If the wheels in Harrisburg turn
according to plan, the following two plates should be unveiled this coming
week: Combat Wounded Veteran Motorcycle (Purple Heart), and Legion of Merit.
The Legion of Merit is authorized for automobiles, or trucks with a GVW of
not more than 14,000 lb. These were authorized by
Act 108. No photos or prototypes yet. Stay tuned.
Sad day. This, and several legacy
plates (far left), are being replaced by what you see on the near left.
PennDOT takes pride (really?) in announcing that the official plates
issued to Penn
State, Pitt, Temple and Lincoln Universities will be joining the
'family of plates'. Once the changeover takes place, the new plates
will be issued as singles. The A45-28P photo is thanks to from
Tom Perri. Watch for more on the
other plates next week.
Here is a pair of
Autism Society of America plates. The plate on the far
left was recently acquired by Brandon Sowers and represents a high
number before the changeover to the map outline. The near left
plate with the map was a street shot taken by
Every now and then a blank plate of the original
series of Special Fund plates comes to the forefront. So it is
with this DARE
plate which had not yet been given its debossed edge and sticker well.
The term DARE is short for Drug Abuse Resistance Education Also
not yet part of the plate are the embossed features including the serial
number and state name. DARE plates are very sought after by
collectors. Thanks to Devan Ciemiewicz for this photo.
Here's an early Disabled Veteran
plate. I believe these DV plates date back to 1976, and have never
been replaced. So had this plate been registered over the years,
it could still be on the street; however, this plate belonging to Tom
Firth, has never been used. Current issue is in the DV-37000
Nothing all that remarkable about this Person with Disability
plate, but noticed that I had no plate photos between 00009PD
and 14808PD — quite a gap. Thanks to Brendan Sherry for
Here's a well-preserved 1940 Motorbike
plate. These are very similar to Motorcycle plates of the time in
terms of color, size and shape. The main difference is the use of
MB, as shown here, vs. MC for Motorcycle. The other difference is
the number of plates issued, with Motorcycle registrations far
outnumbering Motorbikes. Thanks to Lee Madigan for the use of this
Here's a nice yellow on green 3-digit
1948 Motorboat License
plate. It measure 5⅛" by 11". The 11-inch width started in
1947 to accommodate 5 character serial numbers. Even 1, 2 and
3-digit plates used the 11 inches width. The photo gallery now has
examples of 3, 4 and 5-digit plates. Plates were issued in pairs.
Thanks to Rob Baran for the use of this photo.
This is a pair of 1949 Motorboat License
plates. Like the plate above all measure 5⅛" by 11". The 11-inch width,
in 1947 would run through1949, after which the use of narrower dies in 1950
allowed the plates to be motorcycle size.
Thanks to eBay users rbq507 and mg00000 for the use of these photos.
During the years from 1920 to 1923,
the word Commercial was added to truck plates as the identifying legend.
ALPCA member, Rob Baran, recently did a very informative article for the
February 2019 issue of Plates Magazine entitled Pennsylvania
Commercial Plates 1920-1923. Rob put forth a great effort to
research these plates and help remove much of the shroud of mystery.
The mystery comes about through the apparent lack of a weight
classification system. For those not familiar, the weight classes
are identified by the first digit in the number, which equates to
Classes 1 to 8. Rob has kindly forwarded these 1923 Class 2, 4 and 5
images. The generally held belief was that all plates were 6" by
16" in size regardless of the length of the serial number; however Rob
has noted 2 sizes. Most plates are 6" by 16"; however, two
plates, 56-188 (shown above) and another, actually measure 6" by
15". The 15-inch plates have the left side of the plate trimmed,
and the beveled edge removed. He also notes that the positioning
of the holes and the slots are reversed on the short plates. Check
back next week for more on this series. A big Thank You to Rob
Baran. (Sorry for the long read.)
As truck plates transitioned from
1923 to 1924, the word Commercial disappeared and the R through Z
(except X) prefixes were established to identify weight classes.
These prefixes, and in some R-class plates as suffixes, were the best
identifier of truck plates, since the word TRUCK did not appear on
plates until 1934.
This 1924 R-Class Truck plate was provided by Jeff Hinkle.
plates suddenly jump ahead to the L-series? The plate image on the far
left was sent to me by Nathan Krawzyk wondering if it is a legitimate
new high, and indicating that the plate appeared to have a keystone
separator, not a dash. What's strange is that recent reported
highs have been in the KYJ-series, which makes this plate quite a leap
ahead. It would not be the first time a plate was issued out of
sequence. Turns out after doing a plate check, this appears to be
Here's an eye-catching number 1 vanity version of
Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue plate. Could be
the serial number is a little off center? Since the logo
supposedly occupies a 3" by 3" canvas on the left, I'm not sure exactly
where the center point would be. This is the first plate of this
series to be spotted without the sticker well, and without the small
map. It is unknown at this point how the current issue of the
serial numbered plate is configured. The recorded high still has a
validation sticker. Thanks to
Tom Perri for the photo.
