News and postings from 2014
The answer to the PA Plate Trivia question from last week. Pennsylvania still issues 3 Motorcycle plate types with the state map outline. These include Municipal, Classic and Collectible. This is not to say that there are not other older issues still on the road such as Antique Motorcycle plates issued prior to May of 2013. The Collectible M/C plate was provided thanks to Daniel Selin & Ryan Battin. The CM plate is also due for an update, after which the map will be gone.
Spotted this a couple days before Christmas and wondered if Clark Grizwold was out doing his last minute shopping . . . at the beer store no less.
(Click image to see the plate.)
Three versions of the Expeditionary Forces Veteran plate in less than a year! What's up with that? The image on the near left is the latest edition of an Expeditionary Forces Veteran plate. This plate type was first released in 1995, then for the last 14 years the version on the far left was in use, then earlier in 2014, the plate format went to the version in the center, and just recently the "family of plates" version was released. From left to right these images came from Jordan Irazabal, next from Brendan Sherry, and finally from Ryan Battin.
Here's a new high number University of Pittsburgh Official plate. This picture is courtesy of Brendan Sherry. If anyone knows the year when these plates were first introduced I'd like to know. They were in use on the previous yellow on blue base.
Also from Brendan Sherry is this Monroeville Volunteer Fire Department plate.
It may seem like a slow journey back thru the history of Bus plates, but we're now back to this pair of 1936 Bus plates with the short (6" x10"), 4-character O809 image from Mike at Platesource.com, and the longer (6"x12"), 5-character image from Clayton Moore. This series started at O1 with some 58-hundred plates being issued.
The next plate is this 1937 Bus. This is also on the shorter 6 by 10-inch base. Previously a 5-character plate was posted on the 6 by 12-inch base. A little more than 6-thousand plates were issued that year. Jerry McCoy provided the image.
This '53 Bus plate picture is in addition to the O8031 plate previously posted. In 1953 some 12,700 plates were issued requiring the serial format to extend into the OA and OB series. This image is courtesy of Jerry McCoy.
And the final plate for the week is this '55 Bus. This image is in addition to the OB205 plate that was previously posted. Again plate registrations that year were in the 12,500 range. This image is also courtesy of Jerry McCoy.
PA Plate Trivia. Pennsylvania first began using the state map outline on 1937 Passenger plates. That feature continued to be used for many years but disappeared on most plates with the issue of the '71 base. Which plates, if any, are still issued with the map outline? Answer next week.
Plate News. For anyone who follows the progression of license plate serial numbers here's an update:
Motorcycle plates are currently in the T0000 series. When the end of the series is reached at Z9999, the new series will begin at 0AA00.
Permanent Trailer plates which are currently in the PT000Z series, will soon go to the PT00A0 series.
An for anyone who follows highs, go to Tom Perri's PA Plates, https://www.paplates.com/ .
These are not new plate images on this website, but they do require some explanation. Neither of Pennsylvania's two United States Senators use state-issued U.S. Senate license plates, nevertheless the plates were made up and are kept in reserve in case they do choose to use them. The images shown here are actual fax copies of the #1 plate in standard and reverse formats. There would also be a #2 of each of these plates. The reason for showing these now is that they have been added to the U.S. Senate history section. If anyone has an image of a '57, '71 to '76, or '77 to '83 U.S. Senate plate, it would be most appreciated.
Ryan Battin snapped this high number School Bus plate recently. This series started as SC-00000 on the www base on June 11, 2000. When plates reached the SC-47000 mark in August of 2006, the base was shifted to the visitPA base. That's a lot of school buses.
Here's another high number mark for the Conserve Wild Resources, or Otter plate. This plate series was introduced in February 2002 following the termination of the Conserve Wild Resources - Owl plate program. This picture was provided by Ryan Battin.
No map outline on this 1937 Bus plate? It's not a mistake; 1937 was the last year before the state map outline became a standard part of bus plates until 1971. Aside from the map, the formatting is similar to later plates. Some 6,062 bus plates were issued in 1937. As described below, there were both 10-inch and 12-inch plates depending on the number of characters, this being a 12-inch. This image may have come from eBay.
Here's a good example of the long and short of it. These are both 1938 Bus plates, as can be seen one plate is shorter than the other, reason being plates up to 4 characters used a 6 by 10 inch base, while 5 character plates used used the longer 6 by 12 inch version. The other striking feature of this plate is the map outline. This feature made it debut on passenger plates in 1937 and was expanded to other plates in '38. Clayton Moore supplied the O526 plate picture, while the O1785 image is courtesy of Jeff Francis. Approximately 5,451 bus plates were issued for 1938.
Here's another 1946 Bus plate. Click the link to see all three images showing the variations of size and formatting. For 1946 there were some 10,517 plates registered, making this the first year plates began using an alpha character after the O, such as OA629. This image is from Jerry McCoy.
This is the second 1950 Bus shown. Note the serial is all-numeric except for the O prefix, while the other 1950 plate was OB721. Some 12,684 plates were issued that year so the plates likely were issued well into the OC series. This image is courtesy of Jerry McCoy.
Here's a newly issued personalized # 2 H/V Honoring Our Veterans plate. I'm sure this is quite an eye catcher on the road. The contributor wished to remain anonymous.
It appears that several Combat Infantryman Badge plates have now been issued. The person who sent this image wished to remain anonymous.
The following newer PA plate types are now on the street:
Combat Medical Badge, no image yet.
Pennsylvania Monuments, Gettysburg 1863, first image was provided by John Kerestes. Looks like plate sales are brisk. I would expect to see personalized versions of these such as 1863 G/B or 153PA G/B.
Ohio River Trail Council, no image yet.
First image of an In God We Trust plate. Picture courtesy of Dale Bernecker.
On the Veterans Plate Page I have tried unsuccessfully for several years to place the plates in some order of rank, achievement or significance. This has not worked well and the page has been reorganized and placed in alphabetical order with the exception of the Medal of Honor plate which will always be first. This in no way is meant to diminish the service and the deeds of our veterans.
Speaking of Veterans Plates, Ryan Battin has provided another image of the newly formatted Vietnam War Veteran plate on the far left. The sample on the near left represents the plates issued from 1999 until the changeover in 11/2014.
Starting off this week's bus plate run is this 1940 'shorty', no rhyme intended. Apparently during the period from 1930 to 1942 two plate sizes were used. Plates with up to 4 characters used a 6 by 10 inch blank, and those with 5 characters used a 6 by 12 inch version. This plate is a low number, being plate 171 with the O prefix. Plates starting at O1000 would have used the larger base. 5,900 plates were issued in 1940. Thanks to Jerry McCoy for the image. Anyone have the larger size?
I don't have a 42 plate to display with this 43 war-time tab, but click open the thumbnail image to enlarge it and you can look below the 43, and the 3-31-44 expiration date and read the stamped O6155 serial number indicating this was used on a Bus plate. The tabs measure 1⅞" x 2⅛". Bus registrations for 1943 were some 8,200 while '42 registrations were 7,800. I can only assume that newly registered buses in '43 got a left over '42 base with a 43 tab.
Next comes this '44 Bus plate image courtesy of Jeff Francis. This plate has the expiration date embossed into the upper border, although this change actually came about on the '41 plates. This feature remained thru the 1957 issue, after which the '58 plates began the use of multi-year plates. These plates also came in two sizes depending on the number of characters. For 1944 there were some 83-hundred plates registered.
This 1951 Bus plate with its low number of O155 is now a partner with the O13 plate which was previously posted. All plates measured 6" x 11", and there some 12,700 plates were issued which means the high should have been somewhere around OC700. This image is from Jerry McCoy.
The final plates this week are this low numbered '58 Bus. The series started at O10-000. Next is the O12-765, '64 base with a 67 sticker. Both plates represent lower number plates in both series. These images are both courtesy of jerry McCoy.
On the far left is the latest Trailer high from Ryan Battin. It's ready to be mounted with its 10-15 validation sticker. This plate series (on the visitPA base) started at XCA-0000 in mid-2005. The center plate was the previous series which began at XBA-0000 back in 2004, and finally the earliest of the current plates is the XT plate, with that series starting at XK-00000 back in 2000. All three variations are considered current.
Thanks to Tom Perri and his Pennsylvania Highs page (www.paplates.com/), we see that Permanent Trailer plates have progressed into the Z series. The Zs will likely be exhausted in the next few months. Any thoughts how the next series will be formatted?
How long will this plate type continue before a major facelift transforms it into a shadow of its former beauty in order to give it the "family of plates" look? At least for now it's still available. Chris DiNunzio shares this latest high Preserve Our Heritage plate. These plates were first introduced in 1998.
It's not a high and not a low, just a decent shot of a Lion Member plate spotted recently. The current high is L/I01548, and still on this www base.
Leading off this weeks addition to the Bus plate history section is this 1948 Bus plate from Jerry McCoy. Sometimes the weekly displays are out of sequence. It's because I received some great new images which help fill some of the earlier gaps. Anyway this '48 uses an alpha character in the second position. Production that year was some 12,700 bus plates.
Next in the lineup is this 49 Bus plate, also from Jerry McCoy. It's a low-numbered plate with the series beginning at O1, making this the 208th plate produced. Total bus registrations that year were some 12,338.
The next image is this 1952 Bus plate, again a low number as seen by the 3-digit plate number. The one change seen on the '52 plate is the expiration date that had been 3-31 of the following year has been changed to 5-31.
The final bus plate this week is another 64 base — this one with a 67 sticker and a higher number than the one shown previously. The last year with published registration numbers was 1963 with some 14,675, however, with multi-year registrations it's pretty tough to guess the high number. What can be said is that between the '64 reissue and this plate with a '67 sticker, at least 17,200 plates were issued. This is also the last issue using the O prefix, following this issue Buses changed to a BA prefix.
• Check back for many additional historic Bus plates over the next weeks.
This is a 1984 to 1999 U.S. Senator plate. The image is courtesy of Eric Getchell. Obviously Senate plates, even pictures, are hard to come by, and so it is with 1971 to '76 and 1977 to '83 plates. If anyone can help with these needed images it would be greatly appreciated.
Here's another personalized Virginia Tech gem. This one using all five of the available spaces to personalize the plate. This plate is courtesy of Sean O'Toole. Last week we featured the 1 VT plate from Brendan Sherry. I think the steep price tag will be the limiting factor for many potential buyers. I'm anxious to see other recently legislated vanities as they could appear on such types as Apportioned Trucks, 11 Dealer types, most Veteran types, many special fund and miscellaneous types. Of course the limiting factor for some plates will be the weight which in most cases can not be more than 14,000 pounds.
Here's a prototype image of the new optional In God We Trust registration plate. This along with the Teen Driver plate has a $20 price tag, and yes, they can both be personalized for an additional $100.
There was supposed to be a U.S. Olympic plate that came about thru the same legislation that authorized several recent plate types and other changes. There is no mention of the plate on the PennDOT website. I have also written to the state senator who was the prime sponsor of the bill and have received no response.
Ryan Battin provided this image of a U.S. Military Airborne Units plate. This plate is fresh off the press and therefore the current high.
Bus Plate Update — I have received a number of additional plate pictures from Jerry McCoy, including a couple of rare early H-prefix bus plates and a bus plate with evidence that it came from a taxi. Please check back over the next several weeks.
This week's bus plates begin with this 1954 issue with an OC prefix. The letter O was the standard prefix on bus plates at the time, while the C indicates that the initial series of plates from O1 to O9999 were exhausted, then went thru the OA000 and OB000 series and finally went into the OC series with a total of over 12-thousand plates being issued. This plate image was provided with permission of the ALPCA archivist, but I'm also in the process of buying this plate.
Here's a pair of 1946 Bus plates with different serial formatting. The O87 plate on the far left is a low number being the 87th plate produced that year, while the OA629 was much closer to the end of production. BMV records for that year show 10,517 plates issued, which doesn't quite match up with the OA629, but likely additional plates were produced and some may have been issues out of sequence. The source of the far left plate is not known, the other image is with permission of Jeff Francis.
The final bus plate this week is from Clayton Moore and is a 1945 issue. According to BMV records for that year, some 8900 plates were issued making it very unlikely that any plates were issued with an alpha character following the O. Of course with the end of World War II part way thru 1945, which signaled a shift in the economy away from the war effort, focusing more on domestic needs as can be seen with the higher number of bus plates above for 1946.
These are U.S. Senate plates, and like other political plates between 1965 and '70 there were at least two versions, with the second version coming around 1966. It is unknown which of these was first. Annual stickers were used to revalidate. Serial number used could be US1 and US2, 1US and 2US, or USS1, USS2, 1USS and 2USS. The US-1 image is the from the ALPCA Archives (with permission) and the source of the second image is unknown.
Who would have thought a year ago that such an organizational vanity plate would be possible in PA? And yes, it's real. Here is a comparison between the older Virginia Tech 00001VT and this hot off the plate press 1VT plate. Brendan Sherry, the Virginia Tech plate program administrator, shares these images. This is the first one of these organizational vanities shown on this website. The change to allow this came about as the result of Act 23 being signed into law on 3/19/14 and taking effect 7/17/14. Now most (but not all) organizational and many other plate types can be personalized for a fee. In most cases it's an additional $100 on top of the standard fee and for some plate types it's a mere $50.
A little PA Plate trivia. Did you know that PA now has over 500 plate types? That number does require some explanation. The largest single group are organizational plates of which there are about 332 listed; however, of that number there are about 18 with no active plates on the street, but they are authorized. There are also over 50 NASCAR varieties. These are no longer issued, however, they are still considered current. It should be noted that a handful of NASCAR plates were never issued due to lack of demand. The remainder of the 500 are made up of miscellaneous, special fund, official, bus and mass transportation related plates, car enthusiast plates, political and dealer plates. This number does not include the many type variations seen with certain plates, nor does it include plates no longer on the street such as Foreign Consul, Auto Manufacturer, Fire Department, and a few others.
As mentioned last week there are two new special organizational plates being released. The first of these is ChildFirst Pennsylvania. Here is a link to their website, but as of today, there is no mention of plates, and no plates are in use yet. I'm guessing that the organization will make plates available to the public as a fundraising effort.
The other plates is this St. Charles Borromeo Seminary plate. Like the plate above there is no listing of the plate on their website. And again no plates are on the street. I've also moved this plate listing to the college and university page.
Your choice of colors? Not really. The white on blue Emergency Vehicle plate is likely an error plate that was painted with the municipal plate color scheme. Possibly there was a short run of these. For some reason this plate is still in use; it should have been replaced back in 2007. The white on red plate is an example of correct formatting. Thanks to Nick Tsilakis for this unusual plate picture.
Back to the weekly pursuit of historic Bus plates, we begin with this 1953 plate. Beginning with the '53 plate, the expiration date for bus plates, which is embossed in the top border, was changed from 3-31 of the following year to 5-31. As with previous weekly postings, this plate uses the letter O prefix followed by 4 digits. When the 4-digit number sequence ran out, the plates used OA000 to OA999, then OB000 etc. The high number is unknown, although records show that some 12,000 plates were issued which may have extended the progression into the OC000 series.
