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Pennsylvania License Plate History and Images

John McDevitt, Walnutport, PA

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REFERENCE MATERIAL |  Old Documents  |  Legislation  |  Plate Codes  |  Plate Hist A-F  |  Plate Hist G-M  |  Plate Hist N-Z Plate Hist Pass  |  Plate Hist Truck  | Plate Hist Spec OrgStickers  |  Links

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Achieved news and postings from 2021

 5/9/2021 Posting

This appears to be a new high Antique Vehicle plate.  I'm really not fond of this latest serial progression, but then they didn't ask me for my opinion.  The first letter, in this case 'C', is the last character to advance.  Vanity check suggests that the D-series has been started.   Plate spotted at recent car show.

 


Had a good day for plate spotting.  Snapped a number of good photos at a bike show.  I have a list of about 15 motorcycle types, still searching for a handful like Historic Military and Purple Heart.   Anyway, here is a new Motorcycle high, with the V being the last character to advance.  The current series started at 0AA00 and will continue to 9ZZ99.

 


Here's the latest high Honoring Our Women Veterans plate from Jaska Börner.  As stated on a previous post, this is not actually a veterans' plate, instead funds from the sale of this plate benefit the Veterans Trust Fund.  As such the tag is considered a Special Fund plate.  Numbers below 100 are considered reserve issue.  So far it appears that only 00001W/V has been issued for the under-100 tier.  Vanity check then suggests that most plates from 101 up thru 204 have been issued.

 

 

 

 


Here is another new high, Let Freedom Ring, 1776-2026, 250 Years plate.  This photo is thanks to Matt Ciecka.  These plates have been out for just over 6 months, with just over 100 plates issued.  The starting point was 00051F/R.  So far it does not appear that any plates below that number have been issued.  These plates will be available until December 31, 2026.

 


As you can tell, this is a personalized Fraternal Order of Police plate.  FOP plates made their debut back in 1987 and the plates have gone through several iterations since then.  This one has the map outline.  Spotted this plate at a recent car show.

 


This is a new high United Bowhunters of PA plate.  This is one of many organizational plates that have so far not switched to the graphic base.  And it's not likely that the inventory will be depleted anytime soon with plates up to B/H01999 sitting on the shelf.  Thanks to Mike Alfonse for the photo.   

 


Always something special about a #1 plate.  And so it is with this Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society plate spotted by Matt Ciecka.  These plates made their debut in 2015.  According to Tom Perri's PA Highs website the most recent high was 00160A/W which appeared to still have a validation sticker.

 

 

 


Here is a nice pair of what I will call 1966 base plates with 70 stickers.  The legend reads Legislator while the HR refers to House of Representatives.  These plates were part of the first use of the HR within a keystone.  These are believed to have started in 1966 after the '65 base used HR without the keystone.  Another much less common feature is the use of the HR in the suffix position to allow the registration of a second vehicle.  These are both Worthpoint images.

 


This is a first generation Limousine plate, and represents a lower number than previously displayed.  These plates date back to 1990 with a starting point of LM-10000.  Only several thousand were issued with a high of LM-13873.  All such plates were believed to be replaced around March of 2000, although this plate has a 5-02 sticker.

 


There are plenty of 1965 Motorcycle plates around, but this one is certainly a rarity.  The initial run was from 1 to 9999.  Then the next group would have been A to Z999.  Thanks to Jeff Francis for the use of this plate which was still available on his website last I checked.

 

 


Nothing spectacular about these plates, but both fill a missing piece of the puzzle.  The far left is a Format 5 1947 Trailer plate, the other plate is a Format 2 1948 Trailer plate.  The '47 plate image is from Worthpoint, and the '48 plate is thanks to Jeff Francis.

 


Received some additional old newspaper clippings showing vehicle registrations.  Again these are thanks to Rob Baran.  They are from the Scranton Republican newspaper for Monday, September 17, 1906, with the headline Is Your Name Here?  See who received the number 2 and number 3 plates in 1906.  Plates 847 and 3353 were issued to motorcycles.  Will have more articles next week.

 


5/2/2021 Posting

The far left School Vehicle plate is not a new image, the near left plate is a recent photo.  While they are not highs, they do provide documentation that narrows the changeover from the sticker well to the map outline.  An inventory document shows the end of a plate run at SV-26799 which also supports this as the changeover point.

 


This is a personalized U.S. Air Force Veteran plate.  Not sure if the M-K12 has a connection to the Air Force, but the Air Force does have a K-12 STEM outreach program.  Whatever the connection, or not, these plates had their start in 2009, and can be personalized with up to 5 characters.  Thanks to Brendan Sherry for the photo.

 


As the legend suggests, this is a Watercraft Trailer Dealer — one of PA's rarest dealer types.  When I started this website almost 19 years ago, I knew such plates existed but never saw one on the road.  Most boat dealers didn't seem to be aware that these existed, and after many futile attempts, I found a dealer that dug a plate out of a filing cabinet.  The plate shown here is a recent issue and a new high, yet still on the www base due to inventory.  The registered high is WD00969.  By the way there was also a previous yellow on blue edition of these plates.  Many thanks to Nick Tsilakis for sharing this photo.

 


Here is a new pair of Municipal Government highs from Jaska Börner.  This current series on the visitPA base dates back to February of 2017 with a starting point of M/G9000J.  Since that time, the J, K and L series has been exhausted.

 


This is a new high Abington Fire Company plate.  I don't believe it has the map outline, and it may still have the sticker well.  These plates date back to late 2010.  The registered high on this series is 00028A/T.  Thanks to Jeff Lawson for the photograph.

 

 


Received some old newspaper clippings showing vehicle registrations.  These are thanks to Rob Baran.  They represent several newspapers which show the following:

• For Jan. to Sept. 1906, who got what plates in Berks County:

• For circa Sept. 1906, who got what plates in Lehigh County:

• For 1907 who got what plates in and around Scranton:

• For 1929, a partial list of low number plates:

• For 1930 who received so-called vanity tags.

 


These are both 1929 Legislative plates.  Such plates had their start in 1928, and were similar to the far left 1929 plate which is a recent find of Clayton Moore.  Then midway through 1929 the early plate design was updated and the early plates were replaced with plates similar to the near left 139 plate.  The lack of any obvious markings or legend has likely allowed some of the early plates to slip away.  The evolution of these plates was also similar to early Judiciary plates.

 


This is a rare 1927 Passenger plate.  1924 was the first year that Passenger plates exceeded the 1-millian mark which signaled the need for an additional format.  Thus began the first alpha-numeric passenger plates starting at A-1 and going to A-48195 in that year.  By 1927 plates had progressed to D.  Each alpha character was exhausted before advancing to the next.  In spite of this, plates such as the one shown here with a letter and 1 or 2 characters are very scarce.  Such plates measured 6" by 10".  Thanks to Clayton Moore for this photo.

 


This 1915 Tractor plate was recently acquired by Tim Gierschick with help from Mike Alfonse.  The plate represents a new high from the previous E2027.  This plate measures  6" by 14" and was the last year for porcelain.  Note the reverse of the plate reads Brilliant Mfg Co., 1035 Ridge Ave. Philadelphia, PA.

 


It ain't pretty, but it fills one of the pieces of the 1930 Truck weight class puzzle.  For that year, the final two letters of truck plates identified the weight class.  This 307NK plate is a Class U weight class with the serial progression of 00NA to 999NZ.  Unfortunately the lack of a Truck legend and the lack of typical R through Z prefixes, left many of these plates unidentifiable to some collectors.  Still need images for V, W, Y and ZZ classes.  Thanks to Michael Bender for the use of this photo.

