News and postings from 2019
In Plate-Related News: Click this Link to read the Philadelphia Inquirer's article with headline reading "Free Library’s $1M auto archives are moving to Philly’s world-famous car museum and to a Hershey attraction." The article is an interesting read. The Hershey attraction is the AACA Library in Hershey. Thanks to Larry Resnick for the information and link to the article. My interest of course is the license plate component, Larry thinks the material should be sorted out by mid-2020.
This is one plate we wish would never be issued, but nevertheless, here is a new high Gold Star Family. This photo is thanks to Matt Ceicka. This plate type was released in early November 2006 starting at G/S/F0001. Vanity check shows an issued high of G/S/F0796.
The plate frame completely hides the Distracted Driving Awareness legend, although the frame has its own safety message. These Special Fund plates were unveiled earlier this year, and this is the first personalized plate photographed thanks to Jordan Irazabal. There is also a motorcycle version of this plate with DA stacked + 3 digits.
Here is the latest letter series Permanent Trailer plate spotted by Matt Ciecka. The series prior to this was with the letter H. The letter I was skipped. Perm-Trailer plates were first issued back in 1987, using a PT-00000 format. Then in 2001 they were all replaced with the www series starting at PT-0000A. In 2015 that series maxed out and the new series began at PT-000A0. Click the link above to see more details and images.
Here is a Friends of Valley Forge Park sample plate. The image came from the organization, and Paul Bagnarol passed it on to me for posting. This plate program dates back to 2007. Plate check shows that the current high is 00102V/F.
If this looks familiar, I posted an earlier photo of a sample plate that was a much smaller image back in October. This is now a full size sample image of a Ridley School District organizational plate. At this time about 20 serial-numbered plates are in use. Thanks to Paul Bagnarol for his tireless efforts to pursue sample plates.
In response to my effort to fill in the sample plate gaps over the tears, Eric Tanner has sent me several needed images. First is this 1927 Sample using the typical 000 early serial format. This plate measured 6 inches by 10 inches. The image source was Worthpoint.
This is a 1931 Format 4 Passenger plate. That group ran from 00A to 99Z99. So 3, 4 and 5-character plates were issued. The 3 and 4-character plates would have measured 6 inches by 10 inches, such as the plate shown here. 5-character plates were 12 inches. Thanks to eBay seller alex-kollectibles-antiques for the use of the photo.
We are actually making very good progress on filling the sample plate gaps. This is a 1938 Sample from Paul Bagnarol. This sample measures 6 inches by 10 inches; however both 10 and 12-inch serial numbered plates were issued that year. Many other types of sample plates were made over the years, a few weeks ago I featured a 1938 Trailer sample.
Next up is this 1940 Sample from Eric Tanner. Again this sample is on a 6 inch by 10 inch base, and again issued plates consisted of about 10 different serial progressions, with many being 12-inch plates. I have a few more samples to post over the next couple weeks.
The large photo is from an on-line Philadelphia Free Library photo collection showing what appears to be a large truck, possibly a tank truck at a gas station. The cropped and zoomed photo shows a 1935 Z-Weight Class Truck plate. The series started at Z000A and ran to Z110C according to Jordan Irazabal, ALPCA's PA Archivist. With the final letter being the last character to advance, it's easy to see that only about 2,110 Z-Class plates were issued.
This #1 Purple Heart or Combat Wounded Veteran personalized plate gets top billing this week. I'm sure this plate gets lot of second looks in traffic, as well as I'm sure there is an interesting story behind it. It's also the first such plate to be spotted with the map outline. Personalized plates can have up to 5 characters in addition to the 2-letter identifier. The plate image came from Kat Keegan.
This Combat Action Badge plate was recently spotted by Jaska Börner. These plates have been around since 2014, but as far as I know, this is the first one photographed with the map outline. The Combat Action Badge is part of a series of five combat-related plates not including the Combat Wounded Veteran or Purple Heart plate.
This is a new high number Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran plate recently spotted by Jordan Irazabal. These plates made their debut back in 2005. This plate is devoid of the sticker well, but has no map outline. The map outlines have been seen on a couple vanities so far. Vanity check shows the current issued high as 05124I/F.
This PA Choose Life sample plate was provided by Paul Bagnarol. This plate shows the latest feature of the the small map outline, although the latest serial-numbered plate spotted was 01388C/L. That plate no longer had the sticker well but no map yet.
This is a new high number Pinnacle Health System plate, and was spotted by Nick Tsilakis. This program has had plates on the street since 2014. This new high would suggest that plate sales have not been very brisk. A search of their website did not show anything plate related.
Here's a very recent Temple University Alumni plate spotted by Nick Tsilakis. This is a new high and also has the map outline. You may recall a previous posting, or click the link above to see T/U00001 which also had the map. That plate was likely a remake.
This www base Motorcycle Dealer plate is part of a run which started at MCD7000 and ran to MCD9999, before making the switch to the visitPA base and starting a new series at MCD000A. The current reported high is MCD594E. Yes, the MCD along the bottom is the first part of the registration number. Thanks to Clayton Moore for the use of the plate photo.
The far left Official Use Only plate was provided by Kyle Kuser. It is from the 1957 to '65 run, and represents the high number spotted in that series. The near left Official Use plate also represents the high in the 1968 to '71 series. This plate is courtesy of Devan Ciemiewicz.
The far left is a 1924 Sample plate. That year is considered to be the oldest sample plate produced. Next to it is a 1926 Sample plate with much the same layout except for reversing the state and the year. Both plates measure 6 inches by 10 inches. Many thanks to Jerry McCoy for the photos.
But wait, there's more! Theses sample plates represent 1935 and 1936. These plates are similar in formatting except for the reversal of colors and the location of the plate legend. These came from Paul Bagnarol, who has provided quite a few sample images. I have additional later images to post over the next couple weeks. Sample plate images are still needed for the following years: 1925, 1927, 1931, 1940, 1944 and 1948. Any help would be appreciated.
This is a 1950 Format 2 Passenger plate. Format 2 ran from A100 to Z9999, so both 4 and 5 character plates were produced; however, all plates measured 6 inches by 11 inches. In 1950 plates were still issued in pairs. Thanks to eBay seller Sisk46 for the use of the photo.
With Thanksgiving this past week, it reminds me of so many things to be thankful for, and to express my gratitude and appreciation to the many friends, plate enthusiasts, eBay-ers, etc., who have contributed, shared or otherwise made available, many plate images and information.
Uber and Lyft want cars to have front license plates. Pennsylvania is one of 19 states without them, reads a Philadelphia Inquirer (or Philly.com) news article from 11/28/2019. Thanks to Larry Resnick, who suggests that such a thing is very unlikely to happen. At the present, there are no bills in the legislature that would authorize such a change.
The photos of this unused pair of Collectible Vehicle beauties came at the same time but from different owners. The far left plate is thanks to Devan Ciemiewicz, and near left tag is from Tom Firth. CV plates date back to 1996. In 2014 a new format was (sadly) announced but not seen until 2017. There is also a similarly-colored Collectible Motorcycle plate where vanity check shows only three registered.
Here is the first image, and the number 1 plate of the Edge Hill Fire Company. The photo was provided by Tom Perri. The plate frame was provided by the dealer and partially obscures this plate. The reason to advertise for the dealer, unless the owner works for them, is beyond me. At the present, Edge Hill has nine serial numbered plates on the road.
This is a very recent Virginia Tech sample plate configured to show a personalized version of such a plate with 'NAME' in place of the four zeros. The latest samples have the word SAMPLE flat-screened instead of being embossed. Thanks to Brendan Sherry for the photo.
Here's a new high number Conserve Wild Resources - Otter plate spotted by Tom Perri. As you may recall these plates shifted from the full graphic plate to the thumbnail image starting in 2014 with personalized plates, then including all such plates in 2017. The 2017 change also included the map outline.
Here's a nice image of an early www base University of Pittsburgh plate. This tag would have been issued as part of the plate replacement process around 2/14/2002. Originally this number would have been on a first generation blue on yellow Pitt Bicentennial plate. Thanks to Nick Tsilakis for the photo.
These early Passenger samples represent 1930, 1932 and 1934. The colors are the same since they are all even years. There was a change in formatting between 1930 and '32. I don't have a 1931 sample photo, so I don't know which serial format was used. These photos are all from Paul Bagnarol. Sample images are still needed for the years 1924 through 1927.
This is a fairly low 1953 Format 1 Passenger plate. Format 1 consisted of plates from 1000 to 99999, so both 4 and 5-character plates were issued. The were some 13 serial progressions that year. All plates measured 6 by 10¼ inches. Thanks to Rob Baran for the photograph.
This is a 1954 Passenger plate, but it's not a standard issue. Like the plate above, the all-numeric standard issue plates started at 1000 and ran to 99999. There has been a number of other 3-character plates issued in 1954 including 666, JD1 and B80. Clink the link above and scroll down to Format 15. Thanks to Tim Gierschick for the interesting photo.
I would be more inclined to call this odd color 1956 plate a paint test plate rather than a sample. It appears that this plate used glass beads to make the plate reflective, and giving the plate a rough textured look and feel. 1956 marked the year when all full-size plates were standardized to 6 inches by 12 inches. Thanks to Devan Ciemiewicz for the photos.
This is a 1945 Z-Weight Class Truck plate. All Z class plates used the Z000A format. Z class is the heaviest weight group 2-axle truck, which also make such plates much more rare than the R thru U classes. This plate measures 6 inches by 11 inches, and the photo was provided by Timothy Guy.
In Legislative News: Senate Bill 954, which if passed, would reinstate the requirement for registration stickers on license plates. The bill has eceived first consideration in the Senate, Nov. 19, 2019. If it gets approved, it would go to the house next. See also House Bill 1509, which calls for the creation of a new two-in-one sticker to be placed on a vehicle’s license plate, and would combine the requirement that a vehicle pass inspection and be registered; however, this bill was tabled on May 23 of this year.
The Boy Scouts' Cradle of Liberty Council, is offering PA Eagle Scout license plates. Their website indicates that the plates are available, and the number 00001 plate is being auctioned off. None are on the street yet. The application shows that the plates are also available for motorcycles. Thanks to Paul Bagnarol for the heads-up on this plate.
Here's the latest high Silver Star plate, thanks to Nick Tsilakis. The Silver Star is awarded for Gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States, and is considered the third-highest personal decoration for valor in combat. These plates have been around since 2012. This is also the first serial-numbered plates seen with the map outline.
Two different faces of the Nittany Lion. These are the first personalized plates I've seen with the map outline, one representing the Penn State Alumni Association from Brendan Sherry, and the other plate being Penn State University from Tom Perri.
Despite a few bends, this Trailer Dealer plate looked relatively new according to Preston Turner. This plate also represents a jump from the previous high of TD1984D. No sign of the visitPA base yet. This isn't PA's rarest dealer type, but it certainly isn't common. Other rare types include Dealer-Farm Equipment, Moped Dealer, Repossessor and Watercraft Trailer/Dealer.
The far left photo from Tom Perri represents a new high on Bus plate without the sticker well. The near left photo from Preston Turner represents a new high on Bus plate with map outline. The changeover point is believed to be BA-81900.
Nothing really new here — I've had this NASCAR 88 Dale Jr. sample plate photo for a number of years but never posted it. While the NASCAR series ended 9½ years ago after six racing seasons, there are still a number of NASCAR plate types for which only 1 or 2 or a handful of plates were issued, and none were photographed to document their existence. Not many are seen at plate meets or auction websites. Photo was from Paul Bagnarol.
Here are two pairs of Format 7 Passenger plates with the same number from sequential years, 1934 and 1935. These plates measure 6 inches by 10 inches. I understand that during this time period there was some latitude for personalization of plates, but within the bounds of the serial progressions. Thanks to Ed Levine for sharing this photo. This group shot will be posted on the Group Displays page. One plate from 1934 has also been posted on the Passenger plate page. One of the 1935 plates was previously posted. It would be interesting to see who these plates were registered to at the time.
We have a pair of additions to the 1948 Passenger display. The first is a 4-digit Format 1 plate with serial numbers running from 1000 to 99999. Next is a 5-character Format 2 plate which ran from A100 to Z9999. They both measure 6" by 11". The 8668 image came from Eric Tanner, and the A1126 photo is thanks to eBay user Eddspl8s.
Next is this pair of 1952 Passenger plates. The far left plate represents Format 3 which ran from 1A00 to 9Z999. The next plate, AM44, is part of Format 8 which ran from AA10 to ZZ999. These plate were both 6 inches by 11 inches; however, several plate series toward the end were reduced to 6 inches by 10¼ inches. Presumably this was in preparation for the 1953 run. The first plate came from eBay user Life-after-work2, and the AM44 is thanks to Platedog.
This is a 1948 U Weight Class Truck plate. Class U truck plates that year consisted of 4 serial progressions including U000A, U00A0, U0A00 and U00AA of which this plate is part of U00A0. All such plates measured 6" x 11", and were issued in pairs. Thanks to eBay user Humblehorder for the use of the photo.
This is a 1954 R Weight Class Truck plate. Class R truck plates that year consisted of 6 serial progressions including R000A, R00A0, R0A00, R00AA, R0AA0 and R0A0A, of which this plate is part of R0AA0. All such plates measured 6" x 10¼". Thanks to eBay user Licpl8s who also operates a plate website: https://www.automobilelicenseplatestore.com/
Here are a couple sample plates from Paul Bagnarol. On the far left is a 1944 Dealer Sample plate measuring 6" by 10". Next is a 1957 Truck Sample plate. While none of these plate say sample, the serial formatting is the key. The truck plate might make a nice YOM plate on a '57 pickup.
This exceptionally nice street shot was taken by Donald Harman. While it is not the current high, it is a great image of this latest format Prisoner of War plate. In speaking with the owner, Donald reports it was suggested that the series would be discontinued by the state. As long as we place members of the armed forces in harm's way, I would hope we could recognize those who have endured and survived such an extreme hardship. What a story this recipient must have.
Here's a U.S. Navy Veteran vanity plate. This plate still retains the sticker well. The BT2 likely stands for Boiler Technician Petty Officer 2nd Class. This plate series dates back to 2009, but the vanity option did not become available until later. Spotted this one myself.
This World War II Veteran plate photo was snapped by Bruce Bufalini, and is also a new high, and much like the POW plate above, very few such plates are issued today. In fact, plate check indicates that W/W03226 is currently the highest issued plate. Since this plate has never been updated, it seems logical that this one could be discontinued in the not too distant future. Same could be said for the Pearl Harbor Survivor plate.
Here's the latest in Emergency Vehicle plates, just arrived this week from PennDOT. This is part of the upper tier plates that started at EV-50000. These plates added the map outline at EV-71000. It's nice to see that everything on these plates but the state is still embossed. To see the early history on these plates dating back to 1977 click here.
Here is another new high. This Therapy Dogs United plate was recently spotted by Bruce Bufalini. Vanity check shows the registered high as 00063T/D. This plate still has the sticker well but no evidence of a sticker. Their plate program was approved in 2010, and the plates still appear to be available. The organization is located in Erie, PA.
Here is a prototype image of a Tall Cedars of Lebanon plate. This is a computer generated vinyl image of what the actual plate will look like except for the area where the 5-digit embossed serial number will go. These are presented to the organization for their approval of the plate design. The image shown here does not represent a change to the plate. Thanks to Paul Bagnarol for the image.
Here's the latest sample plate from Virginia Tech, now with the map outline. Virginia Tech's plate program dates back to 2006, with over 400 serial-numbered plates being issued so far. Thanks to both Brendan Sherry and Paul Bagnarol for the image.
This is a 1916 Motorcycle plate. Motorcycle plates were first issued in 1914, even though registrations were required starting in 1910 with homemade plates. During 1914 and '15, plates were porcelain and used the letter 'O' as the leading character. This plate had the lower left and right corners snipped. This was a John Willard & John Anshant plate seen at the recent Nazareth meet.
Here we have a 1935 Trailer Sample and a 1936 Trailer Sample. They are similar in size at 6 by 12 inches, but have the colors reversed, and the legend rearranged from one year to the next. Samples fill a niche for some collectors, especially early plates. Both of these photos are from Paul Bagnarol's collection.
—> TRAILER PLATE ALERT! Still need trailer plate photos for these years: 1920, '22, '23, '24, '27 & '28. Any help appreciated.
Which plate is more collectible? The serial numbered 1938 Trailer plates came in two progressions 0001 to 9999 and A000 to Z999 as shown here. We are fortunate enough to have a sample tag to go along. The A622 plate is thanks to John Willard and John Anshant. The sample is thanks to Paul Bagnarol.
This is a 1956 T-Weight Class Truck plate. Class T used two serial progressions that year — T000A and T00A0. In 1956 plates were standardized to 6 inches by 12 inches in size. Thanks to eBay seller Brushcreekstudios for the use of the photo. Here is a link to the listing if interested.
These are both 1956 W-Weight Class Truck plates. The far left plate was previously posted, while the near left plate is a new photo. The reason for showing them both is that the near left plate is a later issue and uses what is frequently referred to as '57 dies. Note that the plates uses different serial progressions — W000A and W00A0. Also compare the W on both plates. The map outline base is also different. The far left photo was provided by Jeff Lesher, and the near left photo was from Clayton Moore.
Light week, too many other time demands.
For whatever reason I never posted the prototype image on the far left of the Lebanon Valley College graphic plate. These date back to about 2010. The sample plate image was provided by the the college to Paul Bagnarol. I still need a photo of a first generation yellow on blue Lebanon Valley plate.
Yes, this is a Lehigh University Alumni vanity plate — the first one photographed to my knowledge. It also has the latest feature of the map outline, although this is frequently seen on vanity plates ahead of serial numbered plates. Lehigh University's plate program dates back to 1988.
This hot-off-the-press Thiel College plate photo was provided by Dale Bernecker. This plate has now switched to the map base. The previous reported high was 00126T/C which still had a sticker. Thiel's plate program dates back to 2013. The college is located in Greenville, Mercer County.
Couple change are evident on these La Roche plates. First the logo on the near left plate has new colors, and La Roche College is now La Roche University. We don't know if plates with the new format are in use yet. These plates have also been around since 2013. Thanks to Paul Bagnarol who found this change on their website and shared it with us.
The far left plate appears to be an unused Special Mobile Equipment plate. This first generation plate with the SME identifier in the prefix position came from Tom Firth. The near left plate represents the next iteration, with the SME moved to the suffix position. This plate also helps refine the series high point after which Pennsylvania stopped using the "You've got a friend" font, and changed to block letters. Click the link above to see more.
On the far left is a rare sample version of a 1938 Official plate. The near left plate is an issued plate which was previously posted. The serial numbers appear to be part of a reserve block of numbers from the passenger series. The range of such numbers is unknown. Thanks to Paul Bagnarol for the sample, and to Clayton Moore for the issued plate.
Next are these 1942 Trailer and 1944 Trailer plates. The 1942 is a Format 3 with the letter in the second position and the series starting at 0A00. The 1944 plate is a Format 2, which ran from A000 to Z999. Trailer plates at the time did not exceed 4 characters until 1951 or '52. Thanks to John Willard and John Anshant for the opportunity to photograph some of their plates.
Pennsylvania Monuments - Gettysburg 1863 plates, both standard issue and vanity, seem to be very popular among both collectors, and Gettysburg enthusiasts in general. These are Special Fund plates intended to support the cleaning, repair and restoration of the Pennsylvania monuments. They cost $56 with $23 going to the fund, or $108 if the choice is to personalize a plate. Thank to Bill Ceravola for the photo, and to Arthur Levine for passing it along.
While the state has not sold sample plates for a number of years, a few manage to find their way into the hands of collectors. Displaying such a plate is certainly better than being stashed away in a filing cabinet never to see the light of day. This very nice Heritage Region Jeep Alliance sample was recently posted by Brandon Sowers. The plate program dates back to 2007, and according to the PA Plates highs website, the high is 00047H/R.
While were are doing samples, we have this Eastern Berks Fire Department plate from their website. They serve the areas of Bally, Bechtelsville and Barto in Berks County. Their plate program dates back to 2015 with some 28 serial numbered plates registered. It appears that their license plates are available to the public to show support - check their website for more information.
On the far left is a personalized Bronze Star plate somewhat hidden behind the West Point plate frame. This plate has a 5-17 sticker. Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for the photo. The other plate is a brand new arrival. The photo is thanks to Danny Schell. This plate has the map outline which was first spotted on 00583. At the recent Dubois plate meet I ran into Bruce, and met Danny Schell in person for the first time. To the two recipients of the Bronze Star Medal, thank you for your service and your sacrifice.
To the casual observer, it's just another old plate, but to Tim Gierschick, this 1932 Traction Engine (TE) plate was a great find. Traction Engine is an old, now archaic, term for tractor. These plates are very sought after by some collectors. While the serial number may suggest that at least 4,747 plates were made, there is likely only a handful of plates remaining in the hobby today. These plates measure 6 inches by 15 inches.
This appears to be an unused Transporter plate and was provided by Tom Firth. Transporter plates date back to about 1984; however, this was a much later issue judging by the number and sticker. The Archives suggests that the series went at least as high as DT-03437.
Anyone have a yellow on blue Transporter plate or photo where the word Pennsylvania in the Friend font?
