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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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 5/2/2021 Posting

The far left School Vehicle plate is not a new image, the near left plate is a recent photo.  While they are not highs, they do provide documentation that narrows the changeover from the sticker well to the map outline.  An inventory document shows the end of a plate run at SV-26799 which also supports this as the changeover point.

 


This is a personalized U.S. Air Force Veteran plate.  Not sure if the M-K12 has a connection to the Air Force, but the Air Force does have a K-12 STEM outreach program.  Whatever the connection, or not, these plates had their start in 2009, and can be personalized with up to 5 characters.  Thanks to Brendan Sherry for the photo.

 


As the legend suggests, this is a Watercraft Trailer Dealer — one of PA's rarest dealer types.  When I started this website almost 19 years ago, I knew such plates existed but never saw one on the road.  Most boat dealers didn't seem to be aware that these existed, and after many futile attempts, I found a dealer that dug a plate out of a filing cabinet.  The plate shown here is a recent issue and a new high, yet still on the www base due to inventory.  The registered high is WD00969.  By the way there was also a previous yellow on blue edition of these plates.  Many thanks to Nick Tsilakis for sharing this photo.

 


Here is a new pair of Municipal Government highs from Jaska Börner.  This current series on the visitPA base dates back to February of 2017 with a starting point of M/G9000J.  Since that time, the J, K and L series has been exhausted.

 


This is a new high Abington Fire Company plate.  I don't believe it has the map outline, and it may still have the sticker well.  These plates date back to late 2010.  The registered high on this series is 00028A/T.  Thanks to Jeff Lawson for the photograph.

 

 


Received some old newspaper clippings showing vehicle registrations.  These are thanks to Rob Baran.  They represent several newspapers which show the following:

• For Jan. to Sept. 1906, who got what plates in Berks County:

• For circa Sept. 1906, who got what plates in Lehigh County:

• For 1907 who got what plates in and around Scranton:

• For 1929, a partial list of low number plates:

• For 1930 who received so-called vanity tags.

 


These are both 1929 Legislative plates.  Such plates had their start in 1928, and were similar to the far left 1929 plate which is a recent find of Clayton Moore.  Then midway through 1929 the early plate design was updated and the early plates were replaced with plates similar to the near left 139 plate.  The lack of any obvious markings or legend has likely allowed some of the early plates to slip away.  The evolution of these plates was also similar to early Judiciary plates.

 


This is a rare 1927 Passenger plate.  1924 was the first year that Passenger plates exceeded the 1-millian mark which signaled the need for an additional format.  Thus began the first alpha-numeric passenger plates starting at A-1 and going to A-48195 in that year.  By 1927 plates had progressed to D.  Each alpha character was exhausted before advancing to the next.  In spite of this, plates such as the one shown here with a letter and 1 or 2 characters are very scarce.  Such plates measured 6" by 10".  Thanks to Clayton Moore for this photo.

 


This 1915 Tractor plate was recently acquired by Tim Gierschick with help from Mike Alfonse.  The plate represents a new high from the previous E2027.  This plate measures  6" by 14" and was the last year for porcelain.  Note the reverse of the plate reads Brilliant Mfg Co., 1035 Ridge Ave. Philadelphia, PA.

 


It ain't pretty, but it fills one of the pieces of the 1930 Truck weight class puzzle.  For that year, the final two letters of truck plates identified the weight class.  This 307NK plate is a Class U weight class with the serial progression of 00NA to 999NZ.  Unfortunately the lack of a Truck legend and the lack of typical R through Z prefixes, left many of these plates unidentifiable to some collectors.  Still need images for V, W, Y and ZZ classes.  Thanks to Michael Bender for the use of this photo.

 


 4/25/2021 Posting

This Bronze Star plate image was provided by Jeff Lawson.  These plates date back to 2012.  I'm guessing that this plate was likely issued during the 2013 - 2014 period.  The current registered high is 00777B/Z.  There is also a Bronze Star for Valor plate with far fewer tags issued.

 


Here is a brand new U.S. Military Airborne Units plate, thanks to Mike Alfonse.  It is also the current high.  This plate type dates back to 2013, but so far they retain the sticker well, except for a personalized plate.  The warehouse orders these plates in batches of 100, so it is likely that there will be a change in the next batch at 20600M/A.

 


At one time these Fire Fighter tags were the only game in town in terms of organizational plates back in 1983.  At that time they were on the blue on yellow base.  Then around 2005 individual fire departments were able to enter into the plate arena with their own designs.  Since that time we see fewer of these plates with the FF inside a Maltese Cross.  With the slow rate of issue, it's not surprising that we have not seen plates with the map outline.  Based on an inventory sheet, that change might take place at FF39700.  The current issued high is FF39458.  Thanks to Mike Alfonse for the photo.

