ALPCA small crestWelcome to PA PL8S / PA PLATES Weekly Magazine

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

John McDevitt, Walnutport, PA

ALPCA #4376

                                    Home  |  About this site  |  Contact

                               

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.

This is a reference-only website, no plate sales.


What's new in the last 30 days?

٠ Click thumbnail images to enlarge ٠ Click links to go to plate galleries


CURRENT PLATES


  Antique, Classic, etc.


  Bus, Limo, Taxi, etc.


  Dealer & MV Business


  Miscellaneous & Passenger


  Official Plates


  Political Plates


  Veterans Plates


  College, University, etc.


  Fire, EMS & Police


  Fraternal, Non-Profit, etc.


  NASCAR


  Special Fund Plates


  Pending/Proposed Plates


  Mystery, Oddball, DCNR, etc


  Vanity Plates


  Plate Codes


OLDER PLATE MATERIAL


  Front Plates


  Old Registration Records


  Plate History, Governor


  Plate History, A to F


  Plate History, G to M


  Plate History, N to Z


  Plate History, Passenger


  Plate History, Special Org.


  Plate History, Truck


  Special Event Plates


REFERENCE


  Group Displays (old & new)


  Historic docs & misc references


  Legislation


  Links


  Plate Highs (www.paplates.com)


  Validation Stickers (old & new)


  Vehicle Code (Registration)


ARCHIVED HOME PAGES


  2021 Archives


  2020 Archives


  Older Archives

10/17/2021 Posting

This is a personalized Classic Vehicle plate with one thing missing.  And that would be the required "C" as part of the registration number.  PennDOT's own application form, MV-11, states that a pre-printed letter configuration of “C” will precede your personalized configuration on your registration plate and cannot be changed.  This is not the first plate without the required "C".  That said, thanks to Noel Torchio for the photo.

 


Also check out this week's display of Vanity Plates, many of which are thanks to Tee Adams such as the one shown here.

 

 

 

 


Here is a new high Municipal Government plate from Bill Young.  These plates on the graphic base started at MG-9000J.  The next series will be MG-0000M, followed by MG-0000N.

 

 


This is a pair of 1946 and 1947 Motorized Bicycle or Motorbike plates for short.  This plate series ran from 1920 to 1949.  The 1946 plate is a new high.  Thanks to Brandon Sowers for the images.  Many early (1920 to 1932) MB plate photos are still needed.  In 1977 a new issue came out called Moped or Motorized Pedalcycle, a modern-day equivalent to the early Motorbike.

 


Here is a 100-year old Tractor plate thanks to Tim Gierschick.  In 1921 there were two serial formats, E1 to E999, without a dash, and E1-000 to E4-163 or above.  All Tractor plates that year measured 6 inches by 16 inches regardless of the number of characters.  I believe Tim is also planning to refinish this plate.

 


This very nice 1952 Tractor plate represents a new series high.  The initial series started at 0001 and ran to 9999, then the alpha-numeric series started at A000 and extended at least as high as the plate shown here.  This plate measures 6 inches by 11 inches and is thanks to Tim Gierschick.

 


This is a 1939 Y-Weight Class Truck plate.  This picture came from a group shot of plates that Jeff Lesher was getting ready to take to Hershey.  Unfortunately, I was unable to make the trek to Hershey.  The Y class, as you may know, is a heavy weight single (rear) axle class, one step below the Z Class.  Plate measures 6 inches by 12 inches.

 


Here is a 1941 Y-Weight Class Truck plate.  It came from the same Jeff Lesher group shot mentioned above.  1941 was the first year for the plate expiration date to be shown on the top border of the plate.  It read "EXP. 3-31-42".  Again Plate measures 6 inches by 12 inches.

 


This is a 1955 W-Weight Class Truck plate.  This class is one weight group lighter than the Y-class.  '55 was the last year for the narrow 10¼ inches plates.  The following year plates became standardized at 6 inches by 12 inches.  Thanks to Jeff Lesher for the plate photo.

 


These great images came from Jeff Lesher, and are part of the 1964 to '67 3-Axle Truck Series. This means trucks with 2-rear axles and 1 front axle.  The 3-axle truck series ran from the RZ, for the lightest class, to the heaviest ZZ-series.  Check back next week for a couple more plates.

 


10/10/2021 Posting

Throughout the summer we have seen these Antique Vehicle plates advance well into the E series.  As previously described, and with most of PA's plates, numbers advance first, then the letter in the 4th position, then the 3rd spot and finally the letter in the 1st position.  It appears that E2SV is the current registered high.

