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What's new in the last 30 days?
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Alvernia University, Reading, PA, is the latest organization to start a license plate program. No plates are in use at this time.
This Honoring Our Veterans personalized plate was provided by W. Young. This plate is part of the Special Fund plate group. With the vehicle code now permitting vanity plates, these are becoming more common. There are currently over 2000 regular issue Honoring Our veterans plates in use. The plates are also available in a Motorcycle version.
Arthur Levine spotted this U.S. Army Veteran personalized plate. These, like the plate above, are popular with those who want more than a serial number on a plate.
Whenever a plate goes thru a transition, such as these Expeditionary Forces Veteran plates, marking the transition point is always a goal. Based on these plate photos from Tom Perri, it appears that the change likely occurred at E/F2000 This change was not recent, and actually dates back to march of 2014.
Concerning Disabled Veteran plates, for a while now we've been seeing DV- vanity plates where the DV- was flat screened. Recently Nick Tsilakis spotted DV-37007 with the DV- now flat screened. Disabled Veteran plates in the previous DV-36000 series were still completely embossed. This is not to be confused with Severely Disabled Veteran that uses the wheelchair symbol and stacked D/V.
These Motorcycle Dealer plates are courtesy of Dave Lincoln. These and a couple others are also currently on eBay till around 8PM eastern time today 2/19. Anyway, the 1940 MCD plate is in addition to a 2-digit plate previously posted. The 1946 MCD is the first such plate of that year on this site — a welcome addition. And the 1950 MCD is also in addition to a 2-digit plate previously posted. Check back next week for more MCD plates.
These 1910 porcelain plate photos were taken at the Antique Automobile Club of America or AACA Museum in Hershey, PA. For 1910 there were some 33,000 plates issued. The far left plate is in the 10000 to 19999 series and therefore measures 6" by 13", while the near left plate is in the 20000 and above group and measures 6" by 14". The difference being the space required for the 1 is less than that required for plates beginning with a 2 or 3. The end result was 5 different plate widths that year.
For 1911 there were some 43-thousand plates issued. Like the plates above, there were 5 different plate sizes depending on the number of digits and if there was a leading 1 on 5-digit plates. Click the link for a more detailed description. The 6666 plate is from the Sweigart Museum and was provided by Eric Conner. The 37650 plate was from Tim Gierschick. This plate also has beveled edges. This feature seemed to be common on higher numbered plates and some replacement plates.
Here's a group of all sizes of 1929 Passenger plates. Three sizes were used depending on the number of characters, and ranged from 6" by 10" to 6" by 15". The plates shown here are in the order in which they were issued. Click the link above for more information. The first plate is from, AACA; next is Joe Bosche; the C-1 is Jeff Hinkle, and the last is a photo I snapped.
Next up a number of truck plates starting with this 1914 Truck 3 star. 1914 was the first year for truck plates, and while they looked similar to passenger plates, except for the aluminum band to the left end of the plate. Plate size is 6" by 15¼". This particular band or strip has 3 stars which is the weight designation of this truck. The strip could have 1 to 5 stars. These plates in the 20000 range were also issued to solid rubber tire passenger vehicles. Apparently too many plates were produced and some were issued to cars without the weight strip but with the gap on the left side of the plate.
Next is this Z-series 1957 Truck plate. 1957 saw the start of 6 character plates after many years of plates being only 5 characters. To accomplish this the east and west map borders were pulled back to allow more space. In addition a new font was used with thinner characters. The formatting consisted of one and two-letter prefixes indicating the weight class and number of axles. My listing of weight classes has not been confirmed. This was also the final year for single-year plates. This is a John Willard plate.
In 1958, truck and other plates began a multiyear run to 1963. All plates, regardless of when issued, had 58 embossed in the upper right corner. Early plates also came thru with a rectangular tab slot to the left of the 58. Tabs were never issued, instead annual renewal stickers were issued to be placed in the upper left corner. Later plates had no tab slot. Also note the use of a small keystone separator between the 3rd and 4th characters. Above we have an R-class with the slot and one without. Note the R-series plate progression is R00-00A, then R00-0A0, and finally R00-A00 as the final letter moves left. Note also the heavier weight class ZZ and ZX plates. I believe the ZZ is a 3-axle truck and ZX is a 4-axle truck. The first 3 plates are courtesy of Chuck Sakryd, while the remaining two are from John Willard.