 


4/25/2021 Posting

This Bronze Star plate image was provided by Jeff Lawson.  These plates date back to 2012.  I'm guessing that this plate was likely issued during the 2013 - 2014 period.  The current registered high is 00777B/Z.  There is also a Bronze Star for Valor plate with far fewer tags issued.

 


Here is a brand new U.S. Military Airborne Units plate, thanks to Mike Alfonse.  It is also the current high.  This plate type dates back to 2013, but so far they retain the sticker well, except for a personalized plate.  The warehouse orders these plates in batches of 100, so it is likely that there will be a change in the next batch at 20600M/A.

 


At one time these Fire Fighter tags were the only game in town in terms of organizational plates back in 1983.  At that time they were on the blue on yellow base.  Then around 2005 individual fire departments were able to enter into the plate arena with their own designs.  Since that time we see fewer of these plates with the FF inside a Maltese Cross.  With the slow rate of issue, it's not surprising that we have not seen plates with the map outline.  Based on an inventory sheet, that change might take place at FF39700.  The current issued high is FF39458.  Thanks to Mike Alfonse for the photo.

 


Here's the latest NRA Foundation plate from Bruce Bufalini, now with the map outline.  In is unknown if any of these were issued without the sticker well, and prior to the map.  These plates date back to 2011, with the unique 4-digit number and 3-letter suffix, remember NASCAR plates.  Vanity check shows the current registered high is 0907N/R/A.

 


This is a Pennsylvania Hunting Heritage image from Jordan Irazabal.  Jordan indicates that this plate does not have a sticker well.  Previously plate 01037H/T was documented with the map outline.  This plate type dates back to 2014.  According to vanity check the current registered high is 01113H/T.

 


This is a 1958 Bus plate with a 63 validation sticker.  One notable feature about this plate is the lack of a tab slot adjacent to the 58.  Plates with the tab slot were issued at least as high as O26-606.  The letter 'O' prefix began in 1924 and was used up through 1967.   This is a Worthpoint image.

 


This is a 1926 Format 8 Passenger plate.  This group consisted of alpha-numeric plates starting at 'A' in Format 5 and progressing to at least C75-422 in Format 8.  I know that's confusing, click the link to get a better understanding.  This plate measures 6 inches by 15 inches.  The photo is thanks to Shane Rudy.

 


This is a 1928 Tractor plate.  It is also the highest known number for that year.  All 1928 Tractor plates are believed to measure 6 inches by 15 inches, even those with much shorter serial numbers.  TE stood for Traction Engine, an early term for Tractor.  The image came from Clayton Moore.

 


This is a 1925 W-Weight Class Truck plate also thanks to Shane Rudy.  The serial number also represents a new high.  Most 5-character plates in 1925 (and 1926) measured 6 inches by 13 inches; however, because of the width of the letter 'W', these plates measured 6 inches by 15 inches.

 


This is a 1928 T-Weight Class Truck plate thanks to Michael Bender.  Again in 1928 several plate sizes were used based on the number of characters in the serial number.  This plate measures 6 inches by 13 inches.  Note that the alpha character 'T' is smaller than on the 1925 plate above.  This change took place in 1927 on truck plates.

 


Believe it or not this is a 1930 S-Weight Class plate.  Many of you may recognize it as such.  Beginning in 1924, PA began the R through Z weight class system, but for some reason in 1930 they embarked on a whole new system of denoting the weight classification on the plates.  Click the link above to see a description of the 1930 system.  This is a Worthpoint image.

 


 4/18/2021 Posting

Apportioned Truck plates in the AH-series are part of the latest progression, having first been spotted in December of 2020.  The plate shown here happens to be the lowest number spotted so far.  The series started at AH-00000.

 

 


This is a personalized Bronze Star plate.  Personalized plates allow up to 5 characters plus the stacked BZ.  The Bronze Star is awarded to members of the U.S. armed forces for heroic or meritorious achievement.  The EA-6B may refer to a Northrop Grumman EA-6B Prowler military aircraft.  The plate type came about in November of 2012.  There is also a Bronze Star for Valor plate.

 


This is a Combat Action Badge plate.  This is part of a series of five Combat Action plates that came about as a result of Act 109 of 2014.  The plate shown here is not a high, but rather a low number with the map outline.  The plate photo is thanks to Zach Taylor.

 

 


This Honoring Our Women Veterans is not actually a veterans' plate, instead funds from the sale of this plate benefit the Veterans Trust Fund.  As such the tag is considered a Special Fund plate.  Numbers below 100 are considered reserve issue.  So far it appears that only 00001W/V has been issued for the under-100 tier.  Vanity check then suggests that most plates from 101 up thru 178 have been issued. This photo is thanks to Brendan Sherry.

 


Here's the latest Let Freedom Ring high plate from Jeff Lawson.  Jerry McCoy just got 148, and remarked that in 1971 everyone got a Bicentennial plate, now 50 years later only a little over 100 of these optional plates have been issued so far.  Of course they now cost $50, and for an additional $108 can be personalized.

 


Here are the first images of Pennsylvania Career Fire Chiefs Association plates.  John Clark sent me this photo on the far left taken while moving through traffic and couldn't get a better photo. The personalized plate was provided by a friend.  PennDOT lists the organization as Pennsylvania Fire Chiefs Association without the word career, but clearly 'Career' is part of the logo and legend.  Presently there are 17 serial-numbered plates in use.

 


This is a Share The Road vanity plate thanks to Mike Alfonse.  It is also a member of the Special Fund series.  This plate type was added on 8/8/16.  Act 36 created the “Share the Road” registration plate, with proceeds maintaining PennDOT's central office position of Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator and funding highway bicycle signage.  This plate does not appear to have a sticker well. 

 


Here's a recent 60 Day Temporary Intransit cardboard tag.  The plate was spotted by Jordan Irazabal who seems to own this series in terms of his prowess in documenting them.  Research seems to suggest that such tags originally date back to 1946.  Check the ALPCA Archives if you are a member.

 


This is a 1955 New Car Dealer plate.  There were two new car serial formats that year, A000A and A00A0, with this plate being part of the second group.  The initial A identifies the plate as a New Car Dealer and does not advance.  Plates measured 6" x 10¼".  This photo is thanks to Worthpoint.

 


This is an unused 1958 Used Car Dealer plate with a 59 sticker.  It does have the tab slot.  The previous year, 1957, was the first year for 6-character Dealer plates, and 1958 was the first year for the small keystone separator.  This plate photo is thanks to Tom Firth.

 

 


This is an unused 1969 Passenger Validation Sticker.  This photo is also thanks to Tom Firth.

 

 

 


This is a very nice 1932 low-number Trailer plate thanks to Clayton Moore. At first glance could you tell the difference between this plate and a T-Class Truck plate?  Neither of those have an identifying legend besides PENNA 1932.  Actually all 1932 Truck plates were 6" by 15" and used T10-000 as the serial format. Trailer plates did not exceed T+4digits.

 


 4/11/2021 Posting

In Legislative News, Larry Resnick sent me a headline stating Lawmakers to vote on bringing back license plate stickers. Either House Bill 334 or Senate Bill 410 appears likely to get passed and signed into law.  The law would again require PennDOT to issue registration stickers.  PennDOT has lost considerable revenue due to registrations not being renewed.  For plate enthusiasts, would the current map disappear, and would the sticker well return?  Stay tuned.  

 


This is a personalized version of the Veteran plate.  To my knowledge it's the first personalized one spotted without the sticker well, although it has not been a part of serial numbered plates for a while.  If you're wondering what C2H60 stands for, it's the chemical formula for ethanol, although the final zero (0) should be the letter O. 

Also spotted 03191U/S, which is a new high, and did have the map outline.  Could not get photo.

