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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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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.

 


Posting 9/13/2020

Here's a new organizational plate — Keystone Elk Country Alliance.  Not surprisingly there is no listing of this plate on PennDOT's website.  Jonathan Ortmann spotted this new sample plate at the Elk Country Visitor Center.  If you were not aware, PA has a wild Elk herd in the north-central part of the state.  The prototype came from the organization's website where there is additional information about purchasing a plate. I'd really like to know how many other 'unknown' organizational plates are out there?

 


This was taken on the fly, so not a good Antique Vehicle plate photo.  After looking at it, I realized that this is the lowest sequence on this A0AA serial format so far.  I'm sure better examples of lower numbers will come along.

 

 


I recently spotted two Lehigh University buses with sequential Omnibus plates, and noticed that they both had what appeared to be strange looking validation stickers.  They were behind a fence and down an incline, so I could not see the stickers well enough, but the camera did the trick.  It appears that Lehigh created their own Mountain Hawk stickers to cover up the long since expired state-issued stickers.

 


This is a 1918 Dealer plate.  The 'X' prefix has identified Dealer plates from 1911 up through 1965.  1918 colors were white on black.  This plate appears to have been refinished.  This X+4-digit plate measures 6 inches by 16 inches.  Plates with X+1, 2 or 3 digits were 6 inches by 13½ inches.  This series ran from X1 to at least X7771.  This plate photo was from the Bill Krellner collection.

 


Next is this 1922 Dealer plate.  It is difficult to tell from the photo, which was taken under marginal lighting conditions, but the original colors were brown on cream.  This 6-inch by 16-inch plate is also a new high on this website.   This plate photo was from the Bill Krellner collection.

 


This is a 1930 Motorcycle plate and depicts a 5-digit serial number.  This is a full-size M/C plate measuring 4½ inches by 8 inches.  Plates with 3 or fewer characters were smaller at 4½ inches by 6 inches.  Anyone have one?  1930 appears to be the last year where 5 digits were used for the over 10-thousand series, after which alpha-numeric configurations were used to limit the plate to 4 characters.  This photo is thanks to Worthpoint.

 


Next up is this 1937 Motorcycle plate in an alpha-numeric format.  All plates were the same size at 4½ inches by 8 inches regardless of the number of characters which could be 1 to 4.  Note the use of the stacked M/C which began in 1934.  This photo came from the Bill Krellner collection.

 


Here is a 1942 Motorcycle plate with a 1943 validation strip.  Since 1942 bases had to be extended to cover 1943, the alpha-numeric progression began a new series.  1A00 to 9A99 was used with the alpha character now in the second position.  This photo also came from the Bill Krellner collection.

 


This photo shows a 1971 to '76 issue Tractor plate, still in use.  No big deal until you run the plate number and vanity check shows that it is STILL VALID!  My next thought was that the registration number must be on a current organizational plate.  But there are no special org plates with a TR-prefix.  So we have an almost 50 year old tractor plate still in use.   The plate should have been replaced by a Special Mobile Equipment (SME) plate in the mid-1980s.  The photo was sent to me by Preston Turner who thought the tractor may have been owned by a local electric company.

 

 


Here is a threesome of early National Guard plates from 1930, 1931 and 1933.  1930 was the starting point for National Guard plates.  They were issued up through 1935, and not issued again until 1984.  These early Guard plates share a similar appearance with Consular, Judiciary, Legislative and Official Use plates of the same time period.

 


Posting 9/6/2020

Finally got to a car show this past weekend in Easton, and came away with a few images, starting with this new high Antique Vehicle plate.  I posted one of these last week and tried to explain the order in which the characters advance.  Yes, it's a little confusing, but the order should be 4-1-3-2.  This means that the letter 'B', as the first character, is the last to advance, the number 2, as the numerical character, is the first to advance, etc.

 


Here's another new high from the same car show.  The serial progression on the Classic Vehicle series is far simpler with 5-digit number advancing in a normal numeric fashion.  So far the letter 'C' does not advance.  It has taken about 16 years for the series to go from C00001 to the plate shown here.

 


This Street Rod tag is the final newer style plate from the Easton car show, and is also a new series high.  Street Rod plates are not high volume plates as are the plates above.  For many car owners and plate enthusiasts, the "Family of Plates" look combined with the redundant wording is a big disappointment.

 


I really wish the state would make such plate frames unlawful, at the present the frame may not obstruct the state name, which it doesn't, but the organization name can't be read.  Anyway this Delaware Valley Chapter of the BMW Car Club of America was recently spotted by Jordan Irazabal.  This plate is the only one spotted so far without the sticker well and without the map.  Plate 00153 has the sticker well , and 00174 has the map outline.

 


This new high Vietnam Veterans of America plate was recently spotted by Jaska Börner.  Can't say for sure if this plate is missing the sticker well.  This plate program dates back to 1992 and rather than describe the history, below are three images depicting the history of this plate type.