This is a pair of 1921 Commercial or Truck plates. The leading 1, regardless of the number of digits, indicates that these are both Class 1 or Class AA plates. This also means they are from the lightest weight class truck vehicle. Both plates measure 6 inches by 16 inches and were issued in pairs. The far left plate is thanks to eBay user MNTCompany, and the other plate is thanks to Clayton Moore. To anyone who finds the Commercial plates from 1920 through 1923 interesting, you may wish to read a great article on such plates in the February 2019 issue of ALPCA's Plates Magazine by Rob Baran.
Next is this 1951 Class S Truck plate. For that year Class S consisted of 5 serial progressions including S000A, S00A0, S0A00, S00AA, S0AA0. The plate shown here being part of the first group. Plate measures 6 inches by 11 inches. Plates were issued in pairs, this being the final year. Thanks to eBay user Brenstar1 for the photo.
This is a 1955 Class W Truck plate. For that year Class W consisted of 2 progressions including W000A and W00A0. The plate shown here being part of the first group. The plate measures 6 inches by 10¼ inches. Thanks to Jeff Hinkle for the use of this eBay plate.
Last week I mentioned another new plate type — see link to a news article in which the Ridley School District (Delaware County) is offering a license plate as a fund raiser. Note that the prototype and the sample have the stacked R/D on opposite ends of the serial number. I'm going to suggest that the sample was made after the prototype, and would be more likely to reflect the production plate. Thanks to Jordan Irazabal, Paul Bagnarol, Daily Times and Ridley's website.
Here is a Gettysburg College sample plate from Paul Bagnarol. This plate type dates back to 1999 on the yellow on blue base. Around 2015 a new version of this plate was listed on the visitPA base, as shown here, but unknown when the this version was first issued. One unique feature of the Gettysburg College plate is that the serial number was always four digits, unlike almost every other organizational plate which uses five digits.
This is a new high number Rosedale Technical College that was recently spotted in traffic by Bruce Bufalini. Their plate program dates back to 2014 when the plate legend was Rosedale Technical Institute and used a different logo. In 2016 the legend and logo were changed to the version which is shown here.
Here's another high photo taken on the run. This St. Vincent Alumni plate photo was provided by Bruce Bufalini. The St. Vincent plate program dates back to 1992, then reissued on the www base in July of 2001. Since that time the plate has retained its embossed logo and legend.
Here is yet another high from Bruce Bufalini. According to the 2018 Annual Report of Registrations, these easily identifiable Person with Disability plates are quite abundant with over 93,000 plates registered. Philadelphia County has just shy of 20,000 plates, while Cameron County has all of 21 plates.
On the far left is the previous high Special Mobile Equipment plate which I borrowed from Tom Perri's webpage. On the near left is the new high from Zach Taylor. The big difference is the addition of the small map outline. This change likely occurred at D500-SME or D700-SME.
This is a 1944 Format 1 Passenger with a low number 5-digit serial. This series actually started at 1000, and after reaching 9999, went to 10000. There were actually 9 serial formats that year. 4 character plates measured 6" by 10", while 5-character plates were 6" by 11". This photo is courtesy of John Willard and John Anshant.
Next is this pair of 1946 Format 1 Passenger plates, including a 4-digit and a low number 5-digit plate. The progression was the same at the '44 plate above, but all plates, whether 4 -digit ot 5-digit used a 6" by 11" base. Thanks to Rob Baran for the far left photo, and to John Willard and John Anshant for the other.
Here is a very nice 1950 Passenger Sample plate, thanks to Devan Ciemiewicz. For 1950 plates measured 6" by 11" and there were 11 serial progressions used. I have photos of samples from 1950 almost to the present, but before 1950 I have a handful of images but there are numerous gaps.
Pennsylvania's Commercial (Truck) plates from 1920 to 1923 are almost like a standalone group in terms of how the weight classifications are designated. Here we have a 1923 Class 4 or letter class C. There were eight weight classes from AA to F, however on the plates, the first digit designated the weight class, from 1 to 8. Here is a link to the item on eBay. Thanks to Joanne Subeck Crowe for the use of the photo.
The paint may be a little rough, but the plate looks solid. The real feature of this 1951 Truck plate is the serial number with a 2-letter prefix. The VZ indicates a 3-axle truck, meaning 1 front axle and 2 rear axles — not the same as today's tri-axle trucks. The VZ also indicates a mid-weight since the weight classes ran from RZ to ZZ. These 2-letter prefix truck from 1957 and earlier are very tough to find. Thanks to John Anshant for the use of the photo.
As mentioned last week, there are 4 new organizational plates in the works. In alphabetical order the first is Passavant Memorial Homes Family of Services. They are headquartered in Pittsburgh. The plate formatting is expected to be 10000P/M. No prototype image available yet, and no plates are believed to be in use yet.
The next is Peace Love Worldwide plate. Again, no plates of this type are in use yet, and no prototype image are available; however, this conceptual plate image came from their website. The formatting shown in the example, 00000P/L, appears to be correct.
Next is the Royersford Fire Department. Royersford is a borough in Montgomery County. The plate formatting is expected to be 00000R/F, and vanity check suggests that there may be a half dozen or so plates on the street. No photos or prototype images are available yet.
The last of that group of four is a new plate from Valley Forge Military Academy & College. The graphic rendition of the plate may be close to the real thing, but from what I can determine the formatting is likely to be 30000V/F, as several other organizations already have the V/F suffix. Also the bottom plate legend would be condensed to fit between where the bolt holes would be.
More Plate News: Here is a link to a news article in which the Ridley School District (Delaware County) is offering a license plate as a fund raiser. More on this new plate next week, and a prototype image. Thanks to Jordan Irazabal and Paul Bagnarol for the heads up.
This is a new high Share The Road plate which is part of the Special Fund Plate series. This series had its start in August 2016, and three years later they are still being issued with the sticker well. This is likely due the initial batches of plates being made with the sticker recess, and the demand for the plates has not used up the inventory. Watch for a change at B/K00801, or sooner. Thanks to Bruce Sakson for sharing this new plate.
This may be a new high Permanent Trailer plate. These plates date back to 1997 on the blue on yellow base. While they never had stickers, this plate type always had sticker wells. That was until they were replaced by the map outline around July or August of 2017.
It's hard to believe that these two items share a common lineage. On the far left is a very nice 4-digit 1954 Motorboat License (MBL) plate. The photo is courtesy of eBay user Erie Antiques. On the near left is a photo I took of an awful looking 2009 Boat sticker with 2010 expiration. It will have to do until a better on comes along.
This is a low number 1942 Motorcycle Dealer plate. The numerical sequence is believed to have started at 1 and continued until at least 265. Plates measured 4½ inches by 8 inches. Motorcycle Dealer plates were first issued in 1923. Thanks to eBay user Jeopardyboy1 for the use of the plate photo.
This low-number 1934 Tractor plate photo is thanks to Tim Gierschick. The serial range in 1934 started at 1 and extended to at least 4087, and all measured 6 inches by 12 inches. PA issued tractor plates from 1914 through the 1977 - '83 issue before the series was splitting into Implement of Husbandry and Special Mobile Equipment.
This 1937 ZZ Weight Class truck plate is a continuation of a series of 2-letter prefix truck plates that have been posted here over the past several weeks. As previously mentioned the 2-letter prefix indicated that the vehicle had a total of 3 axles, with the ZZ prefix making it the heaviest class. This plate was part of a John Anshant display.
Here is another heavyweight truck plate — this being a 1942 ZZ Class with a '43 tag. For a number of reasons these 2-letter prefix plates are hard to find, but highly sought after by truck plate collectors. This plate was also part of a John Anshant display. If anyone knows of any of these I appreciate hearing.
The final truck plate this week is this 1958 V Weight Class with a '63 validation sticker, and no tab slot. I had another V-Class truck plate, but this is a much better image. 1958 also saw an expansion in truck plates to include new classes for 3-axle truck tractors and 4-axle trucks.
Plate News — PennDOT has listed 4 new organizational plates. No prototype images yet. The new plates include: Passavant Memorial Homes Family of Services; Peace Love Worldwide; Royersford Fire Department (may have plates in use) and Valley Forge Military Academy & College. Check back next week for additional information.
This is a Bronze Star for Valor personalized plate. Judging by the sticker, it's not a recent issue. This plate type dates back to 2012; however the option to personalize such plates did not come about till 2014. According to Tom Perri's website, the current high is 00170H/V. Thanks to Arthur Levine for the photo.
As you may know, Pennsylvania samples are no longer marketed, but it does not mean that they are no longer made. When an organization applies to set up a plate program, and the plate is designed, a very small number of samples are produced for use by the organization. At times some of these sample plates may find their way into the hands of a collector. Thanks to Paul Bagnarol, we have these two Saint Francis University sample photos. The far left plate represents the organizational plates that have been issued over the last several years. The near left plate appears to be a new design. It is unknown if plates with the new design are being issued yet.
Not a new plate, but this International Association of Fire Fighters plate is in near perfect condition. IAFF plates had their start back in 1993 on the yellow on blue base. They have come a long was since then with the current recorded high of P/F06592 and color graphics. Thanks to Devan Ciemiewicz for sharing this plate photo.
Not 1 you see every day. This eye-catching University of Pittsburgh personalized plate was spotted recently by Bruce Sakson. Although it's a little hard to see, the plate does appear to have the small map outline. This plate program came about in 1988 and has gone through several changes dating back to the original Pitt Bicentennial plate.
Here's the latest high number School Bus plate. These plates have had the map outline since at least as far back as SC-83361. The School Bus plate replacement began in June of 2000 on the www base at SC-00000.
This is a 1937 Passenger Sample plate. It is believed that sample plates were produced as early as 1924; however, the earliest photo I have is 1928. The 'shorty' plate shown here measures 6 inches by 12 inches. 1937 was the first year in which the state map outline was used. Thanks to John Willard & John Anshant for the use of the photo.
This is a 1945 Format 9 Passenger plate. It has taken a while to find this plate, possibly because it was the final series of passenger plates for that year. Format 9 consisted of plates from 1AA00 to 9ZZ99 if they were all used; however, according to Eric Tanner's research the series ended at 9SP31. Credit for this photo goes to Alex Zalkin.
Last week I posted a couple of photos of rare double-letter prefix truck plates. These are known to have been used between 1931 and the 1964 - '67 issue. In general the double-letter plates ran from RZ to ZZ for lightest to heaviest classes, with the two letters identifying the vehicle as a 3-axle truck. The plate shown here is a 1934 Class SZ truck. 1934 was also the first year to use the word Truck as part of the legend. Thanks to John Anshant for the use of the photo.
Most of the same description from the above 1934 plate would apply to this plate as well. This being a 1936 UZ weight class truck, therefore this class is several classes heavier that the above plate. Both plates measure 6 inches by 12 inches, and were issued in pairs. I'm sure many of these double letter prefix plates were issued in small numbers and did nor find their way into the hands of collectors. Again thanks to John Anshant for the use of the photo.
Speaking of double-letter prefix truck plates, here's a 1964 - '67 YT Truck plate. It's a 3-axle plate, but it's actually a 3-axle truck tractor plate. Beginning with the 1958 - '63 issue and continuing with the 1964 - '67 issue, there were two new class groupings for 3-axle truck tractor, as shown here, and another grouping for 4-axle trucks. Click the link above to see more detail.
For obvious reasons these Special Event plates are not the most popular tags, nor do they compare well with metallic special event plates that were used at one time. These Lady Keystone Open Golf Tournament were produced for the 1988 and 1994 events and were only valid during the tournament. The source the 1988 plate on the far left is unknown, the 1994 is thanks to John Willard and John Anshant.
The Silver Star Medal is the United States Armed Forces' third-highest personal decoration for valor in combat. This recipient was likely a member of the 101st Airborne Division. These plates have been around since 2012, and so far 53 serial-numbered plates have been issued. Thanks to John Fedorchak for the use of the photo.
This APSCUF sample image was provided to Paul Bagnarol, who forwarded it to me, from the organization. Paul specializes in sample plates. The APSCUF plate program dates back to 2011, but no plates were ever issued until very recently. Upon receiving this photo I checked the plate availability tool which now shows 1 serial numbered plate in use. If you were wondering what APSCUF stands for, it's the Association of Pennsylvania State College & University Faculties. Watch for additional sample images by way of Paul Bagnarol in the coming weeks.
This is one of those on-the-fly street shots, where Nick Tsilakis managed to get the number 1 photo of a Rescue Hose Company No. 1 plate. They are located in Greencastle, PA, a little north of Hagerstown, MD. Their plate program dates back to 2016, and so far about 47 serial-numbered plates have been issued.
Here's the number 1 plate of the Rose Tree Fire Company No. 1. These plates have been in use since mid-2016. Plate check indicates that there are 14 such plates in use. This volunteer fire company serves Upper Providence Township near Media, Delaware County. The photo was taken by Eric Thompson and forwarded by Jordan Irazabal.
Here's a new high Apportioned truck plate. Their serial numbers have jumped quite a bit. In June of 2018, plates in the AG-73000 series were then the current high. Now 16 months later the series has advanced some 18-thousand plates. How long till the next plateau of AH-00000 is reached?
When Omnibus plates were reissued back in April of 2000, the serial numbers started at OB-50000 and ran to OB-58999 as the first group. The far left plate represents a high in what I refer to as Format 1. Beginning at OB-59000, the letter I in OMNIBUS was changed to a serif I. This switch from one to the other happened several times over the next few years. The third plate is an example of the first batch of plates following the switch to the visitPA base. The first and the third images are thanks to Alex Wiedlich. The center image is from Clayton Moore.
This is a 1939 Format 8 Passenger plate. Format 8 consisted of the serial progression of AA10 to ZZ999. 4-digit plates measured 6 inches by 10 inches, and 5-digit plates were 6 inches by 12 inches. These plates were issued in pairs. Thanks to eBay user Mintcandy621 for the use of the photo.
This pair of 1944 Passenger plates represents two serial formats. On the far left is a Format 2 plate, which ran from A100 to Z9999. The 4-character plates were 6" x 10", and 5 characters were 6" x 11". The near left plate is a Format 4, which ran from 10A0 to 99Z99, again both 6" x 10" and 6" x 11" sizes were used depending on the number of characters. The far left plate is thanks to Fabboss7 (link to item), and the near left plate is thanks to Respect-History, both are eBay sellers.
As time went on, the thought of finding a plate or even a photographing of one of these early double-letter prefix truck plates seemed less and less likely. Yet here is an original-looking 1932 Class ZZ weight class truck plate. The double-letter prefix also meant that the vehicle had 3 axles. The three-axle plate series went from RZ for the lightest weight class, to ZZ for the heaviest, skipping XZ. This plate measures 6 inches by 15 inches. All such 1932 plates are believed to be 6 characters in length with this series starting at ZZ1-000. Thanks to John Anshant for this photo from his collection.
Next is this 1933 Class SZ weight class truck. Another example of a double-letter prefix, in this case SZ, which would indicate a 3-axle truck, with the S denoting next to the the lightest class. Like the '32 plate above, the 3-axle serials went from RZ to ZZ as the weight classes increased. Truck plates beginning in 1924 and continuing thru 1933 had no legend indentifying the vehicle as a Truck or Commercial rig. Thanks again to John Anshant for this photo from his collection. Look for several more in the upcoming weeks.
Here is a pair of 1955 R-weight class truck plates. You could use the term half-ton pickup truck plates since the R-class represents the lightest weight group. These plates also represent the first and last serial progressions for 1955, making the run of the 6 serial formats complete. The R-series included R000A, R00A0, R0A00, R00AA, R0AA0 and R0A0A. The far left was courtesy of eBay user Nickey2 and the other plate is thanks to eBay user Fabboss7.
The far left Motor Home plate is thanks to Jaska Börner, and shows the highest plate documented so far without the sticker well. The near left plate shows the latest high in the series which has now been using the small map outline since at least HH-73819.
Here is a new high Presque Isle Partnership plate thanks to Mike Russo. Presque Isle is a beautiful park on Lake Erie with a lighthouse. This organizational plate type dates back to 2006. This series has been using the small map outline from an unknown point between 01069P/I and 01120P/I . It is not known if there was a series without the sticker well prior to the map.
This is a recent Rails to Trails Conservancy vanity plate from Brendan Sherry. This plate looks like it does not have a sticker well. It appears that so far the documented numeric high of R/T01507 still has the sticker well. Quite often personalized organizational plates show new features before the standard issue.
This Slippery Rock University plate is thanks to Jonathan Ortmann, and is hot off the press, which would also make this the new high. This is one of those plates that have never transitioned from the www base to the visitPA base. Plates up to S/R00999 are in inventory, so it could take a while.
This University of Michigan tag is another one of those plates that have never transitioned from the www base to the visitPA base. And with plates up to U/M01999 sitting in inventory, it could be a long time. The plate shown here is a new high. This traffic shot was provided by Ryan Battin.
Here's the latest Vertical Motorcycle high plate from Jeff Hinkle. To understand the serial progression, keep in mind that the M and C are part of the serial number but do not advance. Therefore only the 3 characters in between are in play. The numeral in the third position advances first, then the letter in the 4th position moves and finally the letter in the second position will advance last. Confusing — a little, in addition we are not used to reading vertically. As a point of information, there was a total of 1,566 such plates in use at the end of 2018.
Here is a 1938 Format 2 Dealer plate. Format 2 tags had the X in the second position. That format ran from 1X00 to 9X999, and measure 6" by 10" for 4-character plates and 6" by 12" for 5-character plates. Click the link above to see all three formats. Thanks to eBay seller Mollypitcher for the use of the photo. Here is a link to the eBay listing.
Here's a gem from Joe Ritchey, and helps to fill a gap. This is a 1937 Format 2 Motorcycle plate. The first series ran from 1 to 9999, then the alpha-numeric format came into play beginning with A, A1, A2, etc. with the letter always being the last to advance.
Here's a 1953 R0DE0 Truck plate. As you may know, in PA numbers are larger than letters, so the two 0s are actually zeros. It is an R-weight class with this plate being part of serial progression R0AA0. This is a shorty, as all truck plates in 1953 were 6" x 10¼", and were issued as singles. Thanks to Rob Baran for sharing this photo.
This is a 1917 3-Star weight class truck plate. Truck weight classes were designated by the number of stars from 1 to 5, with 5 being the heaviest. All truck plates had a leading S as part of the serial number which likely indicates solid rubber tires. The plate shown here uses the short state name, PA, and 2-digit year, 17; while 3-star plate S6011 used PENNA and 1917 as the legend. This plate measures 6" by 16", while there were also some 14" plates. Thanks to Jeff Francis for the use of this photo. An interesting excerpt from 2017 vehicle records shows that plates S1 to S13 were registered to the Commonwealth of PA, State Highway Dept.
Next is this 1918 2-Star weight class truck plate, also thanks to Jeff Francis. 1918 used the same 1 to 5 star system to show the weight class. This plate has a wide spacing between the C and the serial number. I have not seen this spacing on other '18 truck plates. The C is likely the start of the designation of Commercial; however, the registration records at the time were referred to Solid Tires Motor Vehicles.
Here's a brand new In God We Trust plate from John Fedorchak. Despite its newness, the plate still retains to sticker well. It appears that as many as 5000 of these plates may have been produced prior to the elimination of the sticker well; however time will tell. These plates date back to November of 2014, and are considered an optional plate. Another optional plate is the Teen Driver, and the no-longer-available We The People plate.
The far left Combat Wounded Veteran / Purple Heart plate is a recent acquisition of Devan Ciemiewicz, while the near left plate is the current high and came from Nick Tsilakis via Tom Perri. At first glance these plates may look the same; however, the spacing of the medal from the left margin is different on the two plates, as is the spacing of the stacked P/H. There is also a difference in the legend at the bottom. The far left plate uses a wider font.
This is the first personalized version of a Classic Motorcycle plate spotted. For unknown reasons Antique Motorcycle plates far outnumber Classic Motorcycle plates. As of the end of 2018, there were over 15-thousand Antique Motorcycles, while at the same time there were only 777 Classic Motorcycles.
In spite of their differences, these Antique Motorcycle plates are all still legal. I can't provide a year of issue on the older plates, but they both have wide bolt hole spacing which would have made them 1984 or later, I believe. The 08594 plate is the current high. While these Antique Motorcycle plates are fairly common, the corresponding Classic MC plates are quite rare. The Collectible Motorcycle plate is almost non-existent, with only 1 plate confirmed.
This pair of Municipal Motorcycle plates was recently spotted at the Lansdale Bike Night. They were in use on police motorcycles. The near left plate represents a new high number. In fact the current registered high is MG99E. The plates are expected to switch to the visitPA base at MG00G, but this is unconfirmed.
This is a vanity Person with Disability Motorcycle plate. The PD and wheelchair symbol, which are flat screened, are not part of the registration number; however, the embossed P is part of the number but is a static, non-advancing character. So this limits the plate to three characters for a personalized tag.
Here's another Motorcycle Vanity that uses the letter Q. That letter is never used as part of serial progressions. I thought it would be worth displaying for that reason. This plate dates back to the sticker period, when the MC plate legend was still embossed, whereas later personalized plates use a flat screened legend.
Here is a 1949 Motorcycle plate in use as a YOM plate. Yes, the plate number is registered. This was also spotted at the Lansdale Bike Night. For 1949 MC plates ran from 1 to 9999, then used an alpha-numeric progression starting from A, A1 to A999, and ended in the G-series.