Here are three 1964 R-Class truck multi-year plates showing all three alpha-numeric progressions. A Class R is the lightest weight 2-axle truck. Remember the R is a non-advancing character while the final alpha character starts in the 6th position, and as the series fills it moves to the 5th position and finally to the 4th position. The first and the third plates are from Chuck Sakryd, the center plate is from Jeff Lawson.
Just to add a few more 1964 truck classes, here are Classes S, T, and V, each licensing a heavier weight vehicle. These are all Chuck Sakryd plates.
For 1968 to '71 Truck plates took on a new appearance, a new name, COMMERCIAL and PENNSYLVANIA fully spelled out. We also have the addition of an outlined box for the renewal sticker. For now lets limit the discussion to the far left plate only. Early plates had 68 etched into the sticker well. A completely new plate coding system is also evident with CA-10000 as the starting point, and unlike the past, the plate display had nothing to do with vehicle weight. The 'C' at the start of the serial number was a non-advancing character. The second character, always a letter, advances after the 5-digit number reaches 99999. The cneter plate with BC-54870 is an error plate with the CB reversed. That plate is from Clayton Moore. The CA0 000 is a test plate. Originally it had a decal of the outline of a large keystone in the center.
Municipal Government plates, such as the one on the far left, have received a major facelift as seen on the two plates in the center. The older plates are still valid and can continue to be used. The new plate pictures were provided by Bill Houser. The small plate on the right side a a prototype of the revised Municipal Government Motorcycle plate.
Not an easy plate to spot, but Tom Perri snapped this # 13 Cumberland Valley Corvette Club. This is also the first picture taken of this this plate type. The club has about 23 plates on the road, and they have been in use since around March of 2016.
The Silver Star plate on the far left was photographed by Tom Perri, I snapped the Bronze Star image. For those not familiar: The Silver Star Medal, is the U.S. military's third-highest decoration for valor in combat, and is awarded primarily for gallantry in action against an enemy of the U.S. The Bronze Star Medal is awarded to members of the U.S. Armed Forces for either heroic achievement, heroic service, meritorious achievement, or meritorious service in a combat zone. There are some 542 Bronze Star plates in use and only about 42 Silver Star plates. Note, there is also a Bronze Star for Valor medal and license plate.
This Disabled Veteran vanity plate was spotted recently in traffic. Not sure why the DV is on the plate twice, but my guess is that the owner wanted DV718 as the entire serial number, but since the DV is a 'required' part of the vanity, it's there twice. Also note that the two DVs are different sizes. The first DV is screened, while the second DV is embossed.
This Dealer vanity plate was spotted by Nick Tsilakis. Click the link to see a couple others. It appears that all of the dealer types allow personalized plates, but so far the only other type to be spotted as a vanity was a Repair Towing plate.
The word AMENDMENT appeared below this plate leaving no doubt about the owner showing his or her support for the 2nd Amendment. I've always liked the triple stacked suffix on these NRA Foundation plates. For those who follow the numbers, the current reported high is 0798N/R/A according to http://www.paplates.com/.
Brendan Sherri spotted this Fraternal Order of Police plate belonging to this Bon Jovi Junkie. The plate frame does a good job of blocking most of the state and the organization names. Legal frame?
Every once in a while one or two of these all-zeros plates turns up which are not samples. This appears to be more common with organizations that have had plates since the yellow on blue plate days, but this is not always the case. This National Greyhound Adoption Program picture was provided by Jeff Lawson. The Community LifeTeam EMS plate photo is from Tom Perri and I'm guessing was the first plate issued, rather than a vanity plate. Hideous frame covers up the name of the organization and the state.
This 1968 Republican Governors Conference plate was issued to Governor Shafer who was PA's Governor from 1967 to 1971. The image came from Chuck Harrington who commented something to the effect, it's not a PA plate but it was issued to a PA Governor. It was added to the PA Governors' Plate Page.
These are both '71 Member of Congress plates on the Bicentennial base. Later in the '71 to 76 run there was a change similar to the design shown below but with less space between the numbers and letters. The far left plate is from Eric Conner and the near left plate is from Barefoot Jaime. Both plate have 71 etched in the upper left sticker well.