This '51 Bus plate is an excellent example of the low-numbered format. It appears that the series started at O1, that's the letter O and the number 1, making this the 13th plate that year. The scarcity of the low numbered plates makes it difficult to say for certain how many years followed this progression. I can say for certain that the 1935 plates were authorized to run from O1 to O999, then O1000 to O6000. This image is courtesy of Clayton Moore.
This 1950 Bus plate shows the use of the alpha character in the second position. While this may look like OB stands for Omnibus, the progression after O9999, went to OA000, and eventually OB as seen here. Bureau of Motor Vehicles records for 1950 shows almost 12,700 bus registrations, which would likely extend the sequence into the OC000 range. The source of this plate picture is unknown.
Plate News. Two more tag types have been added to the list of organizational plate. These include ChildFirst Pennsylvania and St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. Prototype images will be posted by next week. Neither of these organizations have plates in use yet.
Vern Kreckel of Kreckel Enterprises passes along these images of a high number trailer plate with a 4-20 validation sticker. The explanation is that this is a 5-year trailer registration. It is my understanding that stickers are on their way out and soon will be discontinued. I don't know the exact date, nor do I understand how the system will function as normal without stickers.
Here is an actual Honoring Our veterans sample plate. This is a Special Fund plate. It's unfortunate that PennDOT choose to discontinue marketing samples some years ago; however, a few samples are produced with each plate type. This one found its way onto a display area at PennDOT headquarters.
As we move back thru Bus plate history, we are starting this week with a nice '58 Bus tag. All Bus plates from 1924 and prior to the '68 base used the letter O as an identifying prefix. Note that the letter O is smaller than the numbers. This plate series started at O10-000.
Moving backward to '57 Bus plates we have two examples. Besides the colors being reversed annually, the keystone separator has not come into use yet; however there are now keystones flanking the word BUS. The plate on the far left is from Chuck Sakryd, and the near left is from Clayton Moore.
The final bus plate this week is a 1955 Bus from Clayton Moore. Note that plates now measure 6" x 10¼" use only 5 characters and use a larger font. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this series likely started went from O0001 to O9999, then OA001, etc. The further back in time bus history is pursued, the less certainty there is.
Anyone have a '56 Bus plate or picture of one?
A note about early bus plates: Prior to 1924 buses or omnibuses used commercial tags. There has always been some confusion about the early years of bus plates and omnibus plates. There is also confusion about the term bus and omnibus. There was reportedly a bus type plate that used the letter H as a prefix. My guess is that the "H" plates were used on buses "For Hire" and the "O" plates were considered "Omnibus" plates, although this conflicts with one source. In any case, I have never seen an H bus plate, or even a photo of one. This is certainly an area needing additional research.
From Michael Wiener here is an image of a '66 State Senator with the serial number (18) before the PA. The PA could be used in the prefix or suffix position to permit the registration of 2 vehicles. The 18 likely represents the 18th PA senatorial district. PA has 50 senatorial districts. This plate may have been unused.
The senator elected from PA's 1st senatorial district would have had this plate during the 1971-76 period, however, it looks like this plate was never used. This is a Jake Eckenrode plate.
This is a 77 base State Senator plate. Theses were issued from 1977 thru 1983 and could be revalidated until the www base was issued in 1999 or 2000. Judging by the general condition, the wear marks around the bolt holes and the mid-80s validation stickers, this plate saw a fair amount of time on the street. The image is from Michael Wiener.
Vietnam War Veteran — from the beginning to the present. These plates debuted in 1999. Until very recently all the plates were the same. The low-numbered plate on the far left had the Vietnam Service Medal hand painted, probably by the owner. Theis plate type has recently seen a switch to the "family of plates" look which replaced the familiar red, white and blue format seen over the past 15 years. The two most recent plate pictures shown here are from Ryan Battin.
This nice low-number Girl Scouts of the USA plate picture was provided by Sarge of Klassy Karz.
This is a prototype image of the new Pennsylvania Monuments - Gettysburg 1863 plate. As mentioned last week, this is also a new special fund plate. The cost of the plate is $54 of which $23 goes to support the cleaning, repairing and restoration of Pennsylvania's Gettysburg Civil War monuments. The plate can be personalized for an additional $100.
This next prototype is the Pennsylvania Hunting Heritage plate. This is a new a organizational plate available for $25 plus an additional fee for the PA Game Commission, again personalizing the plate will add $100.
In other plate news — concerning the "In God We Trust" plate, no image yet, but the plate is available and will have an image of an eagle. The United States Olympic plate remains a mystery. It was part of the legislation, but so far no listing or info for the plate.
Here's a new pending/proposed plate from the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society or PAWS. The organization has the PennDOT application form on their website with tag type IT and is now taking pre-orders. Their website is http://phillypaws.org/. There is no listing on PennDOT's organizational plate list yet. Thanks to Sarge from Klassy Karz for the heads up.
Continuing on from last week with more Bus plate history, a new base was issued in 1972 and remained in use thru 1977. The series started at BA-10000 or BA-10001 and progressed at least into the 30000 series. These plate were similar to the '84 series; however, the '84 series used a dash separator while the '72 base used a small keystone separator. Sticker well placement was also different. The image on the far left is from Clayton Moore.
This previous bus issue ran from 1968 thru 1971. This was the last run of bus plates to use the state map outline, if you can really call it a map, and it was the first time the BA prefix was used on bus plates. Again the starting point was BA-10000 or BA-10001. The far left plate picture is from Clayton Moore and near left is from Chuck Sakryd.
The final Bus plate for this week in the movement back thru time is this 1964 base. This base was used up thru 1967 with renewal stickers. It uses a more realistic map but the biggest difference is the use of the letter O as a prefix where all later bus plates use BA. The O was used every year back to the first plates in 1924. This picture is from Clayton Moore.
This rare single-digit 1939 Motorboat License is quite a beauty, and has been added to the Motorboat run. This picture is from Clayton Moore.
Sarge of Klassy Karz shares this rare pair of 1932 Official plates. Most pairs of older rare plates have been split up, which makes this group a nice find. These plates measured 6" by 12" and with the large serial number font, any plates that exceeded 3 digits required the dropping of the keystone on the right side.
There is so much plate news this week it's hard to decide where to begin.
NEW PLATE TYPES — According to Act 109, several new plates were available as of 10/30/2014. These are now a part of the PA Vehicle Code Section 1369.1 and include the following plates:
Combat Action Badge registration plate is one of five Combat Action veterans' plates now available.
Next is the Combat Infantryman Badge. Note that all plates use the C/O identifier, and the plate numbers are assigned in blocks of 20-thousand.
The Combat Action Ribbon plate comes in at the 40000C/O point.
Next is the Combat Action Medal plate.
And finally the Combat Medical Badge plate. None of these Combat Action plate series is in use yet. Not all links for these newer plates have been set up.
There is also a new organizational plate — Pennsylvania Hunting Heritage. No plates in use yet. I plan to have an image by next week. The formatting will be 00000H/T.
There is also a new Special Fund plate — Pennsylvania Monuments - Gettysburg 1863. I plan to have an image by next week. The formatting will be 00000G/B.
The "In God We Trust" plate appears to be available as optional registration type, available to any PA vehicle owner for $20. The formatting will be G/T00000. No image available.
The United States Olympic plate is a mystery. Perhaps it's still going thru the development process. So far it is not listed on the PennDOT website.
DELAYS WITH PERSONALIZED PLATES — I was contacted by someone who was interested in getting a personalized Preserve Our Heritage special fund plate only to receive a letter from PennDOT saying the plate is no longer available for personalization; however, the vanity check page is states "This registration plate is not yet available for personalization." One source says 'no longer available' the other says 'not yet available.' If that's not enough, the application form, MV-911, shows no restrictions or delays. Upon checking other plates on the vanity check page, the message "This registration plate is not yet available for personalization" also applies to Pearl Harbor Survivor, Korean War Veteran, WWII Veteran, and Street Rod. It appears that before a plate is eligible to be personalized, it must be on the all-too-familiar family of plates base which requires the change depicted below. Compare the two Conserve Wild Resources plates below. On the left is the design that has been in use for almost 15 years, and next to it is the new 'family of plates' version.
I wonder why it is necessary to rid PA of many of the most beautiful license plates ever produced. What a shame. I’m sure once these beautiful plates take on the generic look of the ‘family of plates’ that sales will drop off dramatically. And little by little PA's beautiful picture plates will disappear.
On the history pages, the newer court-related plates from the 1980s and later, which include Commonwealth Court, Superior Court and Supreme Court, which had been with the Judiciary plates, have been relocated to their own respective sections. In addition, I have added an '84 base Supreme Court plate from the ALPCA Archives. I have received permission from the ALPCA Archivist to use images.
These two 1984 to 1999 vintage U.S. Congress plates have been added to the Congressional History section. The U/S 1 plate image is from Eric Getchell. The source of the 23 U/S plate is unknown. Please let me know if it's yours.
Here's the first image of for the U.S. Senate plate history section. It's a '58 base with a '61 sticker. The plate is from Jake Eckenrode's display. There may also have been a US2, and 1US and 2US plates. It may not have been until the 1970s that the plates actually had U.S. Senate as part of the legend. Today neither of Pennsylvania's senators use state-issued senatorial plates, probably for security reasons.
The Bus History section has been started. Plates from 2000 and newer have been posted on the history page but not shown on this page. Working backward from the current plates, next is the yellow on blue base that dates back as far as 1984. Unfortunately the two plates from that vintage shown here have been revalidated well beyond their expected replacement date of around 2000. The next older grouping will be the blue on yellow '78 base shown below. The '78 base was still eligible for renewal up thru 2000 or 2001. Watch for additional images in the upcoming weeks.
The BA-36157, BA-16696 and BA-23810 images are thanks to Clayton Moore.
Here's the first image of Pennsylvania's newest plate from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. These plates hit the street this past week with about 117 now in use. The #29 plate shown here is from Ryan Battin. If you are interested in one of these plates click this link. AT plates are also available in Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia. By the way, 230 miles of the Appalachian Trail runs thru PA.
This same Little League Baseball plate was shown here about a year ago but without a sticker. It was provided by Bruce Sakson. This newer image was taken recently by Bruce Bufalini and now has a 9-15 sticker.
This is the current National Wild Turkey Federation high. Anyone have a sample plate or image of this type? They don't seem to exist. There is no indication that these plates are being updated onto the visitPA base and color graphics. For all the latest PA highs, check out Tom Perri's PA Plates website.
The Motorboat section is complete in that at least one image and data are being shown for every year the plates were issued. Now I'm adding a few additional images with more or fewer characters than the plate previously posted. So it is for this 5-character 1955 plate; the previous posting showed a 4-character configuration. The source of this plate is unknown.
Next is this 4-character '59 Motorboat plate. The previous 1959 posting was a 5-character plate. This plate is from my own collection.
Here's a 4-character '63 Motorboat plate. This plate is now a companion to thr rare 3-character that was previously posted. The source of this plate is unknown. If anyone has any 1- or 2-character plates or images they would be a welcome addition.
Here is a very nice 1970 PA State Senator plate on what I describe as the '66 political base. It is from the collection of Jake Eckenrode. In 1965 a new base was issued. Senator plates were issued with PENNSYLVANIA below the top border, and PA plus a 1- or 2- digit number — pretty plain. About 1966 the plates were given a facelift and the result is what you see here — a more distinctive and attractive plate, in fact the configuration is very similar to plates in use today, with the obvious changing of bases.
Anyone have a '57 Sate Senator plate or image?
This is a 1965 Member of Congress (MC) or a Congressional plate. One of these could have been issued to each Member of Congress from PA. It is unknown if the number, in this case 1, stood for the congressional district or not. Today it does, although not many are issued. The plate configuration could also have been reversed with the 1 followed by MC. This practice allows for two vehicles to be registered. The plate is from the collection of Jake Eckenrode.
This plate configuration is unconfirmed but is likely a 1966 Member of Congress update that was seen in other political plates at the time. PENNSYLVANIA was now embossed in the top border, US stacked on the left, a C and a 1- or 2-digit number. The U/SC stood for United States Congress. A reversed configuration, such as 16 U/SC was also likely available. The sources of this image is unknown. If you own this plate, please let me know and I'll give you credit for the image. If you know more about this plate, any information would be appreciated.
I am giving some thought to adding a history section on PA Bus plates. There aren't many bus plates in my collection and I'm certainly not an expert on such plates, but why not. Watch for more in the near future.
Plate Update — The Appalachian Trail Conservancy now has, or very shortly will have, 117 active plates. Even though this plate came about as the result of legislation, it is still considered part of the Special Organization Plate Program.
Spotted this Prisoner Of War plate on the far left recently which is not far from the current reported high of POW-V67. With the reduced troop involvement in combat situations, it seems unlikely that many POW plates will be issued in the future. For that reason I'm wondering why POW plates have been given a facelift, as a new prototype was announced back in August of 2013. It seems more likely that holders of current plates may wish to update their plate, but so far none have been seen.
Nick Tsilakis snapped this Emergency Vehicle plate photo. It shows a plate that was probably issued in 1977, and should have been replaced in 2007, and somehow has survived, and is now on a recent model fire department Ford Expedition. The link above is to the Emergency Vehicle history section since that is where this plate belongs. To see current EV plates click here.
This image was provided by Jason Plank of a plate he has seen in the Pittsburgh suburbs. Click the image to enlarge it. This plate appears normal except for the slanted or italic font and the dash separator seems low, actually below the mid-line of the plate. Also Jason says the RATAN-05 appeared to be flat rather than embossed, and the normally white background was more of a dingy grey. The RATAN-05 is a valid registration number; however, the plate is considered a fake.
This is the last installment of Motorboat Dealer plates. At this point I only have Motorboat Dealer plates from 1949, '55, '59 and '60. Most of these came from Jerry McCoy. These plates are pretty hard to come by, so if anyone has any I'd be happy to post your images. As stated last week, the dealer plates are essentially the same as regular Motorboat plates but with the addition of the X prefix followed by 1 to 3 digits as seen in this 1949 Motorboat Dealer plate.
Here's a pair of Motorboat Dealer plates from 1955. The X57 plates image is from Jerry McCoy while the X122 plate may have come from eBay. These plates would have started at X1 and extended to X+3 digits as seen here.
This 1958 Motorcycle plate is courtesy of Chuck Sakryd and helps to fill one of the gaps for the '58 to '62 run. Note the tab slots on either side of the 58. These were never used for metal tabs. Instead validation stickers were issued. Later plates on the '58 base did not have the tab slots.
Here's a very nice 1931 National Guard plate. The image is courtesy of Eric Tanner. The early issue of National Guard plates was from 1930 to 1935, newer plate were issued beginning in 1984.
This is the first one of these I've seen. This Classic Car Club of America or CCCA plates has a date of 1988. I can't say for sure if this was a Special Event plate or a Booster plate, but since it has a serial number I'm going to call it a Special Event plate, at least for now. Note the embossed portion of the plate seems to use same font as PA Classic and Antique plates did up until a few years ago.