This is a 1929 Trailer plate. The TT prefix was used beginning in 1924 and continuing through 1929. The two photos I have of such plates measure 6 inches by 15 inches; however, it is unknown if plates with fewer characters were shorter. Much early Trailer plate history remains to be recorded. So far I have no photos of Trailer plates from 1920, '22, '23, '24, '27 and '28. If anyone has plates, photos or any other information pertaining to early Trailer plates it would be most appreciated. Thanks to Bob Connison for the photo.
By 1934 Trailer plates received a major facelift. Gone was the T prefix and now the serial formatting used a 1 to 9999 progression, followed by an alpha-numeric format such as A123. In addition, plates had TRAILER spelled out. The 4-digit year was stacked on the left side of the plate and PENNA stacked on the right. Thanks to Jeff Hinkle for the use of the photo.
This very nice 1952 T Weight Class Truck plate is courtesy of Clayton Moore. For 1952 there was the usual weight classes with prefix designations from R to ZZ. Class T used two serial progressions of T000A and T00A0, of which this plate is part of the second progression. The photo gallery now has examples of both progressions. All '52 Truck plates measured 6 inches by 11 inches.
A number one plate always deserves top billing, and so it is with this Number 1 Christian Homeschool Association of PA, located in Palmyra. This organization has had a plate program since 2008, and according to Tom Perri's PA Plates highs page, the current reported high is 00019H/S. Thanks to Brendan Sherry for the plate photo.
Which is it CHARITY or CHARITIES? The Flyers Wives Charities plate legend started out as plural in 2006, then the singular form was seen in 2017. Recently a new high was spotted and the legend is now plural, again. Thanks to Tom Perri for the far left photo from 2018, and to Jaska Börner for the new high. Anyone know what's going on here?
This is the number 2 plate from the Saxonburg Volunteer Fire Company (Butler County). The leading 2 may be confusing if you are not familiar with the organizational numbering system. PennDOT will generally assign a block of 10,000 numbers to an organization. Saxonburg received the 20000 block, after other groups received 00000S/F, 10000S/F, etc. The current high is listed as 20021S/F. The image is thanks to Jonathan Ortmann.
Here's the first image of a personalized Perdue University plate. The sticker would indicate that it's not a new plate. The Purdue plate program dates back to 2006. Purdue, which is located in Indiana, is an example of an out of state organizational plate. PA has about 18 out-of-state college/university plates. Thanks to George Kunsman for the photo.
Here's a recent photo of a Seton Hill University plate. This moves the bar forward as a new high thanks to Bruce Bufalini. Vanity check shows the registered high is now S/H00113. The Seton Hill plate program dates back to 2006, and the facility is located in Greensburg, PA.
Here's a recent photo of a personalized International Association of Fire Fighters plate from Bruce Bufalini. The IAFF plate program dates back to 1993. Legislation in 2014 paved the way for personalized organizational plates. This plate does not have the sticker well; however, the latest plates have the map outline.
This Tall Cedars of Lebanon plate photo represents a new high. The presence of '15 and '17 stickers would suggest that it is not a recent issue. Vanity check indicates that the registered high is now T/C00072. This plate type dates back to 2005. Thanks to Tom Firth for the picture.
Got quite a few motorcycle-related plates at Lansdale Bike Night starting with this new high Moped. Where I live in east-central PA Mopeds are very scarce, and of the approx. 1,500 bikes at Lansdale, this was the only Moped plate I saw. There were some 374,000 motorcycles registered in PA in 2018 and only 2,054 mopeds. Moped plates date back to 1977, with the plates being replaced in April of 2000 and starting new at BA000, today, almost 20 years later, the progression has only reached CF053.
Next in the lineup is this current issue Motorcycle high number. The current serial progression started at 0AA00. As recently mentioned, since the 2000 plate changeover, a number of plate serial progressions have been used starting with AAA00, 0000A, A0000, and finally to the current run of 0AA00. Letter L, is the last character to advance.
The Vertical Motorcycle tag on the far left is also a new high. I don't know if it's the small font or the vertical layout, but I find these plates hard to read. Too much of the plate is white space.
The center and near left plates both have a zero (0) as the 4th character of their registration numbers, but they are not the same character on the plates. Note the correct zero is rounded, while the letter O has square corners. The near-left plate is actually using the letter O in place of the zero. It is not a vanity.
Check back next week for more Motorcycle updates, including Antique, Municipal, Person w/ Disability and Vanity.
The far left plate is a new photo from Bruce Bufalini and represents the highest number spotted on the Format 5 Municipal Government series before the move to the visitPA base with the stacked M/G and the map outline. The M/G9007J plate, which was previously provided by Bill Houser, shows the low on the current series. The transition took place at M/G9000J, and was first seen in February of 2017.
This is a 1948 U-Weight Class Truck plate. For that year, the U Class consisted of these four serial progressions: U000A, U00A0, U0A00 and U00AA, of which the plate shown here is part of the third group. All plates measured 6 inches by 11 inches, and were issued in pairs. Thanks to Pl8source for the use of the photo.
Here is a 1956 R-Weight Class Truck plate. Class R utilized many serial formats including R000A, R00A0, R0A00, R00AA, R0AA0, R0A0A, R00TA and R0000A. Some later plates that year used 1957 dies, and the last serial format in '56 was a 6-character plate using the '57 map base. Thanks to Clayton Moore for the use of the photo.
NOTICE: The 'PLATE LOOKUP' feature above [on home page], which has not been working since 9/3, has been fixed.
It's not a new plate, but it is the new high Circus-Carnival Truck tag. The current series on the www base began at B/Z01500. The original series dates back to 1990 and was on the yellow on blue base. Over the years the meaning of the BZ prefix has often been questioned. The most frequent answer I've heard is for Bozo the Clown.
The previous photos of Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation plates were all with sticker wells. The more recent plate shown here does not have the sticker well. These plates made their debut back in 2012. Thanks to Jonathan Ortmann for the use of this photo.
As Bruce Bufalini said when he shared this International Brotherhood of Boilermakers 00069B/M near left photo, this is one that we don't often see. The other photo shows the current high of 00074B/M, which is a Ryan Battin photo and was borrowed from Tom Perri's website. That photo dates back to 2014 but is still the current reported high. Vanity check shows an issued high of only 00082B/M.
This is a photo of a recently issued PA State Society Daughters of the American Revolution vanity plate. The plate legend is the second or third longest of any PA special organization plate. The sticker well is no longer seen, but no map yet. Thanks to Nick Tsilakis for the use of the photo.
I somehow missed posting this perfect photo of a Shippensburg University Alumni plate which is also the latest high. This plate has the map outline, which was first spotted on S/U01767. The image was taken by Nick Tsilakis, and was slightly edited by Jordan Irazabal in preparation for posting. Shippensburg plates date back to 1989.
This low number Philadelphia Fire Fighters' Union plates was recently photographed by Jordan Irazabal. This plate would date back to 2005, the first year for this plate type. According to Tom Perri's PA Plates highs page the current reported high is P/F21063. It should be noted that there was a group of outliers from P/F23055 to P/F23116. The reason for this is not known — possibly an error.
Here is a new high School Vehicle plate from Nick Tsilakis. It has the map outline which was added at about SV-26800. These plates have seen many minor changes in formatting over the years with this plate being part of Format 10. These changes included plates with and without separators, narrow and wide legend fonts, etc.
This trio of gems was provided by Bryan Hummel. They are all part of what I have listed as Format 7 Passenger plates for 1930, 1931 and 1932. That format consists of the serial progression of AA to ZZ999. So yes, there are 2-alpha character plates, and 2-alpha plus 1 numeric character plates as shown here. It it believed that such plates, while not actual vanities, lent themselves to be issued as political favors, etc. Plates up to 4 character were all 6 inches by 10 inches.
This is a 1949 Format 9 Passenger plate. Format 9 is made up of the serial progression of 1AA0 to 9ZZ99. So both 4 and 5 character plates were issued; however, all such plates measured 6 inches by 11 inches, were issued in pairs and had an expiration date of 3-31-50 embossed in top map border. Thanks to eBay user Mikym4 for the use of the photo.
This is a very fine 1925 S-Weight Class Truck plate courtesy of Rob Baran. There was no Truck or Commercial legend used between 1924 and 1933, and while Passenger plates also used an alpha-numeric format similar to this plate; Passenger plates only used A and B as the first character, while the truck series ran from R through Z. X was not used.
Here's another beauty from Rob Baran, this one being a 1927 S-Weight Class Truck plate. As described with the 1925 plate above, the identification of this plate as a truck was is based on the alpha character in the first position, although there was some R-Class overflow plates where the R was used in the suffix position. Both the 1925 above and the '27 shown here measure 6" by 15".
Here is another Motorboat registration sticker, this one showing an expiration date of March 31, 2013.
NOTICE: To anyone who has experienced difficulty enlarging this page on a smart phone, I apologize.
Hopefully the issue has now been resolved.
Here are two of the latest examples of Classic Vehicle plates. The far left traffic shot is the new high and reads C46814. It was provided by Jordan Irazabal. The near left plate was provided by Bruce Bufalini and offers a closer view of another plate also in the C46000-series. This plate type dates back to 1977, serial number starting at 10000, antique style numbers, tag legend reading Classic Car, purple on white colors.
Here's another new Street Rod high on the family of plates base. Street Rod plates date back to 1981 and after issuing 7000 plates on the original 'roadster' base, the new 'redundant' base takes its place. After all of these changes it still retains the sticker well.
Take your choice, same Operation Enduring Freedom Veteran personalized plate. A little difficult to see, but the plate may still have the sticker well. This plate type dates back to 2005. Thanks to Jeff Lawson for the photo(s).
Next is this personalized Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran plate. While the standard issue Iraqi Freedom plates have not been documented with the map outline yet, a few vanities have been seen. It's not uncommon for personalized plates to lead the way with changes to the plate.
This pair of U.S. Navy Veteran plates both display the map outline. The serial number plate is the first of the regular issue series photographed with the map, whereas vanity plates such as the NURSE plate have been spotted with the map for a while. Thanks to Ryan Battin and Jeff Lawson respectively for the plate photos.
This is a 1946 Format 10 Passenger plate was not an easy find. The series ran from 10AA0 and ended at 47DB0 which was the end of the issue. This last run only ran from AA to DB. I'm still looking for a '46 plate in the 0000A to 9999Z series. Thanks to eBay user Dimaulo123 for the use of the photo.
Next is this 1948 Format 4 Passenger plate being part of the serial progression of 10A0 to 99Z99. So both 4 and 5-digits numbers were part of this series. All plates measured 6 inches by 11 inches regardless of the number of characters. Thanks to eBay seller Securityautoparts for the use of the photo.
This is a 1922 Class 4 Truck plate. The truck series from 1920 to 1923 inclusive, embarked on a whole new system in terms of how weight classes were designated. From 1914 to 1919 weight classes were designated by the number of stars on the plate ranging from 1 to 5. Then in 1920 a new system was employed using an all numeric format with the first digit on the plates denoting the weight class. The class numbers which ranged from 1 to 7. In 1924 the more familiar system or R through Z minus the X came into use. This image was recently shown by Clayton Moore with an indication that it will be at an auction on Sept 4th in Reading. I have no additional auction information. Sorry for the long read.
This is a 1949 U-Weight Class Truck plate. For that year there were four U-class serial progressions including U000A, U00A0, U0A00, U00AA. With the addition of this photo, all four classes are represented. This plate was spotted at the Wheels of Time Rod and Custom Show in Macungie, PA.
Here's another U-Weight Class Truck from 1954. Like the above plate, the U-class was made up of U000A, U00A0, U0A00, U00AA, with this plate being part of the first group. This plate appears to have been professionally restored, however, the expiration date and the keystones should have been yellow.
This is a 1956 W-Class Truck plate in near perfect condition. The W-class was part of the progression of gross vehicle weight trucks that ran from R for the lightest weight through Z for the heaviest 2-axle trucks. X was reserved for Dealer plates. 1956 also saw the standardization of plate sizes to 6 inches by 12 inches. Thanks to Jeff Lesher for the use of this photo.
This 2-18 validation sticker was provided by Tom Firth. While such stickers stopped being issued after 12-31-16, vehicles with multi-year registrations, such as trailers, could have stickers as far out as 2022. And now there is legislation to bring the stickers back, in combination with the vehicle inspection process.
Here is the first plate issued, and the fist photo of a North Strabane Fire Department tag. Thanks go out to John Fedorchak for the image. This plate type was approved in 2017, but until June of this year there were still no tags on the road. Plate check shows only one active tag; however, there could be vanities in use.
Here's the latest high PA Choose Life plate. This plate no longer has the sticker recess, but still lacks the map outline. The previous high of 01363C/L still had a 1-17 sticker. This plate type dates back to 2007. The Choose Life plates always outdistance the Planned Parenthood plates.
While we are always looking for new highs, nothing quite measures up to a number 1 plate. There is always a story behind an award, such as the Silver Star. I had a friend from back in high school who gave his life to save his platoon leader, and for this he was posthumously awarded a Silver Star.
I posted another Veteran Motorcycle plate three weeks ago that also showed the wide VETERAN font. This plate helps to narrow the transition point where this would have occurred The change would have been after V2675 and before the plate shown here.
This is a new high Motorcycle Dealer plate, note the MCD tag legend. The MCD is actually part of the registration number, which would read MCD269E The letter 'E' in the final position is always the last to advance. The history of these plates dates back to 1923, with numerous gaps in my photo gallery.
Motorcycle Vanities don't appear to be nearly as popular as with Passenger plates. Of course Motorcycle plates are limited to 5 characters. This is a recent photo from Ryan Battin. It shows the MC legend as being flat screened, whereas regular issue motorcycle plates still use an embossed MC. While the flat screened MC legend was first seen in September of 2017, it was also used on the 'Live Free Ride Alive' run.
This is an Omnibus plate from around 2003 - 2004. It is part of the series that used a sans serif I on the tag line. At the time the serif (I) vs. sans serif I would go back and forth every few thousand plates. This is a good example of the high end of Format 3. Thanks to Alex Wiedlich for the plate photo.
School Buses after finally making the switch to no sticker well, have now added the map outline as shown here. Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for this update. A resource document suggests that this latest change may have taken place at SC-82300, but we know that such data is not always reliable. From a historical perspective, School Bus plates had their origin in 1956. Prior to that it may seem logical that School Buses would have used a regular Bus plate, however, Clayton Moore recently posted a period photo of a School Bus with what appears to be a 1938 U-Class Truck plate! Keeps the hobby interesting.
This on-the-fly highway shot of a new high Permanent Trailer plate was provided by Preston Turner. This series began using the small map outline in the mid-PT-000D0 series, but it's hard to see on this plate. Since this is a series of permanent registration plates, they never did use validation stickers.
Here's the latest high Taxi plate. This photo was also provided by Preston Turner. The use of Taxi plates dates back to 1977 where the series started at TX-10000. Before '77 the registration card listed the vehicle as a Taxi, but the registration number came from the Bus series, BA24###.
This very nice 1935 Legislative plate photo was provided by Bob Connison. We know from a 1935 BMV document that the serial progression of 1 to 400 was authorized. Unfortunately 1935 was the final year for such plates, after which they were discontinued until 1957.
This is a 1929 'shorty' Passenger plate. Despite being 90 years old, it still looks good. It is part of Format 4 which ran from A to F-999, so all plates within this 1 to 4 character series measured 6 inches by 10 inches. This unique plate is courtesy of Platedog.
Next in line is another 'shorty', this being a 1935 Format 2 Passenger plate. This group was made up of A to Z999, on 6-inch by 10-inch plates, and A1000 to Z9999, being 6-inch by 12-inch in size. Thanks to eBay user Theoutfittersnd5 for the use of this photo.
This is a 1947 U-Weight Class Truck plate, and the first one of that class I have for that year. There were however, a total of 4 serial progressions including U000A, U00A0, U0A00, U00AA with this plate being part of the 3rd group. All plates were 6-inches by 11-inches. Thanks to Platesource for the use of the photo.
Judging by the number, the far left plate is the earliest First Generation Temporary plate I've seen. The dates are no longer visible, but the previous low number plate, 715-131, has a 1949 date, so it is likely that this plate is several years older. The other plate is the highest number spotted on these first generation plates. Here's a link to the plates on eBay.
Whenever I spot a needed year PA Boat Sticker in my travels, it often finds its way onto my camera. In this case this was a graphic depiction in a document the state had on-line. It's also a sticker for a 14 - 15 Unpowered Watercraft.
More Legislative News. The elimination of validation stickers was supposed to save PennDOT $3 million a year, instead it has created a loss of $33 million in revenue. To correct this situation, House Bill 1509 was introduced calling for the creation of a new two-in-one sticker to be placed on a vehicle’s license plate. The new sticker would combine the requirement that a vehicle pass inspection and be registered.
Here is the the number 1 Edge Hill Fire Company plate, which is also the first plate of this type spotted. So it is also the current high; however, vanity check indicates that 10 plates have been issued. Thanks to Tom Perri for the image, and knowing Tom, I'm sure he made an extra effort to find this plate. If you go to PA's list of Approved Special Organizations, you will not find this or several other new organizational plates.
On the far left is a perfect image of a Philadelphia University plate. It was recently photographed by Nick Tsilakis. While only about 69 of these plates have been issued so far, this plate is part of the second generation. A first generation plate is shown for comparison. Somewhere between these plates the change took place.
Some of my friends may have already seen this plate photo. Spotted this plate in traffic about a week ago. I wonder if the low number gets the owner any special privileges? Person with Disability vanities have been around for a few years. You may recall that the earliest plates date back to 1965 and with HP enclosed in a box, which was prior to the use of the wheelchair symbol.
Here is a new high number Motorcycle plate. Since the 2000 plate changeover, a number of plate serial progressions have been used starting with AAA00, then 0000A, followed by A0000, and finally to the current run of 0AA00. The first letter, in this case L, is the last character to advance.
Here is another Motorcycle plate from the same serial progression as the plate above. What caught my eye on this plate was the use of the letter 'I' and the numeral '1' on the same plate. Very easy to spot the difference, at least when up close. Not every progression used the letter 'I'.
Next in this motorcycle series is this Person with Disability M/C plate, which is a new high. This plate type became available at the end of 2007, with a starting point of P00A. The PD and wheelchair symbol which are flat screened, are not part of the registration number. The embossed P is part of the number but is a static, non-advancing character. These are also available as vanities where up to three characters can follow the P.
This is a new high Vertical Motorcycle plate. PA began issuing these plates in 2014. If not familiar, many custom bikes have their plates mounted to the side of the rear wheel, with the mounting space turned vertical, so it makes sense to have plates that conform. The series starting point was M0A0C, and the current series is MA0AC. Both the M and the C are part of the registration but are non-advancing characters, at least for now. Vertical vanities are also an option on which the M and the C are not used allowing up to 5 characters.
Always happy to post veteran and military plates. I posted another Distinguished Flying Cross plate last week, and now we have this plate which was on a vehicle carrying a Vietnam era Huey helicopter, the type used with a door gunner.
This is a very nice 1919 Format 2 Passenger plate. This format group included the run from 1000 to 99999. It included both 4 and 5 digit sequences; however, all format 2 plates measured 6 inches by 13½" inches. Note that this plate has an aluminum keystone which would indicate that the plate was transferred to another vehicle. Thank you to Tim Gierschick for the use of this plate photo.
This is a 1929 Sample plate, which measures 6 inches by 10 inches. It is thought that all early Passenger samples were formatted with 3 zeros, as shown here. Later they were changed to PA00 and other formats. Samples go back at least as far as 1926, maybe earlier. Thanks to Jeff Lesher for the use of the photo.
Here is a 1934 Format 3 Passenger plate. This group included the progression of 0A to 9Z99 which would have been on 6 inch by 10 inch shorty base plates, while the rest of format 3, which included 1A000 to 9Z999, would have been on 6 inch by 12 plates. Thank you to James Andreucci for the use of the photo.
This is a 1929 Tractor plate with the TE prefix standing for Traction Engine, now considered an archaic term. Thanks to Bob Connison for the photo. Previously I listed the '29 tractor series as all being 6 inches by 15 inches, and thanks to Bob we now know that plates with 5 characters (TE-000) instead of 6 (TE1-000) measure 13½ inches. Could the TE-1 to TE-00 series been even shorter?
Newly Proposed Plates. State Representative Tim Hennessey recently introduced 3 bills. At present all three bills are in committee. For future reference these bills can be accessed from the Legislation page.
• House Bill 1710, to create a USA Semiquincentennial registration plate, similar to the Bicentennial Plate, with the phrase “Let Freedom Ring- 250 years”, for issue between 2021 and 2026.
• House Bill 1711, to create a Heritage plate, adding a limited edition 1950’s [retro] plate with a blue background inside a gold outline of the Commonwealth and a 1960’s plate with the opposite colors for motorists to choose from.
• House Bill 1712, to create Corporate Logo Fleet Plates, similar to Indiana.
The Antique Motorcycle plates on the far left are recent highs. This style plate dates back to around May of 2013, with the starting number being 01000. Plate availability tool shows the actual high to be above 08500. They are also available as vanities. The other plate is the oldest and lowest number of the first generation Antique Motorcycle series, shown for comparison. These are still valid. While the images appear similar in size the current plates are 4" by 7", older plates are 4½" by 8".
Somewhere in between the K/C02452 plate and the K/C02498 Knights of Columbus plates, the sticker well was discontinued. Graphic Special Organization plates are not produced in bulk. Generally they are produced upon receipt of an order. Thanks to Tom Perri for the 02452 plate, and to Arthur Levine for the 02498 image.
