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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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11/21/2021 Posting

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Here is the latest Let Freedom Ring plate thanks to Bruce Saksom.  These are considered optional plates and resulted from Act 48 of 2020, which paved the way for the creation of a Semiquincentennial registration plate, similar to the Bicentennial Plate, with the phrase “Let Freedom Ring - 250 years”, for issue up through 2026. They are eligible for use on a passenger car or a truck with a registered gross weight of not more than 14,000 pounds or a motor home.  They are also available as Motorcycle plates.


Here is a recent Mario Lemieux Foundation photo from Bruce Bufalini.  This plate helps to lower the changeover point for the addition of the map.  In the past we listed 01680L/F as the low plate on the series with the map outline.  This narrows the gap to between 01520L/F and the plate shown here.


This is a new high Apportioned (Truck) plate spotted recently.  I've actually seen a couple plates in the AH-12000 series going by me on the road, but with the plates being front-mounted, it is nearly impossible to get a decent photo.  Hope to find one parked.  These plates have had the map since back in the AG-73000 series.


Here is the latest Support Your Zoo plate from Clayton Moore.  It has been quite a while since I last posted one of these.  Zoo plates date back to April 2013.  It's a little surprising that this plate is still sporting a sticker well.  According to the warehouse inventory report, these plates are ordered in lots of 1,000, so possibly the sticker well will be gone by the time the plates hit 06000P/Z.


Admittedly I don't track Passenger, Truck and Trailer highs as they change by the hour, but it's good to have an idea where the current serial progression stands.  Bill Young shared this recent Passenger plate.  Eventually this series will end at LZZ-9999 and the next series will begin at MBA-0000.


Check out the Vanity Plates page for additional personalized plates.  The photo shown here with the letter "O" is thanks to Nick Tsilakis.  The ASH-47 plate is thanks to Bill Jesse.  The Dealer Vanity is thanks to Jeff Lawson.



There are currently two serial formats in use for Vertical Motorcycle plates.  The first is M0A0C to M9Z9C in which all serial numbers have been exhausted.  The next series is also the current series which began at MA0AC.  In both series the first and last characters, M & C do not advance.  The MA1GC plate is a new low on the second series., while the MB9RC is a new series high.  The second character, B, is the last to advance. 



This appears to be an unused first generation Bucknell University plate.  The Bucknell plate program dates back to 1998.  This plate also replaces the previous series high of B/U20388.  Bucknell is located in Lewisburg, PA.  The photo came from Worthpoint.



This is a new high 1934 Passenger plate.  The plate is part of Format 8 which ran from AA000 to the previous high of YG711, and now to YL795 as shown here.  The plate was spotted by Eric Tanner and permission was given by the eBay seller Rocket4spd1v42.



Here are two PA Temporary Plates from Lady Keystone Open Golf Tournaments held in Hershey.  These are special event plates.  Both plates are made of heavy cardstock.  The far left is from 1987 and was valid  from June 15-22.  The other is from 1990 and was valid from May 29 -June 3, 1990.  These were generally used on courtesy cars associated with the golf tournaments.  These photos are thanks to Jeff Lesher.


These Boat Registration Sticker photos were provided by Rich Gullo.  According to the PA Fish and Boat Commission, "boat registrations are renewed on a 2-year cycle and expire on March 31 of the 2nd year".  So if I understand correctly, the far left plate would be for use during 2009, and up to the 3-31-2010 expiration.  The same would apply to the sticker for 18 sticker with the 19 expiration, and same with the 20-21 sticker.


11/14/2021 Posting

With Veterans' Day this past week, we start with several Veterans' plates.  Thank You to all who have served and sacrificed for this country.

This past week also marked the 19th Anniversary of this website. Thanks to all who have played a part.


Here is a pair of Operation Enduring Freedom Veteran plates.  I actually borrowed the 02056E/F plate photo from Tom Perri at PA Plates.  While it is not a new photo, it is the highest spotted with the sticker well.  The 02332E/F plate is a new high recently spotted by Jaska Börner.  This plate now has the map outline in place of the sticker well.


Here is a new high Honoring Our Veterans Motorcycle plate.  The plate and frame were curved to follow the contour of the rear fender, so the photo is as square as I could make it.  These plates date back to 2015, and are part of the Special Fund series supporting the Veterans Trust Fund.  Still have not seen a plate from the under-100 group.  Plate availability tool indicated that H/V0001 to H/V0031 are registered.  I suspect there are vanities in use as well.