 


This is a personalized Penn Alumni plate from Bruce Bufalini.  The second character appears to be the letter "O", not a zero, based on its smaller size.  This is the first Penn Alumni vanity spotted with the map outline.  I've said this before, but the use of a plate frame that completely covers up the name of the organization doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

 

Also check out the Vanity Plates page for additional personalized plates.

 


Here's a low number South Newton Twp Vol Fire Co plate photographed by Bill Ceravola.  This plate program dates back to 2009, with an issued high of 00012S/A.  South Newton is located in Walnut Bottom, which is part of Cumberland County in south central PA.

 


This is a Format 2A Washington & Jefferson College plate.  When the first generation yellow on blue plates were replaced, they were reissued on a number for number basis on the www base, the series ended at W/J00673.  Then when new first time plates were issued on the www base, the series skipped ahead to W/J01200.  Click the link to see more.  Thanks to Rob Baran for the plate photo.

 


While looking through some old plate-related items, I came across a full page display of motorcycle plates on pegboard.  I'm fairly certain the source was Jake Eckenrode.  Unfortunately, my photo was low resolution.  Anyway, I will add some of these images such as this 1918 3-digit Motorcycle plate shown here.  The color was white on black and measured 4½" by 6".

 


Next up is this 1921 3-digit Motorcycle plate, similar story to the plate above.  This dark blue on orange steel plate also measures 4½ inches by 6 which to my knowledge are almost the smallest state-issued plate size, although 2 and 3 digit 1915 and possibly 1914 MC plates measured 4½ inches by 5½.

 


These 1934 alpha-numeric Motorcycle plate photos came from another slightly better snapshot, also likely belonging to Jake Eckenrode at the time.  Serial numbers progressed from 1 to 9999, then A to A999, etc. to C95, or maybe higher.  These dark blue on yellow plates measured 4½ inches by 8 inches.

 


Same story as above with this 1937 alpha-numeric Motorcycle plate.  Color is yellow on dark blue.  The high on this series is believed to be C150.

 

 


This is a 1951 Z-Weight Class Truck plate.  This plate represent the heaviest weight class single (rear) axle truck.  This plate is also the series high; previous high was listed as Z315H.  This plate measures 6 inches by 11 inches, and was the final year for pairs.  Thanks to Jeff Lesher for the photo.

 

 


Next up is this 1953 Y-Weight Class Truck plate.  This plate represents the first of two Y-class serial progressions.  This first being Y000A, as shown here, and the other being Y00A0.  1953 saw the reduction in plate size from 6" by 11 to 6" by 10¼", and plates were issued as singles.  Thanks to Jeff Lesher for the photo.

 


The final truck plate for this week is this 1956 Y-Weight Class.  This plate represents the first of two Y-class serial progressions.  This one being Y000A, and the other being Y00A0. 1956 was a year of transition, not only did the plate size become standardized at 6 inches by 12 inches, there were also three map bases and three die sets used.  There was also a shift to 6-character plates near the end of the R-series.  These 6-character plates were a preview of what the 1957 truck plates would look like.   Click the link to read and see more.  Another thank you to Jeff Lesher for the photo. 

 


10/3/2021 Posting

Here is the latest high Person with Disability Motorcycle plate thanks to Bruce Bufalini.  Unlike the Person with Disability plate for passenger vehicles, the PD on Motorcycle plates is not part of the registration number.  The larger embossed P is part of the number but is a static, non-advancing character.  The current registered high is P15Y which raises the question of what happens after reaching P99Z.  My guess is P0A0.

 


This is a personalized Eagle Scout plate that was recently spotted by Jordan Irazabal.  This plate type only dates back to 2019, with this being the first personalized spotted.  At the present time 25 serial numbered plates have been issued. 

 

Also check out the Vanity Plates page for more personalized plates.

 


This is a new high Friendship Hook, Ladder, Hose & Ambulance plate which was spotted by Mike Alfonse.  The plate appears that it had a validation sticker at one time.  Plate check indicates that the registered high is 10014F/F.  The organization is located in Royersford, PA.

 

 


This is an Amateur Radio test plate recently acquired by Matt Ciecka.  The unpainted legend suggests a test plate.  Click to enlarge the first image and note the use of the security hologram with the word VALID diagonally across the letters B and C.  I've only ever once before seen an Amateur Radio sample plate, and that was on a yellow on blue base.

 

 

 


Here is a first generation Drexel University Alumni plate recently spotted by Bill Young.  This plate was probably issued in the mid-90s but is still going strong.  Vanity check shows that the registration number is current, which likely suggests that the replacement plate with the same number was never mounted on the vehicle.

