News and postings from 2020
We seldom get a shot this perfect — no plate frame, no shadow, no dirt, no damage and the image is straight on. This is also a new Passenger high thanks to Ryan Battin.
Another perfect image here, but something is definitely missing. This new high Special Mobile Equipment has no keystone separator. Other plates in the series were also missing the small keystone, but this is not to say that the entire run of E600SME to E999SME is without it. Time will tell. The map outline has been in use at least as far back as D716-SME. Thanks again to Ryan Battin for this photo. SME plates date back to 1984 when Tractor plates were discontinued.
While it's not a new tag, and the sticker is expired, it is representative of the www base Omnibus plate, many of which are currently still in use. Plates with the OB prefix date back to 1974 on the blue on yellow base. Thanks to Eastern Coast Productions for the photo.
This much older Omnibus plate is on the 1984 base and had been validated until 5-01. Another thank you to Eastern Coast Productions for the photo.
These are both 1954 Passenger plates. The far left is a Format 2 plate with the series starting at A100 and extending to Z9999. The near left plate is part of Format 10 running from 00AA to 99ZZ. All 1954 plates measured 6" x 10¼", and were issued as singles. These photos are from Worthpoint, a service I subscribed to for research. If the owner of a plate wishes, I can acknowledge them also.
The far left plate is a 4-digit example of a 1955 Format 1 passenger plate which ran from 1001 to 99999. The other three plates are examples of under 4-character non-standard plates. It appears that such plates could consist of the following 000, A00, 0A0, 00A, AA0, 0AA, A0A, but not 3 letters. These photos are from Worthpoint.
Here is a pair of 1935 Truck plates. The far left is a weight class R plate, with the second alpha character in the next to the last position, it completes the run for that class. This photo is from Worthpoint. The near left photo is of a very nice T-weight class, which is 1 of 3 serial progressions used that year. This photo is from the Bill Krellner collection.
It's no beauty, but this 1938 U-Weight Class Plate represents the first of three serial progressions in that weight class, and completes an example of all three. This photo is from Worthpoint.
This is a low number 1948 Motorbike plate. Not to be confused with Motorboat, which used MBL as the identifier at the time and would not have been the same colors as DMV plates. The first M/B sequence went from 1 to 9999, then switched to an alpha-numeric progression of A to G643 or above. This is a Worthpoint photo. Does anyone have any Motorbike plates from the 1920s? Do they even exist? I have only a 1921 and 1922.
This 104-year-old beauty is a 1916 Motorcycle plate. To my knowledge, this and several similar plates of the time, are the smallest DMV plates ever issued. Plates from 1 to 999 measured 4½" by 6", while 4- and 5-digit plates measured 4½" by 8". This plate is part of Bill Krellner's collection.
This group of 1958-base Motorcycle plates cover 4 of the 5 serial formats used during the period from 1958 to 1962. The 2 all-numeric plates are part of the 1 to 9999 group all of which had the 'never-used' tab slots. The J28 is part of the next progression running from A to Z9999, which retained the tab slots until the Y- and Z-series. The 49F is part of the 0A to 999Z series, and the 5B5 is part of 0A0 to 9Z99 series. There was one final run from 00A0 to 51U5, not pictured here. Most of these images are from Worthpoint. The 9005 is from the Bill Krellner collection.
This beauty is pretty self-explanatory, clearly showing the year, the state and the plate type. 1935 is also a year where we have a complete list of all plate designs along with design sketches from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. It authorizes (or estimates) 1935 Tractor run to be from 1 to 4699. As of now, the known high is 2511. All '35 Tractor plates were 6 inches by 12 inches. The photo is from the Bill Krellner collection.
—> This past week I found a number of broken and missing internal links on this site. Hopefully they have all been corrected <—
Still looking for a prototype, or better still, an actual image of an International Association of Fire Fighters Motorcycle plate. Apparently they are in use as vanity check shows 16 plates registered. Anyone know of any other organizations offering a motorcycle edition? There are several full-size motorcycle-related organizational plates where there could be interest. Unfortunately the DMV seldom if ever updates their page showing organizational plate designs.
The far left photo shows that the Philadelphia Museum of Art has given its plate a new look. With this being a vanity plate, we don't know if there were any changes to the numbering sequence. It also seem a little redundant that the plate now has Philadelphia Museum of Art twice. I also would have expected the new design to have the map outline. The current high is P/M00120 on PA Plates which is from 2016.
Here is a pair of new high Motor Home plates. It's my understanding that the Covid pandemic has brought about an increase in the sales of motor homes so people can take their vacation accommodations with them. If you are a PA collector, you may recall that these plates started out as House Car plates back in 1977, at that time having an HC prefix.
Here's a new high Municipal Government plate recently spotted by Preston Turner. This may be the first plate documented in the M-suffix series. These plates originally date back to the 1971 yellow on blue issue. They are long since gone, but some of the 1977 through '84 plates are still on the streets.
Here the latest Permanent Trailer high also from Preston Turner. These plates date back to 1997 when they were yellow on blue with the number format being PT-12345. The www plates used an alpha character in the final position. The visitPA 'family of plates' look started around March of 2007. Click the link above to see more history.
The photo of this 1953 Passenger was provided by Ed Burr. This gem would be considered a non-standard issue. All plates measured 6 inches by 10¼ inches, and after 1951 were issued as singles. The standard (Format 1 ) passenger series began at 1001.
This pair of 1955 Passenger plates have been added to fill a couple gaps in Format 3 and Format 5 plates. All passenger plates in 1955 measured 6" x 10¼". The following year, 1956 saw all plates standardized at 6" by 12". These are both Worthpoint photos.
This is a pair of 4-character 1956 Passenger plates. The far left plate is part of what I call Format 4 which includes 10A0 to 99Z99, so it includes both 4- and 5-character plates. The 1JU3 plate is part of Format 9 which includes 1AA0 to 9ZZ99, so again both 4 and 5 character plates. There may be a few plates from that group that used the 1957 5-character dies. These photos are from Worthpoint.
Here's an unusual 1916 Truck Plate. What makes this plate unique is the addition of the 3-star weight band to what appears to have been a 1-star plate. Weight bands weren't issued on truck plates after 1915; however, when a truck's weight class was changed, instead of issuing a new plate, a weight band was attached identifying the new weight class. This plate was from the Bill Krellner collection.
And if you were wondering what a 1916 3-Star Truck Plate pair looks like in its natural state, here they are. Nominal measurements are considered 6 inches by 16 inches. Classes included 1-star for the lightest class to 5 stars for the heaviest. Truck serial numbers generally ran from 20000 to 29999 as seen here, but then there were exceptions, read below.
Within the 3-star grouping, where the known series was in the 23000 to 26000 range, there was another 3-star series where plates used a leading 0 and ranged from 03371 to 04299. This has only been seen on 3-star plates and was most likely an overflow group. I've had some collaboration with Rob Baran on this. Note the pair of 04299 plates are examples of such plates. While they were originally a pair, they are now part of two collections. The far left plate is from the Bill Krellner collection and the other was part of a Jake Eckenrode display. There is another leading 0 plate in the Archives, 04093, and one recently on eBay, 03371.
Here's another very rare plate. This being a low number 1920 Truck or Commercial plate. If you are familiar with 1920 through 1923 Commercial or Truck plates, you will recognize this plate as being weight Class 1, and the 12th plate produced in that class. Another uncommon feature of this plate is the height. 6-inch plate height is almost a given, but many (but not all) of these 1920 truck plates had both a top and bottom legend causing the height to be increased to 7 inches. Thanks to Jeff Lesher for the use of this photo.
And one more rare plate is this 1923 Class 2 Truck / Commercial plate, also thanks to Jeff Lesher. Like the 1920 plate above, this is part of the 1920 to 1923 truck series where the weight class was identified by the first digit of the serial number. Classes went from 1 to 7. Eric Tanner's website lists class 2 plates as high as 214-052. If you have an interest in these 1920 to '23 truck plates, Rob Baran did a very informative article on Pennsylvania Commercial Plates 1920-1923 in February 2019 issue of Plates Magazine. If you have additional information or photos please let me know, or share with Rob Baran.
The final plate of the week is this 1948 Z-Weight Class Truck. Z Class are the highest weight 2-axle (front & rear) truck. In general as weight classes progressed from R to Z, so did the scarcity of the plate. This is especially true for 3-axle truck plates which are extremely rare. This may be the highest known Z-class for that year and was provided thanks to Rob Baran.
These Let Freedom Ring - 250 Years, Semiquincentennial images are conceptual designs by John Fedorchak. A little background here: Recently House Bill 1170, was passed and signed into law as Act 48 of 2020. The act should take effect on October 29, 2020, and paves the way for the creation of a Semiquincentennial registration plate, similar to the Bicentennial Plate, with the phrase “Let Freedom Ring - 250 years”, for issue between 2021 and 2026. We don't know what such plates will look like, but through John Fedorchak's impressive graphic skills we have these conceptual images. The cost of the plate will be $50 and will be available for passenger cars, trucks 14,000 lb. and under, motorcycles and motor homes.
Believe it or not, these plates share the same ancestry. The far left low number Antique Historic Car plate was recently acquired by Jerry McCoy, and likely dates back to the mid-1950s. Next is the latest Antique Vehicle high. This latest sequence began with A0AA. This plate was spotted by Jordan Irazabal.
This pair of Delaware Valley Chapter of the BMW Car Club of America shows the previous high from Tom Perri's PA Plates website, and the new high from Jordan Irazabal. Somewhere in between these plates the map outline was added. It does appear that the name of this organization is the longest one in use in PA with 54 characters and spaces.
These latest East Allen Twp. Vol. Fire Dept. plates were just received. I am the plate coordinator for this organization and was definitely surprised to see these plates arrive without the small map outline. We also ordered plates in 2018 and those were also received without the map, and without the sticker well. What I don't understand is how other organizational plates have been issued with the map outline for the past several years. Correspondence sent to PennDOT after the previous purchase was of little help.
We knew for a while that Mercyhurst College had become Mercyhurst University, and along with the name change came a new plate. This first photo was recently posted by Jonathan Ortmann showing the new number series. Note also the new prefix, the old one was M/C.
This West Chester University plate is also a new high. In fact this plate is only 1 number off of the issued high according to vanity check, so it may be that West Chester is also receiving new plates without the map. It does make you wonder. Thanks to Jordan Irazabal for the photo.
This pair of 1938 Passenger plates would have been the lowest number issued. Plates with 1, 2 or 3 digit numbers had not been issued since 1935. The series shown here progressed to 99999 and then expanded into various alpha-numeric combinations. These photos came from the William Krellner collection.
These are both 1941 Passenger plates. Several of the serial progressions included both 4- and 5-character formats as was the case with the far left plate. The 514F plate remained a 4-character series; however there was another grouping with 000A0. Both from Worthpoint.
This is a 1946 Format 7 Passenger plate. This group ran from 0000A to 9999Z. All 1946 Passenger plates measured 6 inches by 11 inches. This photo is from Worthpoint, a service I subscribed to for research. If the owner of a plate wishes, I can acknowledge them also.
This is a 1947 Format 1 Passenger plate. This group ran from 1001 and 99999 which would make this the 4th one off the press. There were 9 other serial progressions for 1947. This plate has been treated to a nice facelift making it look brand new, maybe better. This plate measures 6 inches by 11 inches and would have been issued in pairs.
This is a 1916 Format 2 Tractor plate. The colors are black on orange and the plate has obviously been refinished. Format 2 runs from E100 to E999, and measures 6 inches by 14 inches. Still needed are photos from any Format 1 series which ran from E1 to E99. This was part of Bill Krellner's amazing displays of mostly PA plates.
Next up is this 1917 Format 3 Tractor plate which is painted white on brown. This is a large plate measuring 6 inches by 16 inches. There are still unknown aspects of the history of 1917 Tractor plates. Click the link above to read the notes about there being two classes of Tractors, one for agricultural purposes, and the second for freight hauling. This second usage of the term tractor sounds like it could be the origin for the terms tractor trailer or truck tractor. This plate was part of Bill Krellner's collection.
These 1945 Truck plates provide an example of both a U- and a W-Weight Class plate. The U plate is one of four serial formats used that year, while the W class had only one serial format. All truck plates that year measured 6 inches by 11 inches, and were issued as singles. The pictures shown here are from Worthpoint.
The final plates this week are these 1949 T-Weight Class and W-Weight Class Truck. This is one of two T-Class formats, the other being T00A0, the plate shown is the only W-class format. All '49 truck plates measured 6 inches by 11 inches and were issued in pairs. The T-class is from Bill Krellner, and the W-class is from Worthpoint.
If you are wondering where the latest Passenger and Truck highs stand, here they are. Of course, these highs probably change by the minute, so they are really a snapshot in time. The Passenger image came from Bruce Bufalini, and the Truck is thanks to Bill Setphens.
Here's a new Omnibus high recently spotted by Bruce Bufalini. These plates have been using the map outline since about OB-88200. Factoid, the plate legend OMNIBUS first appeared on PA plates in 1974. The first series began at OB-10000 has progressed through several generations to what you see here.
Recently I posted a new high Conserve Wild Resources - Otter plate R/C3428, now just 2 weeks later we have a new high by some 400 plates. Remember new highs spotted on the street are random observations, and do not necessarily reflect the actual issued high or the rate of plate sales. By the way, the issued high as of 7/24 is R/C3861.
Recently a photograph of a high number, first generation Purple Heart (a/k/a Combat Wounded Veteran) was posted on Facebook. The photo was from an eBay auction. The plate number was P/H02223, a big jump. I have contacted the seller for permission to use the photo, but so far no response and the auction has ended. Anyone know who got the plate?
Preston Turner observed a change in the font or typeface used on the legend of Trailer plates. He was also able to narrow down the changeover point based on the plates shown here. The difference is noticeable on the 'R's and 'A's. Trailer plates are historically produced in lots starting at 0000 and ending at 9999. In all likelihood, this change took place at XJG-0000, and likely took place in 2014, as best as I can determine.
This is a 1949 3-digit Format 1 Motorcycle plate. Format 1 ran from 1 to 9999 before advancing to the alpha-numeric series. This image is from Worthpoint, a service I subscribed to for research. If the owner of a plate wishes, I can acknowledge them also.
Next is this pair of 1952 Motorcycle plates, starting with 2-digit (Format 1) plate, followed by a 3-character Format 2 alpha-numeric plate. The 1949 and '52 M/C plates are laid out essentially the same. They all measure 4½" by 8". These are also Worthpoint photos.
This is a 1939 Format 5 Passenger plate. This series ran from 000A to 999Z, so with the run being limited to 4 characters, with all such plates being 6" x 10". This was an elusive plate to find likely due to the limited number produced. This is also a Worthpoint photo.