The Distinguished Flying Cross plate, not one you see every day. The medal is a military decoration awarded to an officer or enlisted member of the U.S. Armed Forces who distinguishes him/herself in support of operations by heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight, according to Wikipedia. Nick Tsilakis spotted this plate which is a new high and now has the map outline. The previous high of 00055F/C appeared to still have the sticker well.
Here is, as Devan Ciemiewicz describes it, his "fresh off the press" U.S. Marine Corps tag. This is a personalized version of the Active Duty series. He notes that the plate reflects his MOS (job) code, it's also his daughter's birthday of June 99. Thank you for your service and for sharing the plate photo.
Here's another example of a disappearing sticker well. At some point in between the 02787U/S and 2806U/S Veteran plate, the sticker dimple went flat. Unlike the K of C plates above, these Veteran plates are produced in groups of 100, so it is likely, but not for certain, that this change took place at 02800U/S. The 2787 plate is thanks to Jordan Irazabal and the 2806 plate photo is from Tom Perri.
Here is a very desirable 2-digit Format 1, 1930 Passenger plate. The format 1 series ran from 1 to 99999, with 1 to 4 digit plates measuring 6" by 10", and the 5 digit plates were 6" by 12". Of course there were 7 more alpha-numeric series to accommodate the growing number of automobiles. This plate was recently spotted on the front of the vehicle at a antique vehicle show in Macungie, PA. It was not a YOM plate.
This rare 2-character Format 7 1932 Passenger plate is another gem. Format 7 progression ran from AA to ZZ999. Plates from 1 to 4 characters measured 6 inches by 10 inches. 5 character plates were 12 inches. The photo is thanks to eBay user Jeopardyboy1.
These very nice 1964 to 1967 Trailer plates have been added. All plates were 6 digits starting at 100-001. The far left plate has a family connection with Tim Gierschick. The other plate belongs to Clayton Moore, and helps establish a new high.
Here's a like-new, unused 1971 Trailer plate photo from Tom Firth. This style plate was used from 1968 through 1971. They were unique in that the sticker well was outlined. This was also the last full size base to still use the map outline, however, the map has been reduced to a vestige of its former self.
Here is an example of what I'm describing as a 3rd Generation Temp Tag from Tim Gierschick. The first and second generation tags had the state indicated with PENNA, on this plate it has been reduced to PA. This plate has an issue date of 8/23/67 on a Starcraft Constellation trailer. It also shows the serial number. It was valid for 1 month. Soon it was replaced by the 1967, 349-923 Trailer plate shown above.
Here is a trio of progressively higher Antique Vehicle plate which were spotted by Bruce Bufalini. Based on the letter progression seen here — P, R, S, the series is quickly filling. It appears that the letters 'O' and 'Q' were not used in this current progression, although the 'O' was used in the series with the letter in the second position.
This is a new high Limousine tag, yet it still retains the sticker well. This tag type dates back to 1990 on the yellow on blue base. The starting point was LM-10000 or LM-10001. When the re-plating took place in 2000, the new series on the www base started at LM-20000 or LM-20001.
Here is Motor Home plate showing the latest features of the map outline in place of the sticker well. I can't say with complete certainty at what point this change took place, but based on an older reference source it seems likely it was at HH-73000. Time will tell. Thanks to Brandon Sowers for sharing this photo.
Here is a pair of Veteran Motorcycle plates. Notice the legend VETERAN uses narrow dies on the far left plate and wider on the other plate. Jordan Irazabal, the ALPCA PA Archivist, spotted the V2996 image recently and realized that it helped to narrow the point where the legend changed. The V2675 image is thanks to Bruce Bufalini, and the V2996 photo if from Tiger Joe Sallmen. If anyone can help narrow this gap it would be appreciated.
For reasons unknown to me, it appears that a good number of 1930 Legislative plates have survived. The photo gallery now shows 6 plates from 40 to 307. Plates from 1 to 500 may have been authorized. Both plate photos shown here were provided by Eric Conner. The Legislative series is believed to have run from 1928 through 1935.
This is a very nice 1945 Motorcycle plate courtesy of Jeff Hinkle. The serial progression ran from 1 to 9999, then A, A1, to A999, but likely the series ended before reaching that number. All plates measured 4½ inches by 8 inches. The expiration date of 3-31-46 is embossed into the top border.
This very nice 1st generation Notary Public plate was provided courtesy of Brandon Sowers. Note that this plate has the remnants of an '86 sticker, this program dates back to 1984. This photo was also added to the Organizational Plate History Page. Current plates are in the N/P03500 series and are still fully embossed.
Here is a low number 1942 Passenger plate thanks to Tim Gierschick. What makes it a low number is the fact that as a Format 1 plate the series ran from 10000 to 99999, and since all were 5 characters, they all measured 6 inches by 12 inches. It should be noted that there were other formats but all used alpha-numeric combinations.
Only 65 years difference between these cardboard plates, but still enough similarities to know at first glance that they are Temporary tags. The far left tag is dated 1954, and is a second generation T-tag. The image was provided by Devan Ciemiewicz. The other is a current issue tag which was recently spotted by Jordan Irazabal. I know such tags have their origin in the 1940's, but would like to see more examples of the earliest plates. The ALPCA Archives suggests it could be as early as 1941.
These are both 1951 Truck plates, with the far left tag representing one of five S-Weight Class progressions. The near left plate, while it may not be pretty, is likely the only 1951 Y-Weight Class Truck plate I'll ever see. There was only one serial progression that year — Y000A. All plates measured 6 inches by 11 inches and were issued in pairs. Thanks to eBay users Reformers25 for the S-class plate, and Hfritz2.570 for the Y-class plate photo.
I keep finding these Motorboat registration stickers on boats parked along the road. Again, if I understand the system correctly, this sticker would be good for 2014 and 2015 and then expire in March of 2016.
Cheesesteak or scrapple license plates? Come on, Pa., let's follow Maryland and upgrade!" Click the link to a York Daily Record news article in which the author challenges PA to do something about the "same ol' boring plate". I think many Pennsylvanians would agree. Thanks to Charles Sweitzer for sharing this article.
Thanks to Bruce Bufalini, we have a photo showing the latest iteration in Mass Transit plates. This plate now has the state map outline. The most recent previous high spotted was M/T48319, which appeared to still have the sticker well. This plate type dates back to 1977.
This plate is the first vanity Boy Scouts of America plate spotted. The plate's owner is likely an Eagle Scout, or registered to a vehicle owned by such a scout's family. Wiki says "Eagle Scout is the highest achievement or rank attainable in . . . the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). The BSA plate has been around since 2007 with a current reported high of 00171B/S. This plates was spotted by Brendan Sherry.
While this Harley Owners Group is not exactly a new overall high, it is a high on the series prior to switching to plates with the small map in place of the sticker well. This plate type has been around since 2004. This plate was spotted by Jordan Irazabal.
This is a very nice first generation Expeditionary Forces Veteran plate from Clayton Moore. These white plates date back to 1995. In early 2014 all of the features of this plate, except the serial number, became flat screened, then later the same year the plates switched to the the visit PA base with a graphic depiction of the the medal.
This is a DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) sample plate missing the state name across the bottom. DARE plates were issued between September of 1996 and June of 2014. The distinctive colors and graphic helped make these plates popular. Then the switch to the visit PA base in late 2005 put a damper on plate sales, eventually bringing about the end of this plate. eBay sales of the black plates can be in the several hundred dollar range. Thanks to Devan Ciemiewicz for sharing this photo.
This is a 1936 Format 3 Passenger plate. This serial group ran from 1A00 to 9Z999, so both 4 and 5-character plates were produced, with the 4-character plates measuring 6 inched by 10 inches, and the 5-character ones being 6 inches by 12 inches. This was spotted in use at a car show.
Here is a 1942 Format 2 Passenger plate. This serial group ran from 1A00 to 9Z999, so both 4 and 5-character plates were produced, with the 4-character plates measuring 6 inched by 10 inches, and the 5-character plates being 6 inches by 12 inches. Thanks to eBay user tjm70 for the use of the photo.
This is a pair of 1940 S-Weight Class Truck plates. The far left plate is part of the S000A series and the near left is part of the S00AA progression. There is now at least one photo from all four of the S-Weight Class serial progressions. All truck plates are 5-character and measure 6" x 12". Both of these plate are courtesy of Clayton Moore.
Next is this 1950 S-Weight Class Truck plate. For this year there were 4 serial progressions for the S-weight class. All truck plates are 5-character and measure 6" x 11". This plate photo is also courtesy of Clayton Moore.
Every once in a while I see a boat parked with a registration sticker of a year not spotted so far. Anyway if I understand the system correctly, this sticker would be good for 2015 and '16 and then expire in March of 2017. Are these sticker photo worth posting? Does anyone really care?
Here is another photo of one of PennDOT's digital license plates that are part of a test. The photo was provided by Bill Ceravola, who describes the colors as being not as bright. Check out the previous posting from 7/7/19 for additional information on this pilot project. With the ability of a digital plate system to store and track information, it may be a plus for law enforcement. It also raises a big red flag for many motorists who don't want their every move tracked by big brother. Are you aware that the state already markets your driver information to many third-party users?
While we're on the subject, here is another metallic, not digital, PennDOT Official Use plate. It has the T (for Transportation) in the prefix position and the P/A in the suffix position indicating that it is for use on a passenger vehicle. It is also a new high. This is part of the same numeric series as the digital plate above.
While this plate type dates back to 2005, the PA State Nurses Association announced a facelift in 2015 which was recently seen for the first time on the far left plate. We don't know exactly when this revision hit the street. The plate does not appear to have a sticker well. Thanks to Jaska Börner for the plate photo. The R/N00121 plate is shown for comparison, and was photographed by Tom Perri in 2013.
This pair of Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix plate photos was recently snapped by John Fedorchak. It's always nice to have a photo of the number 1 plate in a series, and G/P00292 plate is one number off the current high.
Here is another 'first of its kind' plate photo. This is a U.S. Army - Active Duty plate, note the A/D suffix. The are also U.S. Army Veteran plates with an A/R suffix. For each branch of service there are both Active Duty and Veteran plates. One big difference is the number of plates issued. For the U.S. Army - Active Duty there are only about 43 plates in use, whereas the U.S. Army Veteran has some 4,500. Thanks to Nick Tsilakis for sharing this plate.
This is a first generation Repair / Service Towing plate distinguished from the next edition by the flat screened legend at the top of the plate. What this plate does is narrow down the the transition point to the next variation which had the top legend embossed and the state name using the "You've got a friend" font for Pennsylvania. This change is now believed to be between RS-02000 and RS-02300. Thanks to Clayton Moore for the use of the plate photo.
Here's a pair of 1937 Format 8 Passenger plate which includes AA10 to ZZ999 As can be seen here, the 4-character plates are shorties measuring 6-inches by 10-inches, and the 5-character version is 6-inches by 12-inches. Thanks to Alpca 754 Neale for the short plate, and to Frank and Ryan Vonderhey for the full size plate.
Here is a pair of 1931 mystery plates. They do not fit the Passenger serial progressions of 1931. They are believed likely to be an early run of Truck plates that continued to follow the 1930 format prior to the decision to use the R through Z weight classes for 1931. Click the link above to see additional explanation from Eric Tanner, and a previous photo from Rick Kretschmer.
This is a 1951 U-Weight Class Truck. For that year there were four U-Class serial progressions including U000A, U00A0, U0A00 and U00AA, with this plate being part of the first group. The photo display now shoes 3 of the 4 groups. The plates measured 6 inches by 11 inches. Thanks to Frank and Ryan Vonderhey for the use of the photo.
These kind of speak for themselves, but if not, the group consists of a 1972, 1974 and 1979 unused validation stickers, likely for passenger car use. They measure 1½ inches wide and 1 inch high. Thanks to Tom Firth for the photos.
Back in February of this year, a new prototype Pennsylvania State University (Official) plate was announced. Now thanks to Bruce Bufalini we have the first actual plate photo on the far left. With this in mind I visited my local campus and got the center image. By comparison, the plate on the near left was the highest number spotted on the previous base. Credit for that plate goes to Jordan Irazabal and Tom Perri.
These hot off the press Distracted Driving Awareness plate photo was provided by Barefoot Jaime. The plate numbers may suggest that these are the 121st and 122nd plates issued since their late February 2019 debut. Actually the series began at D/A00101 making these the 21st and 22nd plates issued since that time. It also appears that only three Distracted Driving Awareness Motorcycle plates have been issued so far. By comparison, since late 2013 only about 90 serial-numbered Teen Driver plates have been issued.
Here's the lowest number Share The Road plate spotted so far. It was provided by Arthur Levine. This is a Special Fund plate with proceeds maintaining PennDOT's central office position of Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator and funding highway bicycle signage.
This is a photo of a personalized U.S. Navy (Active Duty) taken by Nick Tsilakis. It's also the first personalized plate spotted, and only the second plate of this type seen so far. There are about 42 serial-numbered plates issued so far, with this plate series dating back to 2009.
This is the first plate in the Passenger K-series. No KAA plates were issued as vowels in the second position are no longer used. This plate was spotted by Tom Perri.
Vanity check indicates that there are currently only three Associated Alumni of the Central High School plates with serial numbers. We know that there is at least one vanity plate. In any case they are scarce. Thank you to Tom Perri for sharing this image.
This number was likely issued with the first round of Temple University Alumni plates back in 1987, then reissued at least one more time on the www base. Now the plate is showing the latest features which would have resulted from a remake of the original number. Thanks to Noel Torchio for the photo.
On the far left is a personalized Fraternal Order of Police plate with a unique USA-1 number. It looks to me that this plate has the map outline. Thanks to Jeff Lawson for sharing this photo. On the near left is a first generation FOP plate with lots of stickers attesting to it's age. This image came from Devan Ciemiewicz. These date back to 1987.
This pair of American Legion (link to history page) plate photos came from Devan Ciemiewicz. The American Legion plate program dates back to 1984. The far left plate is the highest number I've seen on that base. The near left plate is an usual sample since it has only 4 zeros instead of the more common 5. It also uses the "You've got a friend" font for Pennsylvania. Link to organizational plates.
These 1913 Passenger plates were produced using the technology of the day, and were intended to last 1 year, yet here they are 106 years later looking almost like new. The 309 plate belonged to John Willard and John Anshant and measured 6 inches by 10 inches. The 1447 plate belongs to Tim Gierschick and measured 6 inches by 12 inches.
Here is a 1939 S-Weight Class Truck plate. S-Class trucks used four serial progressions including S000A, S00A0, S0A00 and S00AA, with this plate being part of the second group. This plate measures 6 inches by 12 inches. Thanks again to Drewski for the use of the photo.
Does this spell the beginning of the end of the license plate hobby as we now know it? This is an electronic digital display PennDOT Official Use plate. The photo and information below were received from Bill Ceravola. PennDOT is starting a new pilot project for the use of digital license plates that allows a license plate’s status to change in real-time. PennDOT has rolled out these registration plates on several types of PennDOT vehicles to include dump trucks, foreman crew cabs, and passenger vehicles in PennDOT’s District 8 (Dauphin County) and District 1 (Erie County); as well as on passenger vehicles and trucks used by PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services. See a related article from the Reading Eagle.
Here is the first image on this website of a Camp Papillon Animal Shelter prototype. Tom Perri noted that this organization has a prototype image on their website; however, that image showed a very strange numeric starting point of 22000. With that in mind, I visited the facility in Stroudsburg and got a photo of what is believed to be a more likely starting point of 30000C/P. It was also confirmed that plates are now available and several are already in use.
Here are a couple new highs recently spotted by Bruce Bufalini. These are both traffic shots with the far left being a Passenger plate and the near left being a Truck. For a comprehensive listing of PA highs, check Tom Perri's PA Plates (www.paplates.com), not to be confused with the current website PAPL8S, www.papl8s.com.
The simple explanation of this Gettysburg College plate is that it is a remake of a an earlier plate. The actual high is G/C3200 or above. The earlier plate would have been on the www base with embossed logo and legend. This is also the first plate spotted without the sticker well. It may also be worth mentioning that Gettysburg plates were always 4 digits in length thus giving them a distinct look. They originally started at G/C2001. Thanks to Nick Tsilakis for the photo.
On the far left is a personalized version of a U.S. Army Veteran plate. Such plates are allowed with up to 5 characters, or a space or a dash (but not both) which can take the place of one of the characters. On the near left is a new high serial number plate. This photo was captured by Bruce Bufalini. This plate type was introduced in 2009 starting at 10001A/R.
This is a 1935 Legislative plate photo provided by Eric Conner. It was part of a pair. The early Legislative plates were issued between 1928 and 1935, after which they were discontinued until 1957. The authorized range of numbers is believed to be 1 to 400.
Over and under, or side by side, either way these low-number 1934 plates would make a desirable addition to anyone's collection. They are part of the first group of Format 1 Passenger plates that ran from 1 to 9999, and measured 6 inches by 10 inches. The second group were 5-digit plates which used the 6 inch by 12 inch base. Thank to Clayton Moore for the use of the photo. Wonder if there are any single digit plates out there?
Here is another interesting pair. On the far left is a 1947 Format 5 Passenger plate. The near left plate is a similar looking 1953 Format 5 Passenger That group covered the serial progression of 000A to 999Z, with all plates being 4 characters, but here's the difference. The 1947 measures 6 inches by 11 inches, while the '53 is slightly shorter at 6" x 10¼". Thanks to Jeopardyboy1 for this plate. There was also a 1946 edition of the 191A plate which I posted previously.
For various reasons older truck plates are more of a challenge to collect, and so far this is the only 1927 S-Weight Class Truck for which I have a photo. Plate size varied between 6" by 10" for 1 to 4 characters, 6" by 13" for 5 characters (as shown here), and 6" by 15" for 6 characters. PA didn't start using the word TRUCK on plates until 1934. Thanks to eBay user Tiedup for the use of this photo.
Happy Birthday America
Last week plate AG-85688 was posted as a new Apportioned Truck high, and this week we have a new high that's 1,500 numbers higher. This is not to suggest that such plates are being issued at that rate. Vanity check shows a high of AG-88099. Thanks to Preston Turner for the plate image.
This is a new high number Disabled Veteran plate. Note that the 5-digit serial number is the only embossed feature. The tag legend and the DV- are screened, however, the plate still retains the sticker well. I frequently make the comment that I'm pleased that these plate have retained their original color scheme, and have not joined the family of plates look.
This plate represents the highest plate spotted on the LiveFreeRideAlive Motorcycle base which ran from 7600L to 7599T. These plates were supposedly released in March of 2010, and were part of a 60,000 plate run. The "Live Free Ride Alive" motorcycle registration plate therefore was a limited edition plate. This theme was to encourage motorcycle safety. Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for this photograph.
Here's the latest reported high Motorcycle plate. As is the practice in PA, the numerical digits advance first, then the second letter advances, in this case the T, and finally the K. Thank you to Bruce Bufalini for this photograph.
It's not a new high, but it's the first Classic Vehicle plate I've seen in the 45000 series. Tom Perri's PA Plates site lists C45745 as the current high. This plate was spotted at the West End Car Show in Gilbert, Monroe County.
This was part of a run of Official Use plates that used the word Commercial in place of Official Use, and is actually the high number observed. While these are considered error plates, they were used on trucks or commercial type vehicles owned by the State of PA. The run is believed to have begun at PA-1500A and ended between PA-2700A and PA-2900A. Before and after this group the plates were correctly marked Official Use. Thanks to Charles Sweitzer for the use of the photo.
Here is a personalized Bucknell University plate. It's also the first image showing the map outline. This does not necessarily indicate that serial numbered plates, now in the B/U21700 series, also share the this feature. Bucknell plates date back to 1998.
Here is a pair of Delaware Valley Chapter of the BMW Car Club of America vanity plates. I think this plate has the distinction of having the longest organization name of any PA plate with 54 characters and spaces. The characters is so compressed between bolt holes that it is hard to read. Click the link above to see other examples. The next longest legend is PA State Society Daughters of the American Revolution. Thanks to Jeff Lawson for the photos.
Here is a 1972 State Senator plate courtesy of Devan Ciemiewicz. This would have been from the same time period, 1971 to 1976, that the Bicentennial plates were issued. The number represents the senatorial district. Plates could also be issued with number preceding the PA to allow for two vehicles to be registered.
Here are a few recent additions to Tim Gierschick's tractor plates. These include plates from 1939, 1944 and 1968. Tractor plates date back to 1914 with many of the early plates being a challenge to collect. The 1977 to '83 base was the last run of PA tractor plates.
This is a 1940 Format 9 Passenger plate. Format 9 includes the serial progression running from 1AA00 to 9ZZ99. All plates in this progression measure 6 inches by 12 inches, although some 4-character formats are 6 inches by 10 inches. This photo is thanks to Frank and Ryan Vonderhey.
Next up is this 1941 R-Weight Class Truck plate. R-Class trucks used three serial progressions including R000A, R00A0 and R0A00, with this plate being part of the third group. The addition of this plate photo completes the R-Class display. Thanks again to Frank and Ryan Vonderhey for the use of the photo.
The final plate this week is a 1951 R-Weight Class Truck plate. By 1951 the R-Class had jumped to six serial progressions including R000A, R00A0, R0A00, R00AA, R0AA0, R0A0A of which this plate is part of R00AA. With this plate the gallery now shows 4 of the 6 serial formats. Thanks again to Frank and Ryan Vonderhey for the use of the photo.
