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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 1/24/2021

Here's a very recent issue Goshen Fire Company plate from Ryan Battin.  It has the map outline, but plates with higher numbers do not.  The original plate began peeling, and was then replaced with this plate having the same number.  Click the link above to see additional Goshen plates.  The current issued high is 20068G/F.

 


The far left Dealer plate photo was taken by Bruce Bufalini.  It's not a new high, but it is the highest plate spotted before the addition of the map outline.  The plate with the map outline was previously posted and came from Jordan Irazabal.  The change took place at K51-500K.  Both plates are also listed in the Dealer History section.

 


It's not a thing of beauty but this Permanent Trailer plate does move the needle forward on the progression of the serial number.  The letter K on this plate is always the last character to advance, while the numerical sequences, 550 8, advances with each plate.  The PT prefix does not advance.  Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for this photo.  This plate is also listed in the Permanent Trailer History section.

 


These are 1928 Format 3 Dealer plates, with the 'X' indicating the plate type.  The serial number also establishes this pair as the series high, or at least until a higher plate surfaces.  These plates measure 6 inches by 15 inches.  Click the link above to see 6-inch by 10-inch and 6-inch by 13-inch plates with shorter serial numbers.  Thanks to Clayton Moore for the use of the plate photos.

 


This is a 1945 Format 1 Dealer plate.  That group includes the series X100 to X9999, so both 4- and 5-character plates were issued.  There was also a series with the 'X' in the second position.  All such plates measured 6 inches by 11 inches.  Thanks to Clayton Moore for the use of the plate photo.

 


Here we have a pair of low-numbered 1931 and 1932 Legislative plates.  Early legislative plates were issued from 1928 up through 1935.  Except for 1928 and early '29 plates they all shared a similar appearance to those shown here.  They were issued in pairs and were  6" by 12" in size.  The source of the 1931 photo is unknown.  The 1932 plate photo is thanks to John Anshant. 

 


Last week I added a few older Motorboat Licenses (MBL) Plates.  Here are a few more starting with this 1947, 5⅛-inch by 11-inch white on blue plate.  1- to 4-digit plates that year were smaller at 5⅛-inch by 9½-inch.  Next is the low-number 1950 red on white 4½-inch by 8-inch plate, and finally the 1952 blue on yellow plate of the same size.  These plates are all thanks to Fred Schmidt. 

 


These were part of a group of low-number 1950s plates posted by Jeff Lesher.  At the time, plates with fewer than 4 characters were considered non-standard issue.  Previously I posted a 1954, #102 and '55, #426.  According to Jeff, 102 may have been used by Auditor General Charles Smith.  While these plates are being listed in the Passenger series, they are also being listed with State Officials & Dignitaries.

 


Can you identify this plate?  If not, it's a 1919 1-star weight class truck plate.  The 'C' was part of every truck plate that year, the 47 being the lowest serial number I've seen.  Note the single star on the right side designating this as the lightest weight class.  Classes extended to 5 stars.  Much thanks to John Willard for sharing this plate.

 


Some may see rust, yes it's rusty, but it is a great 1929 W-Weight Class Truck plate.  The W series that year would have started at W-1 and extended at least as high as the plate seen here.  This plate measures 6" by 15" while 6" by 10" and 6" by 13" were used for shorter serial numbers.  Thanks to Tim Gierschick for this barn find.

 


Posting 1/17/2021

Several years ago the state embarked on a program to allow departments within state government to design Official Use plates with their own logo.  To my knowledge only PennDOT and the PA Turnpike have opted to do this.  In both cases there is one serial format for passenger vehicles and another for commercial types.  There is also a version of the plate for state owned vehicles that do not belong to one of the departments mentioned above, which uses a state coat of arms.

 


Seems like each week we get a lower number Korean War Veteran plate.  This latest plate is thanks to Matt Ciecka.  Now the challenge — are there still any under 100 plates out there or in someone's collection?

 

 


This is a personalized version of a Delaware County Fallen Firefighter & EMS Memorial Committee.  That's a long title to put on a plate so a couple of the words have been abbreviated.  Personalizing the plate allows for 1 to 5 characters plus the D/C suffix.  The FOP emblem was added by the owner.  Thanks to John Anshant for the photo.

 


Here is the first image of a Mount Aloysius College plate.  This facility had plates on the road as of February 2018, but so far there are only 4 serial-numbered plates issued.  There could also be personalized plates.  One might wonder why a 4-year college can only market 4 plates while small volunteer fire companies may have 40 to 60 plates on the road.