Here's a new Farm Truck high, and it's also the first image of a Farm Truck plate on the visitPA base. It appears that the changeover took place at FM-0000D. The D is the last character to advance. Farm Truck plates were first issued in 1977 on the blue on yellow base, in a FM-00000 format. Later they switched to the yellow on blue base but the same number series continued. With the introduction of the www base all previous plate were replaced and series began anew at FM-000A. Click this link to see Farm Truck plate history.
Here's the new high Combat Wounded Veteran / Purple Heart plate. Thanks to Ryan Battin for the picture.
Here's a new high Trailer plate. The image was provided by Vern Kreckel, III / Kreckel Enterprises. To view the progression and evolution of PA's Trailer plates click this Trailer History link to see the 1914 and '15 extremely rare porcelain beauties.
House Bill 241 expands the definition of a Fire Department vehicle. I received an email stating that HB 241 has passed both houses and has been sent to the Governor for his signature. If signed, it will amend the vehicle code to allow a fire department vehicle owned by a fire relief association to receive an Emergency Vehicle plate. In the past, PennDOT would not issue an Emergency Vehicle plate to a vehicle owned by a fire department relief association. Here is a link to a Bucks County Courier Times news article.
Clayton Moore recently got this first generation Fire Fighter plate. It only has a single sticker of 2-00 suggesting that it was issued near the end of the issuing cycle on that base, therefore it is considered a high. Can anyone top it? Has anyone seen one of these with a sticker well? This plate type was first issued in 1983, prior to the introduction of the yellow on blue base. The only Fire Fighter plate ever made on the blue base were samples.
This LEGISLATOR PA 0 plate has the PA within the keystone indicator that would normally only be seen on a State Senator plate. This appears to be a one of the 65 bases after the keystone indicator was added on some '66 plates. The LEGISLATOR plate should have the Keystone / HR indicator, not the PA. This plate may have been produced as a test plate, or possibly a sample that was not formatted correctly.
The 33-year run of Motorboat plates has been completed, and thanks again to Jerry McCoy, I will add a few Motorboat Dealer plates. The Dealer series is essentially the same as the regular series, except the serial number is always preceded by an X. Obviously the number of dealer plates issued was likely in the hundreds, not thousands. It is also believed that the dealer series dates back to 1933 or 34, whereas the regular motorboat plates began in 1931. The plate shown here is from 1959.
This 1960 Motorboat Dealer has a low serial number. The series for each year likely started at X1. Thanks again to Jerry McCoy for the great images.
Nick Tsilakis snapped this rare U.S. Navy Reserve plate. What's unique about the plate is that it has a low number which was carried over from the previous generation of plates. In 2000 when the original series was replaced, those with NR0001 through NR0010 had the option to keep the same number on the new plates, while all others got new plates starting at NR1000. Plates N/R0001, 3, 6 and 8 were also remade.
I tried to get a better picture but traffic and travel lanes would not permit it. Anyway, this is a new high Multi Purpose Dealer plate. The plate is reads MP465?D. The consensus among a couple friends is that the hidden digit is likely a 9. The final D is a given, as it is always a part of the serial number. Only the 4 numeric characters advance.
These are both U.S. Congressional plates for the period 1971 to '76; however, the plate on the far left was probably released in 1971, while the U/S plate came along later in the same issue. The early plate format on the far left used the Bicentennial State base with PENNSYLVANIA along top border and BICENTENNIAL STATE '76 along bottom border. The serial number used MC for Member of Congress, then the liberty bell separator, then the serial number. It would also have been available in reverse order with serial number first and MC last. On the near left is a later format also with PENNSYLVANIA along top border but now with U.S. CONGRESS along the bottom border, serial number had U S stacked left of center then the number to right. Both variations used two sticker wells upper left and right. It is not unusual to see format variations on political plates even within the same issue period. The image on the far left was from a 1971 BMV/DOT document, the image on the near left is from a plate in my collection.
A new general issue of plates came out in1977 and continued until '83. These were blue on yellow, PENNSYLVANIA along top border and U.S. CONGRESS along bottom border, serial number had U/S stacked, then full size C, then the serial number on right. They were also available in reverse order with serial number first followed by U/S, then C in order to register a second vehicle. The photo on the far left is from Reid Williamson which came from an old photograph. That photo was taken at a difficult angle, thus the odd shape. The photo on the near left is from Michael Wiener.
Each week for the past month-and-a-half I have posted Motorboat plate images starting with the newest and working back to this 1931 MBL plate. Almost all of the pictures were provided by Jerry McCoy, and a special Thank You to Jerry for sharing this great pictorial resource. This black on yellow 1931 was the first year of production for MBL plates. These were full size 6 by 12-inch plates. Note the use of a beveled edge on these early plates which was different from automotive plates.
For the following year 1932 MBL plates were formatted the same except for the color change to black on white. There are not a lot of examples of these early plates, nevertheless it appears that they started with single digit plates and went up to 4 numbers. Again the image was provided by Jerry McCoy.
This nice 1933 plate, also from Jerry is a rare 2-digit example. The color is white on either dark maroon or reddish brown. It's a little tough to say for sure what the original color when it was produced 81 years ago. The plate picture was provided by Jerry McCoy.
This completes the run of Motorboat plates. From time to time I will add additional images usually to show plates with fewer or more characters on the plate.
This 1931 National Guard plate picture was sent to me by a C. McCandless. The plate was found hidden away in an old house covered in dust and dirt. The owner was hoping to clean it up, and I'm hoping for a better image. In any case this is the only 1931 image I have.
Snapped this Bronze Star image while enjoying some of PA's beautiful scenery in our north-central mountains. As the owner was about to enter his vehicles I asked his permission to take the picture and thanked him for his service.
This nice Dickinson College plate was spotted in the same area.
It's always treat to spot a number 1 plate, as I'm sure it was for James (Jaska) Börner who photographed this PA Choose Life plate. This plate is also shown on Tom Perri's PA Plates website with a 9-11 sticker.
Another plate from Mr. Börner is this current high Passenger plate he recently spotted.
These 1931 Passenger images were sent to me by a friend, Deb Kaczmar from one of the Macungie car shows. Don't know if this is a YOM plate or not, as that could be determined by what was on the rear of the car. Can someone ID the vehicle? I don't do a lot with older Passenger plates but when someone sends a nice pair of older images, well they need to be shown.
No I'm not doing a run of old Passenger plates (yet), but Charlie Metz sent this unique image of 3-digit 1954 Passenger plate he recently acquired.
This undated Motor Boat License (MBL) plate was issued for 1934, and by renewing the registration it could be reused in 1935 and 1936. Apparently this concept did not work as well as expected and for 1937 plates again were issued annually. Besides being undated, this plate also measured 6" by 12", with MBL stacked on the left and PENNA stacked on the right. It is believed that the number series was 1 to 4 digits.
For 1937 MBL plates went to a smaller size of 5⅛" by 9½", and remained this size until some time in 1947 when plates had to be lengthened due to the need to go to 5 digits. Formatting also remained similar for a number of years except for the annual change in colors. This '37 plate is white on red and was provided by Jerry McCoy.
For '38 Motorboat plates remained much the same except for the white on blue colors and the year. Again the image was provided by Jerry McCoy.
These are 1957 cardboard templates that were provided to help facilitate the plate mounting process on a boat. Don't know what years these were used other than 1957, or whether the cardboard is left over from the run of '54 cardboard plates. Also, I understand that it was not necessary to mount the state-issued plates if the registration number was painted or otherwise displayed on the bow of the boat. Again I don't know if this rule applied to every year. Any additional information would be appreciated.
This latest style of Antique Motorcycle plates made their debut around May of 2013. They are becoming fairly common at motorcycle shows and events. This series began at 01000. The plate pictured here is the new high. This nice image came from Ryan Battin.
Ryan Battin also provided this nice image of the latest high number U.S. Marine Corps Veteran plate. These plates hit the street around November of 2009, with the series beginning at 10001M/C
In an effort to provide some of the missing pictures in the Organizational Plate History Page, Arthur Levine dug up several old photos he had. This first picture is a Bloomsburg University plate with an 8-97 sticker. These plates date back to about 1992.
The next picture is a West Virginia University (WVU) Alumni Association plate. This is not a sample plate plate despite the all-zero configuration. Note the 12-97 validation sticker. This plate type likely dates back to 1996 and the picture was also provided by Arthur Levine.
The last of these first generation plates is from York College. Again thanks to Arthur Levine for the image. The validation sticker is hard to read but the type goes back to 1995.
This week's Motorboat gems again are from Jerry McCoy starting with this beautiful 3-digit 1939 Motorboat license plate. These plates could be 1 to 4 numeric characters in length and measured 5⅛" by 9½".
For 1940 the biggest change was the colors which were now black on white. Again Jerry McCoy provided the picture.
1941 wasn't skipped, it was previously posted. For 1942 the only real change was the color, now being white on blue. Jerry McCoy provided the plate image.
The final image this week is a 1943 Motorboat plate. In contrast, for 1943 there were no plates issued to cars and trucks in order the conserve steel for the war effort. Only small rectangular tags and strips were issued to renew those registrations, but motorboats still got plates. They were black on yellow. Image from Jerry McCoy.
This very unique Passenger Vanity plate is likely the letter O, not the number zero. I'm sure it's quite an attention getter at traffic lights. At first glance most drivers would probably describe it as a 'zero-plate'. Quite a find, thanks to Eric Conner.
This is the first Severely Disabled Veteran plate on this new format that I have been able to photograph. This latest version with flat screened legend, wheelchair symbol and DV were first seen in June of 2013. It appears like they started at D/V92500 with the current high being D/V93653.
These plates both represent organizations that are still using fully embossed logos and plate legends. Neither has switched to the graphic style on the visitPA base, and as such are ineligible to be configured as a vanity plate. There are still about 28 college and 30 fraternal and other organizational plates that are not eligible to be personalized. This $100 option is only available on plates that are on the visitPA graphic base. The Kings College Alumni plate was spotted this week and the American Motorcyclist Association is from Tom Perri. Even with those vanity-eligible organizations, I doubt that many plates will be seen due to the price.
Some old plates just never die. This old Passenger plate was likely issued around 1990 or '91, and despite it age, has a current 4-15 validation sticker. The image is courtesy of Bill Ceravola.
These are State Senator plates on the '84 base. These were issued from 1984 until replacement plates were issued on the www base beginning in September of 1999. The image on the far left is a sample plate, and is formatted correctly, except for the 0, which on an actual plate would indicate the senatorial district, from 1 to 50. The plate image on the near left is from eBay and shows a format I have never seen before with the use of SEN. If someone can claim ownership or have knowledge of this plate please let me know. In any case the PA in the keystone can be used in either the prefix or suffix position allowing two vehicles to be registered.
These are not new images on this website but are being added to the State Senator history section from the current Political Plates page. Note the variations in spacing and also the use of the PA identifier in both the prefix and suffix position. The last plate in the group, 17 PA, was provided by Eric Conner.
This week's motorboat plate series begin with this nice 1944 red on white edition. As was the practice at the time, these could be 1 to 4 characters in length and measured 5⅛" by 9½". Thanks again to Jerry McCoy for the nice image.
The following year, 1945, saw the motorboat plate colors reversed, but the rest of the formatting remained the same. Jerry McCoy provided this image.
1946 Motorboat plates, except for the color change are again the same. These plates used the same 5⅛" by 9½" size from 1937 up to 1947 where part way thru the year the 5-digit serial number necessitated a longer plate. See below.
The 1947 Motorboat plate on the far left was posted last week and I was hoping to find a 5-digit version, as 5-digit plates were first issued part way thru '47. The longer plate, now 5⅛" by 11" was found by Clayton Moore on eBay. Somehow I missed the auction. Here is visual proof that there were two plate sizes that year. If the new or previous owner would like credit for the image, please let me know.
Also check out Tom's website (www.paplates.com) for all the latest in highs and lots of pictures. Tom tracks the high numbers of every PA type.
Here's an image of the first DARE plate issued in PA. The image is from Andrew Pang.
Many of the older fully embossed organizational plates have moved to the semi-flat format with color graphics on the visitPA base. A very few, such as this Blue Lodge plate, have had an intermediate run of about 200 plates where the visitPA base was used in conjunction with the older embossed graphics, before going over to flat graphics and tag legend. Sound confusing? Click the link above to see all three versions of the plate.
The plate on the far left may not be that elusive plate that we are all looking for but it does help to narrow the range of an early change to Person with Disability plates. The first group of these PD plates on the www base used a slightly larger PD and wheelchair symbol as compared to later plates. The later plates, example on the near left, shows a plate after the change to the smaller PD and wheelchair. It may be easier to see this difference by clicking the thumbnails to enlarge them. The change has been narrowed down to between PD5700A and PD5900A. The image is from Ryan Battin.
In a news article from June 9, 2004, from the Pennsylvania Independent, Andrew Staub describes an effort by State Representative Tom Murt to eliminate legislative plates. Click the link below to see the article. Also the article featured this Retired Senator sample plate. For what it's worth, I was unable to find any such current legislation.
While on the subject of State Senator plates, this image of a '77 base with '86 and '87 stickers was added to Plate History Section 2. The plate now belongs to long time contributor and fellow plate collector Clayton Moore.
This nice 4-digit 1947 Motorboat plate image comes from Jerry McCoy. 1947 was the first year for plate numbers to exceed 4 characters (9999) which necessitated going to 5 digits. The plate to the left measures 5⅛" by 9½". As can be seen, there is no way to squeeze another number into the available space. As a result I believe the 5-digit plates were enlarged to 5⅛" by 11". Unfortunately I don't have a plate or photo of a 5-digit version. Can anyone help?
1948 Motorboat plates were all the larger 5⅛" by 11" size regardless of the number of characters. This plate size remained in use until 1950. The 4-digit plate image came from Jerry McCoy, while the source of the 5-digit is unknown.
For 1949 Motorboat plates remained the same size, even for low numbers such as this 3-digit tag. The formatting remained the same as the '48 above except for the annual color change. This very nice yellow on red plate picture is also from Jerry McCoy.
Finally this week is this 1950 Motorboat License. The plates have been reduced in size to 4½" by 8" which required using a smaller, more condensed font. The plates are now the same size as motorcycle plates of the time, and remained that size thru 1963, the final year of issue. While I'm sure Motorboat tags are not the most popular plates for collectors, there is no doubt they are the most colorful.
Following the passing of House Bill 770 on July 2, now called Act 23, it is now possible to personalize many of PA's plate types. This includes types that may not seem logical. For example, Apportioned Trucks and School Vehicles plates can now be registered as vanity tags, as can Repossessor and Moped Dealer plates. Since the scope of this bill includes so many plate types, a new column is being added to most of the plate galleries with the column heading "IS PLATE VANITY ELIGIBLE?" If the plate is eligible, the additional cost will be shown. For most plates an additional $100 is required, $76 for passenger plates, and $50 is required for a few veteran and handicapped types. I think the high price will deter many potential buyers. Also, many of the newly authorized vanities have a weight limit of 14,000 lb. It may take a few weeks to complete this project. If you see any errors, please let me know.
A contributor sent me a link to a WHTM-27 news article and video of a proposal by State Representative Mike Regan to make PA license plates easier to read. He says "They're called EZ-ID license plates, and instead of numbers they incorporate symbols, like stars or hearts, and only four characters." Click the link above to see the article and video.