These are two recent snapshots of Veteran Motorcycle plates.  The far left is a standard issue, while the other is a personalized plate.  The "V" is a required part of the serial number even on personalized plates.  The application form, MV-150V, states that "A pre-printed letter configuration of “V will precede your personalized configuration on your registration plate and cannot be changed."  Also note that the legend VETERAN on the serial numbered plate is embossed, while it is screened on the personalized plate.


This nighttime street shot of a Person With Disability plate shows a new high, and when you consider that the dual-plate options uses the block from 98000PD to 99999PD, there aren't many numbers remaining before the series is exhausted.  Fear not!  The next series of plates will start at A0000PD.



Also check out the Vanity Plates page for additional personalized plates.  The photo shown here is thanks to Tee Adams.





Here is a new high Permanent Trailer plate as spotted by Bill Young.  These plates made their debut in 1997 on the yellow on blue base with a PT-00000 serial format.  On the www base the series started PA-0000A, then onto the visitPA (family of plates) base at PT-0000L.  After hitting PT-9999Z, the prefix letter moved one space to the left.



Here's another new high, this one being a Trailer plate, thanks to Jaska Börner.  Trailer plates have a long history going all the way back to 1914 - yes they were actually porcelain, and very rare.  Trailer plates on the www base started at XK-00000, then in 2004 advanced to XBA-0000, then visitPA base at XCA-0000, and so forth.


While neither plate may not be much to look at, the 39-393 would be considered a new Class 3 (or B) high 1921 Commercial (Truck) plate.  The 41-852 is regarded as the high for Class 4 (or C) 1921 Commercial (Truck) plate.  Both plates measure 6 inches by 16 inches.  The image source is Worthpoint.


This is a 1939 V Weight Class Truck plate.  It appears that not many V class plates have survived from that year as there is no high listed for this class.  The plates were yellow on blue and all measured 6 inches by 12 inches.  My thanks to Bob Connison for this plate photo.



11/7/2021 Posting

Here is a new high Classic Vehicle plate photo from Richard Than. This series has been using the map outline since C40900, and the family of plates look along with the redundant Classic Vehicle since C27900.  PennDOT's definers Classic as "A motor vehicle, but not a reproduction thereof, manufactured at least 15 years prior to the current year which has been maintained in or restored to a condition which is substantially in conformity with manufacturer specifications and appearance."


This personalized Appalachian Trail Conservancy plate was recently acquired by Jonathan Ortman.  While these are popular as personalized plates, this is the first such plate photographed with the map outline.  The current high serial numbered plate is A/T00410.



Here is the first image of a Keystone Elk Country Alliance plate, which was spotted by Nick Tsilakis.  While this is a personalized plate, no serial numbered plates have been photographed so far.  As of 11/1, plate check indicates that 32 serial numbered plates have been issued.



This Shippensburg University Alumni and the two plates above have all been personalized.  This however, is the first Shippensburg vanity photographed, thanks to Jordan Irazabal.  The Shippensburg plate program dates back to 1989, on the yellow on blue base.



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


Here are two recent NRA Foundation plate photos - one a low number and the other a new high.  Also, note the serial number and N/R/A spacing difference between the two plates.  These organizational plates made their debut in 2011.  The low number plate was a traffic shot of mine, while the high plate was thanks to Grant Koval.


This is not a new plate, but Lincoln University Official plates are the rarest of the official plates issued in PA.  it is the opinion of many in the hobby that not a single plate has survived from the first generation yellow on blue version, not even a photo.  Can someone prove me wrong?  Thanks to Jordan Irazabal for the photo.


I know next to nothing about these plates except for the obvious indication that they are Boat Dock Permits.  Eric Tanner brought this matter to my attention as there had been the 1978 number 42 plate on eBay recently.  I got the OK to use the photo from Smythe!, the seller.  The other photos came from Worthpoint.  It appears such plates date back at least as far as 1965 and as recently as 1978 with an '82 validation sticker.  The plates measure about approx. 5½ or 5¾ as depicted in the one photo.  Any help would be appreciated.