 


Here's the latest NRA Foundation plate from Bruce Bufalini, now with the map outline.  In is unknown if any of these were issued without the sticker well, and prior to the map.  These plates date back to 2011, with the unique 4-digit number and 3-letter suffix, remember NASCAR plates.  Vanity check shows the current registered high is 0907N/R/A.

 


This is a Pennsylvania Hunting Heritage image from Jordan Irazabal.  Jordan indicates that this plate does not have a sticker well.  Previously plate 01037H/T was documented with the map outline.  This plate type dates back to 2014.  According to vanity check the current registered high is 01113H/T.

 


This is a 1958 Bus plate with a 63 validation sticker.  One notable feature about this plate is the lack of a tab slot adjacent to the 58.  Plates with the tab slot were issued at least as high as O26-606.  The letter 'O' prefix began in 1924 and was used up through 1967.   This is a Worthpoint image.

 


This is a 1926 Format 8 Passenger plate.  This group consisted of alpha-numeric plates starting at 'A' in Format 5 and progressing to at least C75-422 in Format 8.  I know that's confusing, click the link to get a better understanding.  This plate measures 6 inches by 15 inches.  The photo is thanks to Shane Rudy.

 


This is a 1928 Tractor plate.  It is also the highest known number for that year.  All 1928 Tractor plates are believed to measure 6 inches by 15 inches, even those with much shorter serial numbers.  TE stood for Traction Engine, an early term for Tractor.  The image came from Clayton Moore.

 


This is a 1925 W-Weight Class Truck plate also thanks to Shane Rudy.  The serial number also represents a new high.  Most 5-character plates in 1925 (and 1926) measured 6 inches by 13 inches; however, because of the width of the letter 'W', these plates measured 6 inches by 15 inches.

 


This is a 1928 T-Weight Class Truck plate thanks to Michael Bender.  Again in 1928 several plate sizes were used based on the number of characters in the serial number.  This plate measures 6 inches by 13 inches.  Note that the alpha character 'T' is smaller than on the 1925 plate above.  This change took place in 1927 on truck plates.

 


Believe it or not this is a 1930 S-Weight Class plate.  Many of you may recognize it as such.  Beginning in 1924, PA began the R through Z weight class system, but for some reason in 1930 they embarked on a whole new system of denoting the weight classification on the plates.  Click the link above to see a description of the 1930 system.  This is a Worthpoint image.

 


 4/18/2021 Posting

Apportioned Truck plates in the AH-series are part of the latest progression, having first been spotted in December of 2020.  The plate shown here happens to be the lowest number spotted so far.  The series started at AH-00000.

 

 


This is a personalized Bronze Star plate.  Personalized plates allow up to 5 characters plus the stacked BZ.  The Bronze Star is awarded to members of the U.S. armed forces for heroic or meritorious achievement.  The EA-6B may refer to a Northrop Grumman EA-6B Prowler military aircraft.  The plate type came about in November of 2012.  There is also a Bronze Star for Valor plate.

 


This is a Combat Action Badge plate.  This is part of a series of five Combat Action plates that came about as a result of Act 109 of 2014.  The plate shown here is not a high, but rather a low number with the map outline.  The plate photo is thanks to Zach Taylor.

 

 


This Honoring Our Women Veterans is not actually a veterans' plate, instead funds from the sale of this plate benefit the Veterans Trust Fund.  As such the tag is considered a Special Fund plate.  Numbers below 100 are considered reserve issue.  So far it appears that only 00001W/V has been issued for the under-100 tier.  Vanity check then suggests that most plates from 101 up thru 178 have been issued. This photo is thanks to Brendan Sherry.

 


Here's the latest Let Freedom Ring high plate from Jeff Lawson.  Jerry McCoy just got 148, and remarked that in 1971 everyone got a Bicentennial plate, now 50 years later only a little over 100 of these optional plates have been issued so far.  Of course they now cost $50, and for an additional $108 can be personalized.

 


Here are the first images of Pennsylvania Career Fire Chiefs Association plates.  John Clark sent me this photo on the far left taken while moving through traffic and couldn't get a better photo. The personalized plate was provided by a friend.  PennDOT lists the organization as Pennsylvania Fire Chiefs Association without the word career, but clearly 'Career' is part of the logo and legend.  Presently there are 17 serial-numbered plates in use.