These are also Member of Congress plates issued during the 1984 to '99 period. The formatting allowed for a congressman to register two vehicles. Both of these plate photos are from Eric Conner. Today's congressional plate are seldom seen for a number of reasons, and no senatorial plates have been issued, although they have been produced.
Check out these Motorbike plates from 1941, '42-'43, '44 and '45, and no they're not motorboat plates. The layout of the plates is essentially the same except for the colors. The 42 with the 43 tab is original and the first I've seen on a Motorbike plate. Unlike Motorcycles these were all issued in relatively small numbers. The highest number issued among the plates shown here was about 2265 in the 1942-43 series. Thanks to Jake Eckenrode for allowing me to take these photos, and best wishes to Harry Campbell who may now own some of these.
This is a 1906 Pre-State plate issued by the City of Philadelphia. This was at the same time that the state began issuing plates. The matter turned into a legal battle. If you want to read the details see Eric Taylor's website on the history of porcelain plates. By the following year the Philly plates were history. This is a John Willard and John Anshant plate.
These plates are all nice enough to be shown separately but here they are grouped together. The far left plate is a black on yellow 1908 from Tim Gierschick, as are all three plates. The black on white 1909 plate is as nice as any I've seen. Tim does say the characters on the plate were professionally restored. Both of these plate measure 6" by 7". The white on dark blue 1910 plate, now wearing the badge with maker's number, is slightly larger at 6" by 8".
We finish out this week with these 1955 Truck and 1956 Truck, both Z-series. Aside from the color difference, the '56 plate has a wider base as the plate went from 10¼ inches to a width of 12 inches, making the 6 x 12 plate the standard from that year forward. Both plate are thanks to John Willard.
These new plates, announced on 2/1, are in response to Act 108, signed into law on 10/4/16, which called for the creation of special license plates for current members of the U.S. Armed Forces including members of the reserves, including Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Pennsylvania National Guard. Images from PennDOT announcement. Plates are $20, personalized for an extra $100, form MV-150AD.
Jeff Lawson sent this PA State Society Daughters of the American Revolution plate picture. The title is so long it makes reading it difficult from a distance, but it's not the longest. That distinction goes to the Delaware Valley Chapter of the BMW Car Club of America.
This is an encore appearance of this beautiful 1929 Tractor plate belonging to John Willard. When I originally posted this plate on 10/16/16, I suggested that the plate had been refinished. This plate is original as you see it, just as it came out of the wrapper, never refinished.
These fine US Congress plate images were provided by Barefoot Jaime. The plate on the far left is a 1965 base with a 66 sticker U/SC18 and was used by Congressman Robert J. Corbett (R), Pittsburgh. The 1971 base with a 75 sticker was used by Congressman Joseph Gaydos (D), 20th District, McKeesport, PA.
Here is a 1905 Pre-State porcelain plate issued by the City of Philadelphia. Such plates were issued in Philadelphia from 1903 up to and including 1906, when the state began issuing plates. Yes, there was an overlap. These were smaller in size than most plates measuring 4 inches by 7 inches, but since manufactured license plates were new at the time there was no standard size to go by. Eric Taylor has an excellent website on the evolution and eventual demise of porcelain plates, http://porcelainplates.net/ . This plate was photographed at by Eric Conner at the Sweigart Museum in Huntington, PA.
This very nice 1907 porcelain plate was recently being auctioned on eBay. The owner, Don Bucchi, kindly gave me the go-ahead to use the image. These five-digit plates measured 6½" x 10½", and was the largest of the four sizes used that year. From 1906 thru 1911 the plates were manufactured by Ing-Rich, also known as Ingram Richardson of Beaver Falls, PA.
The following year, 1908, again thanks to Don Bucchi we have this near perfect black on yellow porcelain plate. Like the plate above, also being 5 digits, it too measures 6½" x 10½". The wide slots seen at the top of most of these early plates was for leather straps used to fasten the plate to the vehicle. At that time vehicles didn't come with predrilled plate mounting holes.
Beginning in 1910 the aluminum maker's number tag, as described last week, was riveted to the left side of the porcelain plate. Colors were white on dark blue. This particular plate measures 6" by 12". There were also two smaller sizes and two larger, all depending on the number of digits. Another thanks to Don Bucchi.