It didn't take long once these Pinnacle Health System plates hit the street for Arthur Levine to snap this picture. And what better plate to photograph than the #1, while I would much prefer not to see the identity of plate partially obscured by a dealer frame.
Brendan Sherry snapped this nice Operation Iraqi Freedom plate recently.
This is a 1965 State Senator base with a '68 sticker. There is no identifying legend but the 'PA' in either the prefix or suffix position and a serial number from 1 to 50 confirms the plate type. This is not to be confused with U.S. Senator, which used USS-1, USS-2 or 1-USS, 2-USS at the time. These plates were undated and could be revalidated thru 1970; however, in 1966 there was a redesign of the State Senator plate. The new design placed the PA inside a keystone giving it a more distinctive look. Beginning in 1966 both variations were in use at the same time up thru 1970. This image was provided courtesy of Eric Conner.
I need an image of a 1957 State Senator and one of the '66 designs with the PA in a keystone.
Here's a pair of '71 base State Senator plates from Eric Conner on the far left, and from Clayton Moore on the near left. This '71 base was used thru 1976. The PA 12 plate has '72 and '73 validation stickers, while the PA 23 has a '76 sticker. Note the refinements on this pair and compared to the '65 base above.
These weekly installments of motorboat plates have been fun. This week we are starting with a couple of 1953 MBL plates. The nice 4-digit plate follows the typical formatting of the era. If the 5-digit plate looks different, it's actually made of cardboard or fiberboard. Also shown is the reverse side. In 1953 PA made a run using this alternate material. Apparently cardboard and boats were not a winning combination as the following year all plates went back to metal. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that plates below 10000 were metal. Can anyone confirm this? Again thanks to Jerry McCoy for these pictures.
Next is this 1954 Motorboat. The formatting is similar in size and layout to other MBL plates made between 1950 and '54. The color is white over a dark blue base. The dimensions are 4½" by 8" which is similar to motorcycle plates of the time. Jerry McCoy provided this image.
The size stayed the same but not much else. This 1955 Motorboat plate shows a number of changes. This is the first time the expiration date was listed — it's part of the top border. Gone is the MBL designator being replaced by MB now stacked on the right. Also, the year has been reduced to two digits. The biggest change is the obvious switch to the map base. Except for yearly color variations, this basic design was kept until motorboat plates were discontinued after the '63 issue. Jerry McCoy provided this photo.
The last picture for this week is this '59 Motorboat tag. The colors appear to from the automotive series, however, they are reversed for this year. Thanks to Jerry McCoy for all the great pictures.
Sometimes the first image captured of a new plate is not of the highest quality, but in this case it's picture-perfect. Thanks to Tom Perri and Jordan Irazabal for this Birdsboro Union Fire Company plate image. The organization is from Berks County.
This Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation plate picture was provided by Arthur Levine.
Here's a new organizational plate Community LifeTeam EMS from the Dauphin County / Harrisburg region. No plates are on the road yet.
This almost completes the run of State Representative plates, except for plate run between 1984 and 1999, of which an image is still needed.
This modern series of State Senator plates began in 1957 after the early Legislative plates were discontinued back in 1935. The plate pictured here is 1958 base with a '62 sticker. The PA in the serial number is the designator for State Senator and can be used as a prefix or a suffix, in later years word Senator was added to the plates. This image was provided by Eric Conner.
I need an image of a 1957 State Senator plate if anyone has a plate or a picture of one, and would be so kind.
Each week I will continue to add more images of Pennsylvania's colorful motorboat plates until there is at least one image from every year. This plate display is largely the result of Jerry McCoy sharing images from his very complete collection. The plate to the left is a 1958 Motorboat. These were issued with all-numeric serial numbers starting each year at 1.
Next in line is this '59 Motorboat plate. From 1955 up to 1963, the last year of issue, these plates were somewhat similar to motorcycle plates. They used the same map outline, expiration and PENNA legend, but Motorcycle plates never used 5 characters until 1965 which is after Motorboat plates were discontinued. Also, while this plate may look like a Bureau of Motor vehicles color scheme, the colors are actually reversed from automotive use. Image courtesy of Jerry McCoy.
The next plate in the lineup is this 1960 Motorboat, formatting is similar to above, colors are blue on white. Again thanks to Jerry McCoy for this picture.
This 4-digit '61 Motorboat plate on the far left is the final image for this week, and was again provided by Jerry McCoy. This is the only year to use the same colors as standard plates, but Motorcycle plates at that time were on a '68 base and used renewal stickers. See near left image for comparison. The M/C plate image is from Jeff Francis.
This Blue Knights International Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club plate has been on this site before, but this is a better image of the #1 plate. Thanks to Jordan Irazabal for the picture.
Jordan Irazabal also shared this Delaware County Fallen Firefighter and EMS Memorial Committee plate image. That long tag line, even though it's been slightly abbreviated on the plate, is just about at the limit for compressing the font.
Here's a nice Marywood University plate which is also the current high. Ryan Battin provided the picture.
Speaking of new highs, this Person with Disability - Motorcycle plate is also the highest reported to date. The small flat screened PD is not a part of the registration number, and large embossed P is part of the registration number but at least so far is a static, non-advancing character. The last alpha character is also the last to advance.
Pinnacle Health System now has about 19 active plates.
The consensus of several friends who watch the patterns and trends of PA plates is that there is little chance that this prototype will make it to production as depicted here. There will be a PA Monuments - Gettysburg 1863 plate around October 30, but most likely it will be on the all-too-familiar family of plates visitPA base. Click this link to see a news article on State Representative Harry Readshaw's plans to celebrate the debut of this new plate. The plate will fund the maintenance of the Gettysburg Battlefield monuments. Thanks to Ned Flynn for sharing this article.
Here is a very nice 1958 base State House of Representatives plate from Eric Conner. These plates could be revalidated with stickers up thru 1964. The tab slot seen on early issues was never used. The HR, used here in the suffix position, could also be configured as a prefix. The number represents the legislative district.
Here is a pair of 1951 Motorboat License plates. Note the 4-digit and 5-digit displays, while 1, 2 and 3-digit formats were also utilized. These plates measure 4½" by 8" and the colors are white over blue. The far left plate is mine while the 5-digit plate is from Jerry McCoy. Jerry has kindly sent photos of almost all of his very nice Motorboat plates, including a number of Motorboat Dealer plates which I will gladly post over the next several weeks.
Here are a 5-digit '61 Motorboat plate. Note the similarity of the colors to street vehicle plates sometimes causing confusion between the Motorboat and Motorbike plates, but there were no Motorbike plates after 1949. Thanks to Jerry McCoy for the image.
And finally here's a nice 3-digit '63 Motorboat plate. These plates were issues with up to 5 digits. Again many thanks to Jerry McCoy for sharing his collection.
Here it is — the Holy Grail of PA license plates. The Collectible Motorcycle plate type has been available since 2000 and this is only the 3rd plate issued. And it is the first plate of this type to be photographed. For reasons unknown, some of the lower numbered plates appear to have been skipped. Many thanks to Daniel Selin for all his efforts in getting this plate registered to a bike he recently acquired, and a special note of appreciation to Ryan Battin for helping to spearhead this monumental effort. Jordan Irazabal and I also played a supporting role. This plate definitely helps fill a long-standing void in the history of Pennsylvania license plates.
Here's the current high Disabled Veteran high. Unlike its counterpart, the Severely Disabled Veteran, this plate type is still being issued on the fully embossed base. Both of these plates are likely to retain their current color format into the future since the vehicle code specifies the design of these plates.
This #1 Blue Mountain Jeep Alliance plate with a 6-15 sticker was spotted by Jim McDevitt. The same plate was spotted some years ago with a 6-09 sticker. Take notice that the #1 Jeep plate happens to be on a Ford.
This the first image of a NASCAR 21 Ricky Rudd plate. These were only available for the 2004 and 2005 racing seasons and a total of only 15 were issued. Many NASCAR type variations were issued. Some sold well, some poorly while others sold no plates at all. I'm still listing about 16 NASCAR plates, where plates were sold in such small quantities that no photos have been taken to document the plate design..
Note the use of the standard font on the serial number on the Classis Car plate in the center. This was part of a run of only 1000 plates in the 20000 series, and could be considered error plates. The plate on the near left shows the typical antique font which was used up until the plates were redesigned to give them the generic 'family of plates' look.
The Birdsboro Union Fire Department is now sporting about 16 first time plates on the road.
More images are being added to the history section of State Representative plates. Most of these image came from the current State Representative plate section but the HR170 plate in the center is courtesy of Tom Perri. Note the use of HR in both the prefix and suffix position, as well as the narrow and wide REPRESENTATIVE legend. The number represents the legislative district.
Following last week's Air Force Reserve plate comes this first generation U.S. Army Reserve plate. This plate also uses the cursive Pennsylvania 'Friend' font. Thanks to Ned Flynn for sharing this plate picture.
This is a 1941 Motorboat plate. The earliest plates issued in 1931 were 6" by 12", then in 1937 the size was reduced to 5" by 9½". Later 5-digit serial number required longer 5" by 11" plates, then in 1950 another size change took place. More details and pictures in future weeks.
This pair of 1957 Motorboat plates is similar in size and formatting to Motorcycle plates of the day. Serial numbers ranged from single digits well into 5-digits. The colors are white on blue. The source of these images is unknown.
Here the latest Philadelphia Union Foundation high plate. The image was provided by Spike Rogan.
This is also a new high Blue Lodge plate from Ryan Battin.
This Lehigh Township Volunteer Fire Company No 1 plate is not a great image but it is the latest high.
Jordan Irazabal provided this very nice low number Franklin and Marshall plate on the far left. The other plate on the near left is an early Franklin and Marshall sample plate from back in the 1990s. Their plate program never quite got off the ground at that time, but the picture proves that they were in the game.
Here is a prototype image of the new special organization plate Sons of the American Legion plate. No plates of this type are believed to be in use yet.
This Street Rod plate seen at a recent car show also represents a new high. More Street Rod highs coming next week.
Thanks to Ned Flynn for sharing this first generation U.S. Air Force Reserve plate image. For anyone not familiar, these were not considered military plates, but rather they were organizational plates. While they were organizational plates, they lacked a logo or symbol. This holds true for all five of the military reserve plates. Note the use of the cursive Pennsylvania 'Friend' font. I don't recall seeing this on other military reserve plates before, but there are very few to compare it to. This is also a very low number, so possibly later plates used the more traditional PENNSYLVANIA font.
This is the first time I've shown Motorboat plates on this website. Ed Coghill sent these images with questions about how to tell these from Motorbike plates. The simplest explanation I can give is all MBL plates were Motor Boat License plates, and the MBL prefix was used up thru 1954, after which just MB was used in the suffix position. Motorboat plates were discontinued after 1963. Motorbike plates on the other hand used MB up thru 1949 after which the plates were discontinued.
Shown here is a very nice '52 Motorboat plate and a '62 Motorboat plate. I will post one or two plates from my own collection over the next week or so. If anyone has plates or pictures, I'll gladly post additional images.
Here's a nice '77 base House of Representatives / Legislator plate with a 78 and an 80 sticker. The source of this image is unknown. If it's yours, let me know and I'll give you credit for it.
Finally this week is this House of Representatives sample. This sample plate is a reasonably accurate representation of the plates issued from 1984 until the plates were replaced in late 1999. Note the plate legend Legislator has now been replaced with Representative. The use of that term continues to this day.
No you're not seeing double, and this is not a mistake. Press Photographer plates are one of only a couple plates issued in pairs in PA. This is also the first Press Photographer plates photographed on the visitPA base, and it's also the current high. Thanks to Ryan Battin for sharing this.
There was a report several years ago of a Press Photographer on the visitPA base. That particular plate may have been a remake. So far it has not been photographed.
Here are the first images of a Moravian College plate on the visitPA base. The new symbol is the Moravian Star. It appears that many, but not all, of the earlier plates have been replaced. With the transition to the graphic base, this plate type is now eligible to be personalized.
This perfect image of a University of Pittsburgh plate was provided by Tom Perri. It's also a new high. Be sure to visit Ton's website to see all the latest in PA highs. This plate type is eligible to be personalized as well.
Here's a prototype image of the new Appalachian Trail Conservancy plate. While this plate was authorized by legislative action, it will still be considered an organizational plate. The plate application and information are available on their website. The cost is $50.00, and the plate can be personalized for an additional fee. It appears that the the purchase of a plate does not require membership .
Next week I expect to have a prototype image of another new special organization plate type — Sons of the American Legion.
These vertical Motorcycle plates have been out for several months but this is the first I've actually seen on the road. It appears that this was the 102nd plate made. Starting point was M0A0C, with the A being the last character to advance, and M & C are non-advancing characters, at least for now.
On the far left is an unusual sample that was submitted by Jerry McCoy. On the near left is a more typical sample from the era. It is not known where the unusual sample falls on the timeline, while the AAA-0000 format began in 1991.
This beautiful and rare 1915 Trailer plate picture was photographed by ALPCA member Stephen Tuday at the recent ALPCA Convention. The plate is owned by PA collector Jake Eckenrode. This plate is a significant piece in the history of PA's trailer plates. There are only three plates known to exist. One of the other plates is T83.
I am starting to add more political plates. If you recall, political plates up to 1935 were all branded as Legislative. Then all such plates were discontinued until 1957. With this rebirth in '57 the plates at first did not have distinctive markings or labels, but used HR for State House of Representatives and PA for State Senator. They would later be labeled as Legislator along with the HR identifier, and Senator along with the PA identifier.
The plates pictured here are House of Representative plates for 1966 and 1969, while the newest plate has '73 and '74 validation stickers. The source of the '66 and '69 images is unknown. The '73-'74 plate belongs to Clayton Moore.
If anyone has plates or images of State Representative, State Senator, U.S. Congress or U.S. Senate plates, any pictures would be most welcome.
As of July 17, the following changes took place to the laws regulating vehicle registration or license plates?
• Personal or vanity registration plates are now allowed on cars, trucks up to 14,000 lb., motorcycles (including vertical), trailers and motor homes.
• Special organization plates may now be used on cars, trucks up 14,000 lb., trailers and motor home, but not motorcycles.
• Any registration plate covered under Chapter 13 of the Vehicle Code can now be personalized for $100 + the regular registration fee; however, Person with Disability plates and Disabled or Severely Disabled Veteran Plates are now $50 to personalize. This opens the door to a large number of types including all 11 dealer types, 28 veteran types, 19 misc. plates, 4 special fund plates, and most but not all of the special organization plates. The organizations not eligible are those that have not transitioned to the newer graphic style. There is also a weight limitation of 14,000 lb. for personalized plates regardless of the vehicle type.
• Appalachian Trail Conservancy special organization plates are now available.
A little more on special organization plates. Since the current fee to register most of these plates is $11, the cost to personalize the plates will add $100 to make the total $111. The 2-letter, and in some cases 3-letter (NRA Foundation) prefixes and suffixes will continue to be used. To personalize the plate up to 5 letters and / or numbers can be used, in addition a dash or a space can be used but not both. Go to PennDOT's vanity check page to see if the combination you want is available.