This 1945 Passenger plate and the one above help to fill photo gaps in the Format 5 series that ran from 000A to 999Z. Notice that by 1945 plates had the expiration date of 3-31-46 in the top border. For 1945 all passenger plates measured 6 inches by 11 inches. This is also a Worthpoint photo.
This is a 1921 Format 1 Tractor plate from the Bill Krellner collection. Format 1 ran from E1 to E999 and did not employ a dash separator in the serial number. The E stood for engine and was the earliest designation for tractor. Click the link above to see a couple higher numbered plates with a dash. Colors were black on yellow. All Tractor plates that year are believed to be 6" by 16".
This is a 1922 Tractor plate. This plate measures 6" by 16", unfortunately, the right hand border and lower right corner were obscured when the picture was taken. It appears to be the highest known tractor plate number that year. This plate is also from the Bill Krellner collection.
Here is a beautifully restored 1925 Tractor plate belonging to Tim Gierschick. Beginning in 1924 the use of the word Tractor was dropped, but the E prefix continued through 1927. Removal of the word Tractor allowed the size of the plate to be shortened with this plate measuring 6" by 12".
If you're wondering, it's a rare 1917 Tractor Dealer plate, and the first one I've seen. The Archives indicate that there were 71 such plates. I wonder how many of those are still in existence? The colors are white on brown and the plate measures 6" by 13½". This plate photo was from the Bill Krellner collection.
This next group of tags are all 1929 Truck plates. They represent Class R, Class S and Class T. The R and S Class are shorties, measuring 6" by 10", while the T Class plate is 6" by 15". Click the link to see the three sizes of R Class plates. Note the absence of the dash on the R and S plates, presumably to avoid having to go to the 13" plate. The R and S plates are from Worthpoint, and the T plate is thanks to Rob Baran.
Next up is this 1936 V Weight Class Truck plate. By 1936 most truck plates were 5 characters and measured 6" by 12", however, there were still some 6-character R- and S-series 15" plates. Thanks to Rob Baran for this plate photo.
This is a 1945 T-Weight Class Truck plate, which is one of two T-class progressions with the other being T00A0. This plate measures 6 inches by 11 inches. This plate is part of the Bill Krellner collection.
Here's a one-of-a-kind Eastern University personalized plate that was recently photographed by a family member of Nick Tsilakis. The facility is located in St. Davids, PA, not far from Valley Forge. This plate program dates back to 2012, and according to Tom Perri's http://www.paplates.com/ website, the current high is 00045E/U.
Here's a recent image of a Fraternal Association of Professional Paramedics from Bruce Bufalini. The plate now has the small map outline. This change likely took place between 00022A/P and the plate shown here. The current issued high is 00048A/P.
Here's a new high Limousine plate. Still has sticker well. A comment was made that these plates are slow to advance. I'm seeing more limo type vehicles with Bus plates and Apportioned Bus plates these days. Also at a local transportation company, many limos are now parked without plates. I'm guessing that with the pandemic, limos are seeing little use and the owner has likely surrendered the plates rather than pay minimum $78 annual renewal fee.
Here is a personalized National MS Society plate. This picture came from Arthur Levine who was kind enough to share some snapshots with me that I scanned in. This organization's plate program dates back to 2008. Vanity check shows the numerical high at 00091M/S.
Here is a recent image of a current issue West Catholic High School plate. This plate type dates back to 1997 on the yellow on blue base. This organization has never updated their plate to the graphic design, so the plates issued today are likely to still be on the www base as shown here. Thanks to Matt Ciecka for the photo.
In Plate News, Pennsylvania's vanity check webpage for organizational plates, now lists Pennsylvania Fire Chiefs Association as a new plate type. It appears that the format will be 10001F/C. There are no plates in use yet. Unfortunately, the page that shows prototype images of organizational plates is a couple years out of date.
This ham radio plate was recently acquired by George Kunsman. Prior to 1988 there was no identifying legend, only the call sign. Then starting around 1988, plates began using Amateur Radio Operator as the legend. After a couple years the word Operator was dropped.
This is a U.S. Marine Reserve plate from Matt Ciecka. This plate type dates back to about 1987 and is considered an organizational plate. These were part of a group which also included Air Force, Army, Navy and Coast Guard Reserve plates. Unique features included a 4-digit serial number and the absence of a logo. These 'branch of service reserve' plates appear to still be available today, but are uncommon sightings.
These like-new restored 1931 Format 8 Passenger plates are from Bill Krellner's collection. I debated whether to show this as a single plate, then decided to go with the pair. The Format 8 progression ran from 0AA to 6AH79. So while the progression indicates that it was a limited run, likely near the end of production, it shows that there were also 3- and 4-digit plates.
This is a 1932 Format 1 Passenger plate. That initial group ran from 1 to 99999, after which there were several alpha-numeric progressions, but no more than 5 characters. Plates with 4 or fewer characters measured 6" by 10", 5-character plates were 12". This plate is also part of Bill Krellner's collection.
Lots of interesting truck plates this week, starting with this low number 1917 1-Star Weight Class Truck. Truck plates made their debut in 1914 and from then through 1919 used 1 to 5 stars to designate the class, with 1 star being the lightest. This plate was mounted with a plastic sleeve around it, so it didn't photograph well. Click the link to see more photos and information. This plate is from the Bill Krellner collection.
Last week I added two 1922 Commercial (Truck) plates, but still needed a Class 5. This week thanks to Rob Baran we now have one. The first digit in the serial number indicates the weight class. All '22 plates are believed to be 6" by 16" regardless of the length of the serial number. Plate colors were brown on cream. The 1922 truck series now has at least one photo for all seven weight classes.
1923 Commercial (Truck) plates were similar to the previous year. This is a refinished Class 1 weight class with a very low number. The series started at 11 indicating that the plate shown here was the 52nd Class 1 plate produced. Serial numbers could go as high as 6 digits with the first character indicating the weight class. 1923 plates were yellow on dark blue and was the starting point for these colors, and dark blue on yellow, to become the standard for many years. This plate is from the Bill Krellner collection.
Beginning in 1924 truck weight classes were expanded from 7 to 8 and a new weight class identification system was introduced using the letters R through Z in the prefix position, without the X which was reserved for Dealer plates. The plate shown here is a 1925 T Weight Class Truck plate. For the class shown here the series is known to run from T-1 to T14-333. Some plates used dash separators, and some R Class plates placed the R in the suffix position for overflow plates. This plate is from the Bill Krellner collection.
Here's the latest high Preserve Our Heritage - Railroad plate from Nathan Krawzyk. These Special Fund plates date back to 1998 and are the sole remaining full canvas graphic plates still available in PA. Plates up to R/R9Z99 are still in inventory, so they could be around for a while. These are not available for personalization.
Here's another Special Fund plate, this one being a new high Conserve Wild Resources. From 1999 to 2017 they were a full graphic, then the graphic was reduced down to what you see here. I'm a little surprised to see almost 3500 issued so far. Thanks to Jordan Irazabal for the photo.
Here's the latest Steel Worker high from Bruce Sakson. This plate still shows the sticker well; however, in checking a reference source, a new batch of plates will start at SW05600. While this plate type appears to be a special organization plate, it's actually a special class of plates. To qualify for such a plate, one must certify that the applicant is "currently or was/were formerly employed in the manufacture of steel or a surviving member of a steelworker’s family" etc.
To my knowledge this is the first State Representative plate spotted with the map outline. The HR signifies House of Representatives and the 67 denotes the district. Plates can also be configured with the district number first followed by the HR. This allows the registration of two vehicles. Today the use of such political plates is much less than it was 20 years ago due to security and privacy concerns. Thanks to Nick Tsilakis for the photo.
Here's a recent photo of a Special Mobile (Equipment) plate. These are seen on road graders, back hoes, excavators, etc. Previously spotted plate D444-SME did not have the map outline and D716-SME did have it. Vanity check shows that there are now plates in the E series in use. Thanks to Jordan Irazabal for the photo.
This is a Thiel College vanity plate. The facility is located in Greenville, Mercer County, which is south of Erie near the Ohio state line. 139 serial numbered plates have been issued with their plate program dating back to 2013. Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for the photo.
This Antique Motorcycle plate may not be the best picture, but the serial number clearly shows a 2-character configuration which appears to be part of Format 3. I now believe Format 3 ran from F0 to G99. The photo offers further evidence that the entire run from A0 to Z99 started each letter progression with 0 to 9. In typical Pennsylvania fashion the letter would be the last character to advance, so A0 to A9, then A10 to A99, then B0 to B99, etc. eventually reaching Z99 before switching to 0A to 99Z. I received this photo from Bill Ceravola.
Preston Turner passed this street shot of a Truck plate along with a comment 'how is this still active'. Good question! The plate reads YM-34222 which was likely issued late in the 1980s or early 90s. Regardless, it should have been replaced during the 1999 - 2000 plate replacement process. Vanity check indicates that the registration number is no longer valid.
Seems like we have a new high first generation Fire Fighter plate every few weeks. Keep 'em comin'. This super-nice plate had belonged to Brandon Sowers then recently went to George Kunsman. I posted it to Fire Fighter history section of organizational plates and to also under Fire Fighter on the Fire / Police & EMS page.
These three Motorcycle plates are from 1949, 1950 and 1951. The '49 is part of the A through G146 alpha-numeric series, while the '50 and '51 are part of the all-numeric 1 to 9999 series. These photos are thanks to Worthpoint.
These 1922 Commercial (truck) plates are from the Bill Krellner collection. The far left plate is a weight Class 1 (or AA) as indicated by the first digit. The near left is a weight Class 7 (or F), again as indicated by the first digit. These two plates cover the lightest and the heaviest classes. All commercial plates that year measured 6 inches by 16 inches. Still looking for a 1922 Class 5 plate.
Next is this 1925 T-Weight Class Truck plate thanks to Rob Baran. Backing up a year to 1924, Pennsylvania marked a new era in how weight classifications were designated, and the use of the more familiar R through Z system came about. With the first letter showing the weight class, each series would start with a letter followed by a numeric progression from 1 to 99999 as needed. The R-class exceeded this number and used the R in the suffix position.
Here are three additions to the 1928 Truck plate section. The R102 is the lowest number in that weight class and joins an R+4 and an R+5 plate. The T309 is the lowest number in that class and joins a T+4 plate. The U-32 is the only U-class photo for that year. Due to the length of the serial numbers, these are all 6" by 10" plates; however 13" and 15" plates were also used. The R- and the U-class plates are from Worthpoint. The T-class plate is thanks to Rob Baran.
After hitting the 1-million mark in all-numeric 1924 Passenger plates, something had to be done to allow more plates. Thus began the use of alpha numeric Passenger plates. This new series started at A-1 and went to over A-48000 in 1924. In discussing this with Eric Tanner, he is of the opinion that all such plates, regardless of the number of characters, were on 6" by 15" bases. This A+4 plate and the A+5 plate previously posted measure 15 inches. Attempts to find a plate with a shorter serial number have been unsuccessful so far. Many thanks to Vern Kreckel for this photo.
The far left 1926 Passenger plate is also from Vern Kreckel. The B-387 plate photo was from Keff Hinkle and was previously posted. Note the A812 plate does not use a dash which permits a 6-inch by 10-inch base, while the B-387 uses a dash which now is on a 6-inch by 12-inch base. Strange. Anyone have other examples of this?
In Legislative News, House Bill 1710 has been passed and signed into law by the Governor as Act 48. This will create a USA Semiquincentennial registration plate, similar to the Bicentennial Plate, with the phrase “Let Freedom Ring - 250 years”, and the Liberty Bell. They will be issued between 2021 and 2026. The plate would cost an additional $50, and can only be issued for a motorcycle, passenger car, a truck with a registered gross weight of not more than 14,000 pounds, or a motor home. The act will take effect in 120 days. Let's hope PennDOT uses a little more creativity and comes up with something more than just a Bicentennial plate on the visitPA base.
This low number vanity plate was recently spotted by Eric Conner. As previously mentioned, there was a time when such plates were reserved for state officials and dignitaries, but that practice has ended. If interested in such a plate, the state offers a personalized registration availability tool which allows the user to see if a certain number, letters or a combination is available.
The 127 plate above got me thinking of some of my low number vanities. All of the plates shown here are still in my collection with the exception of the 30 Motorcycle plate. Sorry, the plates are not currently for sale or trade.
This is believed to be a new high Municipal Government plate. Sorry if I missed a higher posting. This photo was taken by Richard Ruck and sent to me by Bill Young. The current style plate started at MG-9000J and was first spotted in February of 2017. Vanity check suggests the registered high is M/G9907L, with the next series using M as the suffix.
Take your choice, before and after the image was cropped, rotated, skewed, and the aspect ratio corrected. Anyway, this is the current high Official Use PennDOT commercial use plate. There are two series of these plates with the PennDOT logo, the other series is used on passenger vehicles and uses a T0000P/A format. This plate was spotted by Bill Young on a small PennDOT trailer.
This first generation Disabled Veteran plate is still on the road and was spotted not long ago by Preston Turner. Vanity check indicates it's still a valid plate, but there aren't many of these 4-digit plates out there.
These Antique Motorcycle plates are not new images, and recently 6F was spotted, the most logical explanation is that Format 6 which I had listed as 00A to 99Z, actually runs from 0A to 99Z. This provides a plausible explanation of these 2-character plates. The wide hole spacing means that these are not early plates. I may have more Antique Motorcycle updates in the near future.
This is a 1965 base Amateur Radio plate with a 70 validation sticker. While Amateur Radio plates date back to 1956, it wasn't until around 1988 that such plates had an identifying legend. The number 3 designates the region which also includes DE, MD and DC. Thanks to Clayton Moore for the plate photo.
This National Guard plate was recently acquired by George Kunsman. While early National Guard plates were issued between 1930 and 1935, they were then discontinued and reemerged in 1984 as an organizational plate as shown here. This plate is also the high in that series. To my knowledge this is the only organizational plate with 2 separate logos depicting a Revolutionary War Soldier and an airplane.
The State of Pennsylvania first issued license plates in 1906. Click this link to see early history starting in 1903. Plates between 1906 and 1909 were assigned to the driver rather than the vehicle. Beginning in 1910 plates were assigned to the vehicle thus the aluminum keystone with the maker's mark (today's VIN number) was affixed to the plate. The white on dark blue porcelain 1906 plate series started at 1 and extended to over 13,000. The plate shown here measures 6 inches by 7 inches — talk about a shorty! Thanks very much to Bill Krellner for allowing me the opportunity to photograph many of his plates.
