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

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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.

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


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REFERENCE


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ARCHIVED HOME PAGES


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  Older Archives

1/16/2022 Posting

This #68 Let Freedom Ring plate was recently received by Clayton Moore.  Previously he received #87.  For what it's worth, the low number on this series is 00051F/R, and the registered high is 00194F/R, as of 1/11.  So since 10/29/2020, 143 plates have been issued.  These plates were intended to commemorate our nation's 250 year or Semiquincentennial anniversary, much as Bicentennial plate did for 1976.

 


This Autism Society of America plate is thanks to John Clark.  This plate establishes a new high number with the sticker well.  We also know that A/U20499 no longer has the sticker well.  This plate also shows graying of the sheeting.

 


This new high Emergency Vehicle plate was recently spotted by Bruce Bufalini.  EV plates are part of a two-tiered system, with this plate being part of the upper tier.  That group generally represents volunteer fire and EMS groups, whereas the lower tier (EV-30000 to about EV-37270) are generally municipal or paid organizations.  In addition to those mentioned above, there is a whole host of vehicle uses that can qualify for EV plates.  These include: blood delivery vehicles; organ delivery; armed forces emergency; coroner & deputy coroner; haz-mat; emergency management; canteen support; even certain PA turnpike vehicles.  If you crave a more complete list, click this, MV-14EV (08-04).qxd (state.pa.us).

 


Check out these photos of a low number Blue Lodge vanity plate spotted by Jaska Börner.  Also click this week's vanity page to see the display of 8 new photos of vanities or personalized plates.  Other photos from H. Kelly, Mike Alfonse, Tee Adam and Arthur Levine.

 

 


In this week's installment of photos showing antique Tractor plates in use, we have another 1917 Tractor plate taken in Germania, PA, thanks to Jason Cook.  The actual date of the plate is too hard to read, but the serial number uses two different #2 dies.  This inconsistency was highlighted on the recent 1/2/22 posting and suggests that the plate is from 1917.  Click either image to go to Older Plates In Use page.  Then click image showing the steam tractor for a full size image.

 


Note the license plate shown on the far left and center is Tractor Dealer TX22, the year can't be read but the plate appears very similar to the 1924 Tractor Dealer TX24, shown for comparison.  Thanks to Jason Cook for this unusual snapshot of history.  Photo shows a Rumley Oil Pull Tractor in a strong man competition.  Sign to rear of tractor reads Harrisburg and Dauphin County Fair, East Harrisburg, September 17, 18.  Click either image to go to Older Plates In Use page.  Then click image showing the tractor with the strong man for a full size image.

 


This is a 1952 Y-Weight Class Truck plate.  1952 was the first year for truck plates to be issued as singles.  Plates measured 6 inches by 11 inches.  This photo came from Worthpoint, a service to which I have a subscription.  Still need a 1952 Truck Class R, R000A format, and a Class S, S000A format, if anyone can help.

 


Another needed image found.  This is a 1954 S-Weight Class Truck plate.  For 1954 plates measured 6 inches by 10¼ inches.  1954 S-weight Trucks used these five serial formats: S000A, S00A0, S0A00, S00AA, S0AA0, the plate shown here being part of S0AA0.  Still need a photo of an S000A format plate, as well as: U00AA, any W, and Y000A.

 


This is a 1987 Lady Keystone Open Golf Tournament special event plate.  This plate having no serial number would suggest it was a prototype or sample.  Such plates were made of cardboard or cardstock were valid for the period June 15 to 22, 1987.  The plate image is thanks to John Anshant.

 


This is a Pennsylvania International Air Show special event plate, also made of cardboard or cardstock.  It was valid for September 5 and 6, and expired on September 8 of 1987.  This plate having a serial number of 0 might suggest it was a prototype or sample.  The plate image is thanks to John Anshant.

 


1/9/2022 Posting

This is a new high Salvage Yard plate thanks to Preston Turner.  This is also the first plate documented with the map outline.  Preston asked if I knew the meaning of the WL prefix.  I do not.  PennDOT uses the term Vehicle Salvor Yard, which does not help.  Preston wondered if the term Wrecker License could explain the WL.  Anyone?

 


This appears to be the highest Dealer plate photographed, thanks to Jordan Irazabal.  It should be mentioned that back in September, Bruce Bufalini spotted K65-253K, just 53 plates higher, but was not able to snap a photo.  Out of curiosity, I checked the plate availability tool which indicated that the issued high is K67-551K as of 1/5.

