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Pennsylvania License Plate History and Images

John McDevitt, Walnutport, PA

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News and postings from 2021


 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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