Next is this white on red porcelain 1907 plate. This plate also measures 6 inches by 7 inches. There were four sizes issued that year depending on the number of digits in the number. Plate numbers were close to 20,000. The largest of the sizes was 6½ inches by 10½ inches. Another big thank you to Bill Krellner for allowing me the photo opportunity.
Yes, this striking black on white 1909 porcelain beauty is real and authentic. Of course with each succeeding year the number of plates issued increased with some 34 thousand being issued for 1909. The Manufacturer of the 1906, 1907 and this plate was Ing-Rich also known as Ingram-Richardson of Beaver Falls, PA. Another thank you to Bill Krellner.
This is an interesting 1928 Passenger vehicle. This plate is part of an alpha-numeric format which ran from A to E24-072. Each letter had its own run, so the A series went to A99-000, then B to B99-999, the C, C1 etc. So for each letter there were 10-inch, 13-inch and 15-inch plates based on the number of characters. This plate is also thanks to Bill Krellner.
At first glance you might be tempted to describe this 1920 Commercial plate as number 'twelve'. If you recall, 1920 had a new weight classification system for truck/commercial vehicles, and the first digit indicated the class. Therefore this would be Class 1, and the 2nd plate made. An extremely rare plate. The colors were white on dark blue and plates with COMMERCIAL on top and PENNA 1920 along bottom and measure 7" high. While plates with PENNA COMMERCIAL 1920 along bottom measure 6" high.
Here is another 1920 Truck/Commercial plate pair with these plates representing weight Class 6. This is also the first Class 6 plate photo I've gotten. Starting in 1920, there were 7 weight classes replacing the 5-star system used between 1914 and 1919. These plates are also 7 inches high due to the placement of the top and bottom legend, and they measure 13½ inches in length. Click the link above to see more previously posted 1920 commercial plates.
A huge thank you to Bill Krellner for allowing me to photograph so many plates of his outstanding Pennsylvania collection. Check back for more in the coming weeks.
In Legislative News, House Bill 1710 continues to more forward thru the legislative labyrinth. It was re-reported as committed in the Senate on June 22, and signed in the House on June 24. The bill, if passed, would pave the way for a USA Semiquincentennial registration plate, similar to the Bicentennial Plate, with the phrase “Let Freedom Ring - 250 years”, for issue between 2021 and 2026. The plate would cost an additional $50, and can only be issued for a motorcycle, passenger car, a truck with a registered gross weight of not more than 14,000 pounds, or a motor home. Stay tuned.
Here is a recent Official Use truck plate from Clayton Moore. Since the start of these new generation Official Use plates, some state-owned vehicles are using the PA state coat of arms as seen here, while PennDOT vehicles are using their own logo and Turnpike vehicles are also using their own. The option of using their own logo is available to other state agencies, but so far it only applies to those listed here. Click the link to see more examples.
Here is a recent single letter Passenger vanity plate on the www base. No way of knowing if this is an initial, or favorite grade in school, but it would be considered a vanity plate. A quick check shows that at the present no single-letter plates are open. Since this is a current plate I have placed it on the current miscellaneous plate page under Passenger, and also on the Passenger History page. Yes, it can be confusing.
This Amateur Radio plate plate was recently acquired by Matt Ciecka. Around 1990 the legend Amateur Radio Operator was shortened to what you see here. Such a 1x2 call sign may indicate that the user holds an Amateur Extra Class license. Click the link above to see more history and images from 1956 to the present.
Can you identify this plate? It's from 1921, and is the same size as a Motorcycle plate. It's actually a very rare Motorbike plate. Motorbike plates at the time used the letter 'O' as a prefix to distinguish it from a Motorcycle plate, but at the time letters and numbers were the same size. This photo is from the Bill Krellner collection. Over the next week or so I will have additional Motorbike plates.
1930 was the first year for National Guard plates. After 1935 there were no National Guard plates issued until 1984. The serial numbers are believed to run from 1 to 1000. I once heard that every year a member remained in the Guard, they would have been eligible for a lower number as other more senior members have left. Click the link above to see plate #51. This plate is from Worthpoint.
As time moves on, it is becoming increasingly tough to find images to fill gaps. I purchased a Worthpoint subscription earlier this year which has been a great research tool. Here are two 1937 shorty Passenger plates from Format 3 and Format 9. This was the first year for the use of the map outline on Passenger plates, 1938 saw its usage on other types.
These 10-inch 'shorty' images represent 1938 Passenger plates belonging to Format 2 and Format 5 serial progressions. For many years both 6-inch by 10-inch bases were used for 4-character plates, while 5-character plates were 6-inch by 12-inches. These are Worthpoint images.
This group of 1937 Truck plates has been added. Most truck classes that year were 5 characters, but there were 6-character overflow plates in the R- and S-weight classes. 5-character plates measured 6 inches by 12 inches, while the 6-character plates were 6 inches by 15 inches. These are Worthpoint images.
This first generation Watercraft Trailer/Dealer should be at the top of the page, as it's the first one I've seen after many years of looking. Thanks to Brandon Sowers who recently snagged this plate. These plates are believed to date back to 1995. The serial progression likely started at WD-00001 and ran at least to WD-00127 which is known to exist. In many cases these plates were issued to boat dealers, and then spent most of the time in a filing cabinet, seldom seeing the street.
Here's the plate of the week which was spotted by Nick Tsilakis! This is the first image of a Veterans of an Allied Foreign Country plate. The serial number suggests that it is a vanity; however, vanity check also indicates that there are no serial numbered plates in use yet. This plate type dates back to February of 2019.
New serial progression, new high. This is the first image of the newest Antique Vehicle plate; however, they have been in use at least back to March 15 of this year. It features a new serial progression starting at A0AA after the 00A0 progression was exhausted. In most cases, numbers would advance first, then the letters from right to left. So starting at A0AA, then A1AA to A9AA, then A0AB to A9AB, then A0AC, etc. With the state on lock-down, and many car shows cancelled, such plates will be harder to spot. Thanks to Jerry McCoy for the photo.
This is a new high Passavant Memorial Homes Family of Services plate They are headquartered in Warrendale near Pittsburgh. Their mission is to provide specialized services to address the unique needs of individuals with intellectual disabilities, autism, and behavioral health needs. This plate type only dates back to October of 2019, with some 39 serial numbered plates registered. Thanks to John Fedorchak for the photo.
Maybe not plate of the week, but when Knights of Columbus plates were first issued in 1987, the series ran to K/C01652, then when they were replaced in 2001 they were reissued on a plate for plate basis, making this near the end. Plates that were subsequently issued on the visitPA base started a new series at K/C02000. Thanks to Jordan Irazabal for the photo.
Here's a new high Apportioned Truck photo from Preston Turner. Click the photo to enlarge it, but if you have trouble reading it, the plate number is AG-95439. With it being so close to the end of the AG-series, I did a vanity check and it shows the actual current high as of 6/21 as AG-97657. The next series will be AH-00000 probably on the road within the next few months.
The far left Fire Fighter plate is the lowest number plate of this type that I have a photo of. It came from Worthpoint. Anyone have a 1- or 2-digit plate? The near left plate establishes a new high number, and was provided by George Kunsman. The previous high was listed as FF14900. Fire Fighter plates were the earliest organizational plates dating back to 1983 and were issued using the 1977 base colors in use at the time. Later plates continued with this color scheme until the changeover to the www base late in 1999. The current page of Fire Fighter plates has also been updated. Has anyone seen a newer Fire Fighter plate with the map outline?
Here is a first generation Steel Worker plate that is still on the road today. It was recently spotted by Preston Turner. While this plate has all the outward characteristics of a Special Organization plate, it is not. It's actually in a class by itself. To qualify for such a plate, one must certify that the applicant is "currently or was/were formerly employed in the manufacture of steel or a surviving member of a steelworker’s family" etc.
On the far left is a 1948 Fermat 1 Motorcycle plate. This group ran from 1 to 9999, then progressed to the alpha-numeric format shown here with a single letter followed by 1 to 3 digits. Both images are from Worthpoint.
Here is a very nice Format 1, 1929 Passenger plate. Format 1 was all-numeric and ran from 1 or 2 to 9999. All such plates were 'shorties' measuring 6 inches by 10 inches. There were many additional formats with serial numbers running up to 999-999, before going to an alpha-numeric format extending into the F00-000 series. This is a Worthpoint image.
Last week I posted several images of School Bus plates which helped to establish a new high in the SB-series. Then Clayton Moore sent me a group photo which included this SB-60394 plate. This plate would have been one of the last before the www base was issued.
As a continuation of last week's tractor posting, on the far left is an E+3-digit 1917 Tractor plate. 1917 was somewhat unique in that there were two classes of Tractor plates. Click the link above to read more about the two classes which started as a law in 1915, but it is unknown when it ended or changed. The 1919 plate is a new high. Both of these plates are thanks to Tim Gierschick.
This is a 1928 S-Weight Class Truck plate from Worthpoint. While it is not a great image, it does help complete a pictorial progression of the S-series including S-9, S-47, S127, S5-165, and now S32-880 shown here. The plates include 6" by 10", 6" by 13" and 6" by 15" sizes.
Concerning this website, I've had to split the A to M History page into two pages, now A to F and G to M. This creates hyperlink issues which I'm working to resolve over the next week or so. You may need to refresh a page. Some links on the 2018 and older Archives will not work correctly. Please let me know if you see problems. Sorry for any inconvenience.
This new high Mass Transit is a late entry just posted by Bruce Bufalini, but goes well with the Mass Transit plates further down the page. This is part of the latest group of plates now with the map outline which is believed to have begun at M/T48700.
Here's a recent photo of a current National Ski Patrol plate. These plates date back to 2011, but this is the first one reported with the map outline. The previous high was 00242S/P. Thanks to Jonathan Ortmann for the use of the photograph.
These low-numbered plates are generally considered Passenger vanity plates today; however, this was not the case years ago when at one time such plates were reserved for high-ranking officials and dignitaries. Judging by the www base, this plate has likely been in use for some years. Thanks to John Fedorchak for sharing this photo.
To see more, Tom Perri has a page of PA Low Numbered Plates.
This is a well preserved 1931 Judiciary plate. 1928 was the first year for such plates, but were in a different format originally. Then in 1929 the plates were redesigned to the style seen here where only the color and placement of the year and Penna would alternate. These plates were discontinued after 1935 and did not reappear until the 1980s and '90s when the Superior Court and Supreme Court plates were issued. Plate photo is from Worthpoint.
This is a 1929 Legislative plate. These were also first issued in 1928, then part way through 1929 the plates were given a totally new look as seen here. Like the plate above, these plates were discontinued after 1935 and did not return until the late 1950s. Plate photo is from Worthpoint.
These Mass Transit tags on the far left and center show plates from the 1977 and 1984 MT formats. The later plate is from the series from MT-33000 to MT-39999 which were the only Mass Transit plate series with the prefix in-line instead of stacked, and were likely issued in the 2003 to 2005 period. Thanks to Worthpoint for the images.
I want to showcase the near-left 1911 Passenger plate from Shane Oake. This plate clearly shows the use of beveled edges, whereas the far left plate (from Worthpoint) does not. Beveled edge plates were produced part way through the year to improve the strength of the plate. Plates up to 30794 have flat edges, plates from 31022 and above have beveled edges. Some plates below the 31022 mark were reissued on the beveled edge base.
The far left plate image represents the high number observed on the 1978 School Bus base. Then around 1992 or '93 a new yellow on blue school bus plate was issued. The new base did not replace the previous issue but was in addition to it, therefore the number series from the previous series continued. So while the base plate color scheme changed, the number series continued on. The far left plate photo is from Clayton Moore. The other photo is from Worthpoint.
These yellow on blue School Bus images are part of the same series described above. They are also the highest numbers I could find. Pardon the half-image, I cut that from a group photo but that was all that was visible. It may be worth noting that the Archives lists the high at SB-59678. These high plates would have been issued shortly before the full scale plate replacement in June 2000. These photos are from Worthpoint.
Here is a very nice 104 year-old Tractor plate. The E prefix stands for Engine, short for Traction Engine also known as Tractor. This large format plate measures 6 inches by 16 inches. Beginning in 1916 plates were embossed on painted steel. This is also the highest recorded number for that year. Thanks to Tim Gierschick for the photo. Check back next week for 1917 and 1919 plate photos.
This pair of 1931 oddball Truck plates is part of the mystery series previously described here. Click the link to see a write-up of this mystery, but the short version is that these were made in anticipation of the 1931 truck issue, and made before the decision was made to revert to the R through Z series formats. So while 1931 truck plates did use the R through Z series, rather than discard the plates with these somewhat cryptic 2-letter suffixes as shown here, they were issued. These photos are from Worthpoint.
Nothing earth-shattering here, just some additional and better quality 1958 Truck plates. Where possible, I've tried to show plates both with and without the tab slot. If you're not familiar with this, the early plate runs had a slot to the left of the 58 intended to be used to mount a metal tab to validate the plate in future years. This never happened. Instead vinyl stickers were issued for later years, and later plates were issued, still marked 58, but minus the tab slot.
Here is a bright and shiny new high La Roche University plate from Bruce Bufalini. This name change from college to university was first seen on plate 00081 in November of 2019. The map outline was also seen at the same time; however, it is not known if both of these changes occurred together.
Here's the latest high number Municipal Government plate from Bruce Bufalini. The current series on the visitPA with map base started at M/G9000J, which was first seen in February of 2017. Once the L-suffix series is exhausted, the next series will advance to the M-suffix.
On the far left is a low number 1946 alpha-numeric Motorcycle plate. After the original numeric progression hit 9999, an alpha character was used in the first position. Next the E157 is a 1947 Motorcycle from the alpha series. Both of these plates are from Worthpoint.
This is a very nice 1947 Motorbike plate. This plate is from Worthpoint.
Here is a very well preserved 1911 Format 2 plate. This format included the series of 100 to 999. These 3-digit plates measured 6 inches by 10 inches. Almost 44-thousand plates were issued that year. The aluminum keystone is referred to the maker's mark, or VIN number in today's parlance. Thanks to Tim Gierschick for the photo.
Next is this 1921 Format 1 Passenger plate. Starting in 1917 plates were made in the PA prison system. Being part of the group with the lowest serial numbers which ran from 2 to 999, these plates measured 6-inches by 10-inches. Plate 1 is believed to have been used by the Governor. This image is from Worthpoint, a service I subscribed to for research. If the owner of a plate wishes, I can acknowledge them also.
A number of changes have been made to the 1932 Passenger display with the addition of these photos. The plates shown here represent 4 different serial formats, and describing them individually on the home page is probably not as effective as looking at them on the display page. The far left plate photo is from Jeff Hinkle, while the other three are from Worthpoint.