 

 

 


The Arcadia University image on the far left from Jeff Lawson reminded me that my section displaying such plates looked a little neglected with only a single plate.  The only other unposted Arcadia image I had was the A/U00298 photo from Jordan Irazabal and Tom Perri, but that photo dates back to 2012 I think.  A little checking showed that their plate program is still active.  A record check indicates that A/U00343 is the current high.  This plate program is still using the www base.

 

 


Emergency Medical Services plates date back to 1985.  All of the original yellow on blue plates that were issued up to the changeover in 2001, were reissued on a number-for-number basis on the www base like the plate shown here.  This plate photo was provided by Jeff Lawson.

 

 


This is a new high Veteran plate which was recently spotted by Bruce Bufalini.  This plate series dates back to 2005 with a starting point of 00001U/S.  The vehicle must be owned or co-owned by a veteran or service member who served or is serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  There is also a Veteran Motorcycle plate.  Not to be confused with those, there are also Honoring Our Veterans, Honoring Our Veterans (motorcycle) and Honoring Our Women Veterans plates which are all Special Fund plates, and do not require the plate holder to be a veteran.

 


Click this vanity page link to see this week's display of 8 new photos of vanities or personalized plates.  The vanity PD shown here is thanks to Tee Adams.  See others from Arthur Levine, Jerry McCoy, H. Kelly, and others from Tee Adams.

 


This is the start of a new feature with a page dedicated to old plates in actual use.  The thumbnail photos to the left show a 1917 Tractor plate in use on a Case tractor of the period.  Clicking these thumbnails will take you to the Older Plates In Use page where larger photos can be enlarged still more to the native resolution of the scanned images.    A big Thank You to Jason Cook for the tractor photos.  I will be adding additional Tractor photos in the coming weeks.  This new page also shows Older Truck Plates In Use.  Most of the truck photos came from elsewhere on this website.

 


Like the 1926 Y-Class Truck plate from last week, here are before and after photos of a 1936 V-Weight Class Truck plate thanks to Rob Baran.  Rob performed some cleaning and sanding.  Nice to see that there was still color underneath.

 

 


These are 1943 Truck Validation Tabs, as you may know they were issued in place of new plates for 1943, due to the war effort.  These tabs were to be mounted in the upper left hand bolt hole to cover up 42.  While the tabs above may look pretty much alike, they all represent a different weight class starting with R and progressing to Y, and then ZZ.  Click the thumbnail images to see the class and serial number stamped below the 3-31-44.  These are thanks to Rob Baran.  The last tab is actually a rare ZZ-weight class tab thanks to John Anshant.  I still need a Z-class tab photo.

 


This is a 1944 S-Weight Class Truck plate thanks again to Rob Baran.  For that year there were three S-Class serial progressions used, including S000A, S00A0, S0A00, with the plate shown here being part of the second group.  1944 is not an easy year.  Still need images for the following weight classes and formats: S0A00, T00A0, U000A, U0A00, any from class V, W and Y.

 


Here is another needed image that fills a gap, this one being a 1947 U-Weight Class Truck plate.  1947 had 4 U-Weight Class serial progressions including U000A, U00A0, U0A00, U00AA.  Still need plate images from the first two progressions.  I want to thank Rob Baran for all of his help with filling a number of gaps.

 


These are special event plates made of cardboard.  The far left is an Erie International Air Show from 1986.  The other plate is also an Erie International Air Show but from 1987.  That plate has no number, so possibly a prototype?  Thanks to John Anshant for the photos.

 


1/2/2022 Posting

Happy New Year!

Website Announcements

 > Most current plate type listings also provided a link to the 'current high', which took you to an external website where highs were tracked.  That website is no longer in operation.  I have removed most, if not all, of these external links.  Concerning highs, I am happy to post highs preferably with photos, but I don't have the time or resources to actually track them.  Another good resource for highs is the ALPCA Archives, which requires membership.

 > Beginning with the 1/9 update, a new page will be added showing older plates in use.  Initially it will feature Tractor and Truck plates.

 


This low-number American Motorcyclist Association plate dates back to 2003, the start of their plate program.  This AMA plate has never been updated to the visitPA base and color graphic.  The documented high is A/M00516, while plate check shows the registered high at A/M00539.  Thanks to Matt Ciecka for the photo.

 


This is a new high Northampton Fire Department plate which was recently spotted by Jaska Börner.  This plate program made its debut in 2015.  Plate check indicates that the registered high is 10015N/F.  Can't say unequivocally, but this plate does not appear to have a sticker well while 10013N/F does.