Here are three examples of 1915 Passenger plates. There are a number of variations with 1915 and I have rewritten the description on the Passenger Plates Page. The first and the third plates shown here are courtesy of Tim Gierschick. The center plate is mine, and while not a great plate, it does does show PENNA. with a period. It also has sunken numbers.
These are the first 1945 Motorcycle Dealer plates to be shown on this site. Tim Gierschick spotted these at a recent event. Nice numbers.
This very nice pair of 1953 and 1954 Z-Class Truck plate are again thanks to John Willard. These were both 'shorties' measuring 6" by 10¼". It wasn't until 1956 that plate dimensions were standardized at 6" by 12". Weight classes ran from R to Z on 2-axle trucks, with Z being the heaviest. Of course X was reserved for Dealer plates. Then for larger 3-axle trucks the series went from RZ to ZZ. I remember as a kid seeing ZZ plates on big tandem-axle cement mixers. Apparently this 'license plate thing' was in my blood even back then as a kid.
New Military plates just around the corner. Act 108, signed into law on 10/4/16, calls for the creation of special license plates for current members of the U.S. Armed Forces including members of the reserves, including Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Pennsylvania National Guard. These plate are due 2/1/17.
Tom Perri shared this picture perfect Knights of Columbus plate. After those who got earlier plates re-issued, the series jumped ahead to K/C02000 for those getting plates for the first time. This plate is a part of the latest series. Click the link above to see the plate gallery which may make it easier to understand. The K/C plates have a 30-year history.
Here's the latest high Antique Vehicle plate from Jeff Lawson. In this series the single letter in the second position is the last character to advance. This plate was just received and notice the presence of the sticker well and no map outline yet. There appears to be a large inventory of these plates, so it will be a while before any change is expected.
This Penn State University plate was photographed by Jeff Lawson. As you may know there is also a Penn State Alumni plate as well as a Penn State official plate. There's also the Pennsylvania College of Technology which has affiliation with Penn State.
This Bronze Star vanity plate was also provided by Jeff Lawson. Personalized Veteran plates seem to be increasingly popular. The plates are displayed proudly and the personalization tells an additional story.
Both 1907 # 6 white on red porcelain plates are actually photos of the same plate from the Sweigart Museum in Huntington, PA, as is the # 1820 plate. The photo on the far left is from Eric Conner, while the other #6 photo on the near left is thanks to Tim Gierschick. The #72 plate belongs to Tim Gierschick. The 1820 photo is also from the Sweigart Museum. These 3 plates on the left measure 6" high by 7" across. The 4-digit plate is 6½" high by 8¼" across. This being the second year for state-issued plates, there were almost 20-thousand plates issued. Anyone have a 3 or 5-digit plate?
Here's a nice trio of 4 and 5 digit 1909 black on white porcelain plates. Notice that the two 4-digit plates are different widths, this is unexpected. And the 4 and 5-digit plates are the same width, this is also unexpected. When I post images I do try to maintain the correct aspect ratio. The source of the plate on the far left is unknown, the middle plate was photographed on a vehicle, and the final plate belongs to Clayton Moore.
Next in the lineup is this group of 1913 white on green plates. Note the aluminum keystone on the far left. This feature came out in 1910, and is usually referred to as the makers number, which in today's parlance would be called the VIN or Vehicle Information Number. The aluminum tag reads, NOT TRANSFERABLE, over the number itself, over MAKERS NUMBER. Note the two 5-digit plates are different lengths. Clink the link above to see a further description. These plates are all thanks to Tim Gierschick.
Update 1:00 PM 1/29: Ned Flynn points out that the 18596 is one of the "rare “overfires” where the ’13 was created over a 1912 base. Note the red where the green has chipped off." Ned also suggests that the back of the plate likely has the boxed Brilliant seal of the early ‘12s.
The 1915 plate posted earlier on 1/29 has been removed pending further refinement of facts. The plate shown earlier was a truck plate with the left portion of the photo showing the weight strip being cut off.
Last week I posted a single # 51 1935 Passenger plate from from an unknown source. Tim Gierschick took ownership of the plate and sent me a nice shot of this great pair. With one-and-a-half-million passenger registrations that year, and with plates limited to a maximum of five characters, the result was at least thirteen different registration formats were used. These were split between 6" by 10" plates and 6" by 12" depending on the number of characters in the plate. The plates shown here were 6" by 10" shorties.