There are many tales of strange sightings, superstitions and curses
surrounding the Gettysburg Battlefield. This Gettysburg 1863 plate may be part of
the mystique. Bill Ceravola, who shares the photo, indicates that
this is a recent issue. As a new plate it does not have the
sticker well, nor does it have the map outline. These plates made
their debut in 2014, and have been popular for personalization. Serial
numbered plates are currently around 00694G/B.
Here is a pair of Bronze Star
plates. Both now have the map outline. The far left image is
and actually dates back to June of 2018, the near left plate is a recent
photograph from John Fedorchak, and is the current high. The
previous reported high with the sticker well was 00421B/Z.
is a personalized Honoring
Our Veterans plate. These plates have been available since 2012.
It is part of the Special Fund group of plates with the proceeds
benefitting the Veterans Trust Fund. Personalized plates can have up to
5 characters with stacked H/V suffix, with a dash or space counting as a
character. This photo is courtesy of Nick Tsilakis. The current high in
the serial numbered plates is above 02500H/V. This plate is also
available as a motorcycle tag.
They're still legal! These We The
People plates, sometimes referred to as Constitution plates, are
all over thirty years old, and are the only yellow on blue plates that
are still legal. They were issued only during a 3½ month period in 1987
ending on December 31 of that year, with fewer than 5000 issued.
They commemorate the 200th anniversary of U.S. Constitution. These
plates have never been replaced by a newer design. They may be
considered PA's first optional plate. The 9 plate is thanks to
Nick Tsilakis, and the 3891 is thanks to Devan Ciemiewicz.
This is an image of a first
U.S. Armed Forces Retired plate. This plate type dates
back to 1990, and were replaced on the www base around 10/17/2001.
The www plates were then discontinued by May of 2006; however, they are
still eligible for renewal. This photo is thanks to Devan
Consular and Foreign Consul
plates are very sought after by collectors. This one has the year 71
lightly etched in the upper left sticker box, along with a 72 sticker in
the upper right, with the Bicentennial State slogan at the bottom.
They would have been used up through 1976. This plate is in mint
unused condition and was provided by Tom Firth. The 1977 base came
out next and had the words Foreign Consul spelled out on the plate.
Click the link above to see more.
This is a 1939 Format 2 Passenger
plate. Format 2 plates consisted of the series from A100 to Z9999.
So both 4 and 5 character plates were used, and as a result both 6 inch
by 10 inch and 6 inch by 12 inch sizes were used. This image came
from eBay user Bonner397.
Here is a 1940 Format 2 Passenger
plate. Aside from the color reversal, the formatting of this plate
is similar to the '39 plate above in that it is also from the series
A100 to Z9999; however, this one is four characters instead of five.
The shorter serial also allows for the 6 inch by 10 inch size.
Thanks to eBay user Wonderplumber.
Here is a pair of 1946 U-Weight Class Truck
plates. Class U plates used four serial progressions,
U000A, U00A0, U0A00 and U00AA. All truck plates were 5 character,
and measured 6 inch by 11 inch size. Thanks to from eBay user
Geeseautopa and Pl8source for the use of the photos.
This new high Apportioned Truck
street shot from Preston Turner is being posted only one week after
posting AG-80391. Preston also spotted
AG-82802 a week
earlier but was not able to get a photo. The plate check tool
indicates a high of AG-83287. In looking at the numbers, between
June of 2018 and February of 2019, an 8-month period, about 10,000 plates were issued.
The AG series would be expected to run out of numbers during 2020.
Next series AH?
Here's an eye-catching photo of a
Order of Police plate. As an organizational plate program,
it dates back to 1987. Plate check shows the current high being a
few plates shy of 22000. There was a small number of these plates
without the sticker well, current issue plates now have the small map.