 


Here is another high, this Taxi plate was recently spotted by Jaska Börner.  The serial number reads TX-50711.  Based on other over 50000 numbered plates, this plate likely still has the sticker well. 

 

 


This Expeditionary Forces Veteran photo was provided by Zachary Bent.  This plate type dates back to 1995 and has gone through a number of iterations.  Click the link above to see a breakdown of the variations.  The starting point of this plate was E/F0001, and the current documented high is E/F3317.

 


This DA-MOZER photo was provided by Arthur Levine.  Not sure what's going on with the yellow band along the bottom of the plate.   Click the vanity page link to see this week's display.  Each week I post about 8 new photos of personalized plates.

 

 

 


The far left is a Civil Defense plate from Perry County as indicated by the 50 prefix.  The credential is a Motor Vehicle Civil Defense Plate Identification Card also from Perry County.  While they may be from the same county, the card corresponds to a different plate.  The card is the first credential I've seen to connect the plate to the vehicle on which the plate was used.  The card corresponds to plate 50-060, and was issued on 2/24/77.  These images are from Worthpoint.  Does anyone know the exact years when blue on yellow and yellow on blue CD plates were issued?

 


Recently there was a discussion on Facebook about the inconsistent use of serial dies on some 1917 plates.  This matter was brought up thanks to Jason Cook with input from Guillaume Joseph, Clayton Moore and Robby Crowder.  Note the far left pair has two versions of the number 2 on each plate.  The center pair shows number 2 variations between the upper and lower plates.  The 233644 plate uses two different 4s where the openings in the center of the 4s are different sizes.  The far left photo is from Worthpoint, the center photo is thanks to Robby Crowder, the right photo is from Worthpoint.  These die inconsistencies can be seen on some tractor plates, and possibly other 1917 plate types.  See more variations below.

 


There appears to be 2 different letter S dies used on these 1917 1-Star Truck plates.   The far left plate is thanks to Jeff Hinkle, the near left plate is from eBay user 51jnj61.

 

 


PART 1: This 1926 Y-Weight Class Truck plate is a little rough, but also very rare.  The serial number reads Y-202.  This plate was on eBay and was brought to my attention by Eric Tanner.  I reached out to the plate owner, Pickersemporium01, who gave me the OK to use the image.  In the mean time, the plate was bought by Rob Baran.   To my knowledge this is the only 1926 Y Truck plate documented.  Early Y-, Z-, and double letter class truck plates are almost always a challenge to find.

PART 2: Rob received the plate, and here is how it looks after some sanding and cleaning.  Click image to enlarge.  He feels it may be a candidate for sandblasting and repainting, but for now he's happy to have such a rare plate.

 

 


This is the first image of a 1940 Y-Weight Class Truck plate.  Thanks to Rob Baran for this hard to find plate image.  The only serial progression for Y-class plates was Y000A, as seen in the photo.  All plates measured 6 inches by 12 inches, and were issued in pairs.

 

 


12/26/2021 Posting

Website Announcement

Effective with this week's update, I've had to split the Passenger Plate History Page into 2 sections.  The software I use is old and has weaknesses necessitating this change.  I will leave the old Passenger Plate History Page in place for now, but there will be no updates beyond today.  So starting today the Passenger Plate History Page has been split into two new pages as listed below.

 > Passenger Plate History 1, covering Pre-state up through 1936.

 > Passenger Plate History 2, covering 1937 up through the present.

 


This is a personalized Street Rod plate.  The photo was taken by John Anshant and shows a Mini Cooper with such a plate.  PennDOT requires eligible vehicles to be a model year of 1948 or older.  It's also the first personalized Street Rod plate spotted, which was not an option until the new redundant format hit the street in late 2016.  Serial numbered plates are in the 7000S/R series.  This plate also has the map outline which has not been seen so far on serial numbered plates.

 


Here is a couple of recently spotted Municipal Government plates.  These plates are now into the N-suffix series.  Plates on the visitPA - "family of plates" base were first seen in early February of 2017, with the starting point being MG-9000J.  The far left plate is thanks to Bruce Bufalini, while the other plate is from Preston Turner.

 

 


Your eyes aren't playing tricks on you — it's a movie prop.  This screen shot was provided by Bill Young and is from the 2010 movie "The next three days".  Such plates are generally easy to spot by anyone familiar with PA plates.

 

 


Still on the road!  Here's a '77 base vanity plate spotted by Bruce Bufalini.  Plate check shows that the registration number is still valid.  Click the vanity page link to see this week's display.