 


The far left plate was believed to be the latest Truck plate high, and was spotted by Bruce Bufalini.  Then the near left plate was posted by John Kerestes, a few hundred plates higher but still in the ZSN series.  I will be the first to admit that I don't devote much effort to Passenger and Truck highs. 

 


These Action for Animals Humane Society images are thanks to Bruce Bufalini.  He spotted this plate with the map outline back in January but was not able to get a photo.  Now we have that photo, unedited and edited.  The previous high from Preston Turner was 10053H/S.  This plate type dates back to 2012.

 

 


This Philadelphia Museum of Art plate was snapped by Eric Conner.  The plate shows a new high of P/M00123, yet it is still with the original logo.  The previous high was P/M00120 which still had a validation sticker.  A personalized plate with a new logo was spotted back in August of 2020, without the sticker well.  It is not uncommon for personalized plates to be spotted with changes to the logo before it is seen on plates from the numeric series.  For what it's worth, the current registered high is P/M00129.

 

 

 


These near-perfect plates were part of the "LiveFreeRideAlive.com" Motorcycle series dating back to March or April of 2010.  They were part of a 60,000 plate run, the theme of which was to encourage motorcycle safety.  The series ran from 7600L to 7599T.  No serial numbered plates were issued using letters O, Q.  It may be worth mentioning that there were also some vanities issued on this base.  Thanks to Devan Ciemiewicz for providing these photos.

 


This is a first generation Antique Motorcycle from Drewski.  They were all undated, always 2 or 3 alphanumeric characters, never all-numeric except for 12 and 18 which are thought to be samples, prototypes or test plates.  This series likely started at A0 or A1, making this the 68th or 69th plate produced with 1967 being the first year.  The early plates, such as the one shown here, had a narrow bolt hole spacing.  These plates are still street legal, but a new format came out in 2013.

 


This is a nice 3-digit 1955 Motorcycle plate thanks to Jeff Hinkle.  The numerical progression started at 1 and went to 9999, after which the series switched to an alphanumeric format starting at A or A0 to A999, and so forth.  The documented high is S38. Each letter series was exhausted before moving to the next letter.

 


This is a 1940 U-Weight Class Truck plate.  It is the third of three serial formats used that year.  The plate owner did not want credit for the photo.  Still need a T0A00 series photo, and any from the V, Y and Z classes.  All 1940 truck plates were 6" by 12", and were issued in pairs.

 

 


This trio of 1951 Truck plates are thanks to Worthpoint.  The first plate fills the R0A00 serial format.  Still needed is a picture from the R0AA0 series.  In the center is a photo from the R0AA0 series.  Still needed is one from the S00A0 series.  Finally, the U-Weight Class Truck completes that series.  Also still needed is a plate from the V00A0 series and the Z-series. 

 


 4/4/2021 Posting

Here is a pair of National Ski Patrol plates courtesy of Matt Ciecka.  While these are not new highs, they do help narrow down when the plates began using the map outline.  Plate number 00242S/P still had the sticker well.  The previously documented high plate was 00282S/P with the map outline.  Now we know the changeover was between 243 and 250.

 


This is a PA Society Sons of American Revolution plate recently spotted by Matt Ciecka.  According to the ALPCA Archives, plates up to R/W00187 still have the sticker well.  The plate shown here does not.  Tom Perri's PA Plates shows R/W00191 as the documented high.  The registered high is R/W00207.

 


This is a Pennsylvania DUI Association (Team DUI) photo combo.  Thanks to Megan Levis for the use of the photo.  It's a new high on this site, but Tom Perri's PA Plates shows 00097D/U still wearing a validation sticker.  Vanity check lists the issued high as 00109D/U.  This plate type dates back to 2005.  The question has been raised as to what the organization does.  From their website: It is a professional organization which is working to address the DUI problem in all of its many stages — from prevention to enforcement up to, and including, adjudication and rehabilitation. Through our efforts we create a healthier and safer environment for all people in the Commonwealth.

 

 


Here is a good image of a U.S. Army (Active Duty) plate thanks to Jordan Irazabal.  These plates have been around since 2017 and plate sales have not been very brisk, probably because the U.S. Army Veteran plate has been around since 2009, with over 5000 sold.  And there are not nearly as many active duty personnel as veterans.  The current registered high on this series is 00043A/D.

 


Received word from Preston Turner that he spotted a new style Municipal Motorcycle plate on a Pittsburgh Police motorcycle.  He was unable to get a photo or the number.  These plates were announced back in February of 2017, but have not been seen until now.  The format would be MG screened on the left followed by an embossed 2-digit serial number, followed by one letter which advances last, for example M/G01G.  Such plates are used almost exclusively on police motorcycles, but not on State Police bikes.

 


This ADP plate is being offered on eBay, and I knew there were others like it, but never knew its purpose.  Pretty sure it's not a motor vehicle plate, despite its strong resemblance to some Motorcycle plates and the 1974 Snowmobile Dealer plate.  Charles Metz sent me this photo from eBay seller buch1259, looking for identification.  There was also a discussion on a Facebook plate group where it was thought to be some kind of Advertising Display Permit.  Click the ADP link above to see other examples.  The narrow hole spacing suggests it may be pre-1985.  Anyone know for sure?  

 


These are new additions to the Auto Wheel section.  These are not state-issued plates, yet they share some similarities with PA plates, and are very collectible.  Click the link above to see more about them, or better yet read the August 2012 article by Ned Flynn in Plates magazine.  These were issued by Auto Wheel Coaster Co. of Tonawanda, NY.  The 1929 plate shown here from Worthpoint shows a different format than the one previously displayed.  The 1940 is a new addition from an unknown source. 

 


The www base plate on the far left was recently spotted by Bruce Bufalini, who suggests that it is a remake of an older truck plate number.  Light weight trucks are eligible to receive personalized plates.  It appears likely that the original plate would have been from the period of the blue on yellow plates, like the example shown here, which would have been on the '78 base.

 


This is a 1945 U-Weight Class Truck plate.  It represents one of four serial progressions used that year.  These included: U000A, U00A0, U0A00 and U00AA, with this plate being part of the third group.  Still need an image of a plate from the second group.  All 1945 truck plates measured 6" by 11", and were issued as singles.

 


These are 1950 Truck plates representing the U-Weight Class and the V-Weight Class.  The U plate completes the run of all 4 serial progressions of U000A, U00A0, U0A00 and U00AA.  The V plate also completes both serial groups of V000A and V00A0.  With the addition of these two plates, the run from R to Z is complete, with examples of every serial progression. The remaining gap would be all of the double letter classes.  All 1950 truck plates measured 6" by 11", and were issued in pairs.  These photos are thanks to Worthpoint. 

 


 3/28/2021 Posting

This combination photo shows an Associated Alumni of the Central High School sample plate on top, over the Avery Vinyl sheeting prototype.  The vinyl prototype is shared with the organization prior to actual production of the plate.  Central High School is a very old and prestigious Philadelphia institution.  This plate program dates back to 2018 but plate sales have been slow.  The current registered high is 10005C/L.  We do know that at least one personalized plate has been issued.  Many thanks to Paul Barnarol for sharing this image.  As you may know, PA no longer sells sample plates, but produces a few to be used by the organization.

 


Here's a new, hot-off-the-press, Friends of Valley Forge Park plate.  Thanks to John Clark for the photo, which is also a new high.  This is also the first plate spotted with the map outline.  The previous high, 00089V/F still had the sticker well. These plates date back to 2007.

 

 


Here are the same #1, M Club Foundation, University of Maryland plates.  The far left with a 11-12 sticker, and the other with an 11-17 sticker but was recently spotted by Bill Ceravola.  The early photo was from Tom Perri & Jordan Irazabal.  For what it's worth, there are only 29 of these plates.  The meaning of the L/W suffix is a mystery to me.  Anyone?