What's wrong with these plate photos? They are both 1920 Truck plates, and they both adhere to the correct aspect ratio and scale. The difference is that the far left plate, with both top and bottom legends, is seven inches tall, one inch taller than the other plate. They are both Class 2 Truck plates and both 16 inches in length. For 1920, both 6- and 7-inch height formats were used. (The far left plate was previously posted.) Both plate photos are from Worthpoint.
After instituting the R through Z truck weight class designations starting in 1924, 1930 Truck plates embarked on new and cryptic alpha-numeric formats. This was likely done to reduce size of the plates by keeping the number of characters to a maximum of 5, unlike previous years where plates could be 6 characters. The R through Z classes were still in use but were now linked to 2-letter suffixes as shown here. The far left plate is an R-Weight Class and the 724LR plate is a T-Class. Click the link above to see a list of classes and the associated letter suffixes. These are both Worthpoint photos.
These are 1938 Truck plates representing the W- and Z-Weight Classes. For this year all plates were 5 characters and measured 6 inches by 12 inches. 1938 was the first year for truck plates to use the map outline, although it was used on Passenger plates a year earlier. These are Worthpoint pictures.
This past week we were saddened to learn of the passing of life-long Pennsylvania plate collector Joseph 'Jake' Eckenrode. Jake was a researcher and author, publishing the Collectors Guide to Pennsylvania License Plates in 1983. He also wrote a number of excellent articles in the ALPCA Plates magazine and the earlier ALPCA Newsletter. He possessed a wealth of knowledge. Rest in peace Jake.
As I've said in the past, I'm not big on tracking new highs on large volume plates such as Passenger, Trailer and Truck, but here are some recent examples of all three. The Passenger photo was taken by Preston Turner, while the Trailer snapshot and the road shot of the Truck plate are from Bruce Bufalini. Also worth mentioning is that LJA-7838 was recently spotted by Bill Stephens. These highs probably change by the minute.
On the legislative front, there is action on House Bill 2319, that if passed, would provide for a Purple Heart plate to be designated for a Person with Disability. There is also movement on Senate Bill 954 which would reinstate registration stickers if passed. Finally House Bill 1710, if passed, would 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.
The first plate in this display of ATV Dealer plates represents a low number and was likely issued in 1986. The far left plate legend reads DEPT. OF ENV. RES. (Environmental Resources). These plate are not issued by PennDOT. Then in 1995 there was a name change to Department of Conservation and Natural Resources or DCNR as seen on the low and high of this second series. These are full-size plates. Then in 2006 all ATV dealer plates were reissued and the number series started over likely starting at 0001, and now on motorcycle-sized plates.
These photos are a follow-up to last week's post on Liquid Fuels P. or O. plates. These plates were used on gasoline pumps and the "P. or O." is thought to mean Petrol or Oil. The '37 plates represent the high and low for the 1937 - '38 year. The '38 - '39 plate is the lowest I've seen. The actual starting point is not known, possibly 1 or 0001. Anyone know?
This is the first image on this website of a 1941 Format 1 Motorcycle plate, with that format being all-numeric from 1 to 9999. After reaching 9999, an alpha character was used in the first position followed by up to three numeric characters. This image is from Worthpoint.
This is a pair of 1942 Format 2 and Format 3 Motorcycle plates. Format 2 on the far left consisted of a letter in the first position followed by 1 to 3 digits. On the Format 3 (near left) plate, the alpha character advanced to the second position. This 1A00 format was likely the result of the need for additional plates because of having to 'extend' the 1942 plates to cover 1943. Assuming that this was the case, 1942 plates used in 1943 would have been issued a 1943 validation strip. The B35 plate is from Worthpoint; the 4A15 plate is thanks to Allen Shrewsbury.
This is a 1944 Motorcycle plate. The series ran from 1 to over 9000, and did not require an alpha-numeric run. As can been seen from the '41, '42 and '44 plates that except for the colors flip-flopping, the plate formatting is the same. In fact from 1938 up through 1957, M/C plates remained largely unchanged. This is a Worthpoint image.
These unique tags are 1934 Passenger Format 2 and Format 3 plates respectively. Format 2 includes A to Z999 measuring 6" x 10", and A1000 to Z9999 on 6" x 12". Format 3 is made up of 0A to 9Z99 measuring 6" x 10" and 1A000 to 9Z999 on 6" x 12". Both of these are Worthpoint photos.
This is a trio of 1934 Truck plates. Starting on the far left the plate represents one of the three S-weight class serial progressions. The center and near left are the first 1934 T-weight class images on this site, and they represent two of the three serial progressions. These image are from Worthpoint.
Memorial Day is much more than the start of summer, or a day of barbecues and family gatherings. This year it may have additional meaning for many Americans, but while we enjoy the day, let us not lose sight of the true meaning of this solemn day.
Here is a new high U.S. Navy Veteran plate recently spotted by Bruce Bufalini. This is part of a series of veterans plates that date back to 2017. The series would suggest that the starting point would have been 10001N/A, but the lowest number plate is 10011. Then around 8/2019 the map outline was first documented at 13362N/A.
This School Vehicle plate is the highest plate spotted so far in the Format 4 - SV17800 to SV19799 group. This group uses the narrow tag legend and no separator. Format 3 used the wide legend while Format 5 used the keystone separator and wide legend. This photo is from Worthpoint, a service I subscribed to for research. If the owner of a plate wishes, I can acknowledge them also.
It isn't pretty, but it is an example of a 1956 Bus plate. The Bus series went from O1 or O0001 to O9999, then OA000. I don't know if the series began at O1 or O0001. Anyone know? The initial character is the letter 'O', which does not advance. The second serial group, as shown here, used an additional alpha character in the second position likely starting at OA000. This is a Worthpoint image.
Here is a sequential series of Liquid Fuels P. or O. plates. These motorcycle-size plates were not used on vehicles, but were actually mounted on gasoline pumps. That explains why there were so many issued, as well as the additional mounting holes. Several years ago, Eric Tanner, who was kind enough to provide an explanations of these plates, indicated that the law responsible for these plates was first effective July 1, 1937, and the license year was 7/1 to 6/30. The plates shown here were from the second and final year of such plates and are embossed '38-'39. The 71191 is also the highest number spotted. These photos are from Bob Connison. Will post more next week.
They're not beauties, but they are representative examples of alpha-numeric motorcycle plates from 1935, 1936 and 1937. The initial series during this period were all-numeric from 1 to 9999. These photos are from Worthpoint.
These are 1957 Passenger plates. The far left is a Format 4 plate which includes 10A0 to 99Z99, which included both 4- and 5-character progressions. The near left plate is a Format 10 which includes 00AA to 99ZZ. These are Worthpoint photos.
WIIC was the former call sign of Pittsburgh's TV channel 11 between 1957 to 1981. These 1965 base plates were associated with that TV station. Concerning the WIIC plate, I recall from that time period that vanity plates were either all numeric or alpha-numeric. The Vehicle code at the time permitted FCC radio & TV call signs such as the WIIC plate. This is not the same as Amateur Radio plates. Thanks to Jerry McCoy for this series of plate photos.
This group of 1956 Truck plates plus two others have been added to the plate gallery. There are now photos representing all five S-Class formats, and three of the four U-Class formats. These are Worthpoint photos. The W-Class now has both formats, with the plate shown here being unused and comes from Tom Firth. The ZZ-Class is a big bonus, and is thanks to Rob Baran.
These 1958 Truck plates at first glance might appear to be sample plates, but a closer look shows that they were both used. That said, they appear to be the first plates of the T- and U-series. They both have the tab slot. Thanks to Jerry McCoy for sharing these photos.
Alvernia University plates have been on the street as far back as 10/22/2017, but until Jaska Börner spotted this plate recently, only one other plate has been photographed, that one being 10002A/U. Vanity check indicates that the current high number is 10023A/U. Alvernia is located in Reading, PA.
A Toyota Prius sedan is not exactly what comes to mind when thinking of an Omnibus vehicle, but apparently these vehicles in the photo, used as School Vehicles, fit the requirements of the state. The plate in the center, OB-90703, is a new high. Click this PennDOT Fact Sheet link that describes all of the Bus, School Vehicle, Limo, Taxi, etc. registrations. Thanks to Jaska Börner for sharing this photo.
This is a low number Repair Towing plate from the series where the sticker well was removed - Format 4. It is believed that this series ran from RT-70900 to RT-71899 — 1000 plates, then the map outline was added at at RT-71900. Thanks to Clayton Moore for sharing this photo.
These Legislature plates are believed to be prototypes that were not issued. These were likely the work of a Dept. of Transportation official who had a keen interest in PA license plates. Note the use of the word LEGISLATURE, whereas issued plates used LEGISLATOR. Click the above link to see other plates from the same era. Thanks to Eric Conner for his thoughts on these plates. The far left plate was provided by Jerry McCoy; the other plate image was from Mike Wiener.
On the far left is the first image of a 1934 Motorbike (MB) plate. The formatting suggests that the use of the letter 'O' prefix, as used on 1933 plates, has been discontinued. The number issued is unknown, but for 1935, 50 plates were authorized. The near left is a Format 2 Motorcycle (MC) plate. Both plates are motorcycle sized tags and are Worthpoint images.
This is a 1966 to 1970 U.S. Congress plate. These were numbered to reflect the congressional district. There were 21 districts at one time, but as a result of reapportionment, there are only 18 such districts today. This plate appears to have never been used. Thanks to Jerry McCoy for the use of this photo.
These are all 1933 Passenger plates. The far left plate is a Format 2 image with the legend reversed. The center plate is a Format 3 image to replace a poorer image. This also has the legend reversed. The reversed legend is considered an error but was widespread and seen in at least three plate formats. The DL18 shorty is a Format 7 plate which covers AA to ZZ & AA1 to ZZ99. These are Worthpoint images.
While looking at some first generation School Vehicle plates, it made me question the starting year for such plates. One source from an unofficial PennDOT document says 1993, while the legacy Archives suggests circa 1997. Judging by the stickers I've seen on a few of these plates, I haven't seen any before 1998, so maybe 1997 is correct. This is the lowest number I've seen. The series started at SV10000. Photo source believed to be Brandon Sowers.
Here is a group of 1931 Truck plates. Since no identifying plate legend was used, the use of the weight class letter (R to Z, without X) usually in the first position, plus an additional non-adjoining letter in the third, fourth or fifth position. Some overflow plates from the R and S weight classes had the letter in the second position as shown in the first plate above. All truck plates were 5 characters and measured 6" by 12 inches. These photos are from Worthpoint, a service I subscribed to for research. If the owner of a plate wishes, I can acknowledge them also.
This group of plates is a continuation of last week's posting of 1952 Truck sample plates. Last week focused on the 2-letter prefix 3-axle truck plates, while this week features the 2-axle series from U to Z. The U through Y plates came from Worthpoint, the Z class is thanks to Ed Burr. These samples reflect the changes that would be seen on 1954 plates. Still needed are S and T class plates.
These are Delaware County Fallen Firefighter & EMS Memorial Committee plates. Even with the contractions used on the plate, the plate legend is one of the longest in use. The far left plate dates back to 9/2018, and shows the first recorded plate without the sticker well. It was borrowed from Tom Perri's PA Plates website. The higher number plate is a recent shot from Jordan Irazabal, also without the sticker well.
Here's a better sample image of the pending Eagle Scout plate. The image came from Todd Ellis and the COLBSA Facebook page. COL is the Cradle of Liberty Council - Boy Scouts of America. With the current environment of shutdowns and delays due to health concerns, there may be longer waits until new plate types hit the streets.
This nighttime photo was taken by Matt Ceicka and shows a Repair Towing vanity plate now with the map outline. The map has been seen on numbered plates in the past, but this is the first vanity. The RT prefix is a required part of the serial number.
This is a 5-21 validation sticker. For most vehicle owners, 2017 was the final year for stickers, but they may have been issued by request beyond that point. There were also trailers with 5-year registration periods, so stickers up through 2022 were issued. Thanks to Tom Firth for this image.
This particular Amateur Radio Operator base is the only one to also use the word Operator as part of the plate legend. This very nice, unused plate was recently acquired by Clayton Moore. Plates with this tag line were only issued for a year or two starting in 1988. I'm still looking for an Amateur Radio plate on the Bicentennial base using the Liberty Bell separator.
These are both 1939 Dealer plates. The far left plate is a Format 2 from the 1X00 to 9X999 series. The near left is a the high number from the Format 3 series of 10X0 to 61X54. Both of these plates are 6 inches by 12 inches; however, 4-character plates from these series were 6 inches by 10 inches. These images are from Worthpoint, a service I subscribed to for research. If the owner of a plate wishes, I can acknowledge them also.
This is a 1940 Format 1 Dealer plate, that series ran from X100 to X9999. Both 6" by 10" and 6"by 12" sizes were used for 4 and 5 character plates respectively. The letter X, used as the dealer identifier, could also be used in the second and third positions. This is also a Worthpoint image.
Next is this 1941 Format 3 Dealer plate. As each serial progression fills up, the X moves one position to the right. In this case it's in the third position. 1941 also saw plates with the 'X' in the fourth position for which I could use a photo. This is also a Worthpoint image.
This pair of 1942 Dealer plates represents Format 2 and Format 3 layouts. Both formats use a similar progression of 1X00 to 9X999 and 10X0 to 99X99, where the 'X' advances one position. So both 6" by 10" and 6" by 12" plates were used. The plates shown here are 12". These are Worthpoint images.
Give up? This is a 1919 Format 1 Motorcycle plate. Some 25-thousand motorcycle plates were issued that year. Plates from 1 to 999 measured 4½ inches by 6 inches, while 4- and 5-digit plates were 4½ inches by 8 inches. Color scheme was red on black. This is a Worthpoint image.
Next is this 1920 Format 2 Motorcycle plate. Format 2 encompassed plates from 1000 to nearly 24000. These 4- and 5-character plates measured 4½ inches by 8 inches. 1- to 3-digit plates were shorter at 4½ inches by 6 inches, like the 1919 plate above. Colors were white on dark blue. This is also a Worthpoint image.
This trio of Tractor plates are all part of Format 2, meaning they all use an alpha-numeric serial progressions. All plates were 4 characters including all numeric Format 1 group. The far left is a 1949, the center plate is a 1950 and is the recorded high. The near left is a 1955 and represents a new high. These are Worthpoint images.
What a difference a week makes.
