1945, 1947 and 1952 were added to the history page. They don't represent any formatting discoveries but they do provide some added variety to the photo displays. The '45 plate likely came from ebay some years ago, while the '47 and the '52 plates were from Tim Gierschick.
Here's a welcome addition to the 1924 Truck series with this S-class plate. Beginning in 1924 the use of the letter truck weight classes came about. Weight classification system ran from R thru Z, excluding X, and with the letter normally in the prefix position. There were three different lengths depending on the number of characters on the plate. This was the largest of the three measuring 6" by 15". I saw this and a number of other very nice older PA plates on Facebook. The owner, Shane Oake, from South Australia, was kind enough to let me use some of his plate photos.
Any guesses? It's a 1933 T Weight Class Truck. Thanks to Tim Gierschick for spotting this on ebay, and thanks to the plate owner, Threelabssalvage, for giving me the go-ahead to use the image. These plates were prison-made, issued in pairs, and measured 6" by 15". The series format was T10-000.
This 1958 U-Class Truck plate is a welcome addition. The R to Z weight classification still existed during the '58 to '63 multi-year plate run, although the weight limits themselves had been raised over the years, and additional classifications beyond the Z have been added long ago. This plate is also thanks to Shane Oake.
Here's a photo of the latest high Passenger plate. Thanks to Ryan Battin for the photo. While I don't track and record highs, I'm usually happy to show them, especially when there has been a large jump in numbers, or when there has been some change in the plate design. This plate does move the bar forward. Go to Tom Perri's website (www.paplates.com/) where Tom tracks highs of all PA types.
While on the subject of Passenger plates,
Arthur Levine sent me a link to a news article from the York Daily Record, "There
are over 1,000 banned personalized license plates in PA." If that link
does not work, try the one below. PennDOT has a team of employees to
review plate requests to make sure nothing potentially offensive finds it way to
the ass-end of someone's car. Oops!
Here's a recent street shot of a Distinguished Flying Cross plate. These plates have been available since 2012. This plate would be considered the current high. There is no map outline showing and it appears to me that the sticker well is still there. This plate was spotted by Jaska Börner.
Here's the latest high In God We Trust plate photographed by Bruce Bufalini. Tom Perri points out that this plate, while being a new reported high, also shows at least 2 stickers. A vanity check suggests the actual registered high is above 00960. Another source suggests that plates up to 05000 are sitting in inventory, and were produced well before the sticker well was removed and replaced with the map outline.
Here's another traffic shot, this one shows the latest high School Vehicle plate. These plates differ from School Bus plates in that they may carry no more than 10 passengers including the driver, whereas School Bus plates allow 11 to 72 persons. Photo courtesy of Jeff Lawson.
Check out the Bus Page to see all of PA's Apportioned Bus, Bus, Mass Transit, School Bus, School Vehicle, Limousine, Omnibus and Taxi registration plates.
Here's a 1950 New Car Dealer with the second letter in the 4th position. The A in the first position is a fixed character and does not advance. There is always a second alpha character, either in the 5th position as shown in the Dealer History Section, or in the 4th position as shown here. These letters do advance as part of the serial number. This plate photo is believed to have come from ebay. Still needed is a 1950 Used Car Dealer photo.
This is a 1956 New Car Dealer plate. The formatting is similar to the '50 Dealer plate above; however, this plate has the second letter in the final position. You may also be able to notice that the plates are different widths. The '50 plate measures 6" by 11", while the 56 plate is 6" by 12" having met the new license plate standard for size. This plate is courtesy of Jeff Francis.
The final dealer plate for this week is this 1962 Used Car Dealer. Except for the 1942-43 war effort, multi-year plates had their beginning in 1958 and again in 1962. '62 plates were renewable thru 1963 with a sticker although this plate has no renewal sticker. Thanks to Jeff Francis for the use of the photo.
Here's a 1922 Motorcycle plate. The plate is the only photo I have of a 5-character M/C plate for '22. The other plates shown include a 3-character and a 4-character. Plates from 1000 to 19316 measured 4½" by 8", plates from 1 to 999 were 4½" by 6". Thanks to Lou Bodie for sharing this and several other early bike plates.
This 5-character 1924 Motorcycle like the plate above also measures 4½" by 8" which size also includes 4-character plates. 1- to 3-digit plates measured 4½" by 6". This '24 and the '22 above are both dark blue on yellow. Thanks to Lou Bodie for sharing these photos.
This is not a new photo, but now I can put the name of Lou Bodie as the owner of this very rare 1929 Motorcycle plate. Being a single digit plate the size is only 4½" by 6". Click the link above to also see 4- and 5-digit plates from 1929 and those measures 4½" by 8". The number of plates issued was likely over thirteen thousand.
Here is another grouping of Snowmobile Dealer plates or stickers from 1989, 1990 and 1991. These are all 3" by 5" and made of vinyl. Again I want to thank Jeff Lesher for the use of his photos. Check back next week for additional photos.
This R-class 1945 Truck plate has been added. Plates that year ran the gamut from R-class for the lightest weight trucks to ZZ at the other end for the largest and heaviest trucks. In addition, the R-class itself utilized four different serial progressions. The plate shown here is from the first progression which included R000A to R999Z. The other three classes started at R00A0, R0A00 and R00AA. Image courtesy of PL8 Source.