 


NO PHOTO, but Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran plate 05217I/F with the map outline was spotted by Bruce Bufalini.  This would also be a new high.  These plates date back to 2005.

 


While looking through Antique Vehicle plate photos, I spotted the 9P50 plate on Worthpoint with the map outline.  Previously we listed all of the 0P00 series as not having the map outline, now it appears that the map outline came about at 9P00, not the 0R00 series.  This is also suggested by a warehouse inventory from the time period.  See Antique Format 11 and Format 13.

 


As the Antique Vehicle series progressed, the sticker well disappeared and the map outline took its place.  After reaching 8P99 the sticker well ended, the next series was 9P00 with the map outline, as described above. (There was no Q-series.) The series with the map extended through the V-series.  Then the W-series (Format 14) appeared without the map and without the sticker well.  This photo courtesy of Bruce Bufalini, shows another example of the W debacle.  After the W-series, the X, Y and Z plates again had the map. 

 


This is a non-standard issue 1955 Passenger plate.  Standard-issue plates were all 4 or 5 characters in length, not 3 characters as shown here.  3-character formats could include 000, A00, 0A0, 00A, AA0, 0AA, A0A.  Thanks to Jeff Hinkle for sharing this photo.

 


In my opinion this tag deserves 'plate of the month' status.  If you are new to collecting or unfamiliar, this is a 1931 Tractor plate.  While the series began at TE-1, this is the lowest number known to have survived.  The TE stood for Traction Engine, an archaic term for Tractor.    That term continued in use until 1934 when it was changed to Tractor.  All such 1931 plates measured 6" by 15".  Thanks to Lee Madigan for sharing this photo. 

 


These photos consist of a 1940 Tractor and a 1942 Tractor plate.  All such plates at the time consisted of 4 characters starting at 0001; however, in 1942 the series exceeded 9999 and an alpha-numeric series came into use starting at A000.  Both years measured 6 inches by 12 inches.  The images came from Worthpoint.

 


This is a 1947 V-Weight Class Truck plate.  It is the second of two V-class serial progressions used that year, the other being V000A.  All '47 Truck plates were issued in pairs and measured 6 inches by 11 inches.  This plate came from Worthpoint.  Still needed are Y-class and Z-class photos for that year.

 


3/21/2021 Posting

This Amateur Radio plate from Preston Turner would get a second look from any Pennsylvania plate enthusiast.  With help from Bruce Bufalini, who explains that the first character can be a single letter A, K, N, or W, or a pair of letters including AA-AL, KA-KZ, NA-NZ, and WA-WZ as shown here.  The number 9 designates the region where the FCC license was originally issued, in this case IL, IN, or WI.  (PA is in region 3.)  Then the owner brought the call sign with him (or her) upon moving to PA.  The -2 would be used to indicate a second vehicle registered with the same call sign. 

 


This is a personalized U.S. Military Airborne Units plate.  It's the first personalized Airborne plate spotted, and does not have a sticker well.  This plate type dates back to 2013.  The current documented high on the standard issue plates is 20461M/A, while the registered high is 20581M/A.  Thanks to Jordan Irazabal for the photo.

 


This is a personalized Honoring Our Veterans plate which is part of the Special Fund series.  Funds from the sale of this plate benefit the Veterans Trust Fund. As a personalized plate they are eligible to have 1 to 5 characters plus the H/V suffix. There is also an Honoring Our Veterans Motorcycle plate, and an Honoring Our Women Veterans plate.

 


This is an unused Trailer plate from the www era.  This series started at XK-00000 after ending the previous yellow on blue plates within or close to the XJ-series in 2000.  Plates within the series shown here are still valid, although in 2004 the 2-letter prefixes were exhausted and a new series began at XBA-0000, still on the www base.  A year later in 2005 the visitPA base came into use at XCA-0000, and continues to this day with minor changes.  Thanks to Tom Firth for the photo.

 


Here is a 1978 base Bus plate that has never seen the back of a bus.  This base was issued from '78 to '84 with the starting point being BA-10000; however, these plates were eligible to be revalidated until re-plating on the www base.  It still has the temporary T-sticker which was used from new until the official validation sticker was received from the state.  Thanks to Tom Firth for the photo.

 


This beautiful pair of 1916 Dealer plates is thanks to Bill Koneski.  They appear to be in original condition but well preserved, with the colors being black on orange.  The plates measure 6 inches by 16 inches with the number X6600 being the highest known pair that year.  Smaller plate sizes were also used for shorter serial numbers.  The use of the 'X' prefix to designate Dealer dates back to 1911.  1915 was the final year for the use of porcelain, with 1916 being all painted steel.  The plates were manufactured by Brilliant Manufacturing Company, Phila., prior to the state getting into the plate making business.

 


This is a Format 2 variant of a 1930 Dealer plate.  Dealer plates were made up as follows: Format 1, X1 to X9999, in 10" & 12" sizes; Format 2, 0X to 9X999, also 10" & 12" sizes; and Format 3, 00X to 99X84, again 10" & 12".  This plate image is from Worthpoint.

 

 


I've had this photo around for several years but unfortunately didn't record where it came from.  Click it to enlarge the photo to better see the 1929 U-Weight Class Truck plate on a dump truck belonging to the Great Allentown Fair, an event I've enjoyed many times.  1929 used the R through the ZZ letter weight classification system.  Plates varied in size depending on the number of characters.  2, 3 & 4 character plates measure 6" x 10", 5 character plates measure 6" x 13", and 6 character plates measure 6" x 15".  The plate shown here would be 15 inches.

 

 


This next photo combo is from Rob Baran.  The large photo shows a whole yard full of trucks and other vehicles adorned with 1931 plates.  The small photo is from the 1931 U-Weight Class Truck in the lower left corner of the picture.  The serial number appears to read U2J97.  1931 truck plates were all 5 characters in length, with plates measuring 6 inches by 12 inches.

 

 

 


This 1947 R-weight Class Truck plate is one of 5 serial progressions used that year  These include R000A, R00A0, R0A00, R00AA and R0AA0.  Still need a photo of a plate from the R000A series.  Truck plates that year were 6 inches by 11 inches in size, and were issued in pairs.  This photo came from Worthpoint.

 


These are welcome additions to the 1953 Truck series.  Beginning with the S-weight class there were 5 different serial progressions, with two pending for next week.  Next the T weight class completes the second of two serial formats.  Finally a pair of U class plates completes the third and forth serial formats.  Plates measure 6" x 10¼".  The first three plates are thanks to Worthopoint, while the final plate is thanks to Pl8source.

 


 3/14/2021 Posting

This new Antique Vehicle plate photo was recently received from Vern Kreckel.  Figuring that this is likely a new high until looking back at the the previous high of B2ZL, then realizing that the plates were likely not issued in sequence.  The way I understand the serial progression of these plates is that the starting point for the current series was A0AA, then the number is always first to advance, next the letter in the 4th position, followed by the letter in the 3rd position. The letter in the first position is always the last to advance.  Confusing, yes.

 


The far left Millersville University of Pennsylvania plate is the lowest number on the graphic base.  It is not known if there were any remakes of earlier plates with lower numbers.  This plate is thanks to Jordan Irazabal.  The near left plate is the current high and also the first plate spotted without the sticker well.  This plate is thanks to Jaska Börner.  The actual registered high is M/U02038.

 


Here's another high, this one showing a road shot of a Villanova University plate.  The photo is from Tom Perri's webpage.  Villanova's plate program dates back to 1987 with yellow on blue plates, then moved to the www base in 2001, followed by the switch to the graphic base in 2006.  Then in 2018 plates starting at 00442V/U, including the plate shown here, have the map outline.