 


Here's a new high University of Scranton plate that was recently photographed by Jaska Börner.  This was a tough night time shot but clearly displays the map outline.  The previous high was U/S11371 without the map.  This plate program dates back to 1995 with a starting point of U/S10000.

 


Here is the most recent high Action for Animals Humane Society from Preston Turner.  A few days ago Bruce Bufalini spotted 10069H/S but was unable to get a picture.  He did note that the plate he saw had the map outline.  So somewhere between 54 and 69 the map was added.  The current issued high is 10070H/S.

 


This is a 1932 Passenger plate, or at least the AA0 format would suggest.  On the other hand, the US2 combination might also suggest political significance such as U. S. Senate.  In later years US1 and US2 were used for PA's two U.S. Senators.   In any case, it's an eye-catching plate.  The plate measures 6 inches by 10 inches and is thanks to John Anshant.

 


Speaking of possible political plates, here's another plate that raises similar questions.  The USC prefix could mean U. S. Congress, 6th congressional district, or it could be a vanity plate from someone who attended the University of Southern California.  Other known congressional plates at the time used the prefix MC to designate Member of Congress on the liberty bell base.  In either case, I'm going to cross list it under 1971 to '76 Passenger and U. S. Congress.  You decide.  The plate photo is thanks to Clayton Moore.

 


This is a rare 1954 Transit Dealer plate.  The history of such plates is very sketchy.  We don't know the meaning of Transit Dealer.  We also don't know the starting year for certain, but the final series of 1951 passenger started at D000A, apparently leaving the A000A, B000A and C000A for the dealer series.  A 1952 sample, C123A is known to exist.  For 1954 we have the plate shown here which was from the Bill Krellner collection and C339A from John Willard.  

 


This is a non-standard issue 1956 Passenger plate, which means a plate with fewer than 4 characters.  Plates with other 3 character combinations may have existed; however, this is the only one known to exist.  Such plates were more plentiful during the 1953 to '55 period.  Or could this plate have been issued to a state official?  Thanks to Jeff Lesher for the photo of this rare plate.

 


After posting a couple 1952 U-Weight Class Truck plates on 1/3, Rob Baran sent this photo of a plate with a serial format that had not been previously listed here.  Up till now only U000A, U00A0 and U0A00 were listed; now with this plate, U00AA has been added.  Always happy for updates and corrections.

 


Motorboat License (MBL) plates were first issued in 1931 and continued through 1963.  During this time period a variety of plate sizes and color combinations were used.  Fred Schmidt recently posted a group photo and has kindly allowed me to use his plate pictures.  There were already photos from this period on this site but these photos show plates having more or fewer characters than those previously posted.  The plates shown here all measure 6 inches by 12 inches and employ a beveled edge, which is unlike motor vehicle plates.  Plates were issued in pairs.

 


Posting 1/10/2021

Here's the latest high Antique Vehicle plate from Preston Turner. These are certainly less common in the middle of winter.  The way I understand the serial progression of these plates is that the starting point for the current series was A0AA, then the number is always first to advance, next the letter in the 4th position, followed by the letter in the 3rd position. The letter in the first position is always the last to advance. 

 


This Korean War Veteran is not a low number but is the lowest on this site.  Very few such plates are issued today, but are still available.  This plate has never been updated.  A related plate would be the Korean Defense Service MedalThanks to Jeff Lawson for the photo.

 


This Vietnam War Veteran plate is the lowest number I've seen.  The Vietnam conflict went on for may years and left scars on the nation and on those who served.  The war ended in 1975 but new plates are still being issued, however, I'm sure the number are declining.  These plates date back to 1999, with highs today over 11000.  Thanks to Jeff Lawson for the photo.

 


The far left State Senator photo was taken back in 2012.  The near left photo was taken recently by Jeff Lawson. Aside from the difference in spacing, the 2012 plate was on the www base, while the current plate is on the visitPA base.  Have not seen any political plates with the map outline yet. 

 


At first glance these may appear to be unrelated plate types; however, the 183J is an early 1929 Judiciary plate, while the 132 is a later Judiciary plate.  Early plates followed formatting similar to 1928 plates. There was a change in the design of the Judiciary plates part way thru the year and likely all of the early-issue plates were replaced with the plates bearing the JUDICIARY legend.  This then established the format for such plates thru 1935.  The 183J plate is a great addition and is thanks to John Anshant, the 132 plate posted previously, was thanks to Jake Eckenrode.  A similar redesign was seen with Legislative plates at the time.

