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Supporting the hobby, conducting research & preserving the history of Pennsylvania License Plates

John McDevitt, Walnutport, PA

ALPCA #4376

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The photos on this website, whether provided by me or other contributors, are intended for use solely on this website, and may not be otherwise used without permission.

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Posting 10/18/2020

In PA Plate News —  The legislation (Act 48 of 2020) that authorizes the Let Freedom Ring - 250 Years, Semiquincentennial plate will take effect October 28.  I doubt very much that you can belly-up to the DMV counter and walk out with a tag at that time, but expect that the application form should be available.  Also don't expect to see any fanfare about this plate until after its due date.  The plates are eligible for use on a motorcycle, a passenger car or a truck with a registered gross weight of not more than 14,000 pounds, or a motor home.


Here is a new high Farm Truck plate from Bruce Bufalini.  These plates began using the small map outline somewhere between FM-2587D and FM-4184D, a wide gap.  Need images to help narrow the gap.



Here's another high.  The Truck series has been using the map outline since the ZKJ series.  This plate is also thanks to Bruce Bufalini.  See more older truck plates below.



Like so many plates recently, I don't think the frame does it any justice, but then it's not my plate.  This is a Passenger Vanity on the www base which means that it would have been issued prior to December 2004.  This plate photo is also from Bruce Bufalini.


This is a new high Motorcycle plate.  I've learned a lot about PhotoShop over the years but still not good at straightening a plate with multiple bends.  Nevertheless, it's a good clean image, and no frame!  On this series, the letter in the second position, P, would be the last character to advance.  Thanks to Jaska Börner for the new high.


These are 1934 and 1935 Motorbike plates.  They differ from Motorboat plates, which used MBL as the identifier in the early years.  At the time, these were referred to as Motor Bicycles or Bicycles with a Side Motor.  Today the term would be Moped.  The common component would be pedals.  These plates are quite rare.  Credit for the images goes to Tiger Joe Sallmen.  Check back next week for a couple more.


These are Motorboat Dealer plates, the 'X' indicating Dealer.  The 1954 is thanks to Dave Lincoln and was the final year to use MBL as the identifier, after which it was shortened to MB.  Also, after 1954 all plates used the state map outline as seen on the 1963 plate which was part of the Bill Krellner collection.  1963 was also the final year for such plates.  There are a number of years for which Motorboat Dealer plates are still needed.


These are 1922 Format 2 Passenger plates in which the serial progression ran from 1-000 to 9-999.  The first three photos are from Rob Baran.  He noticed on the stacked plates in the 2nd and 3rd photos that the spacing of the strap slots and bolt holes is different.  The 3-554 plate is shown on top of the 1-892 plate.  It is unknown if this was a design change which occurred part way through production, or if the slot and hole placement is random.  The 6-967 appears to be almost the same as the 3-554 plate.  Anyone have a better take on this, or additional examples?


They don't get any nicer than this 1953 Tractor plate from Ed Burr.  Tractor plates that year ran from 0001 to 9999, followed by A000 to N387 or above.  All such plates measured 6 inches by 10¼ inches.



This pair of 1938 T-Weight Class Truck plate photos are thanks to Brandon Sowers.  T-Class plates were made up of two serial progressions, T000A & T00A0, of which the plates shown here are part of the second group.


These 1946 Truck plates represent weight classes R, S, T and U.  They also represent additional serial progressions for each weight class.  Heavier weight classes beyond V appear to be rare.  These plates all measure 6 inches by 11 inches and were issued as singles.  These photos are from Worthpoint, a service I subscribed to for research.  If the owner of a plate wishes, I can acknowledge them also


Bill Ceravola forwarded an update on PennDOT's inspection sticker program.  Click the image to the left to view the full size document as a pdf file.  Please note that the file is 4 MB in size, so depending on your connection speed, it may take a moment or so to load.

As a point of information, this website does not display PA State Inspection Stickers, and there are no plans at this time to expand the mission to include them.









Posting 10/11/2020

Received some sad news from fellow collector Vern Kreckel that Bill Krellner passed away on 10/4.  If you frequent this website, you know that Bill had an amazing collection of Pennsylvania plates.  Back in late June, Bill was kind enough to let me photograph much of his collection.  Thank you for your contributions to the plate community, and RIP Bill.


Here's the latest high Temple University Alumni plate recently spotted by Jordan Irazabal. These plates have been spotted with the map outline starting at T/U03941. The Temple plate program dates back to 1987 on the yellow on blue base.


This is a personalized Combat Wounded Veteran or Purple Heart plate.  I'm going to suggest that the DMZ68 refers to the Vietnam Demilitarized Zone 1968.  Can't decipher what the frame says, but there has been no shortage of plate frames lately covering both the state and bottom legend.  Thanks to Arthur Levine for sharing the photo.