 

 


This trio of National Police Defense Foundation plates shows a high number plate that once had a sticker on the far left, then the center plate appears to be devoid of a sticker well, and the near left plate clearly displays the map.  The center plate is thanks to Tom Perri. The map plate is thanks to Richard Than. 

 


Any difference?  Actually these PA State Nurses Association photos are of the same plate and frame taken almost 2 years apart.  The far left from Jaska Börner, the near left from Mike Alfonse.  At the present time, this is the only PSNA plate spotted with the new logo,  the previous high was RN00147 with the previous logo.  Vanity check shows that plates up to R/N00170 have been issued.

 


Great plate photo, too bad so much of it is covered up by the dealer's frame.  This U.S. Merchant Marine plate was recently spotted by Bruce Bufalini.  So far this is the second plate spotted, the other plate being 10030M/M.  Vanity check indicates that 41 serial numbered plates have been issued.

 


This is a 1941 Motorbike plate.  Such plates were introduced in 1920 but were never issued in large numbers.  1941 was the first year for plate numbers to exceed 1000, and it was not until 1947 that an alpha series was needed.  Such plates were discontinued after 1949.  This image came from Worthpoint.  Many plates during the 1920s are still needed.

 


This is a 1922 Motorcycle plate from Mike Alfonse.  This plate has been beautifully refinished in the original color scheme of brown on cream.  This plate measures 4½" by 8" and was used for 4- and 5-digit serial numbers, while 1- to 3-digit plates measured 4½" by 6".

 

 


Did you recognize this as a 1924 T-Weight Class Truck plate?  If you didn't, you're not alone — there is no legend identifying the type.  Letters R through Z (excluding X) in the prefix position, or R in the suffix position was the identifier.  Passenger plates at the time did not use letters.  This welcome pair of plates shows the smallest of three sizes used that year.  This shorty measures 6 inches by 10 inches and was used on T+1 to T+3 digit plates.  The next size was 6 inches by 12 inches on T+4 digit plates.  There were also 6-inch by 12-inch size for longer serial numbers but were only needed on Class R and Class S plates.  Thanks to Jeff Fransis for the use of this photo.

 


No question about this being a 1936 S-Weight Class Truck plate.  There are other serial formats including S000A, S00A0, S0A00 which are all 6 by 12 inch plates, and S00-00A, as shown here, which measures 6 by 15 inches.  This larger size was only needed in the R and S class plates.  Thanks for this plate also goes to Jeff Francis.

 


 3/7/2021 Posting

Here is a group of Appalachian Trail Conservancy plates.  The plates span the time period from plate sticker use to a new high of A/T00377.  Plates at least up to A/T00241 had the sticker well, and from A/T00305 to at least A/T00325 do not have the sticker well.  By A/T00334 the map outline was added.  A/T00241 and A/T00334 are thanks to Brandon Sowers, A/T00377 is thanks to Jaska Börner.

 


This Carpenter's Union plate is a new high, thanks to Bruce Bufalini.  This plate type dates back to 2002 and has never transitioned to the graphic base which means that all of the features are embossed.  Of course the state name is  flat and is characteristic of the www base.  Organizational plates which are still on the www base are maintained in stock in a warehouse.  Organizational plates on the visitPA / graphic base are made to order.  A recent inventory indicates that there were some 1,300 plates in stock with serial numbers extending to C/U01999.  Why?  

 


This is a new high American Legion plate.  While it may be a new high, it was recently up for grabs on an auction site.  The owner, Richard Than, gave me the OK to use it.  Like the plate above, this is also an organizational tag that has never moved from its original design back in 1984.  The original yellow on blue plates were replaced in 2001 with the www base seen here.  The registered high is A/L02661.

 


This is a new high Delaware Valley Triumphs Ltd.  Vanity check also confirms this as the current high.  This plate type dates back to 2009.  This photo is thanks to Jaska Börner.

 

 


Here is the latest high Therapy Dogs United, now sporting the map outline.  These plates date back to 2010.  Plate 00064T/D did not have the sticker well.  I borrowed this photo from Tom Perri's webpage, credit for the actual photo goes to Craig Nicholson.

 


 

Here's the latest high U.S. Air Force Veteran plate.  These plates date back to 2009.  I was going to say that these plates started at 20000A/F or 20001A/F, but vanity check shows the actual low number to be 20011A/F.  A quick check shows that U.S. Army Veteran plates had only 1 plate below 00011A/R.

 


Here is a sequential pair of 1919 Format 2 Passenger plates thanks to Jeff Lesher.  Format 2 plates ran from 1000 to 99999, and measured 6 inches by 13½ inches.  Note the strap slots on top, and bolt holes top and bottom.  Also note that the 1605 has the maker's number (today's VIN) stamped into the keystone area, while the 1606 has an aluminum keystone indicating that the plate was transferred to another vehicle.  That aluminum keystone shows the maker's number of the new vehicle.

 

 


The 1925 S-Weight Class Truck plate on the far left is new.  After using COMMERCIAL as the identifying legend in 1923, the word TRUCK was not used on plates until 1934.  The R through Z prefix (also suffix on overflow R plates), was the best identifier of truck plates.  For the S class the progression is likely S-1, S-10, S-100, S1000 and S10-000.  The use of the dash separator is not always consistent.  The plate shown here does not use a dash, while V5-799, shown for comparison does use a dash.  It appears that the S class plate measures 6" by 12" while the V class measures 6" by 13", thus allowing space for the dash.  Both plate were from Worthpoint.

 


These three 1939 U-Weight Class Truck plates represent the three U class serial progressions used that year.  They represent the three serial progressions of U000A, U00A0 and U0A00.  These images are from Worthpoint.  Still looking for Class V, Y and Z truck plates for 1939.

 


Next is this 1940 U-Weight Class Truck plate.  This plate represents the first of three serial progressions — U000A.  The others include U00A0, for which I have an image, and U0A00 for which a photo is still needed.  This image is from Worthpoint.  Still looking for Class V, Y and Z truck plates for 1940.  The need for double letter classes goes without saying.

 


 2/28/2021 Posting

This is the latest high U.S. Army Veteran plate, thanks to Tom Perri.  This plate type dates back to 2009 with the starting point being 10001A/R.  So over 5000 serial-numbered plates have been issued and quite a few personalized plates as well.  There is also a U.S. Army (Active Duty) plate which is still quite rare.  And don't forget the U.S. Army Reserve plate which is classified as an organizational plate rather than a veteran plate.

 


Here is a Veteran plate which is also a new high.  This plate is from Preston Turner via Tom Perri's PAPlates.com website.  These plates date back to 2005.  The sticker well was removed at least as far back as 02876.  So far the map outline has not been spotted.  Plates above 03200U/S may have the map.

 


Here is a pair of Fraternal Order of Police plates.  These are both at the high end of the run, but we can't exactly figure out the last two digits of the higher numbered plate.  It is my understanding that this is the second most popular organizational plate behind the Penn State Alumni Association.  The 22156 image is from Preston Turner via Tom Perri's webpage.  The 224?? is also thanks to Tom Perri.

 


Here is a personalized Ringing Hill Fire Company plate.  The photo is thanks to Mike Alfonse.  This plate type has been around since 2009.  The current high is 00031R/H but has not been updated in a while.  As for plate frames, I have a soft spot for firefighters but not so much for frames, regardless of what they say.

 


Here is a 1952 2-digit (MBL) Motorboat plate and a 1960 2-digit (MB) plate.  These were motorcycle size 4½" by 8" plates issued in pairs.  Starting in 1955 the plate used the map outline.  Serial sequencing started at 1 and went to 5 digits.  Both of these photos came from Worthpoint.

 


Here is a display of 1955 Motorboat plates.  Only the 402 plate has been added making a complete display of 1 to 5-digit plates.  The 402 came from Worthpoint.  All of the others have been previously posted.  Click the link above to see the credit for the other four plates.