 


This remarkable pair of 1924 plates represents the first year of Official Use plates, intended for use on state owned vehicles.  A newspaper article from 12/27/1923 from the Wilkes-Barre Record passed on to me by Eric Tanner, indicated that for 1924 plates with an S-suffix would designate state-owned vehicles.  Plate 1-S would be for the Governor, plate 11-S shown here, would be for the Secretary of Agriculture.  Thanks to Jeff Lesher for the photo of this unique pair.

 

 


Thanks to Jeff Lesher we have this 1925 Official Use plate, still with a low number.  Without any legend indicating the plate type, it's easy to see that such plates were not easily recognized, and ended up in a box of non-descript plates.  This plate and the '24 plate above are definitely not truck S-class overflow plates.  This is the first image of a 1925 Official plate and fills an important gap.  Anyone have another?

 


Rob Baran recently pointed out a difference in fonts used on '58 Truck plates.  (See 1958 Truck below.)  I also noticed that for 1957 Truck plates there were two different fonts used.  The center plate could be described as having a serif R and B, while the far left plate has a sans-serif R and the Z-Class plate has a sans-serif B.  The serif plates appear to be less common.  I'm not going to attempt to determine serial ranges.  The far left plate was previously posted from Bob Connison.  The center plate is from Worthpoint, and the Z-Class plate was previously posted from John Willard. 

 


Sans Serif R

Flat-bottom U

Serif R

Rounded-bottom U

This section on 1958 Truck plates is similar to the 1957 piece above.  As described above, Rob Baran noticed a difference in the letters R and U on some plates.  The stacked R weight class plates show the sans-serif R on the upper plate and the serif R below.  I'm not sure how to describe the U class plates other than the U in the upper plate has a flatter bottom than the U on the lower plate.  Again, no attempt will be made to determine the serial ranges of these variations.  The upper left R image is from Rob Baran, the lower left, previously posted, was from Chuck Sakryd, the upper U-plate, previously posted, was from Jerry McCoy, the lower U-plate is from Rob Baran.

 


Posting 1/3/2021

Happy New Year and happy plate hunting

May 2021 be a better year for all of us.


Here is a new high Honoring Our Veterans plate.  This plate still has the sticker well, but a check of a 2020 BMV report shows that a new batch of plates will begin at 03200H/V.  So it is likely that either the sticker well will be removed, or the map outline will have been added.  Thanks to Brendan Sherry for the photo.

 


I wouldn't have thought that getting a good low number close-up of the AH-Prefix Apportioned Truck plate would be so challenging.  This required a through-the-fence zoom shot, but worth the effort.

Just for fun this pictorial progression is being displayed showing a condensed history of Apportioned Truck plates.  As the prefixes progressed starting with AA, AB, etc., there were no AC prefix plates.  This may have resulted from the AC prefix being held in reserve for use by Allegheny College whose plate program dates at least back to 1997.

1982, AA prefix

1984, AB prefix

Late 1990s, AD prefix

2000 www base, AE

2007, visitPA, AF

2012, AG Prefix, AG

https://papl8s.com/stamp_files/AG-72673_jm.JPG

Early 2018, AG prefix,

no sticker well

Later 2018, AG prefix, map outline

2020, AH prefix

 

 

 

 


Here is a very unusual single letter 1931 Passenger plate.  Single letter plates were actually part of a larger series of A to Z9999.  I would guess that such plates were also likely early vanities, even though they were part of a larger group of plates.  This is a Jeff Lesher plate.

 


This is a 1933 Format 7 Passenger plate.  Format 7 included AA to ZZ & AA1 to ZZ99 and were 10-inch plates.  Many of these 2-letter plates were likely early vanities  The plate shown here is thanks to John Anshant, and he notes that one H  is inverted.  Which H is it?

 


Last week we featured several 3-character non-standard issue, and 4 digit standard issue plates.  This week we have several more very low number 4-digit Passenger plates from 1951 and 1952.  The first series of standard issue plates started at 1001 and extended to 99999.  Thanks much to Jeff Lesher for posting a group of these plates.  More next week.

 


These 1942 Trailer plates were added to replace earlier photos of lesser quality.  1942 saw the use of 3 serial progressions, Format 1 - 0001 to 9999, Format 2 - A000 to Z999, and Format 3 - 0A00 to 9Z99.  0010 photo came from Drewski, the other is from Worthpoint.

 


Next up is this 1945 Format 1 Trailer plate.  Trailer plates for 1945 used 4 serial progressions including 0001 to 9999, A000 to Z999, 0A00 to 9Z99, and 00A0 to 99Z9.  All plates were 4 characters and measured 6 inches by 11 inches.  The plate shown here is from Worthpoint.