In Plate News, it looks like 4 new organizational plates are in the mill. These include Camp Papillon Animal Shelter, Citizen's Hose Fire Company, Edge Hill Fire Company and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. More will be posted as it becomes available.
Here is a recent Apportioned Truck high provided by Jeff Lawson. These plates have been using the map outline for about 12 months. During that period plates advanced from the 73000 series to the 85000 showing an increase of 12-thousand plates. The next series would likely be AH-00000.
While the above plate and this plate share the same Apportioned tag legend, this is an Apportioned Bus plate. And while this type dates back to 1982, until recent years there were only a few hundred such plates in use. In 1999 there were only 207 Apportioned Bus registrations, in 2009 there were 627 plates in use, and 2018 the number is up to 1548. No Apportioned Bus plates are known to have survived from the previous base. Please let me know if you have, or know of such a plate, or photo.
In spite of this being a www base Repossessor plate, close examination suggests that it is a new plate. The number is also a new high. Vanity check shows RE-06525 as the actual high. The plate type dates back to 1984, with all plates being reissued in September of 1999 on the www base and the series starting at RE-05000. So in a span of almost 20 years, some 1600 plates have been issued, included in that number are 421 carried over from earlier plates.
Here is the latest high Street Rod plate. After many years of the legacy Street Rod plate depicting the open cab roadster, it all changed to the visitPA base with its redundant verbiage. This change dates back to late 2016 and early 2017, but so far plate retains the sticker well.
These are the 'have nots' and the 'haves' of the Penn State Alumni Association plates. The far left plate, from Jordan Irazabal, shows the highest plate spotted before the map was added. The near left plate, from Tom Perri, shows the lowest plate spotted with the map.
Here's a very nice Slippery Rock University plate thanks to Jordan Irazabal. It is also a new high according to Tom Perri's highs page. This of just one of a number of plates still on the www base with no indication of a move to the graphic base.
The Official Use highs just keep on coming at least with this legacy base. This is part of the series issued to passenger type vehicles, and normally in pairs. Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for this photograph.
This very nice 1934 Consular plate appears to have been professionally restored. The serial number range is uncertain but likely from either 1 or 10 to 100. Unfortunately there are not many examples from this early series which ran from 1929 to 1935. Thanks to Clayton Moore fore the use of the photo.
As with Passenger plates, new undated plates were issued in 1965, and so it was with Legislator or House of Representatives plates, however, they were not initially identified as legislative plates. See the far left plate. Only by recognizing the HR prefix could the plate be identified. Then in 1966 the legislative plates were redesigned with the HR encased in a keystone and the word Legislator spelled out. The legend 'Pennsylvania', was now enclosed within the top border. Thanks to Eric Conner for both images. The HR106 image is new.
This is a 1958 base Member of Congress plate with a '63 validation sticker. The 25 is believed to represent the congressional district. This plate is formatted with the district number followed by MC. Click the link to see another plate with the MC first, followed by the district number. This allowed the owner to register two vehicles. Thanks to Eric Conner for the use of this photo.
This is a 1971 to '76 base U.S. Senate plate on the Bicentennial base. Since there are only two senators in PA (and other states), collecting such plates is next to impossible. During that same period there were two formats of Congressional plates. The second format had the US stacked and did not have the Liberty Bell. It is unknown but quite possible that U.S. Senate plates followed suit. Thanks to Eric Conner for the use of this photo.
The final plate this week is the first 1946 Format 5 Passenger plate on this site. This format encompasses the progression of 000A to 999Z, so all plates were 4 characters. All plates that year, regardless of the number of characters measure 6 inches by 11 inches. Thanks to eBay user Jeopardyboy1 for the use of the plate photo.
Spotted this Powered Boat Registration on a boat up for sale in front of someone's home. The 14 means it expired on March 31, 2014, therefore, as a 2-year registration it would have been valid during 2012, '13 and '14 up to the expiration. I'm describing this sticker as being orange based on the color rotation and its appearance.
In Legislative News, there are bills pending to authorize the use of low-speed electric scooters. See House Bill 631 and Senate Bill 542. The legislation sets forth certain requirements and restrictions but basically they could be operated like a bicycle. They will be exempt from registration as a motor vehicle, and no tag required. Therefore I will not track this legislation.
There are additional bills to authorize a “Child with Autism” Specialty License Plates (House Bill 40), currently stuck in committee; and a recent bill to create a plate to support Pediatric Cancer Research (House Bill 1165). I will track these if they gain support.
Attending almost any PA car show and plates like these and older Antique Vehicle plates are in abundance. This plate, now in the 'N' series, may be the new high, at least for a few days, before it is eclipsed by something higher.
This is the first sample of an International Association of Fire Fighters plate I've seen on the www base. The original issue on these plates dates back to 1993 on the yellow on blue base, and the plates have gone through a few updates since then. Thanks to Devan Ciemiewicz for the use of the photo.
Like the plate above, this is the first Emergency Vehicle sample on the visitPA base that I have seen. This style EV plate dates back to 2007 when a complete replacement of the previous EV plates took place. This style also replaced any remaining Fire Department plates that were still in use at that time. Another thank you to Devan Ciemiewicz for the use of the photo.
Here is a new high NASCAR 8 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. plate This is not to suggest that such plates are still being issued, but rather that this is the highest photographed so far. NASCAR plates were discontinued in 2010, but are still eligible to be renewed. According my research about 1,028 such plates have been issued, but since the numbering system started at N/C/80101, it went to N/C/81129. Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for the photo.
This new style PA Turnpike Official Use passenger vehicle plate is the lowest number spotted so far. It is not known exactly when these were first released, but they were first seen back in May of 2018. Thanks to Tom Castelli for the use of this plate photo.
These 1958 base School Bus plates are very similar except for the character spacing. The plate on the far left is not new, and typifies what most 4-digit plates look like. The near left plates photo shows a wide separation between numbers. It is not known if a this is part of a larger run with the wide spacing, or is an error. Thanks to Clayton Moore for sharing the photo.
And another pair Motorboat registration stickers issued by the PA Fish & Boat Commission. Apparently they are issued for a 2-year registration period. The 2018-2019 sticker expires March 31 2020, thus the large 20 and similarly the 2019-2020 sticker expires March 31 2021, thus the large 21 making them visible from a distance. These have the word POWERED near the top. There are also UNPOWERED stickers for boats without motors.
This is a 1965 Validation Sticker from Tom Firth. These were not used on passenger vehicles since they had been issued new undated tags for '65. Non-passenger types such as trucks, busses, trailers, etc. had new bases issued in 1964 and would have issued a sticker like the one shown here.
Here is a 1944 Weight Class R Truck plate thanks to eBay user Bclark58mx. The plate belongs to the last of the 4 serial progressions used that year, which included R000A, R00A0, R0A00 and R00AA. Truck plates measured 6 inches by 11 inches and were issued as singles.
This is a 1948 Weight Class R Truck plate thanks to Clayton Moore. For that year there were 5 serial progressions including R000A, R00A0, R0A00, R00AA and R0AA0, of which this plate is part of the fourth group. Truck plates measured 6 inches by 11 inches and were issued in pairs.
Next in line is this 1955 Weight Class R Truck plate thanks to Clayton Moore. For 1955 there were now 6 serial progressions including R000A, R00A0, R0A00, R00AA, R0AA0 and R0A0A of which this plate is part of the fifth group. Truck plates measured 6 inches by 10¼ inches and were issued as singles.
This final truck plate is a 1956 Weight Class R thanks to eBay user Vinylvish. 1946 again used 6 serial formats including R000A, R00A0, R0A00, R00AA, R0AA0 and R0A0A with this plate being part of the second group. 1956 also marked the standardization of plate size to the now familiar 6 inches by 12 inches. These were issued as singles.
Here's a recent Amateur Radio plate photo from Jonathan Sternthal. The number 8 in the call sign indicates that it had originally been issued in Region 8 which includes Michigan, Ohio and West Virginia. At some point the licensee moved to PA, bringing the call sign with him.
Here's the first photo of a standard serial numbered Associated Alumni of the Central High School. It's also likely the first plate issued, although earlier a picture of a vanity plate number 239 was photographed. Anyway, it's a great find thanks to Matt Ciecka. Vanity check shows only 3 serial numbered plates in use.
These Harley Owners Group plates are essentially the same with the exception of the plate on the near left now having the map outline. The far left plate is several years old but has been listed as the current high on Tom Perri's www.paplates.com/ website The color difference is due to the far left plate photo being taken in a dark setting. The far left plate is also thanks to Tom Perri, while the newest plate is thanks to Jonathan Ortmann.
Just one week ago we posted an image of an updated prototype image of a Mario Lemieux Foundation plate, then in a few days this photo arrived from Rick Koll showing his new plate. The previous high 01791L/F was just posted last week, so this change took place between these two plates.
Here's a recent photo of a Pennsylvania Hunting Heritage vanity plate. I'm guessing that the WCO14 stands for Wildlife Conservation Officer 14. These plates help support the mission of the Pennsylvania Game Commission. This plate program dates back to 2014. Thanks to Jordan Irazabal for the plate photo.
This is a Person with Disability Vanity Motorcycle plate. The plate has prompted much discussion among my plate friends. First, thank you to Bruce Bufalini, this was a great find and a great shot of this first of its kind spotted. You may recall that the PD is not part of the registration number. The full-size P is part of the number, but is a static, non-advancing character. So the remainder of the registration is ONU or is it 0NU? So, is it the letter 'O' or the number '0'? Vanity check indicates that the actual registration is P 0(zero) N U. Some other cycle plates with known zeros have a more rounded interior at the top and bottom, whereas this character is flat. My belief is that the letter 'O' and number '0' are different dies, but at times used interchangeably. This issue deserves more focus.
Here is another new high Vertical Motorcycle plate thanks to Bruce Bufalini. As mentioned in a recent post, the M and the C are static non-advancing characters. Only the characters in the second, third and fourth positions advance. The order of the progression is such that the number advances first, then the letter in the 4th position, and finally the letter in the 2nd spot. Confusing . . . yes, but not out of character for Pennsylvania plates. These plates are the same dimensions as regular motorcycle plates, just meant for vertical display.
This nice pair of Farm Truck plates features two plates in the D-suffix series. The plate on the far left was snapped over a year ago by Jordan Irazabal, but it's the last reported high, now Brendan Sherry took this recent photo of another D-series, but now with the map outline. As is often the case, it's tough to establish the transition point. Hopefully more time and photos will narrow it down.
This is a photo of a PennDOT Official truck displaying a neat number, which I believe is also a new series high. The photo came courtesy of Bill Young. You may recall that there is also a similar issue for automobiles but the progression runs T0000P/A.
Here are a couple more Motorboat registration stickers. These are listing the expirations as March 31 2018 and March 31 2019, thus the larger 18 and 19 making them visible from a distance. These have the word POWERED near the top, apparently there are also UNPOWERED stickers for boats without motors.
This is a 1949 Format 11 Passenger plate. That appeared to be the final group used that year, and was likely authorized from 000AA to 999ZZ, but only went as far as 655FF according to Eric Tanner's data. The plates were issued in pairs, and measured 6" by 11". Thanks to eBay user X1fstsolx for the use of the photo.
This gem of a 1924 Tractor plate was snagged by Tim Gierschick this past weekend at the ALPCA plate meet in Trexlertown. The E-prefix was used from the earliest tractor plates in 1914 up through 1927. It stood for Engine, or Traction Engine, better know as Tractor. This series began at E1 and ran to at least E1250 in 10 inch and 12 inch widths depending on the number of characters.
Passenger vanities don't get much lower than this. The lowest current issue plate in PA is 3. The 1 and 2 plates are believed to be kept in reserve in case the Governor and Lt. Governor decide to go flashy. For many years the need for security seems to trump use of such plates. This is a Tom Perri photo passed along by Jordan Irazabal.
Here's a new high Severely Disabled Veteran plate now in the 97000 series. Everything on these plates is flat screened except for the 5-digit serial number. A distinguishing feature about these plates is that they have retained their original color scheme of blue characters on a white background with Disabled Veteran in red.
Here is a pair of recent Omnibus plates. The low numbered plate on the far left is missing the sticker well, while the other plate, about 750 plates later, has had the map outline added. A look at another source suggests that this change took place at OB-88200; however, this is not always reliable. The far left plate photo is thanks to Tom Perri, while the map outline photo came from Preston Turner.
Currently this is the highest Dealer plate still sporting a sticker well. It is believed that the sticker well departed at K46-500K, and the map appeared at K51-500K. Of course these numbers are always subject to correction. Thanks to Jordan Irazabal for sharing this photo.
Last week I posted an updated Mario Lemieux Foundation prototype. Along with that I listed the current high on the original series as 01707L/F. Then Preston Turner sent me another new high on the original base. So at this point all we know is that plates at least as high as 01791L/F have not yet made the switch. Vanity check indicates a actual high of 01809L/F, but no way of knowing which base that is on. Late entry, check back next week for the first photo of the updated base.
These Planned Parenthood of PA plates are pretty rare, but Brandon Sowers spotted this low number tag. They have been around since 2007 but vanity check suggests that only 27 such plates have made it onto the street. In contrast, the PA Choose Life has issued about 1,400 plates.
Here's a nice Ohio State Alumni plate that likely dates back to the May of 2001 plate replacement. The previous yellow on blue edition of the plate would have been issued in 1997, which marked the start of the Ohio State plate program. The newest plates have retained the same logo but now with a colored graphic.
This recent photo of a Mass Transit plate was snapped by Bruce Bufalini. It appears that this plate still has the sticker well — clearly no map. The first Mass Transit plates date back to 1982, on the yellow on blue base, beginning at M/T10000. There have been several iterations of this plate over the years, including a run with the MT prefix in-line rather than stacked. Click here to see their history.
This is a 1920 Truck Class 2 or A. Between 1914 and 1919 truck plates used 5 weight classifications designated by the number of stars. Then in 1920 and running thru 1923 there was a new system consisting of 8 weight classes. In this case the first digit in the serial number designated the weight class. The plates used a fully embossed legend like the one shown here with Commercial on top and Penna 1920 along bottom and measured 7" high. Some plates had COMMERCIAL and PENNA 1920 along bottom and they measured 6" high. Plates with 4 or fewer digits measure 12 inches wide, 5 digit plates are 13½ inches, 6 digit plates are 16 inches. Thanks to Clayton Moore for the use of the photo.
This is a 1949 S-Weight Class Truck plate courtesy of Jeff Hinkle. S-Class plates consisted of the following serial progressions, S000A, S00A0, S0A00 and S00AA, with this plate being part of the second group. All truck plates that year measured 6 inches by 11 inches.
On the far left is a revised Mario Lemieux Foundation prototype. It is not known if the plate is actually on the street yet. The other plate is the prototype from the original series. The latest plates spotted were 01680L/F and 01707L/F both of which had the map outline but still used the original logo. The organization's website and the application form for the new plate now allows for a motorcycle version. Unfortunately it appears that PennDOT seldom maintains their page depicting their Approved Special Organizations' plates.
On the far left yet another Antique Vehicle high, this one was recently spotted at a car show near Slatedale in Lehigh County. On the near left is the oldest ancestor to the current plate, back then called Antique Historic Car. The #1 image courtesy of Jake Eckenrode and the Swigart Museum.
Here's a Classic Vehicle vanity. The PennDOT application form, MV-11, states that up to 5 characters are permitted, but also states "A pre-printed letter configuration of 'C' will precede your personalized configuration on your registration plate and cannot be changed. There is clearly no 'C' as part of this registration plate. It appears that around half of the Classic Vehicle vanities follow that rule. This plate appears to still have a sticker well, while the use of the 'C' prefix seems to be more uniform on the newer plates with the map outline.
Bruce Bufalini managed to snap this very tough shot of a Dealer error plate. The error is in the placement of the keystone separator, the number itself appears correct. I tried to skew the image, but If you're still having trouble reading it, it reads K0-3321K, but should read K03-321K. Interesting plate. I wonder if this was one of a kind, or did a few of these slip through as the only one number die is changed after each plate.
Here's the latest high Official Use Passenger plate now in the 40000 series. As you may be aware, the current series of Official Use plates has been split into three main sub-groups, and each of those groups further divided into passenger and truck. The plate on left is the sole remaining legacy plate. It may be easier to visualize these changes in the form of a table. The 40023-PA was photographed by Nick Tsilakis. The switchover to the new format may occur at 42000P/A.
Here's a 1985 base Motorcycle Vanity plate with an 11-00 validation sticker. Nice plate, sorry about the shadow. I'm going to guess the plate means 3 cubic inches, which may be more commonly expressed in motorcycle jargon as 50 cc (or cubic centimeters), as the size of the bike's engine. The sticker covers the PENNA legend.
This is a Passenger Vanity plate issued on the 'You've Got a Friend' base between 1983 and '87. In spite of when it was issued, it has 12-99 and 12-00 validation stickers. This nice plate photo is courtesy of Jeff Hinkle.
These are both 1944 Passenger plates. The far left is a Format 4 which included the progression of 10A0 to 99Z99, with the 4-character plates being 6" x 10" and while 5 character plates measured 6" x 11". This plate is courtesy of Pl8source. The near left is a Format 5 plate which ran from 000A to 999Z, with all measuring 6" x 10". This photo is courtesy of bantamjeep1116.
This is a 1948 V-Weight Class Truck plate. For that year there were two V-class serial progressions, V000A and V00A0, of which this plate is part of the second group. All truck plates measured 6 inches by 11 inches. Thanks to eBay user totommyto for the use of the photo.
This is an early edition of the Disabled Veteran with 11-85 and 11-86 stickers. After all of the first edition 4-digit (DV-0000) plates were issued, the 5-digit series was next. Both versions so far had sticker wells in the upper left and right corners as seen here, making this plate the observed series high. The next group beginning at DV-22000 had the sticker well moved to the bottom left. Jordan Irazabal spotted this plate on ebay, and the owner, Darren Bianco, gave me the OK to use it. Some of these early plates are still on the road.
Here are two recently spotted Emergency Vehicle plates. The EV-36580 may be a new high. They are both from the lower tier of plates issued to paying customers, as opposed to non-profit organizations who receive the upper tier (plates above EV-50000) at no cost. These lower tier plates still have the sticker well, unlike the plates above EV-71000 that now have the map outline.
This is a new high U.S. Marine Corps active duty or reserve, thus the the AD suffix. These are much less common than the U.S. Marine Corps Veteran plates which date back to 2009, while the active duty type shown hear only goes back to 2017. Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for sharing this photo.
This pair of Vertical Motorcycle plates were posted by Tim Martin. They represent a move to a new serial format. The first format was M0A0C, with only the three characters in the center advancing. The M and the C are static non-advancing characters. After the series above hit M9Z9C, a new format was introduced starting at MA0AC. Again only characters in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th positions advance. The progression is such that the number advances first, then the letter in the 4th position, and finally the letter in the 2nd spot. These are also eligible as vanity plates with up to 5 characters.
Nothing all that special about this Penn State University plate, but thanks to Tom Perri, it does help establish the approximate high on the this series prior to the addition of the the map outline. The low number spotted with the map was 11110P/S, also thanks to Tom Perri.
This is only the second photo of a Saint Francis University plate displaying the color graphic format. This plate may actually be the low point on this base. No plates without the sticker well or with the map outline have been spotted yet. The history of these plates dates back to 1999 with the yellow on blue base. These were about 335 issued for which I have no photos. Thanks much to Bruce Bufalini for providing this photo.
This is a 1946 Format 1 Motorcycle plate. This format started with 1 and ran to 9999, then switched to Format 2 which was alpha-numeric format as A, A1 to A999, then B, B1, etc. All motorcycle plates measured 4½ inches by 8 inches. Thank you to eBay user Spillercb21 for the use of the photo.
This very nice 1954 Format 5 Passenger plate image came from Shane Oake. Format 5 consists of plates from 000A to 999Z, so only 4-character plates in this group, while some other groups had 5. Plate size was 6 inches by 10¼ inches regardless of the number of characters.
Not quite sure what to call this plate. The owner, Jeff Hinkle, suggests that it's a prototype, so I'm going to agree. Anyway it appears to be a 1965 (to '70) base, and I have placed in with the passenger series. There were samples at that time but configured with SAM-PLE.
This group shot of Validation Stickers below was recently acquired by Tom Firth and shared with this website. As you may know the sticker colors are cyclic, and repeat themselves every 8 years as shown in the table below. The individual stickers have been added to the Sticker page. You may also be aware that PA discontinued issuing stickers at the end of 2016; however, stickers as far ahead as 2022 were issued to vehicles such a small trailers with a 5-year registration.
Here is a pair of recent photos of Antique Vehicle plates. The letters F and L mark the progress as the letters are always the last character to advance. The far left plate was snapped by me, and the near left plate is thanks to Jaska Börner. Out of curiosity I put a table together to show the serial progressions since the beginning of the Antique Car plate. I can't predict what the next series will be.
Here's a new high Repair Towing plate spotted a few days ago. Do you remember the earliest tag legend on these plates, and the prefix? They were caller REP / SER TOWING and the prefix was RS. Click to see plate history.
Here's a new high Fire Fighter plate from Jordan Irazabal. While this plate variation has the Maltese Cross and the plate legend flat screened, it still has the sticker well. According to an inventory sheet, a new batch of plates is expected at FF38950, and according to vanity check, the current high is FF38965. It is not known if this will show the removal of the sticker well or addition of the map. While this is an organizational plate, it must be requested from PennDOT rather than through a fire department; however, the chief still must sign the application form.