After last week's posting of poor images of these 1952 Truck 3-axle plates, Clayton Moore suggested that Ed Burr may have these plates. I contacted Ed and he didhave the plates and graciously provided me with the images shown here. He did confirm that these are all samples as shown on the mailing envelope. Also, the plate serial numbers follow a unique progression. Eric Tanner also commented on the serial progressions suggesting that the sample series likely included the entire truck series, not just the double-letter plates. This is further evidenced by an earlier sample image from John Willard with R123A. There are differences between these samples and standard issue '52 truck plates. For starters, the length has been shortened from about 11 inches to 10¼ inches on samples. Also the expiration date along the top border has been changed from 3-31-53 to 5-31-53. Both of these changes reflect the changes that would be seen on 1954 plates. I will have several more 2-axle truck samples for next week.
Here's the latest edition of a University of Notre Dame, formerly Notre Dame Alumni Association plate. The name was changed when the plates switched to the graphic base. So far we know that plates up to 02646N/D still has the sticker well, plate 02681N/D no longer had the sticker well, and now 02695N/D, shown here, has the map outline. Thanks to Jordan Irazabal for sharing this image. Notre Dame has been in the plate business since 1988.
It's not a new high but it is the latest iteration of the Vietnam War Veteran plate. The current high according to Tom Perri's PA Plates page is V/W11279. This plate type dates back to 1999, and in 2014 the plate went to the graphic base at about V/N09400.
Each plate in this trio of Official Use plates has its own story. The far left plate is an unused plate from the 1977 to '84 issue for passenger vehicles in pairs, some of which are still in use. The center plate is from the same time period, but is a single plate for use on commercial types. The last plate is unused and is part of the 1985 to 2009 issue for use on commercial vehicles as single plates. The 1st and 3rd plates are thanks to Tom Firth, the center plate is from Eric Conner.
These Omnibus plates are part of the 1974 to '83 issue, but could be validated through 2000. The starting point in the progression was OB-10000. The low numbered plate came from Worthpoint. The high numbered plate is an unused plate belonging to Tom Firth.
This is a 1939 Motorbike plate, not a Motorboat plate which would have had MBL as the legend at the time. It is unknown how many of these were issued, but 4-digit plates were not seen earlier than 1942 plates, at least not for me. Motorbike plates were discontinued after 1949. Plate image is from Worthpoint.
On my last weekly installment I featured a Suburban plate with Q0000 from Jerry McCoy. I wondered if anyone had a Q+3 character plate and look what came from Ed Lybarger on the far left. The starting point was likely Q000. The other two plates helped fill some gaps in Format 3 and Format 4. Those images came from Worthpoint.
Could this be a 1965 Suburban plate? There were no issued Suburban plates for 1965 or later, so this unique plate is most likely a prototype. Jerry McCoy shared this gem with us. This certainly would make an interesting YOM plate on someone's 1965 Pontiac GTO station wagon.
Next in this week's lineup is this 1935 Tractor plate from Tim Gierschick. For 1935 we know that the series started at 1 and went at least as high as the plate shown here. The "Design of Registration Plates 1935" shows an authorized high of 4699, with all such plates measuring 6 inches by 12 inches.
By 1938, Tractor plates had a new look. This was the first year for the map outline on Tractor plates, although it was used on Passenger plates in '37. This series is believed to have run from 0001 to 5241. All Tractor plates again measuring 6 inches by 12 inches. Thanks to Tim Gierschick for the photo.
I consider these 2-letter prefix truck plates as the Holly Grail of truck plates. These generally include RZ to ZZ. The 2-letter prefixes indicate a 3-axle truck, meaning 1 front and 2 rear axles. For a variety of reasons very few of these plates have survived and made it into the hobby. One reason is that relatively few, if any, plates were issued in certain classes. Anyway here is a 1954 ZZ 3-axle Truck plate thanks to Rob Baran. It also shows that this is part of the ZZ0A0 progression, which had not been previously documented. Previously identified issue was ZZ00A. Check back next week for a 1956 ZZ Truck plate.
Sorry, these pictures are pretty awful, but they do provide a graphic representation of most of the 1952 2-letter prefix Truck plates from RZ to YZ. I do believe these are samples. These pictures came from a screen shot I captured several years ago. Later I tried unsuccessfully to find the owner or the source. I do believe that these plates exist somewhere within the hobby. Anyone know more about them?
This is a new high Pennsylvania Equine Council plate courtesy of Preston Turner. Tom Perri's PA Plates website shows the most recent previous high as 10102P/E with sticker. So that's a pretty wide gap between the two plates, but this one has the map outline. Vanity check shows the registered high as 10150P/E. Plate program dates back to 2012.
This Therapy Dogs United sample plate image was sent by Paul Bagnarol. Many plate collectors have a niche and Paul's is definately samples. Collecting PA samples is not an easy feat, since the state no longer markets them. These organizational plates date back to 2010.
Trailer Dealer — they're out there, but seldom seen. Jordan Irazabal spotted this plate recently. The earliest Trailer Dealer plates are believed to date back to 1971 and were from the E10-000E series; however, this is unconfirmed with no plates or photos to confirm it. Around 1995 the format was changed to TD0000D on the yellow on blue base.
These unused School Bus plates are from Tom Firth. The far left plate was part of the first batch of 6000 replacement plates issued starting in June 2000. The other plate was part of a later batch. There is a slight difference between the legends of the two plates.
Apparently early on, Penn State University Official plates were to look like this. An unknown number of these plates were produced but not issued. A few have found their way into the hands of collectors. This serial formatting for issued plates was A00-00P on the same base as shown here. In 2019 PSU Official plates were moved to the visitPA family of plates. Thanks to Clayton Moore for sharing this photo.
These are front and rear plate images of a beautiful porcelain 1906 tag from Tim Gierschick. 1906 was the first year for state-issued plates. Note the legend on the rear of the plate identifying the manufacturer as Ingram-Richardson, Beaver Falls, PA These early plates from 1906 through 1909 were actually assigned to the driver, rather than to the vehicle as was done in later years..
I never understood the meaning of the WL prefix for Salvage Yard plates. The very nice plate on the far left is from Matt Ciecka. Note the Salvage Yard legend is silk screened on the first run of these plates. The high number plate has the legend embossed but the state name is now in cursive. Thanks to Clayton Moore for this tag. Any help with the changeover point would be appreciated. Also, was there an over 10-thousand group with the state name in block letters?
This very interesting Suburban plate image came from Jerry McCoy. (Suburban plates were issued to station wagons from 1960 to '64.) Jerry wondered if this could be the first plate issued, so did I. However, data sources and an ALPCA Archives photo suggest that the series likely started at Q100. Does anyone have a Q+3 digit plate?
Here is another porcelain tractor plate, this one from 1915, the second year such plates were issued. Plates for that year are believed to have started at E1 and went at least as high as E2027. Four sizes were issued from 6" by 8" for E+1 digit to 6" by 14" for E+4. This 12" plate is thanks to PA's master tractor plate collector, Tim Gierschick.
This is a 1932 Tractor plate also from Tim Gierschick. The plate has been professionally restored. The TE prefix stands for Traction Engine or more commonly Tractor. The TE was used from 1928 through 1933. This plate measures 6 inches by 15 inches. I have no photographs or information on plates from TE-1 to TE-999 that would confirm size and layout.
Here is a grouping of 1950 Truck plates, including plates from the four lightest weight classes of R through U. Actually 6 new images have been posted but all are from these 4 classes. These are all Worthpoint images. At this point, I have no images of the 2-letter prefix series of RZ through ZZ.
The far left image is of a 1951 V-Weight Class Truck plate. The V0A00 serial format is one that has not been previously documented. The near left plate is the first image of a W-weight class on this website. These plates measure 6 inches by 11 inches and are from Worthpoint.
It may be hard to believe that Conserve Wild Resources - Otter plates date back to 1999. Of course that was the first generation of such plates with a full canvas graphic. Then several years ago the graphic was reduced to what you see here. The plate shown is the latest high and was spotted by Bruce Bufalini.
Here's a new high Honoring Our Veterans plate. This plate type dates back to late 2012. This plate still retains the sticker well. Based on a earlier inventory report, it looks like the current batch runs to 03199H/V. Thanks to Preston Turner for the image which was borrowed from Tom Perri.
Here is a recent traffic shot of an IUP or Indiana University of PA Alumni Association plate. Plate I/N02994 was previously spotted with the map outline, but this is the first one I've seen, and it's also a new high. The photo was taken by Preston Turner. IUP's plate program goes way back to 1985.
Here is a new high PA State Corrections Officers Association plate. This plate type has been on the street since 2006. This looks like a tough night shot but clearly shows that the map feature has been added to the plate. Another thank you to Tom Perri.
This is not a new image but it is newer than my previous posting and was 'borrowed' from Tom Perri's website — yes we're friends. The photo is from November 2019 and is the current high in this Official Use passenger series. This series has not yet switched over to the state coat of arms graphic as used on Official Use commercial plates. From what I can determine this change should occur at 42000-PA which could be a while.
These D-series Dealer plates were issued during the period 1984 to 1999. Note the far left plate has Pennsylvania on the top, while the center plate has it on the bottom. Note the plate on the right uses a wider typeface for the word Dealer. Far left image was from ShopLicensePlates.com and was previously posted. The other two plate are thanks to Matt Ciecka who pointed out the change in the typeface. Click the link above to see more on the numerical range for each variation.
This is the 1912 Governor plate, which was also the first year for such plates in PA. Eric Tanner sent me a newspaper article from the Harrisburg Telegraph dated December 29, 1911 entitled, Governor Will Ride in No. 1 Car. Eric Tanner is the very talented editor of the ALPCA's Plates Magazine, and an accomplished researcher.
Fellow ALPCA member Bob Connison, pointed me to an Ebay auction that included a 1953 Motorboat License (MBL). 1953 was unique, first using steel plates then switching to fiberboard. The plate in question was fiberboard with a lower number than previously known. No photo. Still needed is a steel plate with a number approaching the point where they switched to fiberboard. The highest steel plate spotted so far is 5375. The plate shown here is a series high and is from Worthpoint.
Here is a pair of 1936 Passenger plates. It may not seem logical, but Format 1 all-numeric passenger plates started at 21001 making this a low number plate. Why, you may ask? This is Tim Gierschick's plate, and he explains that Governor George Earle, III, saw himself as a 'people's governor' and did not wish to show any favoritism to those in power. The 10-inch shorty plate is a part of the Format 5 running from 000A to 999Z, and came from Worthpoint.
If you know Tim Geirschick, you know that he is the premier collector of tractor plates. These 1914 porcelain beauties are 106 years old. These plates represent the first year that Tractor plates were issued, and they would have been issued in pairs. The E stood for Engine, short for Traction Engine, or Tractor. The E217 measures 6" by 12" and the other is 6" by 14". Tim is looking for a '35 Tractor plate. If you have one or are aware of one, please let Tim or me know.
This 1917 Tractor plate photo is also from Tim. Some interesting information concerning 1917 Tractor plates — there were two classes of tractor plates at the time, Class 1 for agricultural purposes, and Class 2 for freight haulers. The Class 1 number series is believed to have run to E2799, making this plate the next to the last plate. No Class 2 plates (3450 and above) have been documented to my knowledge. Credit to Jake Eckenrode and Eric Tanner for information previously received concerning weight classes and numbering.
We don't normally post so many photos of a particular type and year, but then what's normal anymore? So here are 5 of a total of 9 photos added to the 1948 Truck section. With the addition of the 9, there is now an image for every serial progression from R to Z. R has the most with 5 serial progressions. Even with all this, only one double letter prefix plates is displayed, that being a UZ for a 3-axle truck. These added plates are from Worthpoint.
Here's the latest high Official Use - PennDOT Commercial plate. You may recall that there are two general groups of these plates — one for commercial / truck type vehicles and one for passenger vehicles. Then there are three different logos used such as the one shown here for PennDOT vehicles, another for Turnpike vehicles and the third one with the state coat of arms on other state-owned vehicles. This photo was taken by Bruce Bufalini.
These are not new Truck highs, but they do show a difference in the typeface used for the word TRUCK on some plates even though they may be part of the same serial progression. Note that the U and the C are more rounded on the new typeface seen on ZMW-5384 and ZPS-6398, while ZPS-1007 retains the older typeface. Most likely 2 (or more) plate lines were running concurrently. Thanks to Bill Southwick for the ZMW-5384 photo, Donald Harman for the ZPS-1007 plate image, and Nick Santiago for the ZPS-6398 image. A special thanks to Nick Santiago for spotting this change.
This unused Omnibus plate dates back to the 1999-2000 plate changeover. This plate series started anew on the www base at OB-50000. Thanks to Tom Firth for the plate photo. Tom specializes in unused plates. PennDOT states that such plates are issued for vehicles that do not have PUC authority and, therefore, are generally not used as a for-hire bus. These vehicles are primarily owned by individuals, churches or other charitable organizations.
This is an Erie County issue. Such Civil Defense plates were not issued by the state. The plate owner describes it as porcelain, I might call it enamel. The plate measures 5⅜" by 12". Thanks to Dean Heeter for the photo.
This is a 1938 Format 2 Dealer plate. At the time the dealer identifier was the letter 'X', also the legend. The X could be in the first, second or third position, and this plate is part of the progression of 1X00 to 9X999. So 10-inch 'shorty' plates were used with 4 characters, and 12-inch for 5 characters. This plate photo is thanks to Worthpoint.
While this isn't exactly a license plate, it does provide an interesting look into vehicle registrations during the war years. This photo is of three Motorbike (MB) registration credentials for the same bike for 1943, '44 and '45. The registration fee was $2.00. The bike was a 1937 Motor Glide with a starting price of about $120. It had a power rating of under 1 horsepower, and a top speed of 25 mph or so.
The top card is the 1943 renewal of the 1942 registration. The 1942 registration would have been tag 1929, the renewal tab strip serial number was 15079. (Remember plates were not issued for 1943.)
The middle card is the 1944 registration, tag 686.
The bottom card is the 1945 registration, tag 527. Thank you to John Anshant for sharing this.
This is a 1930 Format 3 Passenger plate. That format consists of 0A to 9Z999. So the plate could consist of a single digit and letter as shown here, this combination can be followed by up to 3 digits. Plates with up to 4 characters measure 6" by 10", while 5-character plates are 12". This image is from Worthpoint, a service I subscribed to for research. If the owner of a plate wishes, I can acknowledge them also.
This group of 1931 Passenger plates shows three different plate serial progressions, representing Formats 3, 4 and 8. In this case it would be easier to click the link above, scroll down and see where each of the plates fit into their respective groups, rather than trying to describe each one. These plate photos are from Worthpoint.