This 1948 Truck plate represents another R-class tag. The truck weight classes for '48 were similar to 1945; however, for 1948 additional Class R registrations made it necessary to have 5 different serial progressions. This plate happens to be part of the fifth progression or R0AA0. The others included R000A, R00A0, R0A00 and R00AA. The '45 above and the '48 are both 6" x 11". Again I appreciate the use of material from PL8 Source.
After 1951 plates were issued issued as singles. Also after '51 the plate width was shortened to 10¼" with the height holding at 6". This continued until the plate size was standardized in 1956. Anyway, here is a very well preserved V weight class 1954 Truck plate. This class in included these serial formats: V000A, V00A0 and V0A00. Again I appreciate the help from PL8 Source.
The final plate this week is this 1955 U-class Truck plate. This was the final year for these short 10¼" plates. There were enough registration of this truck class to require 4 serial formats including: U000A, U00A0, U0A00, U00AA, with this plate being part of the second group. Again I appreciate the help from Mike at PL8 Source.
Plate News — PennDOT is announcing a new registration plate reissuance program for older Pennsylvania registration plates that may be weathered, damaged, or unreadable. This process will include standard issue passenger plates starting with ‘D’, ‘E’, ‘F’ and truck plates starting with ‘Y’. This will be done thru the existing network of agents and dealers that participate in the Online Registration and Online Messenger Programs and will replace the plates when a customer transfers one of the above-configured registration plate. Thanks to Ryan Battin for the heads up on this plan.
The two far left photos show another new type of Department of Transportation Official Use plate. Compare this plate with the T0026P/A plate on the near left. These plates have the prefix and suffix letters reversed. The reason they appear different is that P/A0180T is the format used on commercial vehicles or in this case a front end loader. The other plate type is issued in pairs for use on passenger vehicles, SUVs, etc. The P/A0180T plate was recently photographed by Tiger Joe Sallmen in his travels. The other plate was provided by John Clark and previously posted. It is believed that other state agencies may eventually opt to have their own official use plates.
Pennsylvania has been a tough place for plate spotting this winter with the relentless cold and snow. Be that as it may, Brian Feil recently spotted this Passenger Vanity with map. The same rules and restrictions apply to these latest vanities as with previous plates.
This is a 1947 Miscellaneous Dealer plate with the X identifier in the first position, previously I only had a photo with the X in the second position. Beginning with 1946 plates there were new Dealer plate series called New Car Dealer and Used Car Dealer, which used an A- and a B-prefix respectively. Thanks to Mike at PL8 Source for sharing this and many other photos this week.
Next in line is this 1951 Miscellaneous Dealer plate. Like the plate above, this also has the X identifier in the first position, previously I only had a photo with the X in the second position. For 1951 a photo of a B-series Used Car Dealer is still needed. Thanks to Jeff Francis for the use of this photo.
Here's another Miscellaneous Dealer plate. This 1954 plate has the X in the second position. For 1954 plates were 6" by 10¼". This small size was used from 1952 to 1955, after which plates were standardized to 6" by 12". Thanks to Mike at PL8 Source for sharing this photo.
This 4-digit 1919 Motorcycle plate has been added. The plate is part of the Format 2 series which ran from 1000 to over 25000. They measure a familiar 4½" by 8". There was also a Format 1 group starting at 1 and going to 999. This group measures 4½" by 6". I do not have any photos of this smaller format. Thanks to Lou Bodie for sharing this photo which was up for grabs on ebay.
Here's a very nice 3-digit 1957 Motorcycle plate that I found in my photo files. There were basically two formats for '57. The first went from 1 to 9999. After reaching that point, the series started with A was authorized to go to Z999. All plates were 4½" by 8". I do not know where or who the image came from.
This Format 3, 5-digit plate makes a nice addition to the 1916 Passenger run. This 6-inch by 14-inch plate completes the run of all 4 sizes of plates, with the plate series numbers in the display starting at 2 digits and running well into six figures. Thanks to Josh at JK*Antiques for the use of this plate photo.
Up to 1924 passenger plates were all-numeric, but as more and more cars were registered the alpha-numeric format became necessary. 1928 Passenger plates began with single digit plates then after reaching 999-999, the sequence started anew with A or A1 and eventually reached the serial number seen here, and continued on into the E series. The alpha character was always the last to advance. This plate measures 6" x 15", and was part of a pair. Thanks to Mike at PL8 Source for sharing this photo.
Next up is this 1932 Passenger plate, It fills a Format 5 gap which ran from 000A to 999Z9, meaning both 4 and 5-character variations. The 4-character variation measured 6" x 10", while 5 character plates, as shown here measured 6" x 12". There were no 6-character plates for 1932 since plates with 2 alpha characters were used averting the need to go to 6 characters. Thanks to Mike at PL8 Source for sharing this photo.
The final passenger plate this week is this very nice 1933 Format 4 plate which is made up of the series 00A to 99Z99. Again there were both 10-inch and 12-inch plate widths, with all 5-character plates being 12". Click the link above to see some 1, 2, 3 and 4-character variations. A Format 8 plate from AA100 to ZZ999 is still needed. Again many thanks to Mike at PL8 Source for sharing this photo.
I saw on ebay that a number of Snowmobile Dealer plates up for grabs, if you want to call them plates. My section on Snowmobile Dealer plates was kind of weak except for a few years. 1974 was the starting point and the only year that metallic plates were issued, after that year all plates were 3" by 5" vinyl stickers as shown here on these 1996, '97 and '98 plates. I will have more of these over the next couple weeks. Thanks to Jeff Lesher for the images.