This low-number Combat Wounded Veteran / Purple Heart plate was provided by Nick Tsilakis. The low number plates are not nearly as common today as the plates in the 7, 8 or 9 thousand range.
Nick Tsilakis snapped this nice image of a U.S. Air Force Reserve plate.
From my basement stash, this Kutztown University sample plate on the far left was a test plate made up in preparation for the changeover to the www base. It used the same font in the legend as the yellow on blue base, whereas the sample on the near left is an accurate reflection of production plates on the www base. Around 2005 Kutztown switched to the color graphic format.
The Lock Haven University sample plate on the far left was a test plate made up in preparation for the changeover to the www base. It used the same font in the legend as the yellow on blue base, whereas the sample on the near left is an accurate image of production plates on the www base. Lock Haven also switched to the color graphic base first seen in early 2010.
The same situation as above for this pair of Moravian College samples. The plate on the far left was a test. It was decided to use the SMALL CAPS arrangement on the near left. Moravian just recently switched to the graphic layout on the visitPA base
The same situation exists with these St. Vincent Alumni samples. The test plate is on the far left and the one on the near left reflects the current issue. This organization has not yet switched to the visitPA base.
Back in April it was announced that this plate type was being redesigned in favor of the now standard 'family of plates' layouts. Evidently this has not happened yet as Ryan Battin provided this recently issued Collectible Vehicle plate.
Here's the first image of a '47 Trailer plate. The alpha character (letter V) in the third position shows that this was the 4th of 5 formatting variations to be seen that year. This plate measures approximately 6" by 11", while the '53 plate below measures 6" x 10¼".
Here a '53 Trailer plate showing the letter in the first position indicating that this was the 2nd of 6 formatting variations to be used that year. The formatting of the '47 and '53 plates is very similar but there is a difference in the font used for the legend.
Update on last week's posting. This is not a diplomatic plate. From information received from Ned Flynn, there was a family in the Stroudsburg area some years ago that had an affinity for New York City theatre. They purchased vanity tags with DPL in an effort to appear as diplomats hoping they might receive favorable parking, and other considerations. It is still unknown how the use of the keystone separator and a dash came about, possibly some kind of favor.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: The Governor did sign Senate Bill 1187 on July 2. The bill will become Act 109. This was not reported until after my July 6th posting. It will authorize the following new plates: • Combat Infantry Badge registration plate • "In God We Trust" registration plate • Pennsylvania Monuments registration plate with the wording "Gettysburg 1863" • Pennsylvania Hunting Heritage registration plate. The law will also changes the period of registration for Vintage (YOM) plates from 1906 to 1976, was 1975. The fee for organizational plates will increase to $25.00, the current fee has dropped to $11.00.
See the Legislation Page for information on other bills.
Here are pictures of the latest high U.S. Army Veteran and U.S. Marine Corps Veteran plates from Ryan Battin. These plates came on line at the very end of 2009 with over 2200 of each type being issued so far.
Another high from Ryan Battin is this perfect image of a Girl Scouts of the USA plate.
This Vietnam Veterans of America plate is also a new high. This is an organizational plate rather than a veterans' plate. This plate type dates back to 1992
This School Vehicle plate is also a new high. These are used on vehicles used to transport students, where the number of students and the drives does not exceed ten.
Bruce Bufalini snapped this low number University of Pittsburgh plate picture recently. Check out Bruce's website (http://www.bufs-plates.com/) for a variety of pages with plate images, windshield stickers, etc.
This very nice 1931 2-digit Legislative plate image was provided by Michael Wiener. It is not known how many of these plates were issued; however, for 1935 four hundred plates were authorized.
After 1935, Legislative plates were gone from the scene until 1957. With the appearance of the '57 version, the plates were divided into two categories. The plate pictured here with the HR prefix for House of Representatives, while State Senator plates began to use PA as their identifier. The source of this image is unknown.
Here's a '65 House of Representatives plate. Note the plate is undated and a sticker may have been expected. The HR prefix is now followed by a dash separator then a 1-, 2- or 3-digit number. This image was provided by Eric Conner.
Here's another piece of history from Clayton Moore. This is the third example of a '48 Motorbike plate in the image gallery showing different serial number formatting.
This is a bit of a mystery plate. John Anshant provided the picture. I'm not aware of a Diplomatic series in PA but that could explain the DPL. Also, the use of the keystone separator and a dash is very strange.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: As of today, the Governor has not signed Senate Bill 1187. The bill was presented for his signature on June 30.
In other plate news, according to the provisions of Act 23, the new Appalachian Trail Conservancy registration plate should be available on July 17. The plate is to show an image of a hiker and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy logo and distinctive coloring. No image yet. Even though this plate came about as a result of legislative action it will be considered an organizational plate.
Here's the latest Passenger high from Grant MacKenzie.
Here's a NASCAR 17 Matt Kenseth plate from Brendan Sherry. About 57 of these plates were issued with this plate being 2 from the end. One of the main goals of this website has been to capture as many current or recent issues plate types as possible. Unfortunately there are still about 17 NASCAR varieties that have never been photo-documented. All of these have had only limited numbers issued, in some cases only 1, 2 or 3 being issued, which makes spotting such plates very unlikely. It may be a little late in the game, but I'd like to appeal to all PA plate watchers to help photograph some of these rare specimens before it is too late.
Here's a nice image of a Lehigh Township Volunteer Fire Company No 1 sample plate.
A few years ago I posted the picture of the '75 Commercial Dealer plate believing is was some kind of mock up or test plate that never went into production. Then this week Clayton Moore shared the image on the far left. It may be a picture of a picture so the image quality is not great, but it does show another example of this plate type. Note the plate on the far left has the year, 74, embossed, while the other plate has two sticker wells and a 75 sticker. This is consistent with other dealer tags of that era. Can someone shed some light on these plates?
The Commercial Motorcycle plate is one of PA's rarest and most collectible plates. The plates date back at least as far as 1938; however the ALPCA Archives suggests they may go back to 1931. This is one of those mysteries that make this hobby interesting. The '46 image on the far left was from Clayton Moore and source of the '48 image is unknown. Images anyone?
This '48 Motorbike plate shows the use of the alpha-numeric serial number which was used after all of the 4-digit all numeric combinations were used. Image source unknown.
Here's the oldest known PA Trailer plate to exist. I saw this 1914 Trailer plate at Harry Nowak's several years ago. 1914 is believed to be the first year for Trailer plates. They were white on black porcelain as were other plates of that year.
The final plate of the week is this all-numeric '51 Trailer with a leading zero. The earliest plates in the series for 1951 started at 0001. Eventually after using all the 4-character all-numeric and alpha-numeric combinations, a 5-digit version was released.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Senate Bill 1187, has now been passed by both houses, and as of 6/28 has been sent to Rules and Executive Nominations. I am fully expecting to see this legislation signed into law by the Governor in the next few days. It would authorize the following new plates and other changes.
• Combat Action Badge, Combat Infantryman Badge, Combat Action Ribbon, Combat Action Medal, Combat Medical Badge registration plate. It is unknown if this is to be one plate or five.
• "In God We Trust" registration plate
• Pennsylvania Monuments registration plate with the wording "Gettysburg 1863"
• Pennsylvania Hunting Heritage registration plate
• United States Olympic plate
The bill would also changes the period of registration for vintage (YOM) plates from 1906 to 1976. It had been 1906 to 1975.
The fee for organizational plates will increase to $25.00.
The law would also raise the weight limit for may plates from 10,000 to 14,000 lb.
This picture of a pair of newly minted sequential Municipal plates was provided by Ryan Battin. They represent the newest highs. Municipal plates are used by city, county and local governments and are permanent.
Here's the latest high Classic Motorcycle plate. As of the end of 2013 there were only 471 of these plates registered. By comparison there were over 10,000 Antique Motorcycle plates registered, and over 400 thousand Motorcycles. Surprisingly this plate type has not yet been redesigned to give it that 'family of plates' look where every plate looks like every other plate. This plate and the Municipal Motorcycle appear to be the only remaining plate types to still use the state map outline. Again thanks to Ryan Battin for the image.
It's not the highest, but it's one of the rarest PA plates. As of the end of 2013 only 51 Commercial Implement of Husbandry plates were registered. Both this website and the ALPCA Archives could use an image of this plate type on the previous yellow-on-blue base. It is quite likely that none of the older plates made it into anyone's collection or even photographed. This is a sad note for the hobby and for the history of this plate type.
This Telephone Pioneers of America represents one of those plate types with a gap in the number sequence. After plate 00408T/P the number series jumped ahead to 01600T/P. There are different theories as to the reason for this but none confirmed as of yet. Click this link to see a list of other plate types with number sequence anomalies. Plate image courtesy of Jordan Irazabal.
This blue base Dealer-Farm Equipment plate image was provided by fellow ALPCA member John Anshant. This is the only known surviving example of this first generation plate type. These rare photos of extinct plates provides important photo-documentation and history.
Here's an image of a 1932 Motorcycle plate. While it's not a great image, it does show the formatting. There were some 11 thousand plates issued that year, so the 4-digit all numeric formatting would have run out and the A000 formatting would have been used as it was in 1931 as well.
This next image is a 1940 Motorcycle. Note the use of the state map outline which first came into use in 1938 on Motorcycle plates. Different sources have conflicting numbers of plates issued that year ranging from 9100 to over 11,000 plates. The actual number would dictate whether the alpha-numeric series was needed or not.
Finally this week is this 1952 Motorcycle. The formatting is very similar to the 1940 plate above; however, this plate has the 3-31-53 expiration date embossed along the top map border. The image gallery already has images of 3- and 4-digit all numeric plates.
I have yet to see one of these new Vertical Motorcycle plates on the road but they are obviously out there. This series started in early March 2014 at M0A0C with the M and C considered be non-advancing characters. The numeric character in the fourth position advances first, then the numeric character in the second position, and finally the alpha character in the center. It would appear that about 450 plates have been issued so far. These images were provided courtesy of Ryan Battin.
I can't explain why this plate is still in use when all Emergency Vehicle plates were supposed to be replaced back in 2007. Nevertheless it's still in use and the picture was captured by Ryan Battin. The plate number appears to be valid. To see more on the history of Emergency Vehicle plates click this link.
There is nothing all that special about this U.S. Air Force Reserve plate other than the fact that it is a nicer image than the one I posted previously. Also these plates are rarely seen these days. They are considered organizational plates rather than veterans' plates. With the ever increasing number of veterans' plates, including U.S. Air Force Veteran with a nice colored graphic, it is understandable that the use of this plate type is on the decline. In fact in 2005 there were only 102 of these plates in use. This image is from Tom Perri.
Much of what was stated above concerning the U.S. Air Force Reserve plate holds true for this U.S. Navy Reserve plate. This is a nicer image than what I had previously, unfortunately the owner of this plate added the colored decal. By comparison in 2005 there were only 87 U.S. Navy Reserve plates in use, and likely fewer today. There is also a U. S. Navy Veteran plate available. Thanks to Tom Perri for this image.
There is not much information on Motor Bike plates out there, but I can provide some history. These plates were in use from 1920 to 1949, and in many respects they were the first cousin of Motorcycle plates. It appears that at least in the the latter years, they used a numbering system very similar to Motorcycles, the obvious difference being that there were far fewer Motor Bikes on the road. Plates would have started at 1 and went to 9999, if needed, then into the A000 series if needed. In addition, where Motorcycle plates used an M/C legend, Motor Bikes used M/B. This 1947 3-digit Motor Bike plate picture was provided by Clayton Moore.
Continuing on from the '47 plate above is this pair of '48 Motorbike and '49 Motorbike plates. Again these plates began with number 1 and went to 9999, then switched to an alpha character in the first position such as A123. After 1949 Motorbike plates were discontinued since the registration fee for Motorbike was increased to the same amount as for Motorcycles. Motorboat plates are sometimes confused with Motorbike plates, however, Motorboat plates used MBL as the designator until the 1955 when MB came into use. Motorboat plates were a different size until 1950 and never used the same colors until long after Motorbike plates were discontinued. The source of these images is unknown.
There is another more elusive motorcycle type called the Commercial Motorcycle. Does anyone has any images they would be willing to share?
This very nice image of a 1938 Official plate was provided by Clayton Moore. The serial number appears to be part of a reserve block of numbers from the passenger series. Plates measure 6" by 12".
Does anyone know if 1939 plates continued with the same formatting, or if the term Official was dropped?
This 1950 Trailer is an example of a serial number with the alpha character in the 4th position. The alpha character is always the last to advance. Click the link to see additional formatting information.
These two '54 Trailer plates are examples of two of the six formatting variations. They show the A000 and 00000 formats. The 5 numeric characters came about after all the 4 characters combinations were exhausted The other variations were 0000, 0A00, 00A0 and 000A. A plate with the 0A00 format is shown in the plate gallery. Additional images showing the other formats are always welcome.
It should be pretty obvious by now that I'm not a fan of plate frames. With that said, we have the first image of a Conshohocken Fire Company No. 2 plate, courtesy of Jordan Irazabal & Tom Perri. Nice effort finding this plate. These plates only recently hit the streets with about two dozen plates in use.
This isn't the highest number but it is the best image of a Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. plate so far. Most of these seem to have obtrusive frames. Speaking of highs, Jordan Irazabal recently spotted 00229DS. If you are interested in highs, check out Tom Perri's website for all the latest PA highs.
Here's the current high on the upper tier of Emergency Vehicle plates. This upper group of plates, which are those above EV-50000. are generally used by volunteer and municipal fire departments and volunteer EMS agencies. Ryan Battin is to blame for this perfect image.
Here's an image of a Special Mobile Equipment plate on the visitPA base. This version came out around August of 2013 after the previous series hit SME-999Z exhausting that format. I'm disappointed with the image and may go back to get a better picture.
This first generation Zem Zem Temple plate has been added to the Special Organizational Plate History Page. I don't know where I acquired the image, but it was cropped from a larger picture of someone holding up the plate to be photographed. This plate type dates back to 1987 as an organizational plate, however, I do have photographic evidence that there were unofficial Zem Zem plates back as far as 1955. There was no logo on them just the ZZ along with 1 to 3 numbers. These were probably done as some kind of favor or courtesy.
Here's a pair of 1931 Motorcycle plates. These have been added to Section 1 of the plate history pages. These plates are yellow on blue with painted borders and depict both the all-numeric and alpha-numeric formats. Some 12,000 were issued that year.
This red on black 1919 Trailer plate dates back prior to the more traditional yellow and dark blue color scheme. Also note the 16-inch width. The T prefix started with the first trailer plates in 1914. Again a big thank you to Clayton Moore for the image.
From 1924 to 1933 Trailer plates used the TT prefix, but did not use the word Trailer. Small keystones are now in the upper corners of the plate as shown on this 1929 Trailer plate. Clayton Moore also provided this image.
This is not the first 1945 Trailer plate shown, but it is the first image showing the A000 to Z999 format.