 


This is a 1944 Format 2 Motorcycle plate.  It's the first '44 MC image documented using the alpha-numeric serial format.  This plate was listed on eBay a while back and the plate owner Baywood58 gave me the OK to use the photo.  This plate is the standard 4½" by 8" used at the time.

 


Here is a previously unknown 1953 Passenger plate serial format.  The previous final format was D000A to P999Z.  Then Eric Tanner spotted the plate shown here on eBay.  This plate is part of the sequence of D00A0 to D88B0 or higher.  I agree with Eric that this was likely a very late '53 issue.  Thanks to eBay user wjtpa for the use of the photo.

 


This is believed to be a 1928 Z-Class Truck plate on a 1924 Ahrens Fox fire truck belonging to the Royersford Fire Co.  The photo is thanks to Mike Alfonse.  The truck appears to have solid rubber tires.  Although the year is not legible on the photos, it was established by a process of elimination.  This plate also appears to be a new high with the previous high being Z1-979.  I always enjoy a plate or photo with some kind of historical context.

 

 


Next up is this 1934 T-Weight Class Truck plate.  For that year there were three T-class serial progressions, T000A, T00A0, T0A00 with this plate part of the last group.  1934 with the word TRUCK, was the first year since 1923 to have an identifying legend.  Also, since truck plates were now limited to 5 characters, more serial formats were necessary in the R, S and T classes.  This plate is thanks to Worthpoint.

 


 2/21/2021 Posting

Looks like the Emergency Medical Services plate received an update.  The update has a new flat screened color logo as well as the plate legend.  The map outline has also been added.  This change likely occurred at E/M07000 according to an inventory report.  The E/M0974 is a Bruce Bufalini plate via PAPlates, while the new plate is thanks to Justin Chobirko.

 


This is the latest high School Vehicle plate.  These have had the map outline since SV-26800 spotted in late 2017.  SV plates have gone through numerous formatting variations over the years.  The series was launched in 1993 on the yellow on blue base.  Thanks to Preston Turner for the photo.

 


In a previous posting I had asked for a Severely Disabled Veteran plate in the 80000 series.  Bob Connison stepped up and kindly provided this low number D/V plate showing a 5-87 sticker suggesting the plate was issued in 1986, which is believed to be the first year for plates with the wheelchair symbol.  He also provided a picture of the reverse showing the purple color as seen on Antique Historic plates.

 


Here's another Severely Disabled Veteran plate, this one is a new high. This plate is D/V98410; however, vanity check shows DV98758 as being the issued high.  Not sure what the plan is after hitting D/V98999 since the D/V99000 series is reserved for vehicles qualifying for two plates as a result of having a device on the rear of the vehicle for carrying a wheelchair or personal assistive device.  Thanks to Tom Perri for the image.

 


Here is a recent photo of an Expeditionary Forces Veteran plate.  This is the first plate spotted with the map outline.  It is also the current high.  This plate type had its start in 1995 and has always used a 4-digit serial number, although there are a few vanities out there.  Thanks to Mike Alfonse for sharing the photo.

 


This is a miniature 1957 Press Photographer keychain tag.  Jerry McCoy saw the recent posting of Press Photographer plates and passed along this photo of a rare PP keychain tag of the type that the Disabled American Veterans used to send out as a fund raiser.  (There are no plans to begin posting these DAV tags.)

 


This photo I should have posted last week along with the Press Photographer display of the 58 base PP230 plates.  This is a larger photo showing the 61, 62 and 63 validation stickers.  Compare these stickers with those below.  Thanks to John Anshant for the photo.

 


 

 

 

Starting on the far left is a pair of PP87 plates with 64 PA0000 stickers.  Next is another pair of PP87 plates on the '65 base with stickers from 66 to 70.  Unfortunately it appears that the 68 sticker faded out.  Beginning with the 66 sticker, all of the sticker serial numbers begin with PP.  1970 plates were naturals with 71 etched into the upper left sticker well.  I don't know how far the PP stickers were used, but as of 75, it appears that passenger stickers were used.  Thanks to John Anshant for the great photos.

 


The far left is a 1960, blue on white, 4-digit Motorboat plate is from Fred Schmidt.  The next is a 1962, white on purple, 5-digit Motorboat plate.   The third is a 1963, white on red, 5-digit Motorboat plate.  These last two are from the Bill Krellner collection.  1963 was the final year for Motorboat plates.

Concerning Motorboat Dealer tags, there are many years for which I have no photos, if anyone can help.  Needed are 37, 38, 40 through 45, 51 through 53, 57, 61 and 62.  Thanks.

 


It may not be a thing of beauty, but it does represent the first of three 1934 S-Weight Class Truck plate progressions.  These include S000A shown here, and S00A0 and S0A00.  All 5-character 1936 truck plates measured 6 inches by 12 inches.  There were some R and S overflow plates with 6 characters measuring 6 inches by 15 inches.   Thanks to Worthpoint for the image.

 


Next up are these 1939 S-Weight Class and a T-Weight Class Truck plates.  Like the S-class plate above, the one shown here also represents the first of four serial progressions.  These include S000A, S00A0, S0A00 and S00AA.  The T-class is the second of three progressions including T000A, T00A0, T0A00.  All 1939 truck plates were 5-character and measured 6 inches by 12 inches.  Thanks to Worthpoint for the images.  Check back next week for some additional U-class plates.

 


The final Truck plate this week is this 1945 V-Weight Class Truck tag.  Thanks to Rob Baran for providing this image.  The use of the Y in the serial progression makes me wonder how far the series actually progressed and if any plates were made in the V00A0 series, which would have been next if V999Z were surpassed.  We may never know.  All 1945 truck plates were 5-character and measured 6 inches by 11 inches.

 


 

 2/14/2021 Posting

In Legislative News — House Bill 334 has been reintroduced.  The bill, if passed, would require PennDot to issue registration expiration stickers on Pennsylvania registration plates.  PennDot has lost considerable revenue due to registrations not being renewed.  A previous legislative effort did not pass.

 


In Legislative News — House Bill 478 would allow the DCNR registration of Off-Highway Motorcycles (OHM) such as dirt bikes and trail bikes. Such registrations would provide legal access to trails on public lands similar to ATVs and Snowmobiles. Revenues generated from OHM registrations would be used for trail development and maintenance.  Bill would provide for a registration plate and a dealer registration plate.

 


This is the earliest (lowest number) Disabled Veteran plate I've seen.  My understanding is that these plates date back to 1982 and started at DV-0000; however, research of the legislation behind these plates several years ago was confusing.  Also see DV plates below.  This image came from Worthpoint.

 


While this plate appears to just be a higher plate in the same series as the above plate, the validation sticker dates and much higher serial number would indicate that this plate had to be part of a different series.  I believe this over-40,000 series was the beginning of the Severely Disabled Veteran distinction prior to the use of the wheelchair symbol and the 80-thousand number series.  See the D/V plate below.  Other thoughts?

 


Based on the premise above, this plate would be part of the Severely Disabled Veteran series after the series was given a new number block starting at D/V80000 plus the wheelchair symbol.  This series is believed to date back to 1986.  This image is thanks to Clayton Moore.  Anyone have a plate or photo in 80000 or 81000 series?

 


This is a new high U.S. Marine Corps Veteran plate.  These plates date back to late 2009 with the starting point of 10000M/C.  This photo is thanks to Bruce Bufalini.  It may be worth mentioning that there is also a U.S. Marine Corps (Active Duty) plate that came about in 2017.  Don't forget that there was an early organizational plate called U.S. Marine Reserve which actually made its debut in 1987 on the yellow on blue base.