Here's a recent photo of the number 1 Seaton Hill University plate courtesy of Bruce Bufalini. Plate enthusiasts always seem have a special fondness for #1plates. This plate type dates back to 2006, and likely the plate does also. Seton Hill is a Catholic liberal arts university located in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.
Here's a Virginia Tech vanity. We've seen a couple of these in the past; however, this appears to be the first without the sticker well. Virginia Tech's plate program goes back to 2006. At this point a little over 400 such plates have been issued. Thanks to Jeff Lawson for the photo.
Every now and then a single letter Passenger Vanity shows up. This plate with the the map outline would have been a more recent issue, quite possibly a remake of an older plate. Don't expect to apply for one of these though, I just checked all single latter vanities are spoken for. Thanks to Ryan Battin for this photo.
If you are a PA plate enthusiast, it shouldn't be hard to tell the difference between these Vanity plates. They are not the same. In PA letters are always slightly smaller than numbers, in this case the difference can be seen between the number '0' and the letter 'O'. Thanks to Nick Tsilakis for the photos.
It's not a new high, and as Jordan Irazabal, who snapped the picture said, it's not a commonly seen type either. The Korean Defense Service Medal must have been earned by the individual. This plate type came out in 2010 and so far the reported high is 00155K/D. There is an also a Korean War Veteran plate which dates back to 1993 that still retains its original appearance.
Prisoner of War plates date back to 1982, and this was likely part of the first group issued. This plate has all the signs of having never been vehicle mounted. I'm sure there is quite a story behind such a plate, the owner having been held captive in an enemy prison camp. Devan Ciemiewicz shared this recent acquisition with us.
These 1955 Passenger plates represent two sample versions. All plates that year measured 6-inchs by 10¼-inches, and since both 4 and 5-character formats were used that year, thus the samples. The far left plate is a new addition from Devan Ciemiewicz, the other plate photo was previously provided courtesy of Jeff Francis.
This is a 1941 Truck plate. It comes courtesy of eBay user Scottketch71. The plate is a Weight Class T. That group consists of 2 serial progressions including T000A and T00A0, with this plate being a part of the second group. With the addition of this plate, the T-series is complete. All Truck plates that year measured 6 inches by 12 inches.
It's finally here — the L-series Passenger plate that is. LBA-0000 would have been the starting point as no LAA plates would have been issued since PA no longer puts vowels in the second position. The J-series was first spotted in early 2016, then the map outline was added in June of 2017 with KLF-0000. Thanks to Jeff Lawson for the timely photo.
These two Passenger plates could actually form bookends around the plate above. Jay Hughes just forwarded these photos to me. The far left plate would be one of the last plates of the K-series, while the near left plate shows the next series LBB following the LBA plate shown above.
Here's the latest in Bus plates, now with the map outline. Bus plate BA-81047, without the sticker well, but prior to the map outline, was spotted back in October of 2018. Click here to see the history of Bus plates dating way back to 1924.
Here's an Arizona State University with the number 1 A/S as a vanity plate. This was recently snapped on the fly by Bruce Bufalini. These plates came on the scene in 2015. Tom Perri's highs lists 00043A/S as the summit. Vanity check is a little higher at 56. In any case they are not plentiful.
Who would have thought that the first photo of an Associated Alumni of the Central High School of Philadelphia plate would be a vanity? It's not the first time. Thanks to Jaska Börner for spotting and photographing this plate. These plates only date back to 2018 so it's not surprising that a serial numbered plate hasn't been photographed yet.
This Chatham College, now Chatham University, plate was probably issued when the program first got off the ground in 2007. This is one of only a couple plate types that lists their web address, www.chatham.edu as part of the plate legend, rather than the name of the organization. That feature is covered by the plate frame. Thanks to Arthur Levine for the photo.
This low number California University (of Pennsylvania) plate was spotted on the highway by Preston Turner. If you look closely, there is a map outline on this plate. CU's plate program began in 2007, so a stickered plate with the same number would have been issued at that time. While many recent organizational plates now have the map outline, seeing this feature on a plate with an older number leads to speculation. Was this a remake, a replacement or something else?
This is the first photo of a Philadelphia Fire Fighters' Union plate in a vanity format. Thanks to Colin M. for the picture. The plate does not have the map outline, can't tell about the sticker well. These Philly Fire Fighter plates date back to 2005. Click the link above to see more.
This is a low number South Newton Twp. Vol. Fire Co. recently spotted by Nick Tsilakis. Tom Perri' website shows the highest plate spotted as 00008S/N, and the vanity check indicates that about 18 plates have been issued. The fire company is located in Walnut Bottom, Cumberland County, PA.
It's not a new plate, but it's a new photo. Brandon Sowers took this photo of a Disabled Veteran plate. It still has the sticker well but it's also new enough to have the DV- flat screened. In addition the previous version had Disabled Veteran in a wide font across the top, and Pennsylvania on the bottom. This plate helps to narrow down the changeover point. Thanks also to Jordan Irazabal for passing the image along.
This is a 1939 Format 4 'shorty' passenger plate. That series ran from 10A0 to 99Z99, with the 4-character plates measuring 6 inches by 10 inches and the 5-character plates being 6 inches by 12 inches. The 4-character plates are usually tougher to find, but eBay user 3540markb was kind enough to let me use this photo.
This is a 79 year old 1940 Truck plate. It comes courtesy of eBay user Scottketch71. The plate is a Weight Class S. That group consists of 4 serial progressions including S000A, S00A0, S0A00, S00AA, with this plate being a part of the third group. With this plate, only a plate from the last group is needed to complete the series. All Truck plates that year measured 6 inches by 12 inches.
Here is the first Honoring Our Women Veterans plate, "hot off the press" as Jonathan Ortmann describes his new plate. The plate serial number seemed high for such an early plate. Vanity check shows plates 00001, and 00166 to 00168 in use — strange. Also this plate's flag symbol differs from the early prototype, click the link above to see both. This plate type and the two Distracted Driving Awareness plates were recent additions to the Special Fund group.
On the far left is a sample of the latest issue from Mercyhurst University. The plate features a new logo, a new name — Mercyhurst University, a new prefix — M/U, and new number series. It also has the map outline. Preston Turner spotted one of these on the road but was not able to get a picture. In the center is an image of an updated prototype plate from 2011. It is still unknown if this variant ever made it into production. An example of the original plate is also shown here for comparison.
A recent FB posting and discussion about dual plates for persons with disabilities prompted Nick Tsilakis to share this image again. On the far left photo you can see the second plate in the background. This dual plate concept allows vehicle owners who have a device on the rear of the vehicle for carrying a wheelchair or personal assistive device to be issued two plates since the assistive device and carrier may block visibility of the vehicle mounted plate. This concept is allowed on Person with Disability (98000PD series) plates as shown here. In addition it is available for Severely Disabled Veteran (D/V99000 series) plates and Disabled Veteran (DV-79000 series).
Here's a recent photo of a new high Municipal Government plate on the far left, followed by a first generation Municipal plate. The plates have gone through several phases starting with the yellow on blue plates. These were issued between 1971 and 1976. The early plate is thanks to Tom Perri.
The 'G' and 'H'-series Permanent Trailer plates were recently photographed. The center plate image came from Preston Turner. This series has been using the map outline since back in the 'D'-series and was first spotted in August of 2018. The other Perm-Trailer plate dates back to the late 1990s, and was part of the first format used, and shown here just for comparison. The series itself dates back to 1997.
Here's a recent high Taxi plate which appears to still have the sticker well. I do have some information that suggests that the current batch of plates ends at TX-51999, so TX-52000 could mean a change or two. But I'm not taking any bets. The blue on yellow plate is another first generation Taxi plate on the 1977 base.
This is the first issue Commercial Implement of Husbandry plate. It was recently auctioned on eBay by Geekboy92 who gave me the OK to use it. It is my understanding that Implement of Husbandry (IMP) plates came about in 1984, then in 1997 a segment of those vehicles was split off and then those vehicles were issued Commercial Implement of Husbandry plates. Both types were reissued on the www base. Today Commercial Implement plates are generally seen on large truck-mounted spreaders and sprayers; while Implement of Husbandry plates are exceedingly rare. Those I've seen were on anhydrous ammonia farm trailers.
Yes, the color is wrong on this repainted 1936 Format 9 Passenger plate, but it's a nice representation of the formatting of that group which included 1AA0 to 4GN86 according to the ALPCA Archives. The correct colors would have been dark blue on yellow. Sizes were 6 inches by 10 inches for 4-character plates, and 6 inches by 12 inches for 5 character plates. Thanks to Wayne Tyler for the use of the photo.
This is a 1940 U-Class Truck plate which consisted of three serial progressions — U000A, U00A0 and U0A00. This plate is part of the second group. In that year all truck weight classes consisted of 5 characters, preceded by the weight class from R to Z for 2-axle trucks, and 2-letter prefixes for 3-axle trucks. All truck plates also had another letter in the serial number, and all measured 6 inches by 12 inches..
Here's the latest high 82nd Airborne Division Association plate spotted by Preston Turner. The previously reported high was 00269A/B, which was still sporting a validation sticker. These plates date back to 2007, and are also available in a personalized version.
This Fraternal Order of Police plate was recently photographed by Jordan Irazabal. This plate still has the sticker well and helps to narrow down the point at which that feature stopped being issued. Then there was a run without the sticker well, and before the map outline came out.
The Penn State Alumni Association was one of the earliest organizational plates dating back to 1985, but if you wanted a Penn State tag and were not a member of the Alumni Association, then the Penn State University plate, as shown here, was an option. These became available in 2009, and now with the map outline as can be seen here in this photo from Tom Perri. Jordan Irazabal also recently spotted 11174P/S but was not able to get a picture.
This is the only Villanova University vanity photo I've seen. Thanks to Jeff Lawson for the image. Note that the plate has the latest feature of the map outline. Their plate program dates back to 1987. There was a graphic redesign in 2006; however, the redesigned plates were not spotted until 2009.
These are the first images of a Severely Disabled Veteran plate that is part of the 2 plate series intended for use on a vehicle that carries a wheelchair or personal assistive device. Such vehicles are authorized to be issued two plates since the assistive device and carrier may block visibility of the vehicle mounted plate. In the photo shown here no assistive device or carrier is visible. Originally I had listed this series as starting at D/V98000. This is not the case with the starting point actually at D/V99000. Thanks to Preston Turner for the photo and to Tom Perri for passing it along.
Here's a recent shot and a new high of the latest generation Official Use Dept. of Transportation Commercial plate. In simpler terms it's a plate on the rear of a PennDOT truck, thus the PennDOT logo on left. This is also one of the agency-specific plates which also includes a PA Turnpike edition with their logo and a generic version with the state coat of arms.
Back in February Matt Ciecka spotted this high number We The People plate, Commemorating the 200th anniversary of US Constitution. This plate was only issued during a 3½ month period in 1987 ending on December 31 of that year with fewer than 5000 being issued. This is the only remaining legal yellow on blue plate. The actual high is believed to be U/S04635, only three numbers above the plate shown here. I am fortunate enough to have an unused mint condition plate in my collection — sorry, not for sale.
This is a 1945 Format 2 Dealer plate. This serial group could run from from 1X00 to 9X999, although according to the Archives, the series likely ended around 8X921. Format 1 plates included X100 to X9999. The plate size was 6 inches by 11 inches for all plates. Thanks to Pl8source for the use of the picture.
Here is an unused, near mint condition, 1972 New Car Dealer plate photo from Tom Firth. This series started at A10-000A and went at least as high as the plate shown here. Other full size dealer plates at the time included B series Used Car Dealer, C series M.V. Business, D series Tractor Dealer, and E series Trailer Dealer.
This is a 1931 Format 7 Passenger plate. Format 7 included the serial progression of AA to ZZ999. So 2, 3, 4 and 5-character plates were part of this group. Plates up to 4 characters measured 6" by 10", and 5-character plates were 12" as shown here. The photo gallery has an example of each of the four character lengths. Thanks to Kenny Kuhns for the use of this plate photo.
This is a 1946 Format 3 Passenger plate. That group included the series of 1A00 to 9Z999, so again there are both 4 and 5-character plates. Beginning in 1945 the plate size became 6 inches by 11 inches regardless of the number of characters. And again the alpha character is always last to advance regardless of the number of characters. This photo was from an ebay seller who did not want credit.
On the news front, Charles Sweitzer has shared an article from the York Daily Record concerning registration stickers, or the absence thereof. The article describes a number of issues that have resulted from discontinuing registration stickers. It also speaks of proposed legislation to incorporate the registration sticker and the inspection sticker. Here's another news article from Penn Live describing some of the failures of the current system. One observer commented that the anticipated $3-million savings to PennDOT has turned into a $22-million shortfall from owners not keeping up with registration renewals.
Here's the latest high Distracted Driving Awareness plate from Jerry McCoy. These plates have only been on the road a short time, with the serial numbers apparently starting at D/A00101. The theme of this plate is certainly timely — just watch what other drivers are doing, but don't get too distracted.
Nice shot of a recent Dealer plate from Jordan Irazabal. This plate, K51-779, is the lowest plate spotted with the map outline. It is believed that the map was added at K51-500K. A few weeks ago Bruce Bufalini snapped a photo of K52-570, which is the current high.
This California University (of Pennsylvania) plate was recently spotted by Bruce Bufalini. The plate is a new high and Bruce believes that the plate does not have the sticker well. The previous high of 00233C/U had the sticker well but was spotted back in 2013 according to Tom Perri's highs website.
This is a low number Penn State Alumni Association plate that was spotted recently by Bruce Bufalini. This plate likely dates back to 5/30/2001 when the original crop of plates was being replaced by the www base. After a couple facelifts, the Nittany Lion continues on with the current high not far below P/S30000.
This plate doesn't look like anything special, but it's the early Trailer Dealer plate dating back to 1972. Judging by the number, there could be others. The starting point would have been E10-000E. It is believed that the Trailer Dealer plate series likely began in 1971, but so far no plates have surfaced to confirm that.
Here is a nice 'shorty' 1933 Format 5 Passenger. This format group went from 000A to 999Z9, so both 4 and 5 characters plates were issued; however, all of the numerals in each letter series would have been used before the letter would advance. The 4 character one shown here measures 6 inches by 10 inches, while 5 character plates would be 12 inches wide. Thanks to eBay user Scrane2006 for the use of this photo.
This is another gem, and another 'shorty' plate. It's a 1935 Format 4 Passenger plate, which ran from 00A to 99Z9 and which measure 6 inches by 10 inches, and 10A00 to 99Z99 which are 6 inches by 12 inches in length. Like the 1933 plate above, all of the numerals in each series would have been issued before the letter would advance. Thanks to eBay user Ykessa for the use of this photo.
Here we have two 1930 Truck plates. 1930 was an odd year for truck plate formatting. The same classes of R through Z and ZZ were used but there was no identifying prefix letter as used in earlier and later plates. Confusing, and a little hard to identify them as truck plates. The plate on the far left is an S-Class, which ran from 00GA to 999KZ. This plate is thanks to eBay user Powerfullhammer. The other plate is actually a Z-Class tag which ran from 00UA to 999UZ.
This 1981 U.S. Open special event plate display is a little out of the ordinary for this site but I had a few images that were never shown before and one new photo. So, here they are. From left to the 14 plate may have come from eBay, 44, 47 were John Willard plates, the 56 plate was from Bill Houser, 97 was also another John Willard plate, and the newest plate, 109 is thanks to Phil Tedeschi. Concerning the 56 plate, the reason for the color difference is unknown. The state still offers special event plates but most of the plates in recent years have been black and white cardboard — not very appealing and not easy to collect.
I did not see this one previously in Act 91, and apparently neither did PennDOT. The Presidential Service Badge plate was just recently announced in PennDOT Bulletin 19-07. The plates is based on the military award, and according to Wiki, those who serve as full-time military staff to the President of the United States would be eligible. It may not be an easy one to spot. So far no plates have been issued.
This is the first image of a serial-numbered Barren Hill Volunteer Fire Company plate, although Tom Perri also posted it in his most recent update. The photo was actually taken by Jordan Irazabal. An earlier photo of a Barren Hill vanity plates was posted late in 2018. Both plates had the small map outline. That plate was spotted by Tom Perri.
Here's the latest high Sports Car Club of America plate from Bruce Bufalini. This plate is on the latest base with the map outline. It's not known at what point that change took place, but the previous high, 00149S/C still had a validation sticker and was spotted in June of 2013 according to Tom Perri's website. Plate type dates back to 2005.
Here's a personalized Combat Infantryman Badge sent by Arthur Levine. Up to five characters are permitted. This plate is part of a series of five Combat-related plates, with the series dating back to 2014. The others in the group include, Combat Action Badge, Combat Action Medal, Combat Action Ribbon and Combat Medical Badge.
Limousines are in the business of traveling, and so it is with this plate that has been spotted by both Tom Perri and Nick Tsilakis, who live in different areas of the state. It is considered the current high; however, it appears to still have the sticker well. Keep watching.
At first glance, this appears to be what could be a new high Organ Donors Save Lives plate, but Tom Perri's highs page reports a high of D/N01919. This then suggests that the plate shown here is either an error or a vanity. Vanity check suggests that the number stands by itself, therefore making this a vanity. The plate was spotted by Bruce Bufalini, who also believes it to be a vanity.
Here's a new high on a discontinued but still valid series. NASCAR plates were discontinued in May of 2010, but this Rusty Wallace plate is still on the road. The NASCAR 2 Rusty Wallace plates were only issued for the 2004 and 2005 racing seasons. Thanks to Jeff Lawson for the photo.
Here's an early House Car plate on the 1977 base, but judging by the number, it was likely issued in the early '80s. Later in life these plates had their tag legend changed to Motor Home, which continues in use to this day. The original HC (House Car) legend has progressed through HD, (HE reserved for Hearing Impaired), HF, HG and currently HH. Thanks to David Hassell for the use of this plate.
These two pairs of Boat Registration stickers represent the 1991 season with a 3-31-92 expiration, and the 1993 season with a 3-31-94 expiration. These are thanks to Bob Connison. Over the past month or so. boat stickers have been added representing 16 years; however, there are still quite a few photos needed.
Here's a nice low number 1956 Motorcycle plate. Plate serial numbers for that year went from 1 to 9999, then the sequencing began again with an alpha prefix A, A1 to A999, B etc., extending to R713 according to Eric Tanner's website. Numbers always advance before letters. Thanks to Clayton Moore for this image.
This is a 1957 Format 2 motorcycle plate. Format 1 went from 1 to 9999, then Format 2 sequencing began again with an alpha prefix A, A1 to A999, B etc., extending to V29 according to Eric Tanner's website. All such plates measured 4½" by 8". This plate photo is courtesy of Mike at Pl8source.
Here's the latest high number U.S. Marine Corps Veteran plate from Charles Sweitzer. Charles has shared a number of new plates with us this week. This is the first photo I have of a Marine Veteran plate with the map outline, although Tom Perri's site has 13832M/C with the map. The last plate spotted before the map was 13545M/C without the sticker well. This plate type dates back to 2009 with a starting point of 10000M/C.
Next in this week's lineup is a fresh-from-Harrisburg Veteran plate. While this is the latest high, and the sticker well is gone, it does not have the map outline yet. An inventory sheet suggests this series goes to 02999U/S with the map possibly coming after that. This plate type dates back to 2005.
These plates are the Motorcycle Veteran version of the plate above. The plate on the far left, also thanks to Charles Sweitzer, is another very recent issue. The other plate is older, and is being shown for comparison. Note that both the serial number fonts and the VETERAN legend font are wider than the older plate. This change was first seen on V3099 on Tom Perri's website.
Here's a new high Trailer plate from Charles Sweitzer. The trailer series has had the map outline at or around XKY-0000, and were first spotted in January of 2018. No plates without both the sticker well and the the map outline have been spotted.
This is not a new high, but it is the lowest number spotted so far without the sticker well. The highest known with the sticker well is F/L01652, which also had the early plate legend of Flyers Wives Charities. Then the legend switched to the singular Flyers Wives Charity, and the sticker well was removed. At this point I am of the opinion that both changes happened together. Thanks to Jordan Irazabal for the photo.
Here are a couple more pairs of Boat Registration stickers. This week featuring a blue 1988 sticker with a 3-31-89 expiration, and an orange 1989 with a 3-31-90 expiration both from Bob Connison. These stickers again follow a 4-year color cycle of blue, orange, green, and red.
This is an unused Handicapped Person plate from Tom Firth. It's on the 1984 base, but this 4-digit series was part of a short run of plates from HP0000 to HP9999. After that series was used, the next series had the HP symbol in the suffix position. Click the link above to see more of the progression.
Here's an usual 3-character plate. It's actually a 1932 Format 2 Passenger plate which included the range of A then A1, and continuing all the way to Z9999. The serial numbers following the letter would be entirely used before he next letter came into play. So plate size was a function of the number of characters. 1 to 4 character plates were 6 inches by 10 inches, and 5 character plates were 6 inches by 12 inches. Thanks to eBay user kope2112 for the use of the photo.