This is a 1924 Bus plate.  That was also the first year for Bus plates.  Click the image for a better look at the details.  The first character is the letter 'O'.  Before 1927 letters were the same size as numbers.  This is the lowest number 1924 Bus plate I've seen, it's also on a 6-inch by 10-inch base, which confirms the use of that smaller size.  Click the link above to see the larger size also.  Thanks to Bill Krellner for the opportunity to photograph his plates.


This is a 1925 Bus plate, like the plate above, the first character being the letter 'O' identifies the plate type.  The word Bus didn't appear until 1934.  This plate measures 6" by 13" and is the largest of three sizes that year.  The others were 6" by 10" and 6" by 12".  This is a Bill Krellner plate.


These are 1948 Bus plates.  The far left plate is part of the first series that year which ran from O1 to O9999, then the next series started at OA100 and ran to at least OA349.  The far left plate is thanks to Kenn Grim, the near left plate photo is from the Bill Krellner collection.


These are both 1956 Miscellaneous Dealer plates.  They both have the 'X' in the third position, and they are both 6 inches by 12 inches in size, but the map bases are not the same and the 43X02, being near the end of the run, uses the thinner '57 dies.  The 25X19 photo is from Worthpoint, the 43X02 plate was previously posted.


A low and a high.  The far left plate represents a very early 1977 Municipal Government issue.  This image came from Clayton Moore who also reminded me that I had the starting point wrongly listed as MG-00000.  The other plate shows a high as this series switched to white on blue at MG-92000.  This image came from Worthpoint.


The "You've Got a Friend in Pennsylvania" plates made their debut in 1983 with the series starting at HAA-0000.  This plate represents a very low number.  The previous blue on yellow '77 base ended around GKY-744 but were not subject to replacement by this new base.  Thanks to Clayton Moore for the photo.


This is a Format 8A 1956 Passenger plate.  Format 8 used the series AA10 to ZZ999 with wide dies; however certain serial letters were not used until late in the production year which I'm calling Format 8A.  The plate shown here is from the later run which included AT10 to ZW999.  Only letters T & W were used in second position with 1957 5-character dies.  The reason I use the term 1957 - 5 character dies is because later in '57 there were also 6 - character dies.  This plate was gotten by Dana Amspacher and photographed by Clayton Moore.


Posting 10/4/2020

Well it's a #1 plate, but the plate frame almost totally blocks the state and the name of the organization.  Anyway, this Action for Animals Humane Society plate was spotted by Bruce Bufalini.  The organization has its home in Latrobe, PA, which is southeast of Pittsburgh.  Vanity check shows that 69 serial numbered plates have been issued.  This plate program dates back to 2012.


This Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation photo was snapped by Paul Sanfran.  It's a couple numbers below the current high of E/F00438, but does help in narrowing the gap between those with the sticker well and those with the map outline.  It is unknown if there were interim plates without the sticker well and before the map.


This is one of the earliest and lowest numbered Trailer plates that were part of the re-issue project which would have been on or around May 7, 2000 and started at XK-00000.  The previous yellow on blue series went at least as high as the XH series and was authorized through the XJ series.  Thanks to Clayton Moore for the photo.


Here's an Amateur Radio plate from the  "You've Got a Friend . . ." era.  These were issued from 1984 to about 1987 and could be revalidated until 2000.  This can be described as a 2x1 format meaning 2 letters, a number and 1 letter.  The 3 designates the region, of which PA is a part of.  Here are links to Amateur Radio History and another to an Amateur Radio Information page.  Thanks to Clayton Moore for the photo.


A new section showing Cabinet, State Officials and Dignitaries has been added to this website.  The time frame for this section is the period from about 1965 or '66 to 1976.  These time frames are not to suggest that these are the only periods when such plates were issued.

Click the link above to see additional plate photos.  The two plates on the far left represent a Cabinet level plate and one issued to a state official.  This is not to suggest all plates below 1000 were issued exclusivity to state officials.  Both of these photos came from Jeff Hinkle.  The plate with the brass keystone and the coat of arms had been used by State Representative Joe Zeller whose district included Berks and Lehigh Counties, photo from Jeff Lesher.  Most plates through '73 used the brass keystone, however later plates did not, as is the case with the 13 plate, photo source unknown.


Here are National Guard plates from the last three years of the early issue.  If I understand correctly, each year a member remained in the Guard, they were entitled to a lower number plate as older members retired.  These plates were issued from 1930 until 1935 and the number sequence went from 1 and may have been authorized to 1000; however, records on plates highs are sketchy.  These photos are from Bill Krellner's collection.