Here's the latest high number
Villanova University plate thanks to
Irazabal. Plate 00486V/U was spotted back in May of 2018 with the
the map outline. It may be worth mentioning that there was an
earlier plate called Villanova University Alumni Assoc. with the V/U on
the left of the serial number. It appears that the earlier style
was discontinued when the graphic style shown here was introduced in
I went to the state capital on
inauguration day, not to take part in the political festivities, but
hoping to score some new plate photos. Unfortunately I did not see
any political types with the map outline but did get this State Senator
#3 plate with the wide-spacing between the district number and the PA symbol. The other plate
shows the PA symbol first, then standard spacing between the plate
Pennsylvania has issued
special event plates over
the years for a variety of activities. The earliest that I am
aware of were
Governor's inaugural plates issued every 4 years since 1963 up
through 2015; however, after the 1999 issue they were no longer issued
by the state. Golf tournaments have also been a popular venue for
such plates. The plate shown here, courtesy of Todd Mickinak, is
the earliest known golf tournament
plate. Such plate were permitted to be displayed for a
brief period around the time of the event for state issued plates.
Plates not sanctioned by the state would generally be considered
souvenirs, and not intended for display on the rear of the vehicle.
There were also many official and non-official
Some have been used to identify the vehicle as being official, while
others can be described as booster plates or even novelty plates.
Here's a very nice example of a
first generation 3-digit Antique
Historic Car plate from Devan Ciemiewicz. This series is
believed to have started in 1954, with this plate issued around 1956.
Despite its age, many of these plates are still in use today, and to
many enthusiasts, are more popular than today's version. The
series started with the number 1 and progressed to 9999 before switching
to various alpha-numeric combinations.
Here is a Berks County Civil Defense
plate from Devan Ciemiewicz. These unique plates were
issued during the cold war years of the 1950s and 60s. There were
blue on yellow steel plates, then yellow on blue aluminum plates as
shown here. Plates were issued by
the State Office of Civil Defense, today known as the Pennsylvania
Emergency Management Agency or PEMA, and were distributed by PA's 67
counties. Plates were front mounted on vehicles, and were given to
those who had a role in civil defense. Plates measure 4" by 9½".
The first part of the plate number represents the
the second part is the plate serial number, all are undated.
The 1931 Governor's
plate on the far left was recently auctioned on eBay. The
embossed center area is sometimes described as a raised loaf. Some
earlier plates displayed a state coat of arms in this area. Thanks
to eBay user Fairbrozz59 for the use of this photo. It has been
suggested that this plate would have been displayed on the front of the
vehicle, while the near left #1 plate (previously posted) would have
been mounted on the rear. That plate was courtesy of the License
Plate King Company.
This Apportioned Truck
traffic shot is not pretty, but it is a new high number. It may
seem hard to believe but this plate series started at AA back in 1982 on
the blue on yellow base. Later the series went to AB, AC was
skipped, AD was yellow on blue, AE was on the www base, AF and AG on the
visitPA base. Finally there was a run of plates without the
sticker well, and the most recent plates have the small map as shown
Click to see their history.
Here's a recent photo of a Colonial
Park Fire Company#1, a suburb east of Harrisburg. Their
plate program dates back to 2009. According to Tom Perri's
PA Plates website, the current
high is 20019C/P.
Here's a perfect image of a
Franklin and Marshall College tag. The previous high was
00155F/M which had a 2-12 sticker, which suggests
to me that the map was added closer to the 00172F/M.
This plate program dates back to 2006. Thanks to Jonathan Ortmann
for the plate photo, with a little help from
Here's a new high in the Municipal Government
series. As you may recall these plates were originally yellow on
blue, then went blue on white in 1977, then white on blue from '84 until early 2017 when this latest format made
its debut. The current series started at M/G9000J.
Thanks to Bill Houser for the plate photo.
Here's a recent issue
Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran plate, now with the map outline.
The Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom plates date back to 2005. This
photo is courtesy of Ian Emmett. The plate says Jar Head.
Ian also had a plate with DVLDG for Devil Dog. I do like these
U.S. Marine-themed plates.
The two plates on the far left are the first
images of non-commercial PA
Turnpike Official Use plates. The term non-commercial
refers to passenger type vehicles. The photo on the near left was
previously taken by John Clark. Note that the serial formatting is
reversed, as this plate version is for use on commercial type vehicles
or trucks. Other state agencies have the option of having their
own plate but so far only PennDOT and the PA Turnpike have gone in that
Taxi plate is another new high; however, it still retains the
sticker well. Research suggests that the next batch of Taxi plates
will start at TX-52000, and will at least eliminate the sticker box.
Taxi plates date back to 1977 and were blue on yellow with a starting
serial number of TX-10000 or TX10001. Prior to this, Taxis were
issued Bus plates. Click to see
This is a 1942 Format 5 Passenger
shorty. This series included the progression of 000A to 999Z, with
all plates in that range being 4 characters, the plates measured 6
inches by 10 inches. Five character 1942 plates were 6 inches by
12 inches. This photo was made available by eBay user
Here's a beautiful 1954 Format 15 Passenger
plate. I can't provide a full description of these plates other
than plates with fewer than 4 characters are considered non-standard
issue. My thought is that these plates were the predecessor to
vanity plates. Formatting could be 3 numbers, 2 letters and 1
number or 1 letter and 2 numbers as shown here. Plates were 6" x
10¼". Thanks to Jonathan Ortmann for the use of this photo.