The almost 18-year run of DARE license plates has come to an end. According to PennDOT Bulletin 14-6, "Act 27 of 2014 was signed into law April 7, 2014, and will be effective June 6, 2014. This Act repeals Section 1358 of Title 75. Section 1358 provided for the issuance of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) registration plate. Therefore, effective June 6, 2014, the DARE registration plate, tag type K1, will no longer be available as a registration plate for issuance." Plates in use will continue to be legal and can be renewed. This plate type made its debut in September of 1996 as the familiar black base, then went thru a visitPA base facelift in October 2005, which likely did little to boost sales. At the end of 2013, there were 21,000 DARE plates in use.
Here's the number 1 Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of PA plate. Nice plate but unfortunately the state name across the top of the plate is totally obscured, and illegal. Ryan Battin snapped this image.
Here's the current high Antique Motorcycle plate also from Ryan Battin. This current version has been out since May of 2013.
Here's a grouping of several low number ATV Dealer plates from Dominic Fornato. The difference in appearance is due to the photos being taken under different lighting conditions. These are motorcycle size 4 by 7 inch plates. You may recall that the previous issue of ATV Dealer plates was a full 6 by 12 inch plate. I'm not sure what the thinking was by issuing automotive size plates. These plates are issued by DCNR or the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
PA also offers Class 1 and Class 2 ATV plates, as well as Snowmobile registrations which are decal based rather than plate based. I understand that at one time there were some ATV samples plates made but I have never seen one.
Here is an Emergency Vehicle plate picture from the lower tier of plates. This lower tier is in the 30000 range. This image is also from Dominic Fornato and the plate is being used on a personal vehicle. PA allows certain fire and other officials to use these plates on privately owned vehicles but they do require an annual registration fee, unlike the upper tier plates which are fee exempt. This upper tier is in the 50000 to almost 70000 range.
While conducting research as part of the effort to revise and update the ALPCA Archives, Jordan Irazabal discovered that there was a break in the number sequence of WVU Alumni Association plates. The series starts at W/V00001 and go up to W/V000424, then there is a gap and the sequence jumps to W/V01200 and runs to W/V 01399, where the plates switched to the visitPA base and color graphic, etc. These sequence anomalies has been seen on an increasing number of organizational plate types. The ALPCA Archives is only available to members of the organization. The picture used here was supplied by Tom Perri.
Here's a trio of sample plates including the newest version of Antique Vehicle and Classic Vehicle, along with an Organ Donors Save Lives sample. These images were taken looking thru a glass display case at a fairly steep angle so the image quality is not great.
This week we have three more images of old Trailer plates, beginning with this 1934 picture, followed by a 1935 and a 1936. The formatting of these plates is very similar except for the flip-flopping of colors every year and also the reversing of the placement of the the stacked year and PENNA every other year. The more difficult component is figuring out the serial number progression. In a 1935 document called Design of Registration Plates, it authorizes Trailer plates to be numbered from 1 to 8999; however, registration figures for 1935, which unfortunately includes Tractors and Trailers, shows 34,000. Tractors in this case would have been farm and industrial machinery, not truck tractors. 4699 Tractor plates were authorized, this suggests that Trailer plates made up almost twice the number of Tractor plates. So I'm going to guess that the greater majority of plates issued during these years were Trailer plates. The combined number of 34,000 also suggests the number of registrations well exceeded what was anticipated. All of these trailer plates are thanks to the kindness of Clayton Moore.
This is one of those plates that seemed just about impossible to find, but Tom Perri with some help from Jordan Irazabal was successful in snapping this image of a Planned Parenthood of PA plate. Now if we could just eliminate plate frames.
Before anyone tries to get an 8-character PA vanity plate, read this. The plate pictured here was spotted in a PennDOT Welcome Center on I-476 at the Delaware/Pennsylvania border. Besides the eight characters, the plate is also flat which is a departure from normal considering PA does not issue all-flat plates. The plate did have a debossed sticker well. I am told that these plates are in use at other PA welcome centers. A point of information; over the years two 8-character vanities have been spotted. It is believed that they were later recalled. Photo gallery link.
Here's a nice example of an Honoring Our Veterans Special Fund plate. It's also one of the lower tier plates that are are not available to the general public. There are only about 5 or 6 of these lower tier plates in use while there are over 1600 of the general issue plates in use.
I made a trip to PennDOT headquarters in Harrisburg on 5/30 to get some information about Collectible Motorcycle plates. I was directed to a customer service representative where I was told that no such plate existed. I informed the person that the plate was in fact listed on their website and among other PennDOT publications. The representative conferred with her supervisor — twice — and returned with the verdict that there was no such plate. Unfortunately I was not prepared for this and did not have any of the supporting documents or a sample plate with me. I find it very disturbing that a branch of state government dedicated to providing customer service can allow this to happen.
This low number Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. plate image was provided by Brendan Sherry.
This Kings College Alumni plate on the far left represents a jump forward in serial numbers from K/C00356 to K/C00800. The LaSalle University plate on the near left also is part of a number series that jumped ahead from L/U00999 to L/U 02000 having skipped the numbers in between. Jordan Irazabal, who provided these images, has discovered that these anomalies are fairly common.
This Format 6 School Vehicle plate image was provided by Brendan Sherry. Its serial number suggested that the changeover point to Format 7 should be SV20799 rather than SV20749 as previously posted. For reasons unknown there have been 9 different formats since this plate was reissued on the www base.
Here are two examples of 1937 Trailer plates. One uses an all-numeric format while the other uses an alpha-numeric layout. This was the last year to use the stacked PENNA and 4-digit year as seen here. These plate images are from Clayton Moore.
This next picture is a 1938 Trailer plate. This is the first year for the state map outline on Trailer plates and several other plate types. It was first introduced on Passenger plates in 1937. Also there was a change to a 2-digit year and use of PA as part of the plate legend. This plate picture is from Clayton Moore.
I don't have a decent image of a '39 Trailer plate, so we will finish up this week with this 1940 Trailer from Clayton Moore. If anyone has an image of a '39 Trailer plate it would help fill the gap.
Here's a very nice Michigan State Alumni image captured by Bill Ceravola.
Considering it's age, this very low number Flagship Niagara plate is in remarkable condition. This plate was likely issued in November of 1995. The picture is courtesy of Tom Perri. A statistical comparison showed that there were some 22-thousand of these plates in use at the end of 1999, while today are about 10,500 still on the road.
Here's an updated image of a Delaware River Port Authority courtesy of Sarge/Klassy Karz. This was used as an official front plate.
This week's plate history include this all-numeric 1941 Trailer plate from Clayton Moore. As stated in previous weeks, tractor and trailer registration numbers were lumped together until 1957 so it is difficult to estimate the number of trailer plates issued. According to an old BMV report there were 52,000 tractor and trailer registrations that year with the vast majority likely being trailers.
Next on the list is this all-numeric 1942 Trailer plate also courtesy of Clayton Moore. See more data by opening the links.
Finally Clayton has provided this '42 Trailer plate with a '43 tab. Tabs were issued for 1943 to help reduce the use of steel in support of the war effort. Check back next week for more old trailer plates.
As mentioned last week here is a prototype image of a National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial plate. No plates on the street yet.
Here is an image of a new high-number School Bus plate spotted on the road by Ryan Battin.
This image from Ryan Battin also represents a new high for Gettysburg College. This is one of only a small number of organizational plates with a 4-digit serial number instead of the normal 5. Others include West Point, National Guard and the five military reserve. I don't include NASCAR and the NRA because they use 3-character prefixed and suffixes.
In the continuation of Trailer plate history the first plate this week is from 1944. Again plates during these years used a similar serial progression from year to year starting with a 4-digit all numeric format, then an alpha character in the first position, then in the second position, as seen here, and so forth. This image is courtesy of Clayton Moore.
With the exception of the colors being reversed this '45 Trailer plates is very similar to the plate above. Again this image is courtesy of Clayton Moore.
We have two 1946 Trailer plates. This pair shows the progression of alpha character from the first to the second position. Thanks Clayton for so many images, and check back for more next week.
On the far left is an image of a 1930 Judiciary plate that Clayton Moore provided. The other image is a graphic depiction of a 1935 Judiciary plate taken from an old BMV document. That document indicated that up to 300 of these plates were authorized that year, numbered 1 to 300.
This 1936 Official Use Only plate picture is also from Clayton Moore. This image was captured from eBay. This plate has an interesting format. It is a wide plate, wider than 12 inches. It is the first use of the Official Use Only legend. And the serial number, 31-830, appears to be part of another series.
Here is a new organizational plate from the Birdsboro Union Fire Department, Berks County. No plates in use yet. It seems like the proliferation of new organizational plates has slowed down considerably over the past year or so. The PennDOT Organizational Plate List now shows 326 plate types; however, about 14 of those have no plates on the street and some of those likely never will, while a few others are no longer available such as NASCAR and U.S. Armed Forces Retired.
The Conshohocken Fire Company No. 2, Montgomery County, will be offering this new organizational plate to its members. There may be a few of these plates already on the street.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial will also have a new plate. I'll post a prototype image with my 5/18 update.
This rare find is not a new plate but it is a better image of a Supreme Court plate which was originally posted in 2013. There are only a few of these plates in use. It is unknown if the Chief Justice uses SCJ1 or a different combination of letters like the President Judge of the Superior Court uses S/CPJ1.
Here's an image of the number one Honoring Our Veterans plate. This is Special Fund Plate rather than a Veterans Plate. The picture was provided by John Clark and taken in a parking garage which explains for the poor lighting. This is one of a handful of plates that follow a two-tier system. The general issue plates started at 00100H/V and have progressed to over 01600H/V, and then there is what I call the reserve issue plates. As can bee seen from the picture began at 00001H/V. Only about 5 of the lower tier plates have been issued. I have inquired about plates being issued with serial numbers outside of the established parameters and have been unable to get answers in an obvious attempt to stonewall. So much for transparency in government.
As we continue the regression of older Trailer plates thru the years, we have this pair of '48 plates. The far left image shows an alpha character in the 2nd position and the plate on the near left shows a letter in the third position. If you recall from previous postings Trailer plates used the following formats: 0001 to 9999, A000 to Z999, 0A00 to 9Z99, 00A0 to 99Z9, 000A to 999Z, there may have been a 5-digit run at the end but this has not been confirmed. Old BMV records lump tractor and trailer registration numbers together. These images came from Clayton Moore.
I need an image of a 1947 trailer if anyone has one they would be willing to share.
Next comes this 1949 Trailer plate. This year followed the same formatting progression as the '48 above with this plate having the alpha character in the 4th position. This plate is courtesy of Clayton Moore.
This 1950 Trailer plate image was also provided by Clayton Moore and follows the same formatting as the above plates. Note that the alpha character is in the third position.
More trailer plates next week.
Here are the first images of Indiana County Humane Society plates. Many thanks to Tom Perri & Jordan Irazabal for the images. Jordan is the founder of The Delaware 3000 website, and Tom Perri operates the PaPlates.com website. Jordan tracks low-numbered Delaware tags and Tom tracks PA highs and images of every known type.
This super-nice image of a Bucknell University plate was also provided courtesy of Tom Perri & Jordan Irazabal. The visitPA version of this plate is a recent arrival having been first seen in March of this year.
Here (and below) is a nice yearly progression of older Trailer plates to complete this week's edition. This first plate is a '51 Trailer, courtesy of Clayton Moore. Since only 4 characters were used on most of these plates it was necessary to employ 5 different formatting variations, first using all numbers, and then using a single letter and 3 numerals. As all of the available combinations were exhausted, a run of 5-digit plates became necessary. Here is a list of the various formats used: 0001 to 9999, A000 to Z999, 0A00 to 9Z99, 00A0 to 99Z9, 000A to 999Z, and finally 00001 to an unknown high. It should be noted that not all letters were used, including I, O, Q, T, W and X. Also total registration numbers are not available since tractors and trailers were lumped together as one category; however, doing the math suggests that 5-digit plates became necessary after 90,000 4-character plates were produced.
The description above also sets the stage for the 1952 Trailer plates. This image is again courtesy of Clayton Moore. This plate being one of the first issued uses an all numeric format including a leading 0. To my knowledge there were no 1, 2 or 3 digit plates during this time period.
Following the same serial number progression as described above, this 1953 Trailer plate shows a letter in the third position. This series also shows the annual flip-flopping of the yellow and blue paint scheme. The image is again courtesy of Clayton Moore.
Following the sequence of plates above, this 1954 Trailer adheres to all the same rules, with this plate having the alpha-character in the second position. Photo provided by Clayton Moore.
Watch for more images from Clayton in the coming weeks. He has really gone out of his way to help make the Trailer Plate History Section a reality. He has provided extensive photo-documentation of other types as well. I often receive complements on this website, and while I enjoy them, I must say that the site is about the plates and generous members of the license plate community who willingly share their knowledge and pictures for the benefit of preserving and sharing PA license plate history. I must also acknowledge the tremendous help received from Tom Perri, Jordan Irazabal and Ryan Battin over the last few years in supplying countless plate images and news. Without their help, this website wouldn't be what it is today. There have been many others who have also generously contributed to preserving the history of Pennsylvania license plates. I can not mention you all by name here, but thank you.
Ryan Battin supplied this very low number PA Council On Independent Living plate image. What is unique about this plate is that is has been on the approved list of organizational plates since December of 2008 and this is only the third plate sold, which also makes this the new high.
Here is also the latest high from the East Allen Township Fire Department. These plates have been on the street a little over three years, and are one of seventy-some fire departments with plates.
Clayton Moore has provided this new high Classic Vehicle plate. This plate type switched to the visitPA base around November of 2013.
On 3/19 the Governor signed House Bill 770, now Act 23 into law. This act authorizes the following:
• The issue of Appalachian Trail Conservancy Special Registration Plates;
• Raise the vehicle weight limit on personal (vanity) and organizational plates from 10,000 lb. to 14,000 lb., and allow the use of vanity plates on Motor Homes & Trailers;
• Organizational registration plates may be personalized for a $100 fee, as well personalizing Person with Disability plates and certain veterans plates (DV & POW) for $50.
• Also makes provisions for a 70 mph speed limit on certain limited access highways. Most of the provision take effect in 120 days which would be 7/17, but it sounds like the speed limit thing can happen as soon as roadways can be marked.
On 4/7 the Governor signed House Bill 89, now Act 27 into law. This act authorizes the following:
• The termination of the DARE Fund; it also repeals Section 1358 of the vehicle code authorizing the DARE plate.
These two Taxi images have been added to the Taxi Plate History Section. The plate on the far left is from my collection and the plate on the near left is from Clayton Moore.
Clayton Moore has generously provided many images of old trailer plates. Many more will be posted over the next couple weeks. I am very grateful for Clayton's help.
In 1955 the plate size was not yet standardized with this one being 6" x 10¼". In addition a variety of serial number formats were used on '55 Trailer plates. It is unlikely that I will ever be able to display images of all the variations. They include the following: 0001 to 9999, A000 to Z999, 0A00 to 9Z99, 00A0 to 99Z9, 000A to 999Z, 00001 to unknown high. After going thru all the 4-character permutations and combinations, it was necessary to go to 5 numbers, as shown here.