This is a 1918 Passenger plate.  Plates were white on black painted steel.  It is a new high on this website and is close to the recorded high of 371690.  All plates above 100000 measured 6 inches by 16 inches.  Thanks to Rob Baran for this plate photo.



This is a 1919 Passenger plate.  Plates were red on black painted steel.  It is a new high on this website and is close to the recorded high of 449444.  All plates above 100000 measured 6 inches by 16 inches.  Thanks to Rob Baran for this plate photo.



Here is a pair of first-year-issue 1914 Tractor plates.  These are white on black porcelain plates.  1914 and 1915 were the only years that Tractor plates were issued in pairs.  The pair shown here measure 6 inches by 12 inches; however three other sizes were issued depending on the number of characters in the serial number.  The letter "E" stood for Engine.  Click the link above to see other plates and sizes.  Thanks to Tim Gierschick for the photo and for his dedication to PA Tractor plates.



Because of the war effort, there were restrictions on domestic steel usage.  As a result, PA limited license plates to small black on red steel tabs with a keystone and the year 43 and 3-31-44 expiry within the keystone.  These were placed over the 1942 plate.  There was also a small serial number lightly stamped below the 3-31-44, this tab reads TR7006, indicating that was for a Tractor plate.  Tabs measured 1⅞" x 2⅛".  Another thanks to Tim Gierschick for the photo.



10/31/2021 Posting

To all my friends, contributors and fellow plate enthusiasts, I am in the process of transitioning from a well-used Windows 7 PC to a new Windows 10 laptop.  So far the transition has been anything but smooth.  So if you see errors, omissions and the like, please bring it to my attention.  This process may take several weeks.  On the plus side, this website will be 19 years old on November 12.


While these Camp Papillon Animal Shelter plates have only been around since June 2019, they have been impossible to find, up till now.  Thanks to John Clark, we have a picture of one hot off the press.  Vanity check shows that there are only 11 such serial-numbered plates issued.  Of course there could be vanities.


Here is photo of a new high In God We Trust plate.  These plates made their debut back in 2014.  This plate is considered an optional plate or a specialty plate, not unlike the Teen Driver plate (from 2013), and the Let Freedom Ring plate (from 2020).  The plate shown here is still using the sticker well.  Plates are also available as vanities.  Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for the photograph.


Here is a personalized Antique Vehicle plate thanks to John Clark.  The rules regarding such personalized plates indicate that "up to FOUR letters and/or numbers in combination are permitted.  If a hyphen or space is used as part of the registration configuration, it counts as one of the available spaces for personalization."  So according to this, 4 letters + a space = 5 places, one over the limit.


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


This is a new high Pennsylvania Hunting Heritage plate also thanks to John Clark.  These plates possibly date back as far as 2014, but definitely in use by mid-2015.



Here is a new high Ruffed Grouse Society plate from John Clark.  This plate type dates back to 2005.  The ALPCA Archives lists R/G00131 as the current high, and still with the sticker well.  The plate shown here has the map outline.  Anyone have a plate or photo of a plate between 131 and 159?



Compare these photos and obviously a new format has arrived.  I feel that this is an unfortunate departure from the heritage plate design.  The far left photos show a new format Severely Disabled Veteran plate, and yes it's also a vanity.  The near left plate is what the plates had looked like for years.  It's not unusual that the first plate seen on a new format is a vanity.  The previous format appears to have exhausted all numbers after reaching D/V98999, while the dual plate option uses the D/V99000 block.  At this point, I don't know what the new numerical sequence will be.  Thanks to Matt Ciecka for the new photo.



Here's a late arrival, but a great find in that it clarifies the formatting of the new "Family of Plates" Severely Disabled Veteran plates.  Jonathan W. Sternthal took this street shot.  It appears that the plate serial numbers are being recycled.  The previous edition would have started at D/V80000, and this new edition appears to be starting at 80000DV.





Here is a new high Official Use Truck plate.  These are used by state agencies other than PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Turnpike who have their own agency-specific plates.  Official Use passenger vehicles plates using the coat of arms, have only recently come into use.  They are formatted such as 42000P/A.


This 1938 Dealer plate was spotted on eBay by Eric Tanner and being offered by Fabboss7.  Eric notes that this is not only a new high, but that it is the first (earliest) use of the "X" in the 4th position.  This plate measures 6 inches by 10 inches; however if plates extended to 1000X or above, the size would be 6 inches by 12 inches.