These 1950 Truck and 1952 Truck plates share a lot of characteristics. In fact almost everything except the year, expiration and serial are the same. The serial denotes the same weight class truck as designated by the 'Z' prefix indicating the heaviest class of 2-axle trucks. Thanks to John Willard for allowing me to photograph so many of his plates.
They're here! The updated plates with the small map outline were not expected out till mid-2017, but they have made their debut on vanity plates. The far left is on a Trailer vanity of Codey Bowman. I would have expected the legend TRAILER, but this is the first Trailer vanity I've seen. An earlier Truck vanity had TRUCK spelled out. The other plate is an anonymous submission of a remake of an older Press Photographer plate which I've placed with Passenger vanities. According to a PennDOT bulletin, the updated design will be noticed first on personalized and special organization registration plates. Starting in the summer of 2017, the updated design will be seen on the standard-issue plates as the old-style plate inventory is depleted.
Here's another of the University of Pittsburgh's latest plate revisions. This one was spotted by Brendan Sherry. It appears likely that Pitt switched to this new graphic format at or around U/P05000. This plate is also the new high. If you want to keep up with the latest highs, check Tom Perri's PA Plates website.
Here a new high Omnibus spotted recently. This series started at OB-50000 on the www base, then switched to the visitPA base at OB-69000. There were some minor variations along the way with the font used for the OMNIBUS legend.
These Operation Iraqi Freedom plate photos are from Ian Emmett, who served as a U.S. Marine in Iraq from 2002 to 2006, hence the Devil Dog vanity.
Last week I posted a photo of the 1903 # 46 and 47 leather pre-state license plates. This week thanks to Tim Gierschick we have the provenance for the # 47 to go with the picture. Below left is the Berks County registration document, followed by a photo of the proud owner of the first car in Fleetwood. The final document is the treasure's receipt for the fee for the license to operate the vehicle.
The vehicle is a 1903 Oldsmobile (spelled Olds Mobile on the document) belonging to Allen Seaman.
Spotlight on 1906. Next are these 5 very nice 111-year old 1906 state issued plates. These are all white on dark blue porcelain. Most plates from this era are not nearly so nice. Many thanks to Tim Gierschick for sharing these photos for the benefit of the hobby, and for helping preserve and share plate history.
The next plate for this week is this 1928 Passenger. The colors were dark blue on yellow. This 6-digit plate measures 6" by 15". The plate series went from a single digit to 6 digits, then started again with an alpha-numeric series starting with A, A1 and extending into the E series + 5 numbers. Plates with shorter serial numbers also used shorter plates. Up to 4 characters were 6" by 10", 5 character were 6" by 13" and 6 character were 6" by 15" as shown here. Dash separators were used on 5 and 6 character plates placed before the final 3 characters.
This 1934 Passenger plate is similar to the 1931 plate posted last week with the letters ER, and the '35 UF plate below. John Willard, owner of the plates, believes these are all early vanity plates. We do know that two-character plates were believed issued (AA to ZZ999) as part of the 1934 and other plate runs.
Here is a grouping of 1935 Passenger plates. It shows several different formats. On the far left are 2 and 4-digit examples on the 6" by 10" base, then a two-letter format variations also on the short base, and finally a 5-character 6" by 12" base. Source, 51, unknown; 3075, Chuck Sakryd; 90R5, Joe Bosche; UF, John Willard, and PS509, Jeff Hinkle.
These 1943 registration tabs were issued in place of new plates, and were to be bolted over top of the 1942 plates. This was done to save steel as part of the war effort. The plates measured 1⅞ by 2⅛, were made of steel, painted red, had 43 painted black and embossed with the 4 and the 3 to the left and right of the bolt hole. Below the 43 was the expiration date of 3-31-44 , below that etched into the tab was a serial number of up to 6 digits or an alpha character and up to 5 digits. Thanks to John Walters for the photo.
The final plate this week is this Z-series 1948 Truck form John Willard. The Z-series was likely the heaviest class of 2-axle trucks, then there were 3 axle trucks with a 2-letter prefix. All plates were 5 characters.
Images and photos are always welcome. Please send to:
John McDevitt, Walnutport, PA