This is a 1948 Format 5 Trailer plate. That
year included the following serial progressions: 0001 to 9999,
A000 to Z999, 0A00 to 9Z99, 00A0 to 99Z9, 000A to 999Z, with this plate
being a part of the last group. All plates measured 6
inches by 11 inches. Thanks to eBay user Willy-K for the use of
the plate photo.
Here's the latest high number Person with
Disability plate. These plates have had the small map
outline since 72000PD. The PD suffix is a part of the
registration number, as were the HP plates in the past. This plate photo is thanks to
Here's the first image of a
82nd Airborne Division Association plate. This plate
program dates back to 2007, and is considered an organizational plate
rather than a military or veterans' plate. Thanks to Tim
Gierschick for providing the photograph.
This is the second image of a Gwynedd-Mercy
University plate with the newer logo. On the previous
plate photo, the tag legend was covered by the frame. Now we see that
the earlier name Gwynedd-Mercy College has been changed to Gwynedd-Mercy
University. The number would suggest that this plate replaced the
previous issue. Thanks to
for the image.
Here is a Rutgers
University sample plate. The Rutgers plate program dates
back to 2011. Samples of current type plates are not easy to come
by, but they are still sought after by some collectors. Some years back
the state used to market samples of almost every type, then they choose
to discontinue the practice. Today a few samples are produced for
each organizational plate at the start of the plate program. These
are intended for the organization to use as they see fit. Thanks
to Paul Bagnarol for sharing this plate photo.
West Virginia Alumni Association plate W/V01715
was recently spotted by
It was a new high, and Bruce reports that it now has the map outline.
Plate W/V01653 still has the sticker well.
These is no way to pinpoint at what number the change took place.
Photo not available.
This is a recent photo of a Severely
Disabled Veteran plate that still has the sticker well.
Previously posted plate D/V95738 does not have the sticker well.
After looking at an old inventory sheet, it appears that the removal of
the sticker well took place at D/V95700. Thanks to
for the plate photo.
Here is a very well preserved 105
year old 1914
Porcelain Dealer plate. In addition it is an X+3 digit
format. The series that year began at X1 and ran to X3367
according to DMV records. Four different plates lengths were used
that year. Thanks to eBay user Pars1-2 for the use of this image.
These 1960 and 1961 Motorboat
plates are the final chapter of this series that was part of John
Willard's display at the Valley Forge ALPCA Convention. The serial
numbers of these numeric plates could have 1 to 5 digits making 1, 2 or
3-digit plates very desirable. Note some similarities between the
'61 MB plate and
Motorcycle plates of the time.
are both 1933 Format 3
Passenger plates. Format 3 includes the series progression
of 0A to 9Z999. Plates with 4-character would be a tougher find
than those with 5 characters. Note that while these are both 1933
plates the legends are reversed. PENNA 1933 is the correct legend,
while the transposed legend on the 1B612 plate is considered an error,
of which a sizeable number were produced. 4-character plates
measured 6" by 10", while the 5-character plates measured 6" by 12".
Thanks to eBay user Hildenbrandmilitaria for the 1V10 plate photo, and
America on Wheels for the other.
Next is this 1950 Format 4 Passenger
plate. This format consists of plates from10A0 to 99Z99. All
passenger plates for 1951 were 6 inches by 11 inches in size for both 4
and 5-character plates. This plate is courtesy of eBay user Jeopardyboy1.
Anyone have a 1950 Sample?
This is a 1924 Class T Weight Class Truck
plate. The Class T series went from T1 to at least as high as the
plate shown here. This plate marks a new class high. 1924 was
the first year for truck plates to use the R through Z prefix system to
designate weight classes. X was reserved for Dealer plates.
This plate measures 6 inches by 12 inches. There were also 10 inch
15 inch (R & S only) plates depending on the number of characters.
Thanks to eBay user tw19670 for the use of this plate photo.
Here is a 1937
Class T Weight Class Truck plate. Class T used 3 serial
progressions that year including T000A, T00A0 and T0A00 of which the
plate shown here is part of the first group. All Class T plates
had 5 characters and measured 6 inches by 12 inches; however, the R and
S classes had some 6-character overflow plates that measured 6 inches by
15 inches. This photo is thanks to eBay user centipede16.