 


Those of us with an interest in license plates are known to seek out the resources of Automotive Museums.  I was contacted by Mark Johansson who has put together an interactive map of the U.S. showing the locations of all auto museums with addresses, phone number, and website if available.  Mark's website also contains other resources including a large number of driving sample tests, as well as road signs, if you’re looking to brush up on rules of the road.  His website is https://drivingtestsample.com/us-automobile-museums-map/  For future reference it will be linked on this site on the page called Historic Documents Page, under Reference Websites.

 


This is a Format 3, 1935 Dealer plate.  1935 saw a return to the use of the letter "X" to designate a Dealer plate.  For that year there were three serial progressions, Format 1 from X1 to X9999, then Format 2 from 0X to 9X999, and Format 3 from 00X to 52X88.  Each succeeding progression shifted the "X" one space to the right.  Plates with 4 or fewer characters measured 6" by 10" like the one shown here, while 5-character plates were 6" by 12".  Thanks to Brandon Sowers for the use of this photo.  

 


A while back Rob Baran provided the far left 1936 V-Weight Class Truck plate.  Then just recently sent the photo of the near left plate.  These are sequential plates being one number apart.  He got these two as a pair, and is planning to do some refinishing or restoring.  The V480C is also the highest known in V-weight class.

 


Here is a pair of 1948 Y- and Z-Weight Class Truck plates.  These represent the heaviest weight class single (rear) axle trucks.  The Y-Class plate is also the series high.  These plates measured 6 inches by 11 inches, and were issued in pairs.  Thanks to Jeff Lesher for sharing these plate photos.

 


This is a 1949 Z-Weight Class Truck plate.  As mentioned above, this is the heaviest weight class single (rear) axle truck plate.  This plate is also a new high.  These plates measured 6 inches by 11 inches, and were issued in pairs.  Thanks to Jeff Lesher for sharing so many photos of plates from his collection.

 


9/26/2021 Posting

The far left Amateur Radio plate photo was taken back in May of 2009, the near left plate was taken this past weekend.  The -1 and -2 are not part of the call sign but allow two vehicles to be registered using the same call sign.

 

 


Here is another Antique Vehicle high.  This current series uses the most confusing serial progression.  As previously described, and with most of PA's plates, numbers advance first, then the letter in the 4th position, then the 3rd spot and finally the letter in the 1st position.

 

 


Here is a new high Marine Corps League plate recently spotted by Bruce Bufalini.  Bruce notes that this plate clearly does not have the sticker box.  That feature was still present on the previous high of M/L02882.  Vanity check shows the current issued high at M/L02918.

 

 


Preston Turner reports seeing one of the new style Municipal Motorcycle plates in use on a Pittsburgh Police bike.  The serial number was M/G30G.  He was unable to get a photo.  Records show that the previous style of plate, which was white on blue with the embossed map outline border, ended at MG99E.  The suffix F series was skipped, now the G-series runs from M/G05G to M/G45G.

 


The far left Limerick Fire Company plate photo shows the highest number spotted before the plate received a new logo and name — now Limerick Fire Department.  According to their website, in 2018 the Linfield Volunteer Fire Company merged with the Limerick Fire Company.  Its name was changed to the Limerick Fire Department and the county station number changed from 54 to 51 resulting in a new logo.  The far left photo is courtesy Tom Perri, center and right-hand photos courtesy of Mike Alfonse.

 


Here is a link to the Vanity Page where an assortment of personalized plates are posted each week.  This week's plates include the plate shown here from Jim McDevitt.  This is believed to be a vanity with the addition of the state coat of arms hat badge by the owner.  Other plates on the Vanity Page are from Bill Ceravola and Arthur Levine.

 

 


Here is a 1930 Format 5 Passenger plate.  Format 5 consisted of the serial progression of 000A to 999Z9.  So both 4 and 5 character plates were issued.  Then realized that I needed a 4-character plate.  This 6-inch by 10-inch shortie came from Worthpoint.  Still need images of 1930 Passenger with 0AA and 1AA0 serial formats.

 


This 1932 Format 3 Passenger shortie is thanks to Jeff Lesher.  This series went from 0A to 9Z999.  So the series started with 2-character plates and extended to 5 characters.  2, 4 and 5-character plates were 6 inches by 10 inches, and 5-character plates were 6 inches by 12 inches.

 

 


Like the 1921 Class 7 Truck plate displayed last week, this 1922 is also a Class 7 or Class F Truck plate.  This was a continuation of the weight designation system used between 1920 and 1923 where weight classes were identified by the first digit of the plate serial number.  Classes ranged from 1 to 7 (or AA through F), and plate size was 6" by 16".  Thanks to Jeff Lesher for this photo.