This ia a 1928 Format 2 Motorcycle plate, thanks to Clayton Moore. Format 2 means that it's part of the group of plates from 1000 to 13807. The 4 and 5-dight plates measure 4½ inches by 8 inches. Format 1 plates on the other hand had serial numbers from 1 to 999, and measure 4½ inches by 6 inches. Anyone have one?
Next is this 1937 Format 1 Motorcycle plate. Format 1 plates were consisted of 1 to 4 digit plates, while Format 2 plates were the same size but the serial progression went from A1 to A99 then progressed to somewhere in the C-series, so quite rare. Plate size was 45/16" by 7⅞".
Here's a recent photo of an Apportioned Truck plate from Preston Turner. What the plate shows is that the transition point to the map outline, which was previously thought to be at AG-73000, has to be above the plate shown here. The next plate spotted is AG-73399, so the map was added somewhere in between.
Here's another early Distracted Driving Awareness plate from Jonathan Ortmann. Also thanks to Jordan Irazabal for photo editing. It appears that this series started at D/A00101 making this the 12th plate issued. These plates became available back on February 21, and are eligible for use on passenger cars, trucks not over 14,000 lb. and motor homes,
And the plate is also available in this downsized motorcycle edition of the Distracted Driving Awareness tag. Tim Martin recently received this plate and posted it on Facebook. It appears that this series may have started at D/A061 as this number and D/A062 are the only ones showing in the vanity check.
Jordan Irazabal reports spotting Official Use plate PA-1063B on the blue base which is the highest number recorded on that base. This helps to narrow the gap between the blue base and the newer graphic base. The lowest plate spotted on the graphic base is PA-2215B.
Here is the first plate spotted of the U.S. Coast Guard (Active Duty) series. These active duty military types came out in February of 2017, but so far have been elusive. The image was provided by Matthew Wehner, and the photograph was actually taken in the state of Washington.
Here are a couple more pairs of Boat Registration stickers. This week featuring an orange 1985 sticker with a 3-31-86 expiration from Bob Connison, and a green 1986 with a 3-31-87 expiration from Tom Firth. These stickers follow a 4-year color cycle of blue, orange, green, and red.
The remainder of the 1909 Pittsburgh Press newspaper clippings have been posted. The Pittsburgh City record of the Green 98 plate can be viewed by clicking the image to the right of the plate. Then zoom the jpg until you can see the record for the single seat 98 and 2-seat 263. It also lists the state-issued plate, 1295 belonging to one of the vehicles. Click the image to the right of the brown 1160 to see the Pittsburgh City record for that plate with the corresponding state-issued plate of 662. Again I want to thank Eric Tanner for the great work in researching and assembling these newspaper articles. And thanks again to Eric Taylor for the plate images.
This is a 1953 Format 3 Trailer plate. Format 3 represents the serial number range of 0A00 to 9Z99. All such plates measure 6 inches by 10¼" inches. Most plates for that year were 4 characters; however there was also a run with 5 digits as well. Thanks to Rob Baran for the photo.
This is a 1933 S-Weight Class Truck plate. 1933 again used the R through Z, etc. weight classes, and this is the first S-class photo. The size of truck plates were 6 inches by 15 inches. This plus the letter prefix, and the number of characters were the features that identified this as a truck plate. Thanks to eBay user hfritz2.570 for the use of this photo.
This plate is likely the first of its kind, Distracted Driving Awareness plate. The serial number may seem strange but it's not unusual for plate serials numbers to start at 100 or 101. Sometimes the under 100 plates are kept in reserve. This plate is thanks to Brandon Sowers, and was passed on by Jordan Irazabal.
Here's a new high Dealer plate recently spotted by Bruce Bufalini. This plate now has the map outline, whereas the previous high, K51-037K, according to Tom Perri's website, did not. Based on an inventory sheet, it appears that this changer took place at K51-500K, although the map was seen earlier on Dealer vanities.
This is a new high Official Use Commercial plate for use on a PennDOT vehicle. The term commercial in this case refers to use on a truck, loader, grader, etc., not on an automobile. The type used on an automobile would be formatted as T0001P/A. The state allows agency-specific plates to be used on PennDOT vehicles and PA Turnpike vehicles. So far it does not appear that any agencies other than those have opted for their own plates. Thanks to Charles Switzer for the photo.
We have seen this plate before back in 2012, but when such a rare plate is spotted again, it seems like a good opportunity to show it again. Thanks to Rob Einhorn for sharing this recent traffic shot of a U.S. Congress 1st District plate. After the 2000 Census, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was divided into 19 Congressional Districts, decreasing from 21 due to reapportionment. After the 2010 Census, the number of districts decreased again to 18 according to Wikipedia. Then in 2018 the districts were redrawn.
The center plate is a recent photo of an Autism Society of America plate. It has no sticker well, while the plate to its left still has that feature, and the plate to the right now has the map outline. All of these changes happened within the span of 24 plates, but since graphic organizational plates are produced as the orders are received, it's hard to pinpoint exactly when a change takes place. The far left photo was from Brandon Sowers, while the other two as thanks to Bruce Bufalini.
This plate is part of the first formatting group of 1954 Bus plates. The formatting consists of the letter 'O' + 1 to 4 digits, the second formatting group is the letter 'O' + another letter starting with 'A', then 3 digits, such as OA123. This plate is currently up for grabs on eBay. Thank you to Drewski for the use of the photo.
Here is a continuation of Boat Registration stickers from last week. Again my belief is that stickers with a 31 March 1984 expiration, would indicate that it was valid for the previous year, 1983, and up to the expiration date shown on the sticker. The other being a 1984 sticker with a 3-85 expiration. These stickers were provided by Bob Connison.
Recently I was contacted by Eric Tanner concerning the small porcelain 1908 and 1909 Pittsburgh plates. Eric, as many of you know, is the current editor of Plates Magazine, and a past Archivist for ALPCA. He has done some great research on early Pittsburgh vehicle registrations. Unlike the City of Philadelphia pre-state plates which were used as drivers' licenses, the City of Pittsburgh plates were to be used in addition to state-issued plates as a form of taxation on vehicles. As a result of his research, Eric has expanded that section on his website, License Plate Information, http://www.allaboutlicenseplates.com/, and I would encourage anyone interested to read it. He has also discovered that the vehicle registration records for 1909 were published in the Pittsburgh Press. I have started to post some of the 1909 Pittsburgh Press newspaper clippings of registration records, and will post more next week. The photos shown here were provided courtesy of Eric Taylor, and are from his website, http://porcelainplates.net/. The 1908 white on blue plate above was for a 1-seat/2-person automobile, while the white on slate or gray was for a 2-seat/4-person auto. 1909 followed the same format with the white on green 1-seat/2-person automobile, and the white on brown was for a 2-seat/4-person auto. Next week I should the remainder of the registration records posted.
This is the final group of newly available plate types. These are both Historic Military Vehicle plates with the option of a Motorcycle edition for that type of vehicle. Full size plates can be used on both trucks and trailer.
Here's the first photo of a serial numbered Gettysburg College plate on the graphic base. An earlier photo was taken of a vanity plate; however, both plates still had '17 validation stickers. The most striking feature of this plate is the 4-digit serial number instead of 5. One might think that this is a vanity, but Gettysburg plates have always been 4-digit. We don't know when the switch to the graphic style took place, but it was listed back on 5/31/15. The previous high was G/C3168. This plate was spotted by Jordan Irazabal.
The far left full image and the cropped image are of a new high NRA Foundation plate spotted on the fly by Bruce Bufalini. This is also the second plate spotted with wide character spacing between the serial number and the NRA. Compare the 0828N/R/A photo which shows the original narrow spacing. Can't say if the new high retains the sticker well or not. That plate was previously provided thanks to Brandon Sowers.
Here's the latest high number Combat Infantryman Badge. The photo was recently taken by Jordan Irazabal. These plates are part of a group of 5 combat-related plates which date back to 2014. This plate series started at 20000C/O. Plate 20179C/O was previously spotted with the map outline. They are also available as a vanity.
Here's another high — this one being a U.S. Army Veteran. These date back to 2009, with quite a few of these now sporting the small map. Personalized plates are permitted as well. This plate photo was also taken by Jordan Irazabal.
Here is a WFMZ TV screen shot which shows an electric-powered campus vehicle belonging to Lafayette College. The vehicle dubbed a 'bubble car' is shown here with a Special Mobile Equipment tag — strange. To my knowledge, PA does not offer any specialized tags to electric vehicles, slow moving vehicles, autonomous vehicles, etc. and the laws seem vague as they apply to certain vehicle types and uses. The use shown here may even be exempt from registration as prescribed under Act 57 of 2018.
This is a plate from the 1975 Governor's Inauguration. It is also one that bears the name of Venango County. For that year, in addition to the plates with serial numbers, there were also plates that looked similar to 1965 Governor plates, but with Inauguration 1975 as the top legend and a county names below. So far the counties of Allegheny, Philadelphia, Cameron, Clearfield and Philadelphia have been documented. The Philadelphia plate is on a different base. Thanks to Eric Conner for the use of the plate photo.
Starting 3/17, I'm planning to add some history and images of early Pittsburgh plates. These plates are very scarce, at least for now the focus will be on 1908 and 1909 plates. Thanks to Eric Tanner and Eric Taylor for their help.
Here we have another group of Boat Registration stickers. As before, I'm not very familiar with theses stickers, but believe that stickers with a 31 March 1981 expiration, would indicate that it was valid for the previous year, 1980, and up to the expiration date shown on the sticker. So here we also have 1981 with 3-82 expiration, and a 1982 with 3-83 expiration. These stickers were provided by Bob Connison.
Here is a pair of Trailer plates from 1934 and 1936. 1934 was the first year of a new serial numbering system. Up through 1933 plates used T or TT to designate it as a Trailer. Then beginning in 1934 plates used 1 to 9999, then A1 to at least A118, they also now had the legend TRAILER on the plate. Thanks to eBay user simbacurt for the use of these photos.
This is a 1938 Class U Truck plate. Class U includes the following serial formats: U000A, U00A0, U0A00, with this plate being part of the second progression. All 1938 Truck plates measured 6 inches by 12 inches. Thanks to Clayton Moore for the use of this photo.
Last week a number of new Special Fund plates were unveiled. This week prototypes of several new Veterans' plates have been added. From left to right these include a Purple Heart or Combat Wounded Veteran Motorcycle plate, Legion of Merit award plate, Soldier's Medal plate and Veterans of an Allied Foreign Country. No plates in use as of 3/1.
Here's a new high Severely Disabled Veteran plate that was recently spotted. One thing I like about this plate and several other Veterans' plates is that they have not joined the 'family of plates' movement. It is my belief that this is because the legislation that authorized such plates, also spelled out the colors and design of the plate.
Here's a group effort thanks to several friends. This group of Veteran plates were all photographed recently. The far left plate is from Jordan Irazabal showing a plate that was likely issued not too long before the sticker wells ended. The center plate shows the lowest known number without the sticker well and is thanks to Tom Perri. The right-hand photograph of was taken by Bruce Bufalini. This plate is the current new high, but still no map symbol.
This is a recent photo of a Blue Knights International Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club plate from Jeff Lawson. The current reported high is 00036B/K. With the recent change in the law which now allows for organizational motorcycle plates, I would think that this club would welcome such an option..
The far left International Association of Fire Fighters photo was snapped by Tom Perri back in August of 2017. I photo-shopped it a bit to try to square it up. Anyway the photo appears to show a plate without the sticker well. The near left photo I took recently showing a plate with the map.
This is a continuation of Boat registrations from last week beginning with 1998 with a 3-31-99 expiration. The others are stickers from 2005-06 and 2008-09. Thanks to Tom Firth for the sticker photos.
These are all 1977 base Motorcycle plates that were issued between that year and 1985. Andrew Turnbull has shared his research on the progression of PA's Motorcycle plates. He unveiled the fact that while almost all '77-base plates had narrow bolt hole spacing, there was a run of plates toward the end where the wide hole spacing came about in preparation for the '85 issue. This is new information for this website, and has resulted in splitting Format 4 plate progression into 2 groups. Format 4A, as seen in the center plate has the narrow holes, while 4B, right-hand plate, has the wide spacing, The far left plate is an example of a low number Format 1 (0A000) plate. The 1AP6S came from an unknown eBay auction.
Andrew Turnbull also focused on the 1985 Motorcycle base. The alpha-numeric progression remained the same throughout the series; however, Andrew noted the use of a wide font and a narrow font used for the legend PENNA. At times the heavy or light application of paint can also create some confusion as to which font was used. The far left plate, from Andrew, has the thicker font, while the other plate has the skinny font. Check back next week for some additional refinement of the www base Motorcycle plates from Andrew.
Here is a very distinctive 1924 Format 1 Passenger plate from eBay user V16. This group consisted of all-numeric plates from 1 to 4 digits. All such plates were 'shorties' measuring 6 inches by x 10 inches. Plates with 5 digits went to 12 inches, and 6 digit plates were 15 inches. Toward the end of the run, alpha-numeric plates made their debut.
What's up with the sizes of these 1920 Commercial (aka Truck) plates? These plates are part of that 1920 to '23 period that has been the subject of many questions. As previously mentioned Rob Baran's research has shed a lot of light on such plates. Rob has also provided the center and right-hand plate. Those plates with legend on both and top and bottom of the plate measured 7 inches in height, as compared to the plate with the legend along the bottom which measures 6 inches.
This is an extraordinarily nice and very rare 1927 V-Class Truck plate. It would have been the first V-weight class plate produced that year. At least 13,096 V-class plates were issued that year. The plate measures 6" by 10", which is the shortest of the three sizes used that year. It's up for grabs on eBay by eBay user Me, also known as Drewski in the license plate community.
In Legislative News, Act 91, was signed into law on 10/24/2018, becoming effective 2/21/19. The law authorizes a number of new plates, including Honoring Our Women Veterans, Distracted Driving Awareness Registration Plate & Motorcycle plate. The veterans' plate supports the Veterans’ Trust Fund, and the awareness plates are to further public education on the dangers posed by distracted driving. As such, these plates are part of the Special Fund group of plates.
In addition, Act 91 also calls for creation of the following new plates: Historic Military Vehicle, Historic Military Motorcycle, Soldier’s Medal, Veterans of an Allied Foreign Country. This act also provides for Special Organization Registration Plates for motorcycles. In more Legislative News, Act 108, also effective 2/21/19, authorizes the Legion of Merit plate. It also authorizes a Purple Heart for motorcycles plate. Check back for more information and prototypes next week.
A lot of drivers probably wish this were an option, but it's not. It appears that the owner had this white on black plate made up with the same serial number that had been issued on the owner's passenger vehicle plate. The plate also features a 'Blue Lives Matter' flag. Can't really say for certain what the legend says along the bottom of the plate, again maybe 'Blue Lives Matter'. Judging by the JLL-6741, the original plate was probably issued late in 2013. The plate was photographed by Nathan Krawzyk.
These next three plate types are a continuation of the announcement about the Penn State Official plates last week. Here we have a complete facelift of the Temple University Official plates. No word when this change will take place.
Next plate up for remodeling is the University of Pittsburgh Official plate. It appears that except for the addition of the map outline and the flat plate legend the plates will look much the same as they have since they have been on the visitPA base.
Here's a seldom seen plate type. The Lincoln University Official plates were first issued on the yellow on blue base, then replaced with the www base on 9/1/1999. So far only 30-some plates have been issued, and how many remain in inventory before they are switched to the new design? The disturbing thing is that it appears that not a single plate has survived from the original yellow on blue issue.
Here is a new high Official Use Commonwealth-owned passenger vehicle plate. These tags are issued in pairs. They are slated to switch to the family of plates design; however, if this change does not occur until the current inventory is exhausted, it could take a while, possibly up to 41999-PA. Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for the photo.
This Dealer - Farm Equipment plate is one of the most unusual dealer types. According to the 2017 Report of Registrations, there was a total of 41 farm equipment dealers in PA with a combined total of 51 plates. This is also the highest plate spotted. With so few plates, who knows if we will ever see these tags on the visitPA base, let alone the map base. Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for the photo.
Here is a pair of Support Our Troops license plates. The far left plate, with a 1-13 sticker, is from Clayton Moore who had this plate up for grabs on eBay recently. The near left plate is from Tom Perri. This plate is the current reported high and no longer has the sticker well. We don't know at what point this change took place, but 00203S/T still had the sticker well. Tom helped me narrow this down.
If you guessed Boat Registration Stickers you are correct. I'm going to suggest that the stickers on the far left were for 1987 with an expiration of 3-31-1988. Same with the 1990 stickers expiring in 1991. Not sure if these were issued every year since PA boat plates were discontinued after 1963. These and a few other photos were passed on to me by Tom Firth.
This is a 1939 Format 2 Passenger plate. That series ran from A100 to Z9999, so both 6 inch by 10 inch and and 6 inch by 12 inch bases were used, with this one being 10 inch. Thanks to eBay user ALPCA3217, who some may know better as Jeff.
Here are two welcome additions to the 1953 Passenger series. On the far left is a very nice Format 4 (10A0 to 99Z99), 4-character plate from eBay user ALPCA3217. The near left plate is an example of a Format 10 plate which runs from 00AA to 99ZZ. Thanks to eBay user hpr4661 for the photo. All '53 plates measure 6" x 10¼".
Last week I featured a series of three 1923 Commercial or Truck plates, along with some explanation of these Pennsylvania plates for the period 1920 through 1923. This week we have a pair of very nice 1922 Commercial plates. Many thanks to Rob Baran who recently authored a great article in Plates Magazine about this series. Rob has kindly sent me a number of plate images. This week features a continuation of that period with this Class 3 or B plate, and low number Class 6 or E plate. The 6 88 has a space where a dash might be expected. Again, the weight classes of these vehicles was identified by the first number of the plate serial number. More next week.
If the wheels in Harrisburg turn according to plan, the following two plates should be unveiled this coming week: Combat Wounded Veteran Motorcycle (Purple Heart), and Legion of Merit. The Legion of Merit is authorized for automobiles, or trucks with a GVW of not more than 14,000 lb. These were authorized by Act 108. No photos or prototypes yet. Stay tuned.
Sad day. This, and several legacy plates (far left), are being replaced by what you see on the near left. PennDOT takes pride (really?) in announcing that the official plates issued to Penn State, Pitt, Temple and Lincoln Universities will be joining the 'family of plates'. Once the changeover takes place, the new plates will be issued as singles. The A45-28P photo is thanks to from Jordan Irazabal and Tom Perri. Watch for more on the other plates next week.
Here is a pair of Autism Society of America plates. The plate on the far left was recently acquired by Brandon Sowers and represents a high number before the changeover to the map outline. The near left plate with the map was a street shot taken by Bruce Bufalini.
Every now and then a blank plate of the original series of Special Fund plates comes to the forefront. So it is with this DARE plate which had not yet been given its debossed edge and sticker well. The term DARE is short for Drug Abuse Resistance Education Also not yet part of the plate are the embossed features including the serial number and state name. DARE plates are very sought after by collectors. Thanks to Devan Ciemiewicz for this photo.
Here's an early Disabled Veteran plate. I believe these DV plates date back to 1976, and have never been replaced. So had this plate been registered over the years, it could still be on the street; however, this plate belonging to Tom Firth, has never been used. Current issue is in the DV-37000 series.
Nothing all that remarkable about this Person with Disability plate, but noticed that I had no plate photos between 00009PD and 14808PD — quite a gap. Thanks to Brendan Sherry for the photo.
Here's a well-preserved 1940 Motorbike plate. These are very similar to Motorcycle plates of the time in terms of color, size and shape. The main difference is the use of MB, as shown here, vs. MC for Motorcycle. The other difference is the number of plates issued, with Motorcycle registrations far outnumbering Motorbikes. Thanks to Lee Madigan for the use of this photo.
Here's a nice yellow on green 3-digit 1948 Motorboat License plate. It measure 5⅛" by 11". The 11-inch width started in 1947 to accommodate 5 character serial numbers. Even 1, 2 and 3-digit plates used the 11 inches width. The photo gallery now has examples of 3, 4 and 5-digit plates. Plates were issued in pairs. Thanks to Rob Baran for the use of this photo.
This is a pair of 1949 Motorboat License plates. Like the plate above all measure 5⅛" by 11". The 11-inch width, which started in 1947 would run through1949, after which the use of narrower dies in 1950 allowed the plates to be motorcycle size. Thanks to eBay users rbq507 and mg00000 for the use of these photos.
During the years from 1920 to 1923, the word Commercial was added to truck plates as the identifying legend. ALPCA member, Rob Baran, recently did a very informative article for the February 2019 issue of Plates Magazine entitled Pennsylvania Commercial Plates 1920-1923. Rob put forth a great effort to research these plates and help remove much of the shroud of mystery. The mystery comes about through the apparent lack of a weight classification system. For those not familiar, the weight classes are identified by the first digit in the number, which equates to Classes 1 to 8. Rob has kindly forwarded these 1923 Class 2, 4 and 5 images. The generally held belief was that all plates were 6" by 16" in size regardless of the length of the serial number; however Rob has noted 2 sizes. Most plates are 6" by 16"; however, two plates, 56-188 (shown above) and another, actually measure 6" by 15". The 15-inch plates have the left side of the plate trimmed, and the beveled edge removed. He also notes that the positioning of the holes and the slots are reversed on the short plates. Check back next week for more on this series. A big Thank You to Rob Baran. (Sorry for the long read.)