 


This is a Share The Road vanity plate thanks to Mike Alfonse.  It is also a member of the Special Fund series.  This plate type was added on 8/8/16.  Act 36 created the “Share the Road” registration plate, with proceeds maintaining PennDOT's central office position of Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator and funding highway bicycle signage.  This plate does not appear to have a sticker well. 

 


Here's a recent 60 Day Temporary Intransit cardboard tag.  The plate was spotted by Jordan Irazabal who seems to own this series in terms of his prowess in documenting them.  Research seems to suggest that such tags originally date back to 1946.  Check the ALPCA Archives if you are a member.

 


This is a 1955 New Car Dealer plate.  There were two new car serial formats that year, A000A and A00A0, with this plate being part of the second group.  The initial A identifies the plate as a New Car Dealer and does not advance.  Plates measured 6" x 10¼".  This photo is thanks to Worthpoint.

 


This is an unused 1958 Used Car Dealer plate with a 59 sticker.  It does have the tab slot.  The previous year, 1957, was the first year for 6-character Dealer plates, and 1958 was the first year for the small keystone separator.  This plate photo is thanks to Tom Firth.

 

 


This is an unused 1969 Passenger Validation Sticker.  This photo is also thanks to Tom Firth.

 

 

 


This is a very nice 1932 low-number Trailer plate thanks to Clayton Moore. At first glance could you tell the difference between this plate and a T-Class Truck plate?  Neither of those have an identifying legend besides PENNA 1932.  Actually all 1932 Truck plates were 6" by 15" and used T10-000 as the serial format. Trailer plates did not exceed T+4digits.

 


 4/11/2021 Posting

In Legislative News, Larry Resnick sent me a headline stating Lawmakers to vote on bringing back license plate stickers. Either House Bill 334 or Senate Bill 410 appears likely to get passed and signed into law.  The law would again require PennDOT to issue registration stickers.  PennDOT has lost considerable revenue due to registrations not being renewed.  For plate enthusiasts, would the current map disappear, and would the sticker well return?  Stay tuned.  

 


This is a personalized version of the Veteran plate.  To my knowledge it's the first personalized one spotted without the sticker well, although it has not been a part of serial numbered plates for a while.  If you're wondering what C2H60 stands for, it's the chemical formula for ethanol, although the final zero (0) should be the letter O. 

Also spotted 03191U/S, which is a new high, and did have the map outline.  Could not get photo.

 


The far left plate was believed to be the latest Truck plate high, and was spotted by Bruce Bufalini.  Then the near left plate was posted by John Kerestes, a few hundred plates higher but still in the ZSN series.  I will be the first to admit that I don't devote much effort to Passenger and Truck highs. 

 


These Action for Animals Humane Society images are thanks to Bruce Bufalini.  He spotted this plate with the map outline back in January but was not able to get a photo.  Now we have that photo, unedited and edited.  The previous high from Preston Turner was 10053H/S.  This plate type dates back to 2012.

 

 


This Philadelphia Museum of Art plate was snapped by Eric Conner.  The plate shows a new high of P/M00123, yet it is still with the original logo.  The previous high was P/M00120 which still had a validation sticker.  A personalized plate with a new logo was spotted back in August of 2020, without the sticker well.  It is not uncommon for personalized plates to be spotted with changes to the logo before it is seen on plates from the numeric series.  For what it's worth, the current registered high is P/M00129.

 

 


These near-perfect plates were part of the "LiveFreeRideAlive.com" Motorcycle series dating back to March or April of 2010.  They were part of a 60,000 plate run, the theme of which was to encourage motorcycle safety.  The series ran from 7600L to 7599T.  No serial numbered plates were issued using letters O, Q.  It may be worth mentioning that there were also some vanities issued on this base.  Thanks to Devan Ciemiewicz for providing these photos.

 


This is a first generation Antique Motorcycle from Drewski.  They were all undated, always 2 or 3 alphanumeric characters, never all-numeric except for 12 and 18 which are thought to be samples, prototypes or test plates.  This series likely started at A0 or A1, making this the 68th or 69th plate produced with 1967 being the first year.  The early plates, such as the one shown here, had a narrow bolt hole spacing.  These plates are still street legal, but a new format came out in 2013.

 


This is a nice 3-digit 1955 Motorcycle plate thanks to Jeff Hinkle.  The numerical progression started at 1 and went to 9999, after which the series switched to an alphanumeric format starting at A or A0 to A999, and so forth.  The documented high is S38. Each letter series was exhausted before moving to the next letter.

 


This is a 1940 U-Weight Class Truck plate.  It is the third of three serial formats used that year.  The plate owner did not want credit for the photo.  Still need a T0A00 series photo, and any from the V, Y and Z classes.  All 1940 truck plates were 6" by 12", and were issued in pairs.