Motorboat Mystery.  While discussing with Eric Tanner the end of Motorboat plates in 1963, I indicated that there seemed to be a gap between 1964 and 1980 when registration stickers were known to be in use.  Eric solved the mystery by locating a newspaper clipping from March 13, 1964, from the Intelligencer Journal, Lancaster, PA.  There was no gap.  The article indicates that annual stickers were to be issued by the PA Fish Commission.


Speaking of Boat stickers, here is a pair of 1997 stickers with a 3/31/98 expiration date.  These stickers are labeled UNPOWERED.  The image came from Worthpoint.  Some sticker years indicate powered or unpowered.  Still in need of stickers showing the following years: 1964 through ’79, ’93, ’94 through ’97, ’99 through ’05, and ’07 and ’08.  Also need better images of 2009 and 2010, if anyone can help.  Thanks.  


This is a 1948 Format 10 Passenger highThe plate represents a new high in Format 10 which ran from 10AA0 to 44ZP6, with Format 10 being the end of the '48 series.  This plate was spotted on eBay by Eric Tanner, and I got the OK to use the photo from Acadia 1671.



10/24/2021 Posting

This is a personalized West Manchester Twp. Fire Dept. plate.  This plate has been spotted by Tiger Joe Sallmen and Brandon Sowers.  West Manchester's plate program dates back to 2010.  The reported high is 00033W/M.



You are not seeing double.  The photo of this pair of Person with Disability plates was provided by John Clark.  The provision allowing two plates dates from 12/2014.  Vehicle owners who have a device on the rear of the vehicle for carrying a wheelchair or personal assistive device are authorized to be issued two plates since the assistive device and carrier may block visibility of the vehicle mounted plate. Such plates can also be personalized, as seen here.

It may be worth mentioning that a previous issue of a plate with the same registration number was spotted by Tom Perri in June of 2017 with a validation sticker.  Same owner.




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


A new section is being added called Boat Dock Permit.  Will be adding several photos next week.  These are believed to have been initially issued by the PA Dept. of Forests & Waters, and later by Environmental Resources.  If anyone has any info on these or any photos, please let me know.


The use of the letter "X" was generally an indication of a Dealer plate.  Most Dealer plates between 1911 and 1929 had the "X" in the first position.  Not so beginning in 1930 where the '"X" could be in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd position, as seen here on this 1933 Format 3 Dealer plate.  Click the link to see more details.  Thanks to Clayton Moore for the image. 


Certainly not an every-day plate, this is a low number 1933 Motor Boat License, thus the MBL.  This plate type dates back to 1931, and from then up through 1936 the plates measured 6 inches by 12 inches and used a beveled edge.  Thanks to Tiger Joe Sollmen for the photo.


This pair represents a new high for 1928 Z-Weight Class Truck plates thanks to Rob Baran on the far left, and Clayton Moore on the near left.  For 1928 the Z-Class was the heaviest truck weight class.  1929 saw the birth of the ZZ-Class.  These plates measures 6 inches by 13 inches.


Easy to identify this 1923 Tractor plate.  Plate serial numbers started at E1 and ran at least as high at E4-304.  All plates are believed to measure 6 inches by 16 inches.  Tractor plates used the E-prefix from the earliest 1914 plates up through 1927, after which E was needed for Passenger plates.  1923 was the last year for the word Tractor to be used as part of the legend, it returned again in 1934.  Thanks to Tim Gierschick for the photo.


Next up is this 1927 Tractor plate, still identifiable by the E prefix, but missing the word Tractor.  The series high is a E4-199.  Two plate sizes were used that year, 6 inches by 10 inches for plates up to E999, and 6 by 13 for E1-000 and above.  Thanks to Tim Gierschick for the photo.



Here are some fine examples of 1964 base heavy truck plates.  The plate with the YZ prefix is for a 3-axle truck, meaning a vehicle with 2 rear axles + 1 front axle.  This series ran from RZ to ZZ for lightest to heaviest within the 3-axle group.  The YX prefix is for a 4-axle truck, meaning a vehicle with 3 rear axles + 1 front axle.  Many thanks to Jeff Lesher for sharing these photos and many other recent posts.


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Images and photos are always welcome.  Please send to:

John McDevitt, Walnutport, PA

ALPCA #4376













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