 


Next up is this 1924 R-Weight Class Truck plate.  Starting in 1924 the more familiar truck weight classes of R through Z came about.  Most classes had R through Z in the prefix position; however, after the R-class reached R99-999, the R was moved to the suffix position and the count ran from 1-R to 2011-R.  This plate measures 6" by 12".  The plate shown here from Jeff Lesher is an example of an R-suffix plate.

 


And finally this shortie 1927 R-Weight Class Truck plate with a low serial number.  This series ran from R-1 to R99-999, and the overflow group from 1-R to 84-44R.  This plate measures 6" by 10", there were also 6" by 13" and 6" by 15" plates depending on the number of characters in the serial number.  Thanks again to Jeff Lesher for this photo.

 


9/19/2021 Posting

This Fire Fighter plate was recently spotted by Bruce Bufalini.  While it is a few plates shy of the current high of FF39006, it's the highest plate where the sticker well can be verified.  According to vanity check, the current issued high is FF39160.

 

 


Here is a U.S. Submarine Veterans Inc. vanity plate spotted by John Fedorchak.  This is an organizational plate, rather than a Veterans' plate.  This plate type dates back to 2006.

 

 


Here is an Antique Vehicle vanity from a recent car show in Macungie.  Antique Vehicle registrations have seen quite a proliferation in recent years.  For example, in 1999 there were 78,681 vehicles registered, and as of the end of 2020 there were 209,425.  At the present, personalized registrations cost an additional $112.  The current serial high is E1HF.

 


Want more vanities?  Here is a link to the Vanity Page where an assortment of personalized plates are posted each week.  This week's plates are from Bill Ceravola and Arthur Levine.

 


Here is a new high Permanent Trailer plate from Jaska Börner.  This was spotted on a horse trailer.  It's a little tough to see here, but this series has been using the map outline since about PT-500D0.  Here's a link to the history of these plates that dates back to 1997.

 

 

 


Here is a group of the earliest known Pennsylvania Sample images thanks to Jeff Lesher. These date from 1924, the first year for samples, to 1930, the final year to use the 000 format.  Beginning in 1931 the format changed to PA00.  The other amazing find within this group is the 1925 Sample.  I didn't know if we'd ever see one of these, or if they even existed.  Thanks to Jeff, now we know.

 

 

 

 

 


Next take a look at this photo.  Looks like a 1943 Passenger Sample based on the expiration date of 3-31-44, but in place of the expected legend reading 1944 and PENNA, the word VICTORY appears.  Click the image to enlarge.  This image is also thanks to Jeff Lesher who explains that this plate is actually printed onto cardboard, likely 3/16” and fully embossed.  Jeff explains that as rumor has it, and this goes back 40 plus years, there were a few full size 1943 plates made for individuals that qualified to purchase a “new to them” first car in 1943.  Jeff only ever saw one - in a collection in Kutztown likely 45 - 50 years ago and it was yellow - but he never held it so can’t say if it was cardboard or metal.  This plate originally came out of Don Merrill’s collection.

 


This is a 1921 Class 7 or Class F Truck plate.  This was the heaviest weight class plate for 1921, and was part of a weight designation system used between 1920 and 1923 where weight classes were identified by the first digit of the plate serial number.  Classes ranged from 1 to 7, and plate size was 6" by 16".  Thanks to Jeff Lesher for this photo.

 


These are all 1925 truck plates.  Many thanks to Jeff Lesher for sharing so many photos of his plate collection.

Beginning in 1924 a new system to identify truck weight classes was established.  It consisted of eight (8) weight classes from R to Z, skipping over the X which was reserved for Dealer plates.  The first letter in the plate serial numbers denoted the weight class as shown here in the first two and last two plates.  These plates measure 6 inches by 10 inches.  Such low numbered plates are very rare.  Each of the series started with the weight class letter followed by a serial progression such as R-1 to R99-999.  In addition, the R-class even had overflow plates where the R was shown in the suffix position as seen in the middle two plates.  Those plates measure 6 inches by 12 inches, and 6 by 13 inches respectively. 

 


These photos show the front and reverse sides of a 1943 Validation Tab for a Y-weight class truck plate.  These tabs measured 1⅞" by 2⅛", and were made of steel.  There is a serial number of up to 5 characters (for trucks) made up of an alpha character and 4 digits, with the alpha character corresponding to the weight class prefix.  Thanks to Clayton Moore for the photos.

 


 

 Page Up

 

Images and photos are always welcome.  Please send to:

John McDevitt, Walnutport, PA

ALPCA #4376

 

 

   
 

 
 

pd-sticker-draft

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page Up