By 1956 Trailer plates were now 6" x 12" and have remained that size. The formatting of the serial numbers was the same as the '55 plate above. The number of plates issued is unknown as the Bureau of Motor Vehicles lumped tractor and trailer registrations together until 1957. It appears certain, however, that there were over 100,000, necessitating the use of all six formatting schemes listed above with the '55 plate. Clayton Moore provided the image.
By 1957 Trailer plates were now all using a 6-digit format, gone were all the alpha-numeric combinations. The numeric sequence started at 100001 and progressed to approximately 216256, indicating that about 116 thousand plates were issued.
From a casual observation these '58 base Trailer plates are very similar in format, the difference aside from the serial numbers, is the presence of a tab slot next to the 58 on the far left plate. Click on the images to see a larger picture. The original plan was to provide metal tabs for renewal but that idea was abandoned in place of the now-familiar validation sticker. The elimination of the tab slot took place between 270-000 and 277-000. The series started at 100-001 and ran to at least 384-000 during its run up to 1964. Registration numbers at the time ranged from 121,000 in 1958 to 142,000 in '63, but since many plates were renewed from year to year it is difficult to determine the total number of plates issued based on trailer registration figures. Thanks to Clayton Moore for these images and many more to follow.
Bruce Bufalini sent this very early low number Conserve Wild Resources - Owl plate image. These plates came on the scene in November of 1993 and this would have been among the first issued. From the latest PennDOT statistical report there were 71,790 owl plates in use as of 12/31/2013.
From the earliest Conserve Wild Resources plate above, to the latest River Otter plate courtesy of Ryan Battin. From the same PennDOT report there were 32,761 otter plates in use as of 12/31/2013.
Here's the latest high Moped plate. A plate previously posted, CA030, had not yet been issued. For 2013 there were less than 2,700 mopeds registered, while there were over 400 thousand motorcycles registered.
Added this image of a U.S. Coast Guard Veteran.
It was recently noted by Jordan Irazabal, long time friend and founder of The Delaware 3000 website, that the National Greyhound Adoption Program has had their plate serial numbers jump ahead from G/H00716 to G/H01300. This is not a recent occurrence as the plate shown here has a 9-03 sticker on it. Jordan posits that plates up to G/H00716 were number-for-number replacements for the blue base, and that later plates, those above 1300 were for newer tags issued after the replacement process. This plate type has been added to the growing list of eight plate types with number sequence anomalies.
It's a start! After vacillating on the issue, I've decided to add a section on Trailer plate history. I have posted a number of images of plates from 1964 to the present. Click the link above to see some of the detail. I don't have a lot in terms of older trailer plate images, so any help would be greatly appreciated.
This picture perfect image of a Gettysburg Fire Department plate was provided by Bill Ceravola.
Brendan Sherry provided this image of a Team DUI / Pennsylvania DUI Association plate.
This series of Motorcycle plate images was provided by Ryan Battin. Ryan, who is an astute observer, noticed that there were some distinct differences in fonts on these motorcycle plates. The plates with the letter suffix (Format 5), which are also the previous series, are shown here next plates from the latest series (Format 6) with the letter prefix. The differences are easy to see when positioned next to each other, especially the 'F', '2' and '4'. Click on images to enlarge.
Here is what is believed to be a Flagship Niagara sample plate image from Jason DeCesare. What makes this plate somewhat unique is the absence of the word SAMPLE as a column of text, as seen on most samples.
Jason DeCesare also provided these two images of movie prop plates. He states that they are from the 2012 movie Won't Back Down. For anyone not familiar with PA plates, the serial number fonts are not quite correct, also numbers should be larger than letters and the right side of the plates should be all numeric.
This mid-1980s Trailer plate was spotted behind a shopping center last weekend. Judging by the 20 year old stickers, it's been a while since it was legal. It's not known when it was on the road last. I don't have a trailer plate history section on this site, but am giving it some consideration. Check our Rick Kretschmer's RicksPlates website for good trailer plate history and images.
And finally this lonely 1956 Tractor plate picture. This image is an addition to the alpha-numeric image previously posted.
As a matter of policy I don't normally rail against PennDOT, but some of the latest changes to make all plates look alike leaves me with a strong need to speak out. We all know that there was a problem with visibility of the Flagship Niagara plate, which resulted in that plate being discontinued. So is it really necessary to make every plate type look like every other just to improve visibility? And what is the purpose in having the words Collectible Vehicle twice on the same plate?
Not long ago the beautiful Save Wild Animals - Tiger plate was replaced by one of the so called 'family of plates'. Pennsylvania is gradually transitioning from a state which had some of the most beautiful plates and replacing them with some of the most monotonous and repetitive plates in use anywhere. Shown above is the new PA Collectible Vehicle / Collectible Vehicle plate shown along side of the version that is being discontinued. Below is the before and after treatment of the Tiger plate. You decide.
But wait, there's more. You can form your own opinion of this visitPA clone replacing the older Collectible Motorcycle plate. What's next to get replaced?
Here's a pair of new high Motorcycle plates from Ryan Battin. Note that not only are the plates sequential, so are the serial numbers on the validation stickers. Actually I just saw that Jordan Irazabal spotted L8988 which would make that a new high. Here's the link to the image on Facebook.
Ryan also provided a photo of the latest high number Municipal plate.
The plate on the far left is not a real Press Photographer plate, but the serial number, PP800, does seem to come from the Press Photographer series. It's obviously a made up plate with many departures from the real thing on the near left. The image was sent in by Bill Houser. The near left image is from Eric Butler.
This not a new plate on this website, rather it's an updated image of a PA Chiropractic Association plate.
Really!? I realize that reconfiguring a plate from the traditional horizontal design to a vertical orientation will limit what can be done with the plate. You can form your own opinion about the vertical Motorcycle plate. I think visibility of the small characters could be an issue.
This is the first image of this new vertical Motorcycle design, and was provided by Ryan Battin. The plate formatting is M0A1C, then M0A2C, etc., making this plate the 70th in the series. Check back next week for more on this subject.
Legislative Update — House Bill 770 has been passed and signed into law. On 3/19 the Governor signed the bill, now Act 23 which authorizes the following:
• The issue of Appalachian Trail Conservancy Special Registration Plates;
• Raising the vehicle weight limit on personal (vanity) and organizational plates from 10,000 lb. to 14,000 lb., and allow the use of vanity plates on Motor Homes & Trailers;
• Organizational registration plates may be personalized for a $100 fee, as well personalizing Person with Disability plates and certain veterans plates (DV & POW) for $50.
• Also makes provisions for a 70 mph speed limit on certain limited access highways.
Most of the provision take effect in 120 days (July 17, 2014) but it sounds like the speed limit change can happen as soon as roadways can be marked. Below is a link to bill information.
Ryan Battin sent this image of a new high Teen Driver plate. While a few more of these plate are in use, sales still appear to be sluggish. To see all the latest highs plates from PA, go to Tom Perri's website, https://www.paplates.com/.
Ryan also provided this new high Classic Vehicle plate image. The older traditional purple on white Classic Car plate is no longer issued and has been replaced by this visitPA style plate.
Finally from Ryan Battin this week is this new high Vietnam War Veteran plate.
This week I received several very interesting and informative emails from a couple of Amateur Radio operators, their plates shown here. Included is some detailed information about the formatting of call signs and the use of the -1 and -2 suffixes, and a map showing the various regions in the U.S. In order to present as much of this information as possible, a new page has been added. Link to Amateur Radio Information.
Here's a new high Trailer plate. Thanks to Ryan Battin for the image.
And Grant MacKenzie shares the latest high number Passenger plate.
Several plate images have been added to the Motorcycle History section including this hundred year old 1914 5-digit plate. Note the use of the leading 0 which was used in 1914 and '15.
Here's a very nice 5-digit 1916 Motorcycle plate. Little by little the M/C history section is taking shape' but many images are still needed.
This 1951 Motorcycle plate shows the all-numeric version which was issued prior to the alpha-numeric plates.
In contrast to the '51 plate above, this 1953 Motorcycle plate shows the alpha-numeric format.
This plate type, Gettysburg College Orange & Blue Club, just became an active plate about two weeks ago, and already we have pictures, thanks to Ryan Battin.
What do we have here? I'm not quite sure, but I am sure the state hasn't started issuing a vanity version of the Collectible Vehicle plate. Nevertheless it is an interesting plate, prompting lots of opinions and conjecture on the Yahoo license plate list. By the way, the vehicle is a Dodge Viper, thus the VENAMUS plate. The images were passed on by Arthur Levine.
Here is a pair of Antique Vehicle plates. The plate on the far left from Clayton Moore was the new high until the plate on the near left was shared by Ryan Battin.
Clayton Moore shares this 9-13 PA0000 validation sticker.
Ryan Battin managed to get a couple sample images of the current Motorcycle plate on the visitPA base, and also an image of one of the new style Antique Motorcycle plates. Unfortunately PennDOT no longer markets sample plates.
This 1915 Motorcycle plate is one of 16 to 17 thousand plates issued that year. Note the use of the leading zero (0) which was used on 1914 and '15 motorcycle plates, then discontinued in 1916. 1914 and '15 were also the only years to use porcelain motorcycle plates. The plate width varied depending on the number of characters in the plate. This image came from eBay. Click the link above to see a 5-digit plate.
Here's a pair of 1917 Motorcycle plates. Again the plate width varied by the number of characters. Plate colors were white on brown.
Here's an example of a '54 Motorcycle plate. As was typical at the time, motorcycle plates were issued annually using the number series 1 thru 9999, after which an alpha numeric series was used employing a single letter in the first position followed by 1 to 3 numbers, such as the P271 shown here. This image may have come from eBay. Some 23 to 24 thousand plates were issued that year.
These are the first images of newly updated St. Joseph's University plate, now on the visitPA base with colored graphic logo. All printing is now flat with the exception of the 5-digit serial number. It would appear that plate holders were able to get their old plate number reissued on the new base. These pictures were taken on the fly by Tom Perri.
This is the first image of a Delaware County Fallen Firefighter & EMS Memorial Committee. Tom has done a good job of finding tough types and photographing them in difficult surroundings. We do try to respect an individual's privacy and property rights.
A few works about image editing. I do edit, I do not alter images. I do my best to portray images as realistically as possible. This may include squaring, straightening, cropping, resizing and skewing images. I do not create or alter images with a few exceptions. In those few cases, such as to show an example of what a plate should look like, I have indicated that the image is a graphic depiction.
Several of us had a discussion about Pennsylvanians and their apparent lack of understanding about what the sticker well is for, and so it is with this Mount St Mary's University plate. I've seen much worse. Anyway, for me it's much more about the plate than the sticker.
Brendan Sherry provided this nice image of a NASCAR 18 Bobby Labonte plate. Some of the NASCAR plates have been on the road since late 2004 / early 2005 and the NASCAR plate program ended on April 30, 2010. While the program may have ended, many of the plates are still in use, unfortunately there are still about 17 of the 50 plus variations that have never been photo-documented. In addition there are about 8 plate types in which no plates were ever sold. For the sake of the hobby, I would hope that some day the full story of PA's NASCAR plates can be told.
Steve Ondik provided this image of a remake of a Passenger plate that originally would have been issued on the '91 base when the use of 7-character format (AAA-0000) came into use. I'm guessing that the original plate would have been issued around 1995 or '96. Keep in mind that the remakes were actually vanity plates that used a keystone separator and not an actual plate type.
There is further action in the State Senate on House Bill 770. This bill, if passed, would bring about several significant changes to PA's registration plate program as follows:
• Authorize the issue of Appalachian Trail Conservancy Special Registration Plates;
• Raise the vehicle weight limit on personal (vanity) and organizational plates from 10,000 lb. to 14,000 lb., and allow the use of vanity plates on Motor Homes & Trailers;
• To allow organizational registration plates to be personalized for a $100 fee, as well personalizing Person with Disability plates and certain veterans plates (DV & POW) for $50.
• Also makes provisions for a 70 mph speed limit on certain limited access highways.
The plate on the far left is new version of an Expeditionary Forces Veteran plate. Note the partial shift to a flat plate. It appears that only the serial number and the border are still embossed. There is a gradual trend in the USA toward the use of flat plates. This new plate image was provided by Brendan Sherry, the older version, shown for comparison, was from by Jordan Irazabal.
This new high Vietnam War Veteran plate image was provided by Ryan Battin. Nice photo.
Also from Ryan is this picture of a Northampton Township Volunteer Fire Company plate. This plate is also a new high.
Ryan Battin snapped this first image of a Bucknell University plate on the visitPA base. This also appears to be a new high.
While I don't track 'highs', it is an integral part of the hobby. For the latest in PA highs, go to Tom Perri's PA Plates website — https://www.paplates.com/. If PA makes it, and it goes on the back of a vehicle, Tom tracks it.
This Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of PA plate image was provided by Arthur Levine. These plates are relatively new having been approved in early 2013.
Also from Arthur Levine is this image of a Christian Homeschool Association of PA plate.
This image of a Philadelphia Fire Fighters' Union plate is from Tom Perri. What's unique about this plate is that the number sequence is out of whack. The normal sequence of numbers started at P/F20001 and runs to about P/F20716, but this plate number jumps way ahead. For some reason a run of plates from P/F23055 to P/F23116 was issued. Thanks to Tom for putting this information together. While the reason for this is open to speculation, it is certainly not the only plate type with number sequence anomalies. I have put together a table listing all seven known plate types where plates have been issued with gaps in the sequence.
The Gettysburg College Orange & Blue Club, which was approved as a new plate type back in may of 2013, now has about 14 plates in use.
To see a list of plate types with needed images and types with no active plates click here.
These are not a new plates on this site but the previous images were taken thru a window at a steep angle. Thanks to the folks at the Bike Works in Glenside for helping me get photographs of some of their plates. The plate on the far left is a 1926 Motorcycle, numbering started at 1 and ran up into the 14000 series. Plate length varied by the number of characters.
The plate on the near left is a '48 Motorcycle. The first series that year was numbered from 1 to 9999, followed by an alpha-numeric run as seen here, with the alpha character always in the first position, and last to advance.
Here's a '42 Motorcycle plate; this photo also taken at the Bike Works. The Motorcycle Plate History section has made significant progress over the past few months; however, many years and variations are still needed. Also additional images are needed for Motorbike and Motorcycle Dealer. Plate images are always appreciated.
As mentioned a few times over the last several months, PA would soon be making vertical Motorcycle plates available as an option. Many custom motorcycles today are outfitted with vertical plate holders and owners are using standard motorcycle plates intended for horizontal use. Thanks to Ryan Battin for the heads up on this. I understand that the formatting will be M000C, it appears that the M and the C will be non-advancing characters, which if so, will limit the number of alpha-numeric combinations available. We'll see. No vanities or Person with Disability plates will be issued.
Here's a very nice Presque Isle Partnership plate image from Brendan Sherry.
Brendan also spotted this nice Shriners plate — nice number. There is no indication that this organization has switched over to the visitPA base.
This low number Emergency Medical Services plate image was provided by Brendan Sherry. These plates are now being issued on the visitPA base but they have retained the embossed logo and bottom plate legend.
This number 1 U.S. Naval Academy plate was spotted recently by Steve Noll. Ironically the same plate was spotted by Tom Perri about two years ago. Clink the link above to see additional plate images.