 

 

 

 


This plate frame does a disservice to the plate by completely blocking both the state name and the plate type.  At the same time the Pittsburgh Penguins wording on the frame provides a clue as to the state.  NASCAR plates stopped being issued in May of 2010, but many remain in use.  This plate was part of the 3rd and final format of NASCAR 99 Carl Edwards plates.  Below are examples of the first two, although one is a sample.   It is unknown if any plates were issued with the green 99.  The above plate photo is thanks to Bruce Bufalini.  The below images were provided by Clayton Moore and Tom Perri respectively.

 


Here is a pair of Omnibus images that would represent plates near the end of the 1974 run and the beginning of the 1984 run.  The blue on yellow plate run may have extended all the way to OB-24999, or possibly the plates were produced but not fully issued by the time the '84 run started.  The likely starting point for the yellow on blue plates would have been OB-26000.  Does anyone have a plate in between these two?  The source of the far left plate is unknown, possibly eBay about 5 years ago.  If it's yours, please let me know.  The other is from Eastern Coast Productions.

 


This is a 1949 Tractor plate.  The first serial progression ran from 0001 to 9999, then the alpha-numeric series began at A000 and went at least as high as the plate shown here.  Plates measured 6 inches by 11 inches, and were issued as singles.  This photo came from Clayton Moore. 

 


Next up is this 1954 Tractor plate.  Like the plate above, there were two serial progressions starting with the all-numeric series as shown here.  Beginning in 1953, the plate size had been reduced from 6 inches by 11 inches to 6 inches by 10¼ inches.  This was likely done as a cost-cutting measure.  This plate image came from Worthpoint.

 


This is a 1942 T-Weight Class Truck plate with a 1943 validation tab.  For 1942 there were three T-weight class serial progressions — T000A, T00A0 and T0A00, with the plate shown here being part of the first group.  This plate was part of the Bill Krellner collection.  Still need V, W and Y class plate photos, as well as any double-letter classes.

 


A lot of similarities here, both yellow on blue, both 1952 Passenger Samples, and besides the one being 5 characters while the other has four, the difference is the size of the base.  The far left base measures 6" by 10¼" and is from later in the production year, while the near left plate measures 6" by 11" and from earlier in the process.  The plate size was also reduced on the final 4 passenger serial progressions.  The PA000 image is from Worthpoint, the PA00 is thanks to John Willard and was previously posted. 

 


Posting 8/30/2020

This is a new high Antique Vehicle plate.  This current format was added on 3/15/2020.  I've only seen a couple of these on the road, but with the number of car shows being greatly reduced, it is hard to get good photos.  If I understand the serial progression correctly, the starting point would have been A0AA, with the number being the first to advance, then the letter in the 4th position, followed by the letter in the 3rd position, followed by the letter in the 1st position.  A0AA to A9AA, then A0AB to A9AZ, then A0BA to A9ZZ, then B0AA, etc.  Thanks to Jaska Börner for the photo.

 


Here's the latest in Presque Isle Partnership plates spotted by Bruce Bufalini.  This plate type has been around since 2006, and has moved to the map outline base between 00977P/I and 0120P/I.  Sale of the plate supports restoration and preservation of the historic Presque Isle Lighthouse on Lake Erie.

 


Here is a recent In God We Trust plate, also thanks to Bruce Bufalini. These are optional plates, and therefore do not require membership or affiliation with, or donation to an organization, cause or group.  This plate is still showing the sticker well.   The other such optional plate is the Teen Driver.

 


This vertical Motorcycle plate photo was provided by Kristofer Knittle.  In an effort to see how many of these plates were registered, I looked at the annual report of registrations.  Unfortunately PennDOT hasn't issued a report since 2018.  Considering these plate were introduced in 2014, by the end of 2018 the report indicated that 1,566 plates were registered with the greatest numbers being in Lancaster and York Counties.  The initial 'M' and the final 'C' are static non-advancing characters.  There are even a few vanities where the initial 'M' and the final 'C' are not used.  The plates measure 4" by 7".

 


The far left Omnibus plate represents a low number on the Format 4 series that appears to have run from OB-64000 to OB-68999.  The center plate is a high in that same series.  Format 4 saw the return of the serif I in Omnibus.  The right-hand plate is a new high on Format 5 which is believed to have run from OB-69000 to OB-86799.  Format 5 was the beginning of the visitPA base.  The 1st and 3rd plates are from Eastern Coast Productions; the center plate photo is from Worthpoint.

 


This first generation Purple Heart / Combat Wounded Veteran plates was sold on eBay not long ago and George Kunsman was the successful buyer.  He also provided this photo.  The number seemed high compared to other Purple Heart plates, but we really don't know the range of numbers.  This plate has a 7-91 sticker, and it would have been around that time that the next generation of Purple Heart plates was issued with the legend now reading Combat Wounded Veteran

 


Here is a 1953  Passenger plate which is part of Format 1 which ran from 1001 to 99999.  The number also forms a palindrome, which happen to be a favorite of Ed Burr.  All passenger plates in 1952 measured 6 inches by 10¼" and were issued as singles.