This plate helps to add to our knowledge of 1918 Trailer plates.  For starters, the high for this series has been listed as T108, and was on a 6-inch by 13½-inch base.  This plate raises the high by more than 1200, and this plate measures 6 inches by 16 inches.  We still don't know if T+ 1 or 2 digit plates used the smaller 6 inch by 10 inch base.  This plate photo came from the Bill Krellner collection.


This is a 1949 Format 3 Trailer plate.  After the war there was a steady increase in the number of trailers, and for '49 there were 5 serial progressions including 0001 to 9999, A000 to Z999, 0A00 to 9Z99, 00A0 to 99Z9, and 000A to 999Z.  All plates were 4 characters.  This is a Worthpoint image.


Next is this 1953 Format 1 Trailer plate.  Format 1 was all-numeric from 0001 to 9999.  The other formats were similar to the '49 described above, but beginning in '51, 5-digit all numeric plates were issued.  Plate size beginning in 1952 had been reduced from 6" by 11" to 6" by 10¼".  This plate image is thanks to eBay user Agentsteel53.


This is a Format 4 1955 Trailer plate.  This format would have consisted of the series of 00A0 to 99Z9 and was part of 6 serial formats used in '55.  1955 plates were still 6" by 10¼", but were about to go 6" by 12" in '56.  This image came from Worthpoint.



Posting 9/27/2020

The far left Antique Vehicle plate is from the most recent past format, 00A0, which was immediately before the current format, A0AA, of the near left plate, which is also the newest high.  The images are from Bill Young and Clayton Moore respectively.


A Repair Towing vanity — not one you see every day.  Note the 280SL refers to a Mercedes auto, not a tow truck.  The use of these plates is not limited to tow trucks — I've seen them on motorcycles.  Thanks to John Willard for posting this photo.


Here's a photo of the latest high Expeditionary Forces plate.  This is the first one spotted without the sticker well, but still no map outline.  These originally date back to 1996 and have gone through several changes since that time.  One unique feature of these plates is the use of a 4-digit serial number instead of the more common 5-digits.  Thanks to Brandon Sowers for the image.


This is a U.S. Coast Guard Veteran vanity plate spotted by Bruce Bufalini.  This plate was spotted in Pittsburgh's south hills.  Some 465 serial numbered plates have been issued so far, as well as vanities.  This plate type dates back to 2009.  I'm still looking for a first generation U.S. Coast Guard Reserve (yellow on blue) plate or photo.


This Knights of Columbus plate photo was shared by Matt Ciecka.  It's also a new high on the upper tier of the www base.  The lower tier www plates were the number for number replacements of the yellow on blue base.  Then there was a break in the numbers and the upper tier consisted of new plates issued after the re-plating process.


This is a recently issued State House of Representatives plate with the map outline.  It was photographed by John Fedorchak, but why would the serial number have a leading zero (0)?  To my knowledge this has not been seen before.  Traditionally these plates were issued to show the representative's district number from 1 to 203, and the HR identifier could be in the prefix or suffix position.  I ran some numbers through the vanity check and found the following: Plates from HR01 to HR09, some are open and others show that the plate was previously issued and therefore not available.  Plates from HR010 to HR099: Indicates the plate configuration may be reserved or may be in violation of the guidelines for acceptable configurations.  Plates above HR099 appear to be open.  The indication is that plates from HR010 to HR099 are reserved or otherwise unavailable.  Tom Perri suggests that this may allow for a third vehicle to be registered by the owner.


Here is a recent School Bus plate sighting by Bruce Bufalini.  This is the lowest number sighted without the sticker well.  Plate SC-80015 still had the sticker well.  Based upon a July 2017 inventory report, it appears likely that plates starting at SC-80300 no longer had the sticker well.  Click this link to view School Bus Plate History.


The photo of this 1953 Motorcycle beauty came from Ed Burr.  Ed has some remarkable plates from the 1952 - '53 era.  There were two serial progressions used on Motorcycle plates for 1953 — 1 to 9999, as seen here, and A to R351.  Plates were the standard 4½ inches by 8 inches.


Here is a pair of 1958 Base Motorcycle plates with '52 stickers.  Let me draw your attention to the use of tab slots.  The first series of plates from 1 to 9999 had the slots.  The next series consisted of A to Z999.  Plates from A to V999 had the tab slots, while the Y & Z-series plates had no slots.  Letters W and X were not used on motorcycle plates.  The V and Y examples shown above are from Worthpoint.