Here we see a pair of 1921 Commercial or Truck plates. Unfortunately plate paint at the time was not good. The original color was black or blue black on yellow. Truck weight classes at the time were somewhat cryptic in that the first digit of the serial number denotes the weight class. Classes ranged from 1 to 7, as the plates above represent class 2 and class 4 respectively. All plates are believed to be 6" by 16" regardless of the length of the serial number. These plate photos are from Worthpoint.
This is a 1922 Weight Class 1 Commercial plate. Same lousy paint, but hey, it is 98 years old! The original color was brown on cream. Same size and same 7 weight classes as the 1921 plates above. The series is believed to have begun at 1-1 and had progressed at least as high as 117-380. This plate photo is also thanks to Worthpoint.
This is a 1923 Class 1 Commercial plate. This was also the final year to use the legend Commercial until 1968. Like the 1922 plate above, this series likely started as 1-1, and even with that the plate size would have been 6" by 16". 1923 signaled the first year that plate colors were standardized to yellow and blue. This plate photo is also from Worthpoint.
We The People . . . stepping up to America's toughest issues, 1787 - 2020.
You may have noticed that the number of current plates displayed on this site is way down. This is largely the result of the reduction in travel caused by the pandemic. This image actually goes back to mid-February, and is the lowest Penn Alumni plate spotted to date. Thanks to Jordan Irazabal for the image.
This plate and photo are brand new. Thanks to Rob Baran for sharing his new Passenger Vanity plate which is now on his BMW M5.
Here is a very nice undated 1965 Amateur Radio plate. This plate was eligible to be re-validated with stickers until 1970. Judging by the 1x2 call sign, this was likely an Extra Class license. The owner of this plate requested that the credit for the plate go to his father, Ron Allen.
If you don't recognize these plates, you're not alone. Thanks to fellow ALPCA member Ned Flynn, who researched these plates, we have a better understanding of Auto Wheel plates. Auto Wheel plates were issued by the Auto Wheel Coaster Co. of Tonawanda, NY. for small 4-wheeled vehicles. The company made children's wagons, scooters, sleds etc. These were not official plates and were not issued by PA in spite of PENNA. or PA shown on some plates. Ned did quite a bit of research to help remove much of the mystery surrounding these plates. His efforts culminated in an article in the August issue of the ALPCA 2012 Plates Magazine. The source of the '27 and '29 plates is unknown, the '30 plate is from Worthpoint.
Here are more seldom-seen plates. Commercial Motorcycle plates were issued for 12 years from 1938 until 1949, except 1943 when metal tabs were issued. Formatting was essentially the same from year to year. The 1942 is the only image I have for that year, while the '48 is the first 2-digit plate. Both are from Worthpoint, a service I subscribed to for research. If the owner of a plate wishes, I can acknowledge them also.
This is a 1930 Format 2 Passenger plate. 1925 saw the first use of alpha characters in passenger serial progressions, and by 1930 plates were shortened to 5 characters, thereby reducing the length of the plate as well. This reduction to 5 characters also necessitated the use of as many as eight serial progressions. The 10-inch shorty shown here was part of the A to Z9999 series. This is a Worthpoint image.
This is a 1934 Tractor plate from Tim Gierschick. After 1923 the word TRACTOR was not used as part of the legend again until 1934. This year also saw the elimination of TE as a serial prefix, as plates were all numeric. The plate shown here, 5261, also raises the high.
This pair of 1926 Truck plates represents the R weight class that ran from R1 to R99-999. There were also overflow plates with the R in the suffix position. The R plate shown here measures 6" by 13", and was one of four sizes used that year. The U-weight class plate consists of 4 characters and measures 6" by 12". These are both Worthpoint images. Still need T and Y class photos.
This is a 1927 R-weight class truck. The picture was not good to begin with but it is a decent representation of the R+4 digit plates. Like the plate above, the series ran from R1 to R99-999. There were also overflow plates with the R in the suffix position. This plate measures 6" by 13", and was one of three sizes used that year. This is a Worthpoint image.
Here is an unused 1961 Passenger Validation Sticker from Tom Firth. This sticker shows the sticker with serial number. There were also stickers issued with PA0000. Stickers with different color combinations were also issued for Suburban, Truck and Trailer. Click the link to see the other types.
Here is a Therapy Dogs United plate recently acquired by Bruce Sakson. Not only is this a new high, it is also the first one of these spotted without the sticker well. Plate 00056T/D still had the sticker well. This plate program has been around since 2010.
Here's a recent Person with Disability traffic shot from Jaska Börner. I distinctly remember when the www series of PD plates was nearing the end of the Y-suffix plates, and wondered if the Z-series would be on the visitPA base, but it didn't happen that way. After the Y-series was exhausted, the next plates seen were in the 00001PD series, not PD0000Z. Then about 3 months later, the Z plates started to appear. This all took place from May to August of 2007.
2018 Act 91 authorized the issuing of organizational plates in a motorcycle size and format, among other plate related additions. It now appears that the International Association of Fire Fighters is the first organization to approve such a plate. No picture or prototype yet, but there are likely 9 plates in use with P/F0001 format. If you look at the Honoring Our Veteran Motorcycle plates, my concern is that the wide fonts leave little space for the organizational logo, which ends up being the size of a postage stamp.
1925 was only the second year for the use of alpha characters on passenger plates. The series would have started at A or A1 and progressed to A99-999, then started the B-series. While each letter series progressed as a group, plate size depended on the number of characters. Shown here are the second and third sizes used. A-223 measures 6" by 12', and the A8-696 measures 6" by 13'. There were also 6" by 10" and 6" by 15" depending on the number of characters. These images are from Worthpoint, a service I subscribed to for research purposes. If the owner of a plate wishes, I can acknowledge them also.
This 1927 Passenger plate also follows the same alpha-numeric rules where the numeric progression advances from 1 to 99999 before moving to the next letter and starting over. This is a 6" by 10". There were also 6" by 13" and 6" by 15" sizes depending on the number of characters. This photo is from Worthpoint.
Here is a 1933 Passenger plate. Like the plates above, the numeric portion of the plate advances to the end of the sequence then the letter advances. By 1933 there were many additional alpha-numeric combinations in use to accommodate the growing number of cars on the street. 1 to 4 character plates measured 6" x 10", 5 character plates measured 6" x 12". This photo is from Worthpoint.
While a few 1953 Passenger plates with only 3 characters are known to exist, this is the first one I've seen. Such plates are considered be a non-standard issue. All standard plates are 4 or 5 characters and measure 6" x 10¼", this plate included. This plate belonged to Forrest Kauffman when I took the photo.
These are 1925 Truck plate photos. The far left is a low number S-weight class plate. That series ran from S-1 to S99-999, then went to an overflow series with the R in the suffix position. The center is a U-weight class plate. Both of these are 6" by 12" plates. The right hand plate represents the V-class; however, the additional digit makes this a 6" by 13" plate. These photos are from Worthpoint.
This is a 1928 T-weight class truck. There was still no 'TRUCK' legend until 1934, so the alpha-numeric configuration was the key to identifying the type. Some passenger plates also used single letter prefixes, but for 1928 only A through E were used, while truck plates used R through Z, except X. This plate measures 6" by 13" and the photo is from Worthpoint.
This Bus plate is actually a low number for the group of plates without the sticker well. This change is believed to have come about starting at BA-80900 and likely ran to BA-81899. At BA-81900 the map outline was added. The current high is in the BA-83000 series.
This Sons of the American Legion plate was spotted by Bruce Bufalini. This plate type has been around since 2014 and the only one I've seen on the road so far was a vanity. Vanity check indicates that the serial number high is 00073S/L. This plate definitely lacks the sticker well.
Here's the latest Seton Hill University high number as recently spotted by Bruce Bufalini. The plate now has the map outline. Bruce notes that plate S/H00112 also had the map. Seton Hill has been in the license plate business since 2006. Seton Hill is located in Greensburg, PA
This is a new high U.S. Air Force Veteran recently spotted by Bruce Bufalini. This plate, and one previously spotted, 22932A/F, now have the map outline. This plate is part of a series of veteran plates that date back to 2009 with the starting point for Air Force plates being 20000A/F.
I'm showing this Apportioned Bus plate again as a point of discussion. After receiving additional comments from John Anshant, I have now been persuaded that there was a yellow on blue version of this plate. The plate would essentially look the same but with the colors reversed, and the sticker well on the lower left. Now . . . how to find one, or at least a picture. I have tried PennDOT in the past by way of a Right to Know request, which was futile. So I'm begging for help with this.
The far left image is the lowest number I've seen on a 1910 Dealer plate. 1910 was the first year for Dealer plates. The number progression is believed to have started at 1 on a 6" by 8" base, whereas the plate shown here measures 6" by 10". The center plate is from 1911, and shows the introduction of the 'X'-prefix on this 6" by 12" plate. Click that link to see an 'X'+single digit plate. In 1916 Dealer plates were stamped steel. The plate shown here is 6" by 13", the middle size between the 11" and 16" sizes. These images are from Worthpoint, a service I subscribed to for research purposes. If the owner of a plate wishes, I can acknowledge them also.
On the far left of this group of 1953 Truck plates is an R-weight class that completes the run of all six serial progressions. Next the T-class shows the first of two progressions, while the Y plate depicts one of the two series in that weight class. The R and Y plates are from Worthpoint. The T -late is thanks to Blasco38.
Here are a few more 1956 Truck plates. The far left was the only remaining R-weight class progression needed. The T-weight class plate was the second of two serial progressions used. The U-weight class was the first of four serial progressions used in '56. These photos are from Worthpoint.
For some reason, 1957 Truck plates seem not to be as plentiful as other truck plates of the same era. All '57 truck plates were 6 characters. The addition of the 6th character almost completely eliminated the need for multiple serial progressions within each weight class. The plates shown here are the first T- and V-weight class plates shown for that year. These photos are from Worthpoint.
The Teen Driver plate program has been around since 2013 and yet plate sales have so far not passed the 100 mark. Apparently not many teens find them appealing. It appears that many of these plates are being purchased as part of a plate collection. The unused 87 plate photo is from Tom Firth, the 88 and 89 plate photos were snapped by Jordan Irazabal. T/D00089 is also the new high.
Here is a recently spotted Antique Vehicle plate from Bill Stephens. It represents the end of the progression for this run, which would end at 99Z9. The next sequence will be A0AA. The numerical character will advance first, followed by the final letter. So after the series hits A9AA, it will advance to A0AB, etc. This series is already in use.
Here's the first personalized plate photo of an Indiana University of PA Alumni Association, or just IUP for short. IUP has been in the plate business since 1985. The color graphic design dates back to 2012. This traffic shot was taken by Bruce Bufalini. Can't discern the presence or absence of a sticker well, but surely no map.
At a central PA collectors' meet in early February, I brought up the subject of first generation, blue on yellow, Apportioned Bus plates. I already knew that no such plates were believed to have made it into the hands of collectors, but John Anshant stated that he had a photo of one. I wanted that picture and here it is! The series began in 1982, apparently at the same time as Apportioned Truck plates. The series began at BL-10000, and progressed to at least BL-10501. Several attempts to contact and visit bus companies proved futile. A respected ALPCA collector has stated in the past that this plate was also issued on the yellow-on-blue base. I personally have no recollection of such an edition. I do know for certain that there never was a BM prefix, plates went directly from BL to BN when the www base was issued.
Here is a pair of 1925 Bus plates. Since there is no identifying legend, the letter 'O' as the first character is the distinguishing feature. Bus plates at the time used the same size alpha and numeric characters until 1927 when the 'O' became smaller. 4 character plates were 6" x 12", 5 character plates were 6" x 13". These images are from Worthpoint, a service I subscribed to for research purposes. If the owner of a plate wishes, I can acknowledge them also.
This group of motorcycle tag photos are nice examples of 1920s-era plates. The 1923 is a Format 1, yellow on blue tag which measures 4½" by 6". The center tag is a 1924, also measuring 4½" by 6" but blue on yellow. The 1925 5-digit tag is the more familiar size of 4½" by 8". This plate is also yellow on blue. These photos are from Worthpoint.
More 1955 Truck plates. The far left and center plates represent the two remaining U-weight class serial progressions. The V-weight class plate is one of three serial progressions used that year. The far left plate is from Worthpoint. The center plate is thanks to eBay user Securityautoparts, and the right-hand plate photo is thanks to Tper3750.
These 1956 Truck plates show a marked evolution in plate formatting and design. Let us look at this group of R-weight class plates. For starters, 1956 saw the standardization of plate sizes to 6" by 12", previously plates were 6" by 10¼". Next, beginning with the center plate, new dies are apparent. I'm going to call the dies on the center plate '57 5-character dies, and there was another new set of dies which I'm describing as '57 6-character dies. Compare the 'R' on the three plates. There were also three map bases, again compare the plates above. The far left plate was from Bob Connison and was previously posted, the center and right plates are from Worthpoint.
This is a U.S. Navy (Active Duty) plate, thus the AD suffix. The active duty series dates back to 2017, and have not been easy to spot. This photo was taken by Tom Perri and edited by Jordan Irazabal. (Editing generally consist of cropping, rotating, skewing, etc. to yield a truer image. It does not include altering the content of the plate.) There are also a U.S. Navy Veteran plate and a U.S. Navy Reserve organizational plate.
See anything strange about the far left plate? It has the graphic background of the center owl plate and the serial formatting of the right-hand tiger plate. The image was provided by Paul Bagnarol and is believed to be a prototype or test plate.
Here are three of the four faces of the Penn State Nittany Lion. These vanity plates were recently spotted by Bruce Bufalini on his travels through University Park. The SUSIE plate and the TEXAS plate are both Penn State Alumni Association plates of different vintages. The SNO17 is a Penn State University plate which is another option. So which face of the Nittany Lion is missing? It's the original Pozniak Lion dating back to 1985 and issued up through the 2004-2005 changeover.
Here's a recent shot of a Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue plate from Jordan Irazabal. Their plate program dates back to 2013, and so far this is the highest plate spotted. Vanity check shows an issued high of 00229G/R. Note the removal of the validation sticker.
Here is a new high National Ski Patrol plate traffic shot from Jaska Börner. Jaska reports that this plate still has the sticker well. A vanity check of this plate type shows that the issued serial number high is 00285S/P. This organizational plate type dates back to 2011.
Bruce Bufalini also snapped this low-number Passenger vanity plate. At one time plates from 3 to 23 were reserved for cabinet members, and 24 to 999 were reserved for state officials and dignitaries. While those designations have been extinct for a number of years, don't expect to walk into the DMV, plunk down your cash and walk out with such a plate. It is my understanding that the lowest numbered plates are still tightly controlled.