 


Here is an additional group of 1953  Passenger plates.  They are not part of the 13 standard serial progressions but appear to be part of a group of 3-character non-standard issue plates.  From what I can determine, this group can include the following combinations: 000, A00, 0A0, 00A, AA0, 0AA, A0A, but not AAA.  These all measure 6 inches by 10¼".  Thanks to Ed Burr for the photos of this group of unique plates.

 


Unfortunately the location of the display and the lighting were not conducive to good photography.  These are all Motorcycle Dealer plates.  Starting on the far left is a 1923 plate with this being the first year for Motorcycle Dealer tags.  Next are a 1937 and 1938.  These are all part of Bill Krellner's collection.

 


On the far left is a low-number 1965 base Motorcycle plate with a 70 sticker.  The initial run of these plates ran from 1 to 9999 before switching to a variety of alpha-numeric progressions.  The source of that plate is unknown, let me know if it's yours.  The other plate is a 1971 base with a 72 sticker.  That plate fills a gap in series formatting that is based on data from Harry Campbell a few years ago.  I need to take another look at plate data which may require some revising or refining. 

 


Posting 8/23/2020

This recent Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) plate photo from Jordan Irazabal clearly shows the absence of the sticker well, and thereby established at least a short run of plates devoid of that feature.  The group also includes 00548C/H, and possibly higher and lower.

 


While we're on the subject of CHOP plates, we have these newer plates, both now with the map outline, but the 00591C/H plate is showing a redesigned logo.  These are not new images, but I hadn't previously noticed the change in the logo.  The 591 plate photo is from Tom Perri.

 


Here's the latest high Severely Disabled Veteran plate from Bruce Bufalini.  The wheelchair symbol indicates severe disability, there are also Disabled Veteran plates without that symbol.  The legend PENNSYLVANIA on top and DISABLED VETERAN on bottom, the wheelchair and the stacked DV are all flat screened.  Only the 5-digit serial number is embossed, and no sticker well.  There is also a D/V99000 series for use on vehicles carrying a wheelchair or personal assistive device, which are authorized to be issued two plates since the assistive device and carrier may block visibility of the vehicle mounted plate.

 


On the far left we have a new high Pennsylvania Auctioneers Association plate.  These plates date back to 2013.  Vanity check shows a registered high of 20024A/U.  The lackluster plate sales make this a rare sighting.  Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for the photo.

 


Sometimes I wonder if the purpose of such a plate frame is to protect the plate, or just to make the plate harder to read.  Whatever the case, this is a new high Ridley School District tag.  These plates date back to the latter part of 2019.  Thanks to Jordan Irazabal for the photo.

 


This single letter 'W' Passenger vanity plate was recently spotted by Rob Baran in his travels.  It got me checking to see how many other single letter plates I have photos of.  Not quite half of the alphabet with some doubles.  Vanity check shows that all 26 letters are currently in use.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


This 1931 Passenger plate is part of what I call Format 3 which was made up with plates from 0A to 9Z999.  So obviously the 2-character combinations are very rare.  This beauty measures 6 inches by 10 inches.  I want to express my gratitude to Ed Burr for sharing a number of unique 3-character plates and some palindromes that I will post over the next several weeks.

 


For anyone not familiar with the term palindrome, it refers to a combination of letters and or numbers that reads the same backwards as forward.  In this case the term applies to this 1951 Passenger plate.  This is a Format 13 plate, which series started at D000A.  Having the passenger series start at D000A, suggests that Transit Dealer plate series starting with C000A would have been assigned to the C-series, with New and Used Car Dealers assigned the A000A and B000A series respectively.

 


Does the 'E' give it away as a 1924 Tractor plate?  The 'E' prefix was used on tractor plates from their beginning in 1914 up through 1927, after which the 'E' was needed for the passenger series.  The 'E' stood for engine.  This plate is part of the Bill Krellner collection and is a new high number.  This plate measures 6 inches by 12 inches.

 


Next up is this 1948 Tractor plate.  In this case the 'M' is part of the serial number and has no special significance.  This plate was high up on a rafter making the photo-rendering of the plate somewhat distorted.  The first series of these plates ran from 0001 to 9999, then A000, etc., with the alpha character last to advance.  This plate measures 6 inches by 11 inches.  This plate is part of the Bill Krellner collection.

 


Here is a similar 1954 Tractor plate.  This also made for an awkward photo.  By 1954 these plates extended well into the alpha series going at least into the U000 series.  Also by this time, the plate size had been reduced to 6 inches by 10¼ inches.  I would be interested in knowing how many plates were used on industrial tractors vs farm tractors.  This plate is part of the Bill Krellner collection.

 


This is a pair of 1949 S-Class Truck plates.  They are part of the 3rd (S0A00) and 4th (S00AA) serial progressions for the S-class.  All 1949 Truck plates measured 6 inches by 11 inches.  Anyone have a Y- or Z-class plate, or any of the 2-letter classes?

 

 


Images and photos are always welcome.  Please send to:

John McDevitt, Walnutport, PA

ALPCA #4376

 

 

 

 

   
 

 
 

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