As truck plates transitioned from 1923 to 1924, the word Commercial disappeared and the R through Z (except X) prefixes were established to identify weight classes. These prefixes, and in some R-class plates as suffixes, were the best identifier of truck plates, since the word TRUCK did not appear on plates until 1934. This 1924 R-Class Truck plate was provided by Jeff Hinkle.
Did Passenger plates suddenly jump ahead to the L-series? The plate image on the far left was sent to me by Nathan Krawzyk wondering if it is a legitimate new high, and indicating that the plate appeared to have a keystone separator, not a dash. What's strange is that recent reported highs have been in the KYJ-series, which makes this plate quite a leap ahead. It would not be the first time a plate was issued out of sequence. Turns out after doing a plate check, this appears to be a vanity.
Here's an eye-catching number 1 vanity version of a Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue plate. Could be the serial number is a little off center? Since the logo supposedly occupies a 3" by 3" canvas on the left, I'm not sure exactly where the center point would be. This is the first plate of this series to be spotted without the sticker well, and without the small map. It is unknown at this point how the current issue of the serial numbered plate is configured. The recorded high still has a validation sticker. Thanks to Tom Perri for the photo.
There are many tales of strange sightings, superstitions and curses surrounding the Gettysburg Battlefield. This Gettysburg 1863 plate may be part of the mystique. Bill Ceravola, who shares the photo, indicates that this is a recent issue. As a new plate it does not have the sticker well, nor does it have the map outline. These plates made their debut in 2014, and have been popular for personalization. Serial numbered plates are currently around 00694G/B.
Here is a pair of Bronze Star plates. Both now have the map outline. The far left image is from Bruce Bufalini and actually dates back to June of 2018, the near left plate is a recent photograph from John Fedorchak, and is the current high. The previous reported high with the sticker well was 00421B/Z.
Here is a personalized Honoring Our Veterans plate. These plates have been available since 2012. It is part of the Special Fund group of plates with the proceeds benefitting the Veterans Trust Fund. Personalized plates can have up to 5 characters with stacked H/V suffix, with a dash or space counting as a character. This photo is courtesy of Nick Tsilakis. The current high in the serial numbered plates is above 02500H/V. This plate is also available as a motorcycle tag.
They're still legal! These We The People plates, sometimes referred to as Constitution plates, are all over thirty years old, and are the only yellow on blue plates that are still legal. They were issued only during a 3½ month period in 1987 ending on December 31 of that year, with fewer than 5000 issued. They commemorate the 200th anniversary of U.S. Constitution. These plates have never been replaced by a newer design. They may be considered PA's first optional plate. The 9 plate is thanks to Nick Tsilakis, and the 3891 is thanks to Devan Ciemiewicz.
This is an image of a first generation U.S. Armed Forces Retired plate. This plate type dates back to 1990, and were replaced on the www base around 10/17/2001. The www plates were then discontinued by May of 2006; however, they are still eligible for renewal. This photo is thanks to Devan Ciemiewicz.
Consular and Foreign Consul plates are very sought after by collectors. This one has the year 71 lightly etched in the upper left sticker box, along with a 72 sticker in the upper right, with the Bicentennial State slogan at the bottom. They would have been used up through 1976. This plate is in mint unused condition and was provided by Tom Firth. The 1977 base came out next and had the words Foreign Consul spelled out on the plate. Click the link above to see more.
This is a 1939 Format 2 Passenger plate. Format 2 plates consisted of the series from A100 to Z9999. So both 4 and 5 character plates were used, and as a result both 6 inch by 10 inch and 6 inch by 12 inch sizes were used. This image came from eBay user Bonner397.
Here is a 1940 Format 2 Passenger plate. Aside from the color reversal, the formatting of this plate is similar to the '39 plate above in that it is also from the series A100 to Z9999; however, this one is four characters instead of five. The shorter serial also allows for the 6 inch by 10 inch size. Thanks to eBay user Wonderplumber.
Here is a pair of 1946 U-Weight Class Truck plates. Class U plates used four serial progressions, including U000A, U00A0, U0A00 and U00AA. All truck plates were 5 character, and measured 6 inch by 11 inch size. Thanks to from eBay user Geeseautopa and Pl8source for the use of the photos.
This new high Apportioned Truck street shot from Preston Turner is being posted only one week after posting AG-80391. Preston also spotted AG-82802 a week earlier but was not able to get a photo. The plate check tool indicates a high of AG-83287. In looking at the numbers, between June of 2018 and February of 2019, an 8-month period, about 10,000 plates were issued. The AG series would be expected to run out of numbers during 2020. Next series AH?
Here's an eye-catching photo of a personalized Fraternal Order of Police plate. As an organizational plate program, it dates back to 1987. Plate check shows the current high being a few plates shy of 22000. There was a small number of these plates without the sticker well, current issue plates now have the small map. Photo is thanks to Nick Tsilakis.
Here's a recent photo of a nice 32° Masonic Learning Centers for Children from Tim Gierschick. These plates have been around since 2007, with the current high of 00081L/C according to Tom Perri's PA Plates website.
Here's the latest high number Villanova University plate thanks to Jordan Irazabal. Plate 00486V/U was spotted back in May of 2018 with the the map outline. It may be worth mentioning that there was an earlier plate called Villanova University Alumni Assoc. with the V/U on the left of the serial number. It appears that the earlier style was discontinued when the graphic style shown here was introduced in mid-2006.
I went to the state capital on inauguration day, not to take part in the political festivities, but hoping to score some new plate photos. Unfortunately I did not see any political types with the map outline but did get this State Senator #3 plate with the wide-spacing between the district number and the PA symbol. The other plate shows the PA symbol first, then standard spacing between the plate characters.
This is a personalized U.S. Coast Guard Veteran from Nick Tsilakis. Could it mean Chief Warrant Officer 4? In addition to USCG Veteran plates, there are also USCG Active Duty, USCG Auxilliary, and USCG Reserve. The last two are organizational plates. Am I missing any? Still need a photo of an Active Duty type.
Pennsylvania has issued special event plates over the years for a variety of activities. The earliest that I am aware of were Governor's inaugural plates issued every 4 years since 1963 up through 2015; however, after the 1999 issue they were no longer issued by the state. Golf tournaments have also been a popular venue for such plates. The plate shown here, courtesy of Todd Mickinak, is the earliest known golf tournament plate. Such plate were permitted to be displayed for a brief period around the time of the event for state issued plates. Plates not sanctioned by the state would generally be considered souvenirs, and not intended for display on the rear of the vehicle. There were also many official and non-official front plates. Some have been used to identify the vehicle as being official, while others can be described as booster plates or even novelty plates.
Here's a very nice example of a first generation 3-digit Antique Historic Car plate from Devan Ciemiewicz. This series is believed to have started in 1954, with this plate issued around 1956. Despite its age, many of these plates are still in use today, and to many enthusiasts, are more popular than today's version. The series started with the number 1 and progressed to 9999 before switching to various alpha-numeric combinations.
Here is a Berks County Civil Defense plate from Devan Ciemiewicz. These unique plates were issued during the cold war years of the 1950s and 60s. There were blue on yellow steel plates, then yellow on blue aluminum plates as shown here. Plates were issued by the State Office of Civil Defense, today known as the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency or PEMA, and were distributed by PA's 67 counties. Plates were front mounted on vehicles, and were given to those who had a role in civil defense. Plates measure 4" by 9½". The first part of the plate number represents the County code, the second part is the plate serial number, all are undated.
The 1931 Governor's plate on the far left was recently auctioned on eBay. The embossed center area is sometimes described as a raised loaf. Some earlier plates displayed a state coat of arms in this area. Thanks to eBay user Fairbrozz59 for the use of this photo. It has been suggested that this plate would have been displayed on the front of the vehicle, while the near left #1 plate (previously posted) would have been mounted on the rear. That plate was courtesy of the License Plate King Company.
This Apportioned Truck traffic shot is not pretty, but it is a new high number. It may seem hard to believe but this plate series started at AA back in 1982 on the blue on yellow base. Later the series went to AB, AC was skipped, AD was yellow on blue, AE was on the www base, AF and AG on the visitPA base. Finally there was a run of plates without the sticker well, and the most recent plates have the small map as shown here. Click to see their history.
Here's a perfect image of a hot-off-the-plate-press Franklin and Marshall College tag. The previous high was 00155F/M which had a 2-12 sticker, which suggests to me that the map was added closer to the 00172F/M. This plate program dates back to 2006. Thanks to Jonathan Ortmann for the plate photo, with a little help from Jordan Irazabal.
Here's a new high in the Municipal Government series. As you may recall these plates were originally yellow on blue, then went blue on white in 1977, then white on blue from '84 until early 2017 when this latest format made its debut. The current series started at M/G9000J. Thanks to Bill Houser for the plate photo.
Here's a recent issue Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran plate, now with the map outline. The Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom plates date back to 2005. This photo is courtesy of Ian Emmett. The plate says Jar Head. Ian also had a plate with DVLDG for Devil Dog. I do like these U.S. Marine-themed plates.
The two plates on the far left are the first images of non-commercial PA Turnpike Official Use plates. The term non-commercial refers to passenger type vehicles. The photo on the near left was previously taken by John Clark. Note that the serial formatting is reversed, as this plate version is for use on commercial type vehicles or trucks. Other state agencies have the option of having their own plate but so far only PennDOT and the PA Turnpike have gone in that direction.
This Taxi plate is another new high; however, it still retains the sticker well. Research suggests that the next batch of Taxi plates will start at TX-52000, and will at least eliminate the sticker box. Taxi plates date back to 1977 and were blue on yellow with a starting serial number of TX-10000 or TX10001. Prior to this, Taxis were issued Bus plates. Click to see Taxi history.
This is a 1942 Format 5 Passenger shorty. This series included the progression of 000A to 999Z, with all plates in that range being 4 characters, the plates measured 6 inches by 10 inches. Five character 1942 plates were 6 inches by 12 inches. This photo was made available by eBay user nickelsndiamonds1013.
Here's a beautiful 1954 Format 15 Passenger plate. I can't provide a full description of these plates other than plates with fewer than 4 characters are considered non-standard issue. My thought is that these plates were the predecessor to vanity plates. Formatting could be 3 numbers, 2 letters and 1 number or 1 letter and 2 numbers as shown here. Plates were 6" x 10¼". Thanks to Jonathan Ortmann for the use of this photo.
This is a 1948 Format 5 Trailer plate. That year included the following serial progressions: 0001 to 9999, A000 to Z999, 0A00 to 9Z99, 00A0 to 99Z9, 000A to 999Z, with this plate being a part of the last group. All plates measured 6 inches by 11 inches. Thanks to eBay user Willy-K for the use of the plate photo.
Here's the latest high number Person with Disability plate. These plates have had the small map outline since 72000PD. The PD suffix is a part of the registration number, as were the HP plates in the past. This plate photo is thanks to Bruce Bufalini.
Here's the first image of a personalized 82nd Airborne Division Association plate. This plate program dates back to 2007, and is considered an organizational plate rather than a military or veterans' plate. Thanks to Tim Gierschick for providing the photograph.
This is the second image of a Gwynedd-Mercy University plate with the newer logo. On the previous plate photo, the tag legend was covered by the frame. Now we see that the earlier name Gwynedd-Mercy College has been changed to Gwynedd-Mercy University. The number would suggest that this plate replaced the previous issue. Thanks to Tom Perri for the image.
Here is a Rutgers University sample plate. The Rutgers plate program dates back to 2011. Samples of current type plates are not easy to come by, but they are still sought after by some collectors. Some years back the state used to market samples of almost every type, then they choose to discontinue the practice. Today a few samples are produced for each organizational plate at the start of the plate program. These are intended for the organization to use as they see fit. Thanks to Paul Bagnarol for sharing this plate photo.
West Virginia Alumni Association plate W/V01715 was recently spotted by Bruce Bufalini. It was a new high, and Bruce reports that it now has the map outline. Plate W/V01653 still has the sticker well. These is no way to pinpoint at what number the change took place. Photo not available.
This is a recent photo of a Severely Disabled Veteran plate that still has the sticker well. Previously posted plate D/V95738 does not have the sticker well. After looking at an old inventory sheet, it appears that the removal of the sticker well took place at D/V95700. Thanks to Tom Perri for the plate photo.
Here is a very well preserved 105 year old 1914 Porcelain Dealer plate. In addition it is an X+3 digit format. The series that year began at X1 and ran to X3367 according to DMV records. Four different plates lengths were used that year. Thanks to eBay user Pars1-2 for the use of this image.
These 1960 and 1961 Motorboat plates are the final chapter of this series that was part of John Willard's display at the Valley Forge ALPCA Convention. The serial numbers of these numeric plates could have 1 to 5 digits making 1, 2 or 3-digit plates very desirable. Note some similarities between the '61 MB plate and Motorcycle plates of the time.
These are both 1933 Format 3 Passenger plates. Format 3 includes the series progression of 0A to 9Z999. Plates with 4-character would be a tougher find than those with 5 characters. Note that while these are both 1933 plates the legends are reversed. PENNA 1933 is the correct legend, while the transposed legend on the 1B612 plate is considered an error, of which a sizeable number were produced. 4-character plates measured 6" by 10", while the 5-character plates measured 6" by 12". Thanks to eBay user Hildenbrandmilitaria for the 1V10 plate photo, and America on Wheels for the other.
Next is this 1950 Format 4 Passenger plate. This format consists of plates from10A0 to 99Z99. All passenger plates for 1951 were 6 inches by 11 inches in size for both 4 and 5-character plates. This plate is courtesy of eBay user Jeopardyboy1. Anyone have a 1950 Sample?
This is a 1924 Class T Weight Class Truck plate. The Class T series went from T1 to at least as high as the plate shown here. This plate marks a new class high. 1924 was the first year for truck plates to use the R through Z prefix system to designate weight classes. X was reserved for Dealer plates. This plate measures 6 inches by 12 inches. There were also 10 inch plates, and 15 inch (R & S only) plates depending on the number of characters. Thanks to eBay user tw19670 for the use of this plate photo.
Here is a 1937 Class T Weight Class Truck plate. Class T used 3 serial progressions that year including T000A, T00A0 and T0A00 of which the plate shown here is part of the first group. All Class T plates had 5 characters and measured 6 inches by 12 inches; however, the R and S classes had some 6-character overflow plates that measured 6 inches by 15 inches. This photo is thanks to eBay user centipede16.
This personalized Antique Vehicle tag was seen as part of a display at the America on Wheels Antique Auto Museum in Allentown. The plate suggests a connection to the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) located in Hershey. The small map suggests that it is a relatively recent issue.
Couple of Blue Lodge items from Bruce Bufalini. First, the plate shown here is from a short run of about 200 plates with embossed logos and legends on visitPA base. These were issued around 2006. On the next run the graphic and legend were flat. Bruce also spotted M/B13255 with the map outline — no photo.
What's new? It's not hard to see the difference between the old and new logos of these Children's Hospital of Philadelphia plates. The plate with the updated logo also features the map outline. Both plates were spotted by Tom Perri. The changeover point is unknown.
This is a new high Juniata College plate. This is one of those plates that came along not long after the www plates were introduced and it has remained on the same base since that time. It appears that affiliation with the college is not necessary to purchase a plate. The college is located in Huntingdon, PA.
The first two Lebanon Valley College plates on the far left are part of the upper tier of the www plates. When the www plates (3 fading bands) were first issued, they were the result of the replacing the yellow on blue plates on a number for number basis. New plates that were issued afterward were from a higher number block of L/V01000 to L/V01172. The L/V01035 is an example of later plates issued on the visitPA graphic base. These are not new photos, but thanks to Tom Perri they do help to fill some gaps.
Concerning the Mario Lemieux Foundation plate series, Bruce Bufalini spotted tag 01680L/F which had the map outline, but was unable to obtain a photo. This helps to narrow the gap between those known to still have the sticker well, 01520L/F, and the plate mentioned above.
Here's a University of Notre Dame plate recently spotted by John Fedorchak. Note that the plate no longer has the sticker well, but does not yet have the small map outline. Plate 02646N/D, shown on Tom Perri's website still had the sticker well, so the change occurred between these two plates. The Notre Dame plate program dates back to 1988.
This low number Seton Hill University (not to be confused with Seton Hall which is in New Jersey) plate was recently spotted by Bruce Bufalini. The college is located in Greensburg, PA. Their plate program dates back to 2006, and about 111 numbered plates have been issued to date.
The change to the prototype of this Shady Side Academy took place some time ago. I blame myself for not noticing that the logo had been redesigned. The original prototype is on the far left. The revised prototype is in the center. The other photo is a comparison of the two logos side by side. Click to enlarge. It is unknown if the redesigned plates are on the street.
*** The focus of this website has always been to keep up with newly issued PA plates, and current plates that as they go through changes. Over the past few years this website has also focused on older plates by listing them according to type, date range, formatting, etc. Much progress has been made, but much more work remains. The task of finding pictures, or rare plates to photograph, in order to fill the remaining gaps, has become increasingly challenging. As a result the weekly posting of older plates will not be as plentiful. ***
This is a 1924 Format 3 Dealer plate. Format 3 consisted of the sequence from X10-000 to X20-404 or above. Because the plates were 6 characters they measured 6 inches by 15 inches. Plates with X+1, 2 or 3 characters were 6 inches by 10 inches, and X+4 plates were 6 inches by 12 inches. This plate is courtesy of Drewski.
Dealer plates for 1926 was one of the years where the 'X' identifier could be in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd position. Plate serial numbers could be as low as X1 or 1X to a high such as shown here. Plates are believed to be 6" x 10" for 4 or fewer character and 6" x 12" for 5-character plates. Thanks to Chuck Sakryd for the use of this photo.
Here is a U.S. Air Force Veteran personalized plate. Thanks to Arthur Levine for sharing this image. This is the first of this plate type spotted without the sticker well. About 2 months ago a sequentially numbered plate was spotted that had the map outline. As I've stated on previous occasions, the evolution of plate design appears to be inconsistent at times, and frustrating to track.
The original block of numbers on this Lebanon Valley College series was believed to be L/V00001 to L/V00414, then Jeff Lawson sent me this image of a plate outside that range. Some additional checking suggests that a block of numbers from L/V00445 to L/V00482 was also issued. Any attempt to explain this 'number gap' would only be conjecture on my part. Still need a photo of the first generation yellow on blue Lebanon Valley plate.
This Warwick Twp. Vol. Fire Co. No. 1 photo is not new. It actually dates back to 2012, but it got buried in my archives until now. The photo came from Tom Perri, who has the current Warwick high listed as 10017W/T. A plate check shows that about 23 tags have been issued. They are located in Bucks County.
Prior to two weeks ago we didn't even know that a Zeta Phi Alpha Sorority, Inc. organizational plate existed. Now we have two nice photos to provide a low and a high. Thanks to Nick Tsilakis for the #2 plate photo and to Jordan Irazabal for the #29 photo.
This is a 1958 Amateur Radio plate. The FCC call sign is the identifier. This one is without the tab slot, a feature that is present on the other two photos I have posted. The tab slot is generally considered to be a part of the initial run, but dropped from later issues even though they all have 58 even if issued after that year. Thanks to Platedog for the use of this photo.
This is a low-number steel 1953 Motor Boat License. Serial numbers ran from 1 to at least 28406; however, at some point in between 4251 and 9433 the plate material was changed from steel to fiberboard. If anyone has an in-between plate, please let me know. 1953 was the only year for non-metallic plates. Plates measure 4½" by 8". Thanks to Jeff Hinkle for the use of the plate photo.
Here is a nice 3-digit 1959 Motor Boat License plate. Notice that the MBL designator has now been shortened to MB, not to be confused with Motorbike which ended after 1949. Also the use of the state map outline was added in 1955. The colors could also be confusing, but at least for 1959 they were the opposite of automotive plates. This photo is from a John Willard display at the ALPCA convention.
This is a very nice 1958 Motorcycle Dealer plate, which may have been professionally refinished. This was the first year for multi-year plates with the exception of the 1942 - '43 used during WW2. The slots were never used, instead stickers were used in their place, and the plates could be revalidated through 1961. Thanks to ebay user jeopardyboy1 for the plate photo.
This 1972 Base School Bus plate may not win any prizes for beauty, but it does provide two important pieces. First it presents a new high in the SA-series. Secondly, and of greater importance, this plate was photographed as part of a larger group of older Bus plates with 7-00 validation stickers. Previously I listed that series of plates as used from 1972 to 1977. Thanks to Clayton Moore for sharing a larger group of photos of which this plate was a part.
These are Vehicle Registration Credentials for yellow on blue Omnibus plates. They show that Omnibus plates were issued at least as high as OB-49201 on the 1984 thru 2000 yellow on blue base. These credentials also indicate that plates were not necessarily issued in order. The OB47415 registration has a validation date of 2/3/2000. The next generation of plates on the www base began issue shortly thereafter on 4/16/2000. Thanks to Clayton Moore for sharing these and other bus-related images.
Here is a 1940 T-Weight Class Truck plate. Class T for 1940 consisted of three serial progressions — T000A, T00A0 and T0A00. The plate shown here is part of the first group. All such plates used 5 characters and measured 6 inches by 12 inches. Thanks to eBay user Pinkocelot for the use of this photo.
Next is this 1953 U-Weight Class Truck plate. Class U plates that year used four serial formats — U000A, U00A0, U0A00 and U00AA. The plate shown here is part of the second group. All such plates used 5 characters and measured 6 inches by 10¼ inches. Thanks to eBay user Carstuffstore for the use of the picture.