Here is a trio of 1936 Truck plates. The far left and center T-weight class have provided examples of the serial progressions of T000A and T0A00, with a T00A0 plate having been previously posted. The finish is gone from the U-weight class plate; however, it is a solid representation of the class which has only one serial progression. The far left plate is thanks to eBay user Blasco38, the other two are from Worthpoint, a service I subscribed to for research purposes. If the owner of a plate wishes, I can acknowledge them also.
We continuing with this trio of 1954 Truck plates. The R-weight class plate is part of R0A00 format which is one of six serial progressions that year. Thanks to eBay user Blasco38 for that plate. The center S-weight class plate is part of S00AA format, which is one of five serial progressions. The T-class is part of T00A0 format which is one of two serial progressions for 1954. The S and T plates were from Worthpoint.
Next is this 3-plate series of 1955 Truck plates. The S9U73 plate on the far left completes the display all five S-class serial progressions used that year. Thanks to eBay user Blasco38 for that plate. The center image is the first T-class plate shown here and is the second of two serial progressions used in '55. The U-class is the first of first of four serial progressions used in '55. The T and U plates were from Worthpoint.
Here is a Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. organizational plate for which we didn't have an image or prototype, then John Fedorchak got this photo from the organization. I did some editing of the photo to restore the corners of the plate which were cut off in the original photo. John reports that there are 9 of these plate in use.
Here's the latest high Classic Vehicle plate. The photo of the Ford Explorer and plate were recently snapped by Bruce Bufalini. PennDOT describes a Classic Vehicle as "manufactured at least 15 years prior to the current year which has been maintained in or restored to a condition which is substantially in conformity with manufacturer specifications and appearance.
Here are three new high number plate photos from Jaska Börner. These were all traffic photos taken at night. The far left is a Flyers Wives Charities plate. This organization has shifted back and forth between the words Charities and Charity, and has now returned to Charities as was previously spotted on F/L01848. The center plate is an Arizona State University high, still with a sticker. The final plate is a University of Scranton high. No sticker on this plate, but presence of sticker well is uncertain.
Here is a LaSalle College High School sample plate image thanks to Paul Bagnarol. This school's plate program dates back to 2005. The high number spotted so far has been L/S00138 according to Tom Perri's PA Plates website. LaSalle College High School is not to be confused with LaSalle University which also has plate program.
This is the high number spotted of a Format 1 Vietnam War Veteran plate. This original series ended at V/W09399 before transitioning to the visitPA graphic base and starting at V/W04000. The initial series dates back to 1999. The current series has a recorded high of V/W11279. Thanks to Matt Ciecka for this photo.
This 1916 Dealer plate, with the X+3 digit format, would have been expected to be 6" by 13", however, this plate appears to measure 6" by 16". So it appears to be the same dimension as the X+4 digit format previously posted. This image is from Worthpoint, a service I subscribed to for research purposes. If the owner of a plate wishes, I can acknowledge them also.
This pair of 1935 Dealer plates represent the second and third serial formats used that year. The far left plate is part of the run of the series from 0X to 9X999. 10" plates were used with plates up to 4 characters and 12" for 5-characters. The 52X88 plate series started at 00X and progressed up to 5 characters as shown here, with 10" and 12" sizes as well. Far left plate is from Worthpoint while the other is thanks to eBay user from Hippiechicksfaroutfinds.
This is the a 1946 Miscellaneous Dealer plate. This type of Dealer plate uses an X as the identifier, the X can be in the first position or the second as shown here. All plates used 5 characters. The plate measures 6 inches by 11 inches. I'm crediting this plate to John Willard & John Anshant, however, that may not be correct.
This is a 1951 Used Car Dealer plate. Beginning in 1946 Dealer plates used a leading A for New Car and B for Used Car serial numbers. Therefore the serial progression of B000A was used where the initial B does not advance. The number would advance until reaching 999, after which the next series would have been B000B. New Car Dealer plates seem to far outnumber Used Car Dealer plates. Thanks to Worthpoint for this image.
Click this thumbnail to see the full-size image. This cardboard Temporary plate, which has predated boxes from 1999 to 2002, does not seem to match any previous or later style of temp tag. The numerical sequence also does not seem to relate to other tags around that time period. Clayton Moore posted a group of these tags recently.
Here's a recent photo of a new high Bus plate. This series is believed to have begun using the map outline at BA-81900. Bus plates have a long history dating back to 1924; however, the use of the BA prefix began on the 1968 base at BA-00000 or BA-00001. Later the number sequencing started over again in 1972 and again in 1978.
Not one but 3 Combat Action Ribbon plates! The far left plate was spotted by Preston Turner. It is the current high and also the first serial-numbered plate seen with the map outline. The other two were recently spotted by Nick Tsilakis. Normal formatting would be five numerals followed by the C/O suffix, making these both personalized plates, and the first of those with the map outline. The Combat Action series dates back to 2014.
This is a personalized Person with Disability plate. The second plate character is the letter 'O'. Which is easily confused with zero. While the letter 'O' and number 0 are different on PA plates, the zero is slightly taller, they are similar enough to cause confusion, including vehicle citations going to the wrong person. Check this link to just such a situation in Pittsburgh. The PD suffix is also part of the registration number. This image is from Bruce Bufalini.
This Indiana County Humane Society plate has been on this site for a couple years; however, thanks to Bruce Bufalini we have is a newer and better photo. This organization's plate program dates back to 2013, and so far about 22 serial-numbered plates have been issued.
What a gem this would be on the wall of any Nittany Lion fan, myself included. I believe Penn State was the first college-based organizational plate issued in PA, dating back to 1985. The plate shown here is well preserved for its age. Thanks to Clayton Moore for this plate photo.
St. Joseph's University plate may also date back to 1985, along with a number of other organizations that were launching a plate program around that time. Slightly more that 1000 plates were issued on this base before the changeover to the www base on 11/28/2001. Another thank you to Clayton Moore for this plate photo.
These three Lady Keystone Open special event plates represent 1991, 1992 and 1993 golf tournaments held in Hershey. From my experience these are generally issued to vehicle dealerships that would be providing courtesy vehicles during the event. They expire following the event. I also have a photo of a 1988 and 1994 plate. So were there Lady Keystone plates issued for 1989 and 1990?
Great number! This 1914 Tractor plate photo was made available by ebay user Blasco38. This was also the first year for Tractor plates. This white-on-black porcelain series would have started at E1 and progressed to over E1000. This plate measures 6 inches by 12 inches, however, size was determined by the the length of the serial number. Click the link above to see detail on other sizes.
Both of these images relate to 1952 Tractor registration plates, but that's where the connection stops. The Tractor registration document on the far left came from Tim Gierschick and was issued to a family member in 1952. The B507 plate was needed to fill the Format 2 gap. This Format 2 was an alpha-numeric series after the Format 1 series hit 9999. That image came from Worthpoint.
Here is a trio of 1950 Truck plates, starting on the far left with one of the four S-weight class serial progressions. Next is a one of the two V-weight class serial formats, and finally a Y-weight class tag. The S plate is thanks to eBay user Blasco 38. The others are from Worthpoint.
Recently I visited the Albright College campus in in hopes of finding one of their organizational plates on the new base as shown on the far left. Unfortunately none were to be found. I did spot this older plate, which would actually be a new high. It still retains the sticker well. Vanity check suggests the issued high is A/L00147.
Here's a recent traffic shot of a Pennsylvania Coal Alliance Inc. plate. The image is from Bruce Bufalini and shows a new high. There was a discussion among several friends as to whether or not this plate has a sticker well. So while that feature may be missing, it can't be determined with certainty.
Such a plate is a visual reminder that the person to whom it was issued likely went through hell. This is a first generation Prisoner of War plate, which is still a valid format. This would have been only the second plate issued, likely in 1982. It appears that this plate was restored. Thanks to Drewski for the photo.
There are more legislative updates for House Bill 1710, House Bill 1711 and House Bill 1712. All three of these bills received final passage in the House on Feb. 3, and have moved on to the Senate on Feb. 13.
This is low-number and rare 1910 Dealer plate. 1910 was the fist year for Dealer plates. The use of the 'X' as the prefix and identifier did not begin until 1911. This 3-digit plate measured 6 inches by 10 inches, and was the middle of three sizes that year. The reverse of the plate reads: "ING-RICH PORCELAIN ENAMELED IRON SIGNS COMPANY INGRAM-RICHARDSON MFG. CO. BEAVER FALLS PENNA". Thanks to Jeff Lesher for the use of the images.
Here is a very low number 1912 Dealer plate, also thanks to Jeff Lesher. The use of 'X' as part of the serial number started in 1911. This series started at X1 and continued to well into the X3000 series. Plate sizes varied according to the number of digits, with sizes going form 6 inches by 8 inches for X+1 digit to 10, 12 and 14-inch sizes for X+2, 3 and 4 characters respectively, making this plate 10 inches. This plate was manufactured by BRILLIANT MFG. CO. ENAMELED SIGNS 1035-1037 RIDGE AVENUE PHILA., PA, as shown on the reverse of the plate.
Here is a pair of needed 1934 Passenger plates. The far left plate is a Format 5 plate which consisted of the run from 000A to 999Z on a 6" x 10" base. The run also went to 5 characters from 100A0 to 999Z9 on a 6" x 12" base. The plate is from Worthpoint. The other plate is a Format 7 which ran from AA to ZZ and AA1 to ZZ99, all on a 6" x 10" base. This plate is thanks to Forrest Kauffman.
These are 1924 Truck plates. '24 was the first year to use the more familiar R through Z series of truck weight classes, with R being the lightest class. (Passenger plates also began using letter prefixes, but only used 'A' in 1924.) The series started at R1 and progressed to R99-999, then began an overflow series of 1-R to at least 2000-R. The number of characters also determined the length of the plate with the 4-character plate shown here being 6 by 10 inch and the 5-character S plate being 12 inches. These images are from Worthpoint, a service I subscribed to for research purposes. If the owner of a plate wishes, however, I can acknowledge them also.
Yes, it's a 1958 Truck plate with a '64 sticker, but what's a ZT Class? The 1958 truck series consisted of 21 plate prefixes that designate not only gross vehicle weight and number of axles, but also 3 separate series for truck tractors. Truck tractors were designated with WT, YT and ZT. This same prefix designations were used again in the 1964 through 1967 run, after which a new system was used. Thanks to Drewski for the use of this photo.
I recently acquired the far left 1994 PA Apple Festival plate with PA as the registration. The other plate I have had for a number of years and is shown for comparison. That plate has the word official and the the number 51. Perhaps one was sold as a novelty plate while the numerical plate was issued to those running the event.
If you haven't seen the latest Penn State Official plate, these were first spotted in February of 2019. The starting point was A4700P, with the plate shown here being the lowest number spotted so far. The previous version appears to have ended at A46-07P. Unlike the previous version, the large open keystone has been eliminated.
Sometimes tracking license plates is like a game of Trivial Pursuit. Since PA has removed the sticker well and added the map outline, often not at the same time, it creates more features to track. This Children's Hospital of Philadelphia plate shows a new low on plates with the map outline. Previously posted was 00548C/H which is the current high without the map. Sticker well numbers are unknown.
Here's another low number recently spotted plate. The Michigan State Alumni plate program dates back to 2012. Vanity check indicates that around 80 serial numbered plates have been issued to date.
Not the kind of thing I normally post, but why not. You may be familiar with this sample plate display if you have visited PennDOT's headquarters on South Front St. in Harrisburg. Because the display is under glass, with bright lights, the plates do not photograph well. It would be nice to see additional displays, since PA offers so many types. This display seldom changes.
There are a handful of first generation special organization plates for which I never acquired a photo. Finally got this Geneva College plate image thanks to eBay user Jeopardyboy1. This plate program dates back to 1994, with about 765 plates being issued before the changeover to the www base. These first generation plates are displayed with current College plates, and on the Special Organization History page. Geneva College is located in Beaver Falls, PA.
Here is another of the first generation plates for which I needed an image. The Rotary International plate program dates back to 1992, with about 590 plates issued. These first generation plate are displayed with current plates, and on the Special Organization History page. This image is from Worthpoint, a service I subscribed to for research purposes. If the owner of a plate wishes, however, I can acknowledge them also.
This is a 1944 Dealer plate. Dealer plates traditionally used an 'X' in the serial number. This image has the 'X' in the second position, thereby making it a Format 2 tag which consists of the progression of 1X00 to 9X999. So both 6" x 10" and 6" by 11" plates were produced. Thanks to John Anshant and John Willard for the photo op.
Could this be a pre-1956 Press Photographer plate? The image came from Edward Lipski several years ago suggesting that other such unofficial Press Photographer plates may have existed into the late 1940s. Chuck Harrington felt strongly that pre-1956 PP plates were not press-related. Plates with 2-letter prefixes were part of standard issue passenger plates at the time. The plates shown here are unofficial and unconfirmed with no provenance; however plates with identical numbers (PP125) were issued in 1957 and 1958. Of course this could just be coincidence.
It may be a little hard to read, but this 1920 Commercial (truck) plate is number 167, and Commercial plates between 1920 and '23 used the first digit to designate the weight class. With the 1 identifying the class, the 67 indicates that this was the 67th plate produced in that class. It also suggests that plates from 11 to 199 did not use a dash as most higher number classes used. Also worth mentioning is that plates with Commercial on the top measured 7 inches in height while those with it on the bottom measured 6 inches. This image is from Worthpoint.
This is a 1949 S-Weight Class Truck plate. For that year there were 4 serial progressions used: S000A, S00A0, S0A00, S00AA, with this plate being part of the S00AA series. 1949 plates were still issued in pairs, and measured 6 inches by 11 inches. Thanks to Clayton Moore for the use of the photograph.
Today is Groundhog Day (or Grundsowdaag). In western PA it's Punxsutawney Phil who issues the weather forecast for an early spring, or not; but here in southeastern PA, the Grundsow (Groundhog) Lodges come together to hear the prognostication for the next six weeks. Of course the Grundsow Lodge gatherings (fersommlings) are conducted entirely in Pennsylvania Dutch with traditional food and humor. Around 2005 I proposed that the Grundsow Lodge have their own plate. Unfortunately the idea didn't have enough support, so the image shown here is just to commemorate the day.
Back in November of 2019, Paul Bagnarol, discovered that the Cradle of Liberty Council would be offering Eagle Scout license plates. Now it appears that 12 or so plates have been issued. Once again, there is no mention of this plate on PennDOT's website. Keep your camera handy.
Here is a recent snapshot of a Support Our Troops vanity plate. This plate series dates back to 2006. A couple observations on this plate — this is the first one spotted with the map outline, it is also the first vanity plate seen; however, vanities with the map are often seen before serial numbered plates. Thanks to Tom Perri for the photo.