Here is a nice 3-digit 1963 Motorcycle plate.  1963 ushered in a new issue of multi-year Motorcycle plates that were revalidated through 1964.  In addition to the all-numeric format, there were three additional serial formats used including A to Z999, 0A0 to 9Z99 and 00A0 to 02M1.  0A to 999Z format previously listed was removed, as I could find no evidence to support its use.  This image was from Worthpoint.


This is a Format 1 Trailer plate issued around 1984 or later.  This plate is unique in that the placement of the legend is the same as the 1978 blue on yellow plates.  This was only seen at the start of the run, then it was changed to TRAILER being on top for the remainder of the run.  This photo is from Clayton Moore, but it looks like the plate is going to Rick Krestschmer, so I'll credit both for the plate.


I'm sure these 2015 and 2022 boat stickers don't stir a lot of sentiment for most people, although they are decedents of the metallic plates that were used from 1931 to 1963.  Today's stickers are still issued in pairs and can be designated for powered watercraft, or unpowered watercraft as seen here.  The large white numbers indicate that they expire on 3-31 of the year shown.


Posting 9/20/2020

Here is a new high Dealer plate recently spotted by Jordan Irazabal.  The most recent change to this plate type was the addition of the map outline which is believed to have made its debut at K51-500.



Here's the lowest plate spotted without the sticker well and latest high Delaware Valley Chapter of the BMW Car Club of AmericaBoth plates from Jordan Irazabal.  To get a better understanding of these plate progressions and see intervening plates, click the link above.  Unfortunately, many of these plates have the organization name completely obscured by the frame. 


Here's the latest Lehigh University Alumni high number.  Despite being the new high, it still retains the sticker well.  Lehigh University's plate program dates back to 1988 on the yellow on blue base.  The current color graphic format dates back to late 2006.  This plate photo is also thanks to Jordan Irazabal.


This Save Wild Animals plate would have been issued in 1996, but it's still on the road, and was recently photographed by David Dohan.  With the addition of this photo, the display page has P/Z0000, P/Z0002, P/Z0003 and P/Z0008.  This plate type was discontinued in 2013 and replaced by the Support Your Zoo which is still available today.


This is a 1931 Format 1 Dealer plate.  That format started at X1 and ran to X9999, before moving the 'X' to the second position.  So plates with X+1, 2 or 3 digits were 6 inches by 10 inches, and plates with X+4 digits measured 6 inches by 12 inches.  This plate photo came from the Bill Krellner collection.


Next up is this 1932 Format 2 Dealer plate.  Format 2 had the 'X' in position 2 and the series likely ran from 0X to 9X999, so both 6-inch by 10-inch and 6-inch by 12-inch bases were used.  There was also a Format 3 series with the 'X' in position 3.  This image is thanks to Worthpoint.


1934 Dealer plates — the year without the traditional 'X'.  The use of plates with an 'X' as the prefix, or within the plate serial number, did not appear on 1934 plates.  The legend DEALER was added in its place.  All-numeric (1 to 9999) and alpha-numeric plates were issued.  The P311 plate shown here is a poor photo, but also establishes a new high.  1935 saw the return of the 'X'.  These plate photos came from the Bill Krellner collection.


Here are two examples of 1953 Miscellaneous Dealer plates.  The very nice plate on the far left with the 'X' in the first position is from Ed Burr, while the plate with the 'X' in the second position is from Worthpoint.  All such plates used 5 characters and were 6" x 10¼".


This is a very nice 1953 Passenger plate.  Many of the serial progressions that year used both 4 and 5 character formats.  This is a Format 4 plate which series used both 10A0 and 10A00, and as always, the letter was the final character to advance.  Thanks to Ed Burr for the photo. 


Here is a pair of 1942 U-Weight Class Truck plates.  There were 4 U-Class serial progressions used that year, U000A, U00A0, U0A00, U00AA.  With these additions, the Truck page now shows 3 of the 4.  Plates were issued in pairs and measured 6 inches by 12 inches.  Still need V, W, Y and Z classes.  These images are from Worthpoint.


1944 saw the return of plates production; however, all was not the same.  Plates were issued as singles and the size had been reduced to 6 inches by 11 inches.  Here we have 2 U-Weight Class Truck plates, and a Z Class.  The '44 U-Class plates used the same serial progressions as the '42 plates above.  These images are from Worthpoint.


Obviously these are both 1963 validation stickers.  The far left sticker came from Tom Firth, while the other came from Shawn Bergan, and was previously posted.  I'm going to suggest that the yellow sticker was likely for a new Passenger plate, but can't offer a suggestion on the red sticker.  Tom Firth reminds me that his stickers are unused.  UPDATE: Bob Connison informs us that the red stickers were used on Suburban plates in '63.


Images and photos are always welcome.  Please send to:

John McDevitt, Walnutport, PA

ALPCA #4376