 


Tracking plate changes from sticker well, to no sticker well, to map outline, while it's a fun part of the hobby, it's also a pain in the butt.  Anyway, this Children's Hospital of Philadelphia plate is the highest with sticker that I have, while 00522C/H has also been documented with the sticker well.  Lowest number spotted without the sticker well is 00547C/H.  Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for the image.

 


Mike Alfonse recently snapped the photo showing a new Limerick Fire Company high number plate.  The photo also shows that the organization changed their logo.  The lower number plate is from Tom Perri's PAPlates.com website showing the old logo.  That plate still has the sticker well.  The new plate has the map outline.

 


These three Motorboat Licenses are thanks to Fred Schmidt.  The far left is a 1953, white on green 3-digit plate.  Later '53 plates used fiberboard.  The center plate is a 1956 5-character, also white on green, now with the state map outline and MBL shortened to MB, not to be confused with Motorbike.  The final plate is a 1958 white on red tag.  These were issued in pairs and measured 4½" by 8".  Motorboat plates were sequential starting at 1, my goal is to show 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5-digit plates where possible.

 


 

Here are three early Press Photographer plates and registration cards.  John Anshant recently posted these photos noting that they had belonged to a Philadelphia newspaper reporter who passed away in 1993.  John indicates that this "establishes with some certainty the advent of the use of PP for press plates".  We also know that on February 10, 1956, Governor George Leader signed the Press Photograph License Plate Bill. This enabled the issuing of Press Photograph License Plates beginning in 1956.  There were earlier PP plates dating to the late '40s but these were not official.  The plates shown here include a 1956, '57 and a '58 revalidated until 1963.  To my knowledge plates were always issued in pairs, and the plates never used a Press Photographer legend.  Next week I will post some additional PP-related material.

 


This is a 1941 U-Weight Class Truck plate.  For that year there were three U-weight class serial progressions including U000A, U00A0, U0A00, with the plate shown here being part of the first group.  All plates measured 6 inches by 12 inches.  This photo is a Worthpoint image.

 

 


Concerning Truck Plates, for each year I have tried to identify each weight class where a photo is still needed.  Any help would be very much appreciated.

 


 

 2/14/2021 Posting

In Legislative News House Bill 334 has been reintroduced.  The bill, if passed, would require PennDot to issue registration expiration stickers on Pennsylvania registration plates.  PennDot has lost considerable revenue due to registrations not being renewed.  A previous legislative effort did not pass.

 


In Legislative News House Bill 478 would allow the DCNR registration of Off-Highway Motorcycles (OHM) such as dirt bikes and trail bikes. Such registrations would provide legal access to trails on public lands similar to ATVs and Snowmobiles. Revenues generated from OHM registrations would be used for trail development and maintenance.  Bill would provide for a registration plate and a dealer registration plate.

 


This is the earliest (lowest number) Disabled Veteran plate I've seen.  My understanding is that these plates date back to 1982 and started at DV-0000; however, research of the legislation behind these plates several years ago was confusing.  Also see DV plates below.  This image came from Worthpoint.

 


While this plate appears to just be a higher plate in the same series as the above plate, the validation sticker dates and much higher serial number would indicate that this plate had to be part of a different series.  I believe this over-40,000 series was the beginning of the Severely Disabled Veteran distinction prior to the use of the wheelchair symbol and the 80-thousand number series.  See the D/V plate below.  Other thoughts?

 


Based on the premise above, this plate would be part of the Severely Disabled Veteran series after the series was given a new number block starting at D/V80000 plus the wheelchair symbol.  This series is believed to date back to 1986.  This image is thanks to Clayton Moore.  Anyone have a plate or photo in 80000 or 81000 series?

 


This is a new high U.S. Marine Corps Veteran plate.  These plates date back to late 2009 with the starting point of 10000M/C.  This photo is thanks to Bruce Bufalini.  It may be worth mentioning that there is also a U.S. Marine Corps (Active Duty) plate that came about in 2017.  Don't forget that there was an early organizational plate called U.S. Marine Reserve which actually made its debut in 1987 on the yellow on blue base.

 


Tracking plate changes from sticker well, to no sticker well, to map outline, while it's a fun part of the hobby, it's also a pain in the butt.  Anyway, this Children's Hospital of Philadelphia plate is the highest with sticker that I have, while 00522C/H has also been documented with the sticker well.  Lowest number spotted without the sticker well is 00547C/H.  Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for the image.

 


Mike Alfonse recently snapped the photo showing a new Limerick Fire Company high number plate.  The photo also shows that the organization changed their logo.  The lower number plate is from Tom Perri's PAPlates.com website showing the old logo.  That plate still has the sticker well.  The new plate has the map outline.

 


These three Motorboat Licenses are thanks to Fred Schmidt.  The far left is a 1953, white on green 3-digit plate.  Later '53 plates used fiberboard.  The center plate is a 1956 5-character, also white on green, now with the state map outline and MBL shortened to MB, not to be confused with Motorbike.  The final plate is a 1958 white on red tag.  These were issued in pairs and measured 4½" by 8".  Motorboat plates were sequential starting at 1, my goal is to show 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5-digit plates where possible.

 


Here are three early Press Photographer plates and registration cards.  John Anshant recently posted these photos noting that they had belonged to a Philadelphia newspaper reporter who passed away in 1993.  John indicates that this "establishes with some certainty the advent of the use of PP for press plates".  We also know that on February 10, 1956, Governor George Leader signed the Press Photograph License Plate Bill. This enabled the issuing of Press Photograph License Plates beginning in 1956.  There were earlier PP plates dating to the late '40s but these were not official.  The plates shown here include a 1956, '57 and a '58 revalidated until 1963.  To my knowledge plates were always issued in pairs, and the plates never used a Press Photographer legend.  Next week I will post some additional PP-related material.

 


This is a 1941 U-Weight Class Truck plate.  For that year there were three U-weight class serial progressions including U000A, U00A0, U0A00, with the plate shown here being part of the first group.  All plates measured 6 inches by 12 inches.  This photo is a Worthpoint image.

 

 


Concerning Truck Plates, for each year I have tried to identify each weight class where a photo is still needed.  Any help would be very much appreciated.

 


 2/7/2021 Posting

It was just a matter of time until someone decided to give their Audi that Euro-plate look, complete with their PennDOT Passenger registration number.  The registration number on this plate is a valid listing; however, I certainly wouldn't press my luck on the street with this plate.  There are companies that market such plates.  Thanks to John Anshant for posting this photo.

 

 


Here is a trio of Organ Donors Save Lives plates.  The far left image from Bruce Bufalini, D/N01822, has no sticker, but Bruce was unable to tell if it had a sticker well.  The center photo now shows the map outline.  We don't know when the map was added but likely somewhere between the left and center plate numbers.  The D/N01885 photo was my own photo, and the D/N01942 came from Preston Turner and is the current documented high.  Vanity check shows the registered high as D/N02060.

 

 


This was the first serial-numbered PA Society of Professional Engineers plates spotted.  Previously a personalized plate was posted.  The plate shown here came from Brendan Sherry and was on Tom Perri's PAPlates.com website.  As of now, only 8 serial numbered plates have been issued which helps explain why more plates have not been spotted.

 


The Prince Hall F&AM plate on the far left is the highest plate spotted, and was photographed recently by Jaska Börner.  Vanity check shows active plates as high as M/M01910, with some gaps. Anyone know if the graphic format, near left image, ever made its debut? The graphic prototype was revealed in 2015, but so far no plates have been spotted.