 

 


It may be a little hard to read, but this is a 1940 Commercial Motorcycle plate.  These were only issued for 12 years between 1938 and 1949, and are quite rare.  Plate formatting was the same from year to year with the exception of the color rotation which was the same as passenger plates.  Still need images for 1945 and 1947.  This image came from Worthpoint.

 


This 1965 to '70 plate was likely issued to a cabinet member.  At the time, plates between 3 and 23 were reserved for members of the Governor's cabinet.  The plate appears to have no wear marks around the bolt holes, and no validation stickers.   This photo came from Worthpoint.

 


Here are a couple of what might be described as single-letter 1977 Passenger vanity plates.  They don't appear to have any wear marks around the bolt holes, and no validation stickers.  The photos are thanks to Jeff Lesher.

 


Neither of these plates correspond to any issued plates.  The far left plate photo is from Jeff Lesher, the other photo was from my own collection.  Both plates show a base etched with 71.  Both plates also use a School Bus serial number format, while the Bicentennial State legend at the bottom was only used on passenger and a few related plates such as Handicapped, Amateur Radio, and a few others, never a School Bus.

 


12/19/2021 Posting

Merry Christmas

This past year our nation has faced political discord, economic challenges and an ever-changing health dilemma. 

Let's hope and pray that things improve in the coming year. 

On the brighter side, I want to thank those who have helped support this website.


On the far left is what appears to be the best image so far of the new format Severely Disabled Veteran.  The image is thanks to Bill Ceravola.  This new format was first spotted back in October likely starting at 80000DV.  The older plate is shown for comparison.   Sadly, little by little, all of the legacy formats are being replaced.

 


This is a new high U.S. Military Airborne Units plate thanks to Jordan Irazabal.  This plate type dates back to 2013 with a starting point of 20001M/A.  So far no map outline on the serial numbered plates, but it has been seen on a later personalized plate.

 


This Wilkes University Alumni plate is part of a two-tiered numbering system.  When the original yellow on blue plates were replaced in 2001, they were reissued on the www base and on a number for number basis ending at W/U20409.  When later plates were issued, the series jumped ahead to W/U21000.  The plate shown here is thanks to Rob Baran.  This two-tiered system was common for organizational plates that originated on the yellow on blue base.

 


See this and another weekly assortment of personalized plates on this week's vanity display.  At the end of 2020 PA had 251,746 personalized plates registered.  The counties with the most are Montgomery and Allegheny with over 18,000 each.  The county with the fewest is Cameron with only 88 such plates.

 


A few weeks back Jeff Lawson sent me several photos of Temple University Official plates in use.  If you are not familiar, official plates are also used by Penn State, Pitt and Lincoln U.  Over the last several years, PennDOT has been in the process of switching the appearance of these plates by giving them all the "family of plates" look, in other words making every plate look like every other plate.  The plate shown here is a new high.  The new style plate is also believed to be in use but so far has not been spotted.

 


This is a low number 1941 Motorcycle plate from Worthpoint.  The serial sequence ran from 1 to 9999, then continued as an alpha-numeric serial.  All such plates measured 4½ inches by 8 inches.  These Motorcycle plates use M/C stacked on the right and are very similar to Motorbike plates which used M/B stacked on the right.

 


This is a 1936 R-Weight Class Truck plate from Worthpoint.  Class R is the lightest truck class.  Eric Tanner lists the high for this plate class as R20-08B.  This plate measures 6 inches by 15 inches, although 5-character plates were 6 inches by 12 inches.

 


This is a 1947 Z-Weight Class Truck plate.  The photo is thanks to Clayton Moore.  The heavier weight truck classes are always a challenge to find.  These plates measured 6 inches by 11 inches.  Anyone have any double-letter heavy truck classes?

 


These are both 1928 Plates, made of aluminum, a departure from the typical steel.  Only the raised characters are painted blue, the remainder of the plate is unpainted aluminum.  Based upon that, I'm leaning toward calling them test plates rather than samples.  The far left plate, which was provided by Jeff Lesher, could also be a 1928 S-Weight Class Truck test plate.  The 000-000 plate was previously posted, and was courtesy of John Willard.

 


For the past several weeks I have been adding Special Event plates.  Both of these are Pennsylvania International Air Show plates from 1984 and 1985  They are cardboard plates that were only valid for a few days.  The photos are courtesy of John Anshant and John Willard respectively.

 


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Images and photos are always welcome.  Please send to:

John McDevitt, Walnutport, PA

ALPCA #4376

 

 

   
 

 
 

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