The Bike Works in Glenside PA was kind enough to move some antique Harleys aside to help me photograph a number of older plates including this '62 base Motorcycle Dealer with a '63 sticker. Click the link to see images of a 2-digit, 3-digit and 4-digit dealer plates.
Check back next week for more images from the Bike Works.
Here's a '74 Motorcycle Dealer plate I recently acquired. These plates were only valid for one year, and had a starting number of 1000. Slowly the number of years of needed motorcycle dealer images is being reduced, but there are still large gaps. I have no images for the years from 1934 to 1953, plus several other gaps. Help with images is always appreciated.
Again this week are a few more plates courtesy of Jeff Francis. This is a '58 base Motorcycle plate with a 61 validation sticker. The '58 base was used up thru '63. During this time frame 5 different formats were used. Pictures are still needed of both formats with the 'tab slots'. The extra holes were not part of the plate when issued.
This pair of '77 base Motorcycle plates helps to complete examples of the four different alpha-numeric configurations issued up thru 1985. A new base was then issued in 1985 but the '77 base could still be used until the plate replacement in 1999 - 2000. Again a thank you to Jeff Francis for allowing me to use these images.
This Antique Motorcycle plate image was provided by Jerry McCoy. It is also a new high. This revised plate format was first seen around May of 2013 after the traditional white on purple plates were discontinued.
Here's a new high Mario Lemieux Foundation plate image from Brendan Sherry. It's tough getting clean images with this relentless winter in PA this year.
Brendan Sherry also caught this road-shot of a Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. plate.
Here are a few more additions to the Motorcycle Plate History section. This first image is a 1951 Motorcycle plate. After switching to a 4-character format in 1931, plates used 1 - 9999 as the number format, then when all the numeric combinations were exhausted they went to A - Z999; however, not all combinations were needed in 1951 with the series likely ending in the S or T range with some 25 or 26 thousand plates being registered. I need an image or images of plates in the 1 to 9999 series. Thanks to Jeff Francis for allowing me to use these images.
For 1954 Motorcycle plates followed the same basic layout and number formatting as the '51 plates with the exception of the colors being reversed and the year. The number of motorcycles registered would have been in the 23 to 24 thousand range, with the series ending during the P or R run. Again thanks to Jeff Francis for allowing me to use this image.
Finally this week is this pair of '58 base Motorcycle plates. For 1958 multi-year plates began to be issued as can be seen by the 61 and 62 stickers. All plates issued during the 5-year run had 58 embossed. The earliest plates actually had a tab slot on the 1 - 9999 and the A - Z999 series; however, it is possible that the entire A - Z999 series did not get used before switching to 000A series above left. It should be noted that like passenger plates, no metal tabs were ever issued as the plates began using validation stickers. Images of plates in the 1 - 9999, A - Z999 and 0A00 - 9Z99 are needed. Again thanks to Jeff Francis for allowing me to use this image.
A quick note to those visiting this site. Recently I changed computers and updated the operating system. As a result a number of technical issues have surfaced. In addition, some minor reformatting of pages is in the works. Please pardon any inconvenience and inconsistency, and hopefully most of the issues will be resolved in a week or so.
Not quite the current high Repair Towing which is RT-63598, but nevertheless a decent plate image.
Ryan to the rescue. I didn't have much to display this week and then Ryan Battin stepped up with a bunch of nice images including this Severely Disabled Veteran plate. This is latest rendition of this plate with flat screened PENNSYLVANIA and disabled veteran. This plate is also the current high
Ryan also provided this Disable Veteran plate image. This is a nice example of a short run of plates that used a keystone separator in place of the expected dash separator. All the plates with the keystone separator have been in the DV-34500 series, while plates in the DV-34700 series are back to using a dash.
Here's the current high on a PA Antique Historic Vehicle plate. If you recall around August of 2013, the previous version of this plate with a picture of a 1920 Oldsmobile Model 37 Roadster was replaced with the words seen on the left side of this plate. Thanks for the image Ryan.
Ryan Battin also snapped this image of a new high Dealer plate.
Ryan also sent an image of a 12-18 validation sticker. These multi-year stickers are used on small trailers where the owner has opted for a 5-year registration instead of doing it annually.
Here a new high Apportioned Bus plate I spotted recently. A reliable source once told me not to expect to ever see these plates on the visitPA base. Apparently so many were produced on the initial run that it is unlikely that they will run out.
Here's a recent photo of an Amateur Radio plate. All such plates use A, K, N or W as a prefix assuming the call sign is registered in the USA. The 3 designates the local region which includes Delaware, D.C., Maryland and Pennsylvania. Call signs that were brought into PA from another country may use the foreign call sign such as VE3AA from Ontario; however, I have never seen one of these.
This is a Passenger Vanity plate. I'm not big on vanity plates but this one caught my attention.
This is a Motorcycle Vanity plate on the '85 base. While vanity motorcycle plates are common today, the first generation vanities were not nearly as plentiful. I just bought this on eBay.
This Motorcycle plate represents a format (0A0) not previously identified on the '63 base. It is unknown where this plate format fits into the progression. Other plate formats include 1 - 9999, A - Z999, 000A - 999Z, 0A00 - 9Z99, 00A0 to the end of the run in the C series. This image is from a recent eBay auction.
This image of a new U.S. Naval Academy plate was provided by Ryan Battin.
Nick Tsilakis spotted this low number Rails-to-Trails Conservancy plate.
Spotted this United Bow Hunters of PA plate recently. The current high is B/H 01091.
I'm adding a new feature to several of my WebPages to indicate whether specialty & organizational plates are available to the public or if a membership is required. This will be on the College Plate Page, Fire Page and on the page with Miscellaneous Specialty, Non-Profits and Fraternal Organizations. This will be an ongoing project and information is always welcome.
As I mentioned last week, ALPCA member Al Holcombe sent me one of his 1000-piece puzzles. Thanks to my wife and stepson, it actually got assembled. My wife found a nice frame for the 20 by 27-inch puzzle and it now hangs in my office. It's not for sale, but you can get your own plate puzzle and a variety of plate maps from Al at http://www.unitedplatesofamerica.com/ .
This nice image of a Little League Baseball plate was provided by Ryan Battin. These plates have been on the street for almost a year and this is only the 5th plate issued.
Here's another plate from Ryan. This Notary Public plate was picked up at the PennDOT counter rather than thru mail order. Apparently not many of this plate type get handed out over the counter, thus the low number. This plate series started at N/P03000, while the actual high is around N/P03533 and still on the www base.
I had a picture of this #1 Retired Senator plate in the past but this nicer image was forwarded by Bill Ceravola. There are only a few of these plates in use. This plate type has only been in use since 2009. Prior to that, retired senators used PA Senator plates with serial numbers above 50 to distinguish those plates from the 1 to 50 crowd where the number represents the senatorial district.
This Monroeville Volunteer Fire Dept. plate was spotted by Bruce Bufalini. It's also a new high. Bruce and a couple other friends have been key to getting images from organizations located in the western part of PA.
Spotted this Friends of Valley Forge Park recently. It's not a high, but also not a plate I see every day.
Cody Raspen sent this image of a low number Passenger Vanity plate. It appears that the lowest passenger tag in PA is 3. While the 'under 10' plates are no longer reserved for cabinet members, they are reportedly under the control of the Governor. There are also some odd numbers in use like 00 and 01.
Legislative Update — Act 89, which was House Bill 1060, has finally been posted. This bill was signed into law by the Governor back on November 25, 2013, It's easier to navigate the Act than the Bill with all of its revision marks. This is the act that raises the cost of a vanity plate from $20 to $76, and special fund plate from $35 to $54. It also allows for vertical motorcycle plates and the elimination of validation stickers.
Recently I received an email from a fellow plate enthusiast who makes maps out of license plates. He also produces license plate puzzles. He is fellow ALPCA member Al Holcombe. Take a look at his website called United Plates of America, link below. He was kind enough to send me the 1000-piece puzzle. Click the thumbnails below to view larger images.
Thanks Al and best wishes.
I didn't really take notice to this in the past but Allegheny College is one of a several plate types where a two-tiered numbering system exists. The plate image on the far left was provided by Ryan Battin and shows a plate from the upper tier, while the other image shows a plate from the lower series. The color difference are due to lighting, exposure, different cameras, etc., not plate differences. The low series appears to run from A/C00000 to A/C00405, while the upper series runs from A/C01000 to A/C01135. Number series are not all inclusive. The upper tier is the more recent group; however, while A/C01135 seems to be the current high, the plate pictured, A/C01002 was issued a few days ago. This plate was issued at the PennDOT plate counter and since few Allegheny College plates are issued at the counter, the plates end up being issued out of sequence.
Here's another gem from Ryan Battin. This is the current high Fire Fighter image, on what is the oldest organizational plate in PA dating back to 1983. With the proliferation of specialty plates by individual fire companies, the 'generic' fire fighter plate has seen a drop in sales. Here are a couple interesting factoids. This was the only organizational plate produced on the '77 blue-on-yellow base, and it's the only organizational plate that was available as a vanity, but only for a short time.
I've been doing some maintenance on some of the webpages and added a few images in the current Bus, Limo, School Bus, School Vehicle and Motor Home sections to add a little more image variety and perspective. None of the images are new and all are of previously identified type variants.
The Motor Home image was from Clayton Moore.
Here's an early Motorcycle plate from 1917. The plate picture was provided by Clayton Moore. The formatting was similar to the 1916 and 1918 plates with PA on the left side stacked over 17. The colors were white on brown. Registrations, according to an old BMV document, were 24,567, with the series starting at 1.
And another very old Motorcycle plate, this one a 1921 plate picture from Jerry McCoy. The formatting is largely the same as the 1917 plate above except for the obvious color change. Registrations, according to the same BMV document, were 21,111, with the series starting at 1.
This 1977 Motorcycle Dealer plate from Jerry McCoy shows the return of the 2-digit stacked year embossed on the lower left. This after the '75 and '76 plates used annual stickers.
Finally this week is this '78 Moped Dealer plate. This is not a new plate on this website but this is a better image from Jerry McCoy. The Moped Dealer series and the Fleet Transporter are probably the two rarest dealer types. There is an unresolved question of whether the Moped Dealer series may have actually started in 1977. There is very little in the way of reference material from that period. It is very possible that the series began in 1977, a small number of plates were issued, then they were all replaced in 1978, and no one in the hobby was ever aware of the first issue. The PennDOT record that I have seen lists the starting date as 'Unknown'.
Just a note of appreciation to the many fine license plate collectors, enthusiasts and a few non-enthusiasts who have generously given of their time and photographic talents to provide so much of the material on this website. I could never have done this without your help. Thank You. John
Here's the first image of a Bethlehem Township Volunteer Fire Company sample plate. The organization has no plates on the street yet. The assigning of the 30000B/F number block was necessary because Berwyn, Brookhaven and Brookline fire companies are using the 00000B/F, 10000B/F and 20000B/F blocks respectively.
Here is the current high on the upper tier of Emergency Vehicle plates. The upper tier, which started on the visitPA base at EV-50000, after re-plating in 2007, are generally for volunteer and municipal fire and EMS agencies. The lower tier started at or around EV-30000 and are generally used by private or for-profit agencies. Thanks to Ryan Battin for this image. To see more history on this plate type click this link.
Ryan also provided this image of the current high Limousine plate. These plates were first issued in 1990 on the yellow-on-blue base, then switched to the www base in 2000 when all new plates were issued, and finally released to the visitPA base in January of 2011. To see more history on this plate type click this link.
Here's a rare Motorcycle Dealer plate from 1925. The plate image was provided by Jerry McCoy. What struck me about this plate was the use of the dash separator between the X and the serial number. I have not seen this before on Motorcycle Dealer plates, or at least it was not seen on the '23, '24 and '27 plate pictures. I have only limited information on '26 plates.
These '67 and '73 Motorcycle Dealer plates were also provided by Jerry McCoy. They are similar in many ways. The main differences are the obvious color reversal and the plate legend PENNA and MOTORCYCLE are also flip-flopped.
Check back next week for additional plate photos from Jerry.
This 1950 Motorcycle plate shows the use of an alpha prefix. At the time plates were issued annually with serial numbers starting at 1 and running to 9999, then A to A999 and so forth. An old BMV document shows that there were almost 27,500 motorcycle registrations that year. This plate image was provided by Clayton Moore.
Here's a '51 Motorcycle plate showing the alpha-numeric format. Note the use of the 2-digit number compared to the 3-digit plate above. The same BMV document shows Motorcycle registrations for 1951 were just under 26,500. Again thanks to Clayton Moore for the image.
This '52 Motorcycle plate image was provided by Clayton Moore and was used to replace a poorer quality image of the same year and format.
This is a '65 base Motorcycle plate with a '67 renewal sticker. This image, also from Clayton Moore was used to replace a previous image showing the 0A00 format. This is one of at least eight formats used on the '65 base up thru 1970.
Watch for more images from Clayton Moore next week.
Vertical Motorcycle License Plate Update. Under House Bill 1060, now Act No. 89, Pennsylvania will offer vertical license plates for motorcycles. These are expected to available by late February.
It always provides a sense of accomplishment when you can snap a picture of a number 1 plate, as I'm sure it was for Tom Perri when he took this image of a Blue Knights International Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club.
Check out Tom's PA Plates website (https://www.paplates.com/) where he tracks high numbers on every known Pennsylvania plate type.
As a pair or as a single, these 1935 National Guard plates help fill a void in the section dealing with the history of National Guard plates. This plate type has an interesting history in that they were issued during the period from 1930 to '35 and then not again until 1984 when they were issued as special organizational plates. Thanks to Clayton Moore for the images. A 1931 plate image is still needed to complete the pictorial run.
Here's a '69 Motorcycle Dealer plate. The use of the stacked DLR to designate dealer started in '67 after using MCD for a number of years. In later years both DLR and MCD were again used. Also beginning in '67 all plates used the word MOTORCYCLE as part of the plate legend until the plate changeover and the introduction of tri-colored www base in 2000. This image came from eBay.
The Motorcycle Dealer plate on the far left was produced near the end of the '79 base run, probably mid-1999, while the Motorcycle Dealer plate on the near left is from the start of the tri-colored www base, probably September of '99. There were no other bases issued in between the two pictured. While the plate coding switched from DLR to MCD, the numerical sequence continued from the '79 base which ended at 6999, and began anew at 7000 on the www base. The older plate image is from Clayton Moore.
This low number '39 Tractor plate picture was supplied by Tim Gierschick. The image seems to have a white on red look to it, but the actual colors were yellow on dark blue. It's hard to say what factors might have conspired to produce this color shift. This plate and several other examples of low number plates from that era show that even the lowest numbers used a 4-digit format.
And finally this week is an image of a 1972 Tractor Dealer plate. 1971 saw a changeover to this new style of dealer plate where the A, B, C, D and E prefix and suffix identified the type of dealer tag. In this case the D meant Tractor Dealer. Unfortunately in the mid-80s, as the A and B series filled up, plates were assigned without regard to the letter prefix and suffix, and eventually plates used up all the D and E combinations even extending into the F series. This change did not apply to the C series M.V. Business plates.