 


This is a 1937 Motorbike plate, not a Motorboat plate as that would use MBL as the identifier, although Motorboats used MB from '55 to '63.  Thanks to Tiger Joe for this photo.  Motorbike plates ran from 1920 until 1949 after which they were discontinued.  Motorbikes were sometimes referred to as Motor Bicycles or Bicycle Side Motors.  Today they are more commonly referred to as Mopeds, short for motorized pedal-cycle.  Moped plates were introduced in 1977.  The use of foot pedals and a crank, among other things, differentiated them from motorcycles.  Early plate history in the 1920s is very sketchy, if anyone has something to share, it would be appreciated. 

 


This 1927 2-digit Passenger plate deserves top-billing.  Tim Gierschick recently acquired this gem, which adds to his collection of 2-digit plates.  Tim says, "Now I only need a 1925, 1930 and 1932 to complete my 1906-1935 2 digit set."  Can anyone help?"

 

 


Here is a very nice 1922 Format 4 Passenger plate from Mike Alfonse.  Passenger plates that year ran from 1 to over 764-000 making this plate toward the higher end of the run.  This plate measures 6" by 16".  Plates with up to 3 digits were 6" by 10", 4-dight plates were 6" by 12", and 5-digits were 6" x 13½".  

 


This is a 1932 Format 3 Passenger plate.  Format 3 included 0A, 0A0, shown here, 0A00 and 0A000 serial formats.  Sizes would be 6 inches by 10 inches as shown here, and 6 inches by 12 inches for 5-character plates.  Thanks to Pl8source for the use of this plate photo.

 

 


This is a 1947 Format 4 Passenger plate. Format 4 included 10A0 to 99Z99, which included both 4 and 5 character serial numbers. All plates, regardless of the number of characters, measured 6 inches by 11 inches. This plate photo came from Worthpoint.

 

 


Starting on the far left is this 1939 Format 1 Trailer plate meaning it is part of 0001 to 9999 numerical sequence on a 6" by 12" base, center is a 1946 Format 4 Trailer being part of 00A0 to 99Z9 sequence on a 6" by 11" base, and finally a Format 3 1952 Trailer plate which is part of the 0A00 to 9Z99 sequence.  The left and right plate photos are from Worthpoint, the center photo is from the Bill Krellner collection.

 


Between 1924 and 1933 truck plates did not have any legend that identified them as such.  So it is with this 1933 V-Weight Class Truck plate.  All 1933 truck plates were 6 characters in length with the first character identifying the weight class from R to Z on 2-axle vehicles, and the first two letters identifying 3-axle truck classes with the letters RZ to ZZ.  All truck plates measured 6" by 15".  Thanks to Jeff Hinkle for this photo.

 


 1/31/2021 Posting

This personalized Person with Disability plate was photographed by John Anshant.  The owner of this vehicle introduced his handicapped daughter to John.  She is a big Beatles fan.  It's always nice when there is a story behind the plate.  Personalized PD plates are available with up to 5 characters.

 


Nothing all that unique about this Severely Disabled Veteran plate, but what is unique is that it is part of dual plate series of D/V99000.  The D/V99000 series is for vehicle owners who have a carrier on the rear of the vehicle for holding a wheelchair or personal assistive device. They are authorized to be issued two plates since the assistive device and carrier may block visibility of the vehicle mounted plate.  Obviously the assistive device and the second plate were not on this vehicle at the time of the photo.  Thanks to Mike Alfonse for the photo. It may be worth mentioning that this 2-plate option is also available on Disabled Veteran in the DV-79000 series, and Person with Disability in the 98000PD series, and as PD vanities.

 

 


This eye-catching Antique Vehicle plate is a recent acquisition of Jeff Lesher.  This plate, with its 3-digit number, is a personalized plate.  All plates that are part of the standard serial progression contain 4 characters.   The earliest white on purple Antique plates from the late 1950s were all-numeric starting at 1 and progressing to 9999.  Later plates were all alpha-numeric.

 


No photos yet, but Preston Turner reports seeing a Keystone Elk Country Alliance vanity plate with K/EELK4U.  He was not able to get a photo.  Vanity check also shows that 13 serial numbered plates have now been issued.  If you are interested in a plate, go to their website, not to be confused with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

 


While on the subject of Antique plates, we have these two early Antique Motorcycle plates also from Jeff Lesher.  Antique M/C plates date back to 1967 and were initially planned to run from A0 to Z99.  While a couple all numerical plates are known to exist, they are believed to be samples or courtesy plates.  So the B0 is part of the first group from A0 to D99.  Starting at E0 the PENNA and MOTORCYCLE changed places.  Then the next group starting at G1, PENNA and MOTORCYCLE again flip-flopped bringing them back to what you see here.  In addition to the the alpha-numeric sequences, the original hole spacing was narrow as seen here.  Starting somewhere between the L and P-series the hole spacing was widened.  It appears that some early plate numbers may have been reissued on wide hole-spacing plates.

 


This beautiful white on black porcelain 1914 Format 6 Passenger plate combo is thanks to Jeff Hinkle.  Format 6 ran from 30000 to 99999, with this plates measuring 6" by 14".  The reverse of the plate shows Brilliant Mfg Co., 1035 Ridge Ave., Phila., PA as the manufacturer.  Brilliant produced the plates for PA from 1912 to 1916.  Click the link above to see additional plates and details.  For historians, Eric Taylor has an interesting article on this company.

 


These 1949 Passenger plates help to fill 4-character slots in Format 3 which ran from 1A00 to 9Z999, and Format 4 which included 10A0 to 99Z99.  All plates were 6-inches by 11-inches for both 4- and 5-character plates.  These photos came from Worthpoint, a service I subscribe to. 

There are still many Passenger plate formats for which I have no image.  These are identified as Image needed in the photo galleries.  Help with any of these is always much appreciated.

 


          -These are 1925, '26, '27 and '28 Trailer plates.  Trailer plates began using the TT prefix in 1924.  Previously a single T was used but in 1924 Truck plates began using R through Z, including T, to identify weight classes, so trailer plates changed to TT.  The 1925 above, still uses full size Ts, while the '26 plates part way through the year switched to the smaller Ts, as did all the later plates.  Plate highs are not firmly established but the '26 and '27 plates may establish new highs.  The '25 and high number '28 are thanks to Clayton Moore.  The other 3 plates were from Bill Krellner's collection.  (I had actually posted 3 of these in late December but never linked them to this home page.)

 


This is thought to be a U.S. Congress / Member of Congress plate from 1958.  While we don't have provenance to go along with the plate, it does follow the serial formatting at the time, except for the wide spacing between the characters.  Some plates had the MC in the prefix position to allow registration of 2 vehicles.  This is a Worthpoint image.

 


This is a first generation Villanova University Alumni Association plate.  These organizational plates date back to 1987.  The range of the 1st generation plates was from V/U00001 to V/U01790.  After the 2001 re-plating, plates were again redesigned in 2006, but not spotted until 2009, now with V/U in the suffix position.  Plate photo is from Worthpoint.

 


 1/24/2021 Posting

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

 


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

 


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

 


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

 


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

 


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

 


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

 


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

 


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

 


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

 


 1/17/2021 Posting

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

 


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

 

 


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

 


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

 


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

 


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

 


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

 


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

 


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

 


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

 


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

 


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

 


 1/10/2021 Posting

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

 


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

 

 


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

 


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

 


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

 


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

 

 


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

 


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

 


Sans Serif R

Flat-bottom U

Serif R

Rounded-bottom U

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

 

 


 1/3/2021 Posting

Happy New Year and happy plate hunting

May 2021 be a better year for all of us.


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

 


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

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

1982, AA prefix

1984, AB prefix

Late 1990s, AD prefix

2000 www base, AE

2007, visitPA, AF

2012, AG Prefix, AG

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

Early 2018, AG prefix,

no sticker well

Later 2018, AG prefix, map outline

2020, AH prefix

 

 

 

 


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

 

 


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

 

 


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

 


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

 


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

 


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

 


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

 


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

 


 

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