 

 


This trio of 1951 Truck plates are thanks to Worthpoint.  The first plate fills the R0A00 serial format.  Still needed is a picture from the R0AA0 series.  In the center is a photo from the R0AA0 series.  Still needed is one from the S00A0 series.  Finally, the U-Weight Class Truck completes that series.  Also still needed is a plate from the V00A0 series and the Z-series. 

 


 4/4/2021 Posting

Here is a pair of National Ski Patrol plates courtesy of Matt Ciecka.  While these are not new highs, they do help narrow down when the plates began using the map outline.  Plate number 00242S/P still had the sticker well.  The previously documented high plate was 00282S/P with the map outline.  Now we know the changeover was between 243 and 250.

 


This is a PA Society Sons of American Revolution plate recently spotted by Matt Ciecka.  According to the ALPCA Archives, plates up to R/W00187 still have the sticker well.  The plate shown here does not.  Tom Perri's PA Plates shows R/W00191 as the documented high.  The registered high is R/W00207.

 


This is a Pennsylvania DUI Association (Team DUI) photo combo.  Thanks to Megan Levis for the use of the photo.  It's a new high on this site, but Tom Perri's PA Plates shows 00097D/U still wearing a validation sticker.  Vanity check lists the issued high as 00109D/U.  This plate type dates back to 2005.  The question has been raised as to what the organization does.  From their website: It is a professional organization which is working to address the DUI problem in all of its many stages — from prevention to enforcement up to, and including, adjudication and rehabilitation. Through our efforts we create a healthier and safer environment for all people in the Commonwealth.

 


Here is a good image of a U.S. Army (Active Duty) plate thanks to Jordan Irazabal.  These plates have been around since 2017 and plate sales have not been very brisk, probably because the U.S. Army Veteran plate has been around since 2009, with over 5000 sold.  And there are not nearly as many active duty personnel as veterans.  The current registered high on this series is 00043A/D.

 


Received word from Preston Turner that he spotted a new style Municipal Motorcycle plate on a Pittsburgh Police motorcycle.  He was unable to get a photo or the number.  These plates were announced back in February of 2017, but have not been seen until now.  The format would be MG screened on the left followed by an embossed 2-digit serial number, followed by one letter which advances last, for example M/G01G.  Such plates are used almost exclusively on police motorcycles, but not on State Police bikes.

 


This ADP plate is being offered on eBay, and I knew there were others like it, but never knew its purpose.  Pretty sure it's not a motor vehicle plate, despite its strong resemblance to some Motorcycle plates and the 1974 Snowmobile Dealer plate.  Charles Metz sent me this photo from eBay seller buch1259, looking for identification.  There was also a discussion on a Facebook plate group where it was thought to be some kind of Advertising Display Permit.  Click the ADP link above to see other examples.  The narrow hole spacing suggests it may be pre-1985.  Anyone know for sure?  

 


These are new additions to the Auto Wheel section.  These are not state-issued plates, yet they share some similarities with PA plates, and are very collectible.  Click the link above to see more about them, or better yet read the August 2012 article by Ned Flynn in Plates magazine.  These were issued by Auto Wheel Coaster Co. of Tonawanda, NY.  The 1929 plate shown here from Worthpoint shows a different format than the one previously displayed.  The 1940 is a new addition from an unknown source. 

 


The www base plate on the far left was recently spotted by Bruce Bufalini, who suggests that it is a remake of an older truck plate number.  Light weight trucks are eligible to receive personalized plates.  It appears likely that the original plate would have been from the period of the blue on yellow plates, like the example shown here, which would have been on the '78 base.

 


This is a 1945 U-Weight Class Truck plate.  It represents one of four serial progressions used that year.  These included: U000A, U00A0, U0A00 and U00AA, with this plate being part of the third group.  Still need an image of a plate from the second group.  All 1945 truck plates measured 6" by 11", and were issued as singles.

 


These are 1950 Truck plates representing the U-Weight Class and the V-Weight Class.  The U plate completes the run of all 4 serial progressions of U000A, U00A0, U0A00 and U00AA.  The V plate also completes both serial groups of V000A and V00A0.  With the addition of these two plates, the run from R to Z is complete, with examples of every serial progression. The remaining gap would be all of the double letter classes.  All 1950 truck plates measured 6" by 11", and were issued in pairs.  These photos are thanks to Worthpoint. 

 


 

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Images and photos are always welcome.  Please send to:

John McDevitt, Walnutport, PA

ALPCA #4376

 

 

   
 

 
 

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