ALPCA small crestWelcome to PA PL8S / PA PLATES Weekly Magazine

Supporting the hobby, conducting research, preserving & promoting the history of Pennsylvania License Plates

John McDevitt and Jordan Irazabal


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The photos on this website, whether provided by me or other contributors, are intended for use solely on this website, and may not be otherwise used without permission.

This is a reference-only website, no plate sales.

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8/14/2022 Posting

Here is a new high, agency-specific, Official Use PennDOT plate.  This plate is used on a non-commercial vehicle, or passenger vehicle, as commercial vehicles or trucks use a different serial format, i.e. P/A0000T.  The other agencies having their own plates include the PA State Police and the PA Turnpike.  There are also non-agency specific Official Use plates as well.  Thanks to Brayden Harnish for the image.


Here's another new plate high.  This PA Breast Cancer Coalition photo is also thanks to Brayden Harnish.  These plates date back to