Here is a mint condition Classic Car plate from Tom Firth. The plate was likely issued in 2013 not long before the changeover to the visitPA family of plates look with Classic Vehicle as the new legend. This change took place at C27900. The most recent series high spotted is C46814.
Here is a 1990s vintage State Representative plate. Despite the multiple stickers, the plate appears unused. These plates were made available to members of the state legislature upon request. The plate number corresponds to the representative's district number. There are currently 203 districts. Plates were also issued with the HR in the prefix position. The ownership of this plate is listed as undetermined at this time.
Back in 1983 the state began issuing a new yellow on blue license Passenger plate. The "Keystone State" slogan was dropped, and a new, more tourism-friendly, but grammatically poor catchphrase "You've Got a Friend in Pennsylvania" was put in its place. This new series did not replace the the previous '77 base but continued the serial progression starting at HAA-000. Thanks to Tom Firth for the photo of this unused '83 plate.
This is a low number 1918 Dealer plate. This plate measures 6" x 13½" — note the size difference with the longer serial number on the plate below. Dealer plates date back to 1910 and were made with porcelain through 1915, then switched to painted steel. The plate shown here is white on black. This image is from Worthpoint, a service I subscribed to for research purposes. If the owner of a plate wishes, however, I can acknowledge them also.
Here's a nice 1919 Dealer plate. The red on black colors shown here are correct as PA hadn't standardized the colors for a few more years. The plate measures 6" by 16", however, plates with fewer characters were smaller as seen on the 1918 plate above. Thanks to Platedog for the use of this image.
Hard to believe these before and after plate photos. The un-restored look may have its place for some collectors, but it's hard to argue with these results on this 1946 Tractor plate. The serial number starting point is believed to be 0001, making this the 22nd plate produced. The un-restored image was from Clayton Moore some years ago, and the restored photo is from Tim Gierschick.
Old but very nice! This low number 1926 R-Weight Class Truck plate is very unusual as most plates seen are of the 6-caharacter variety such as R12-345 and measure 6" by 16", whereas this plate is 6" by 12". The R-series started at R-1 and progressed to 6 characters before shifting the R to the suffix position. This image is from Worthpoint, a service I subscribed to for research purposes. If the owner of a plate wishes, however, I can acknowledge them also.
I've always been fascinated by 2-letter prefix truck plates. Maybe it's because they are so rare, and so few have survived. Here we have a 1948 UZ-Weight Class Truck plate. The 2-letter prefix truck plates issued that year went from TZ00A to ZZ00A, and were issued to 3-axle (2 rear axles) trucks. Thanks to Clayton Moore for the photo.
Here's the first of two 'plates of the week'. This Passavant Memorial Homes Family of Services plate was recently photographed by Bruce Bufalini. Here is a link to the organization's website. Presently about 29 such plates have been issued, yet the PennDOT page of Approved Special Organizations doesn't even list the plate! It would be an improvement if the official page would at least be up to date and reflect what's current and what's pending. There are other organizational plates that are not listed as well.
Here's the other plate of the week. This Ridley School District has been mentioned several times recently but this is the first image of an issued plate. There are about 22 serial numbered plates in use. It is also one of several plates that is not listed on PennDOT's page of Approved Special Organizations. Thanks to Tom Perri for this perfect image.
Here is a photo of a Pennsylvania Equine Council sample plate which was provided to Paul Bargnarol by the organization. At present some 149 serial numbered plates have been issued. Their plate program dates back to 2012, and plates are available to non-members.
PA Amateur Radio plates with the number 3 as the call sign indicator for this region would not be considered rare. On the other hand, PA plates with other than 3 would be considered unusual. The plate shown here with the call sign with 9 as the region identifier would have originally been issued to someone from Indiana, Illinois or Wisconsin who later moved to PA. Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for sharing this photo.
This is a very early www base Dealer plate likely issued on or close to 9/1/1999. This plate was also likely a replacement for one the previous series Dealer plates. The previous series progressions used A00-000A, through F99-999F, excluding C00-000C. The G00-000G series was never needed. The re-plating in 1999 launched the series shown here. Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for sharing this photo.
This personalized Disabled Veteran plate was recently spotted by Arthur Levine. I'm going to guess that 1STID stands for 1st Infantry Division. It appears that this plate does not have the sticker well. This change was previously spotted on serial numbered plates.
Here is a new high number Mass Transit plate spotted by Brandon Sowers. This series, which is believed to have begun in 1982, started at M/T10000. The series has continued with that progression since the start, and now 38 years later the series is still below 50,000, which means actually less than 40,000 considering the starting point was 10-thousand. These were also number gaps when switching to new bases in 1984 and 2000.
This Format 2 1937 Trailer plate shows what the PA Archivist describes as a new high number. While the paint is not in great condition, Drewski, the owner, feels it a nice candidate for a restoration. This plate measures 6 inches by 12 inches. Format 1 was all numeric from 0001 to 9999, Format 2 started at A000.
Here's a very nice 1915 3-Star Weight Class Truck plate. As you may know, truck plates were first issued in 1914. During 1914 and '15 the plates were porcelain on steel. The aluminum band on the left depicted the weight class by the number of stars ranging from 1 to 5 for the lightest to the heaviest classes. The aluminum keystone was riveted to the plate with the words NON TRANSFERRABLE showing the MAKERS NUMBER which is the same as today's VIN number. Thanks to Tim Geirschick for the plate photo.
Here are several welcome additions to the 1924 Truck photo gallery. 1924 marked the beginning of the R to Z letter classes. 1924 also saw the first use of alpha characters on Passenger plates starting with A. So to keep the series separate, the Truck series used 8 letter classes at the end of the alphabet excluding X. Here we have an R-overflow plate on a 6" by 12" base. These with the R in the suffix position were used after the original series hit R99-999. Next is a Class W plate. While many 5-character plates measured 6" by 12", this plate with the wide W used the 6" by 15" base. Finally the addition of this Y Class plate. These images are from Worthpoint, a service I subscribed to for research purposes; however, if the owner of a plate wishes, I can acknowledge them as well.
I had knee surgery this past week. While recovering over the next couple weeks, additions to this website may be limited.
While this is not a new Boy Scouts of America high, it is the highest plate spotted that still retains the sticker well. Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for the photo. Plate 00171B/S, without the sticker well, was previously spotted by Brendan Sherry. This organization's plate program dates back to 2007.
To the left and below are a couple recent veteran's plates from Bruce Bufalini. Oft times these traffic shots aren't perfect, but always worth the effort as with this Expeditionary Forces. This is one of those 'tweener' plates without a sticker well but still no map outline. This plate type dates back to 1996.
This tough traffic shot was also taken by Bruce Bufalini. And while it's not the first example of a vanity Vietnam War Veteran plate, it is the first one spotted with the map outline. These veteran plates date back to 1999 when they were fully embossed and remained so until 2014 when the color graphic base was introduced.
This remarkable 65 year old plate is part of a matching pair of 1955 Motorboat plates. For 1955 the series ran from 1 to at least 43609. Starting in 1955 Motorboat plates looked much like motorcycle plates of the day except for the colors and legend. These plates were on eBay this past week, and my thanks to eBay user snortwheeze55 for the use of the photo. There were also Motorboat Dealer plates which used an 'X' prefix.
Here is a pair of 1933 Passenger plates. The first of these shorties is a 3-digit Format 1 plate which went from 1 to 99999. The next is a Format 2 which ran from A to Z9999. Both plates measure 6 inches by 10 inches. The first image is from Worthpoint, a service I subscribed to for research purposes; however, if the owner of a plate wishes, I can acknowledge them as well. The other plate is from eBay user zekeyman50.
These photos are of before and after 1916 Trailer plates. The early photo was from Judd Clemens which I've had for several years, the new owner of the plate is Clayton Moore who refinished the plate. He also confirms the actual size of the plate to be 6 inches by 14¼ inches. The series started at T1 and extended to at least T427. T+1 digit and T+2 digit plates are believed to be 6 inches by 11 inches.
This 1951 Trailer plate is thanks to eBay user j0hnnyo (not a typo). It is part of Format 3 where the progression ran from 0A00 to 9Z99. Plates measure 6" x 11". The Archives lists 667R as the high, but in 1952 the series went to a 5 digit format at least as high as 17663. I would not be surprised if some 5 digit plates were issued late in 1951.
This is a 1942 R-Weight Class Truck plate with a '43 tag. The R weight class used 4 serial progressions that year including: R000A, R00A0, R0A00, R00AA. The photo gallery now has an image of each of the four serial progressions. Thanks to eBay user PA-Collector for the use of this photo.
This is a 1951 Y-Weight Class Truck plate. Unlike the '42 above, there was only a single serial progression for the Y-class — Y000A. All plates measured 6 inches by 11 inches. Thanks to eBay user j0hnnyo for the photo.
Here's a new high Mario Lemieux Foundation plate recently spotted by Bruce Bufalini. This plate type dates back to 2006, then at or before 01680L/F the map outline was added. Then later between 01791L/F and 01813L/F, the logo received a facelift.
On the far left is the latest iteration of a PA Chiropractic Association plate. The near left plate is an example of the plates that have been in use since their beginning in 2006. The new sample plate image was provided by Paul Bagnarol. It is unknown if any plates have been issued with the new logo.
Here is a low number Pennsylvania Coal Alliance Inc. plate recently spotted by Bruce Bufalini. These plates have been on the street since 2016, and so far according to vanity check about 170 serial numbered plates have been issued. Bruce spotted several of these plates outside a mining company entrance in Armstrong County.
The Temple University Alumni Association has been in the license plate business since 1987 on the yellow on blue base. Then around 7/3/2001 the first generation plates were replaced by the www base as shown here on this low-number plate. Thanks to the LicensePlateKingCompany for the photo.
Here's a recent high Limousine plate. At first glance I didn't see the sticker well, but the photo shows that it's still there. According to a July report, a new batch of plates will start at LM-31000, and vanity check shows the current high as LM-30950.
Here is a 1954 Format 4 Passenger plate. This series ran from 10A0 to 99Z99, so both 4 and 5-character plates made up this progression. All plates measured 6 inches by 10¼ inches regardless of the number of characters. This photo is also thanks to the LicensePlateKingCompany.
This is another one of those plates that looks just like another piece of rusty old steel from 1925. There is no legend or other marking except for the E-prefix, which in this case identifies it as a Tractor plate with the 'E' symbolizing Engine. 1925 was only the second year to use alpha-prefix letters on Passenger plates, but the run only extended into the B-series, so not to be confused with this plate. Thanks to Tim Gierschick for sharing this photo.
No question about this being a Tractor plate with that legend and '58 date embossed + a '63 sticker. This would have been a very early issue based on the series which started at 100-000. Note the presence of the tab slot which was never used and later removed somewhere between 131-000 and 132-000. Again my thanks to Tim Gierschick for sharing this photo.
This is a very nice 1953 Class S Weight Class Truck plate. Class S consisted of 5 serial progressions including: S000A, S00A0, S0A00, S00AA, S0AA0, with this plate being part of the first progression. All plates measure 6" x 10¼", and were issued as singles. This plate photo is thanks to eBay user Tper3750.
Here is a pair of 1964 Truck plates. On the far left is a low number T Weight Class plate with that class starting at T00-00A making this the 33rd or 34th plate made in this class. Thanks to Rob Baran for the photo. The near left YT plate is a 3-axle truck tractor which used both YT0-00A and YT0-0A0 serial progressions. Both the 1958 and 1964 truck series used separate weight classes for 3-axle truck tractors including WT, YT and ZT. There were also distinct classes for 3 and 4-axle straight trucks, which were not truck tractors. This image is from Worthpoint, a service I subscribed to for research purposes; however, if the owner of a plate wishes, I can acknowledge them as well.
This is the latest image of an AFSCME Council 13 plate from Jordan Irazabal. This plate type dates back to 2008. Plate 00092A/U still had the sticker well, while 00103A/U and the plate shown here are without the sticker well. Some 109 serial-numbered plates have been issued.
Here is a nice low number Eureka Volunteer Fire and Ambulance plate thanks to Arthur Levine. Their plate program dates back to 2017, so from the beginning the white map outline was part of the plate. Vanity check indicates that so far about 13 serial numbered plates have been issued. They are located in York County.
We've seen this State Senator plate before, in fact the far left photo was taken on January 4, 2011 by Eric Conner, while the near left photo is from this past December by Jordan Irazabal. Note the 6-11 and 6-17 stickers. This State Senator plate was issued to the senator representing the first senatorial district located in Philadelphia.
This is one of those plates that at first glance you might simply pass it off as just another 5-digit Passenger plate. Upon further scrutiny, Passenger plates did use a 5-digit format but that series started at 10-000, while this plate actually starts with the letter 'O', not the number zero. The 'O' prefix makes this a 1926 Bus plate reading O6-875. After 1926 alpha characters were made smaller than numbers, thus the confusion about the first character of this plate. Need more confusion, there was also another class of Bus plates at the time with an H-prefix. Click the link to see more. Many thanks to Clayton Moore for the use of this and so many other plate images.
Needless to say this is a rare plate. It's a 1929 Format 1 Passenger plate. That series went from 2 to 9999 on a 6 inch by 10 inch base before adnancing to the 10-000 format and a 6 by 13 inch plate. Thanks to Clayton Moore for the use of this photo.
Here is another 1929 Format 4 Passenger plate, which ran from A-1 to F-99, then to F999, on 6" x 10". It should be noted that while Formats 4, 5 and 6 are shown as separate groups, the series actually progresses as one group with the alpha character being the last to advance, and the series progressing as A-1, A-2, etc. to A99-999, then B-1, etc. to F23-960. This image is from Worthpoint, a service I subscribed to for research purposes; however, if the owner of a plate wishes, I can acknowledge him or her as well.
Here is a pair of 1941 Passenger plates. The far left is a Format 3 which ran from 1A00 to 9Z999. So 4-character plates measured 6" x 10" and 5-character plates were 6" x 12". Thanks to eBay user Stationstuff for the photo. The near left photo is a Format 4 consisting of 10A0 to 99Z99. So again both sizes were used with this plate being 12". Thanks to eBay user Nekollena for the use of the photo.
This 1949 Passenger Sample plate photo came from Paul Bagnarol. I believe this is the last of these I have to post. This leaves only 1925, 1931 and 1944 samples needed. In addition to Paul, many thanks to Eric Tanner for all their help filling in the gaps.
Here is a pair of 1941 Trailer plates. The far left plate is a needed Format 2 plate using the A000 serial format, while the near left plate is a previously undocumented format for 1941, and will be referred to as Format 3 using 0A00 as the serial format. These image are from Worthpoint, a service I subscribed to for research purposes; however, if the owner of a plate wishes, I can acknowledge him or her as well.