 


This is a 1942 S-Weight Class truck plate with a '43 tab attached.  1942 had 4 S-class serial progressions, S000A, S00A0, S0A00, S00AA.   With the addition of the plate shown here, there are now photos of three of the four S-class progressions.  These plates were 6" by 12". Thanks to Jeff Hinkle for the use of the photo.

 


These are 1945 S-Weight Class and U-Weight Class truck plates.  The S-Class used 3 serial progressions, so with the addition of this plate there are photos of two of the three.  The U-Class used 4 serial progressions.  With the addition of this plate, there are photos of two of the four.  Both of these are Worthpoint images. 

 


The final truck tags consist of these 1952 U-Weight Class plates.  The U-Class was made up of three serial progressions.  With the addition of these images, all three serial groups are represented.  These plates measure 6 inches by 11 inches.  The images came from Worthpoint.

 


Posting 12/27/2020

This is a Korean War Veteran plate.  The series dates back to 1993, and at the time there would have been a fair number of such veterans.  The war took place between 1950 and '53.  The plate type is still valid but few if any are issued, and are seldom spotted.  This is the lowest number plate I have a photo of.  The picture is thanks to Devan Ciemiewicz.  Today there is also the Korean Defense Service Medal plate, a late comer with fewer than 200 issued plates.

 


Here is a pictorial display of 1931 aluminum license plates.  Standard issue steel plates for 1931 were painted yellow on dark blue.  The plates shown here show unpainted aluminum characters over a dark blue background.  The reverse shows the same unpainted aluminum.  An attached magazine article describes Governor Pinchot's 1931 Studebaker shown with this #1 plate.  The article suggests that the #1 PA license plate was a pre-production example, the first plate made of aluminum. It doesn’t provide much info beyond that.  Several other aluminum 1931 Passenger plates were made including a possible early vanity — UA, and the #9 Official that has survived as a pair.  This pair has the PENNA and 1931 reversed from the steel plates.  It is unclear if these remained as test plates or were issued plates.  Photo credit #9 Official, Jeff Lesher; #1, Clayton Moore; #3 Ned Flynn; #44, Jeff Lesher; UA, John Willard.  

 


For obvious reasons finding one of these 3-character 1930 Format 4 Passenger plates was not easy.  Format 4 consisted of 00A to 99Z99.  But thanks to Bob Connison, this image showed up in my inbox.  Format 4 plates with 4 or 5 characters are much more plentiful.  This plate is a 6 by 10-inch shorty.

 

 


This is a 1944 Format 9 Passenger plate.  This plate was part of the final plate group which ran from 1AA0 to 4NB8. After starting at 1AA0, the actual progression ran to 1AA99, then 2AA0 to 2AA99, until ending at 4NB8.  So with both 4 and 5 character plates, both 6" x 10" and 6" x 11" plates were used.  This is a Worthpoint image.

 


Here is a pair of 1946 Passenger tags consisting of a low-number Format 1, and a 4-character Format 2 plate.  Format 1 consisted of 1001 to 99999, and the Format 2 plate consisted of A100 to Z9999, but while both 4 and 5 character serial numbers were used, all 1946 plates were 6 inches by 11 inches.  The 1004 photo is thanks to John Willard, the other is a Worthpoint image.

 


These are 1947 Passenger plates.  They consist of a low-number Format 1, and a 4-character Format 3 plate.  Format 1 consisted of 1001 to 99999, and the Format 3 plate consisted of 1A00 to 9Z999.  Both series consist of 4- and 5-character tags; however, all were 6 inches by 11 inches.  The 1003 plate is thanks to Jeff Lesher, the other is thanks to eBay user Tumbleweedtoys.

 


These 1954 Passenger plates belong to a group of what I call Format 15, which consists of non-standard issue plates.  I don't know what the eligibility requirements were for such plates, but feel fairly certain these weren't just randomly issues upon registering a vehicle.  Plates could consist of the following formats: 000, A00, 0A0, 00A, AA0, 0AA, A0A.  The 102 and 300 plates are thanks to Jeff Lesher, while the 9E9 plate is from Ed Burr.

 


Next up are two non-standard issue 1955 Passenger plates.  Like the '54 plates above, the same 3-character formats were used.  Also like the '54, all plates measured 6" x 10¼".  The 426 is thanks to Jeff Lesher, and the 2GU is from Ed Burr.

 

 


Last week I mentioned that I hadn't seen a Commercial Sample from the 1972 vintage, and this week thanks to Bob Cannison, we have a 1972-73 Commercial sample.  Note the reverse imprint of the 72 date on the back of the plate.

 

 


Images and photos are always welcome.  Please send to:

John McDevitt, Walnutport, PA

ALPCA #4376

 

 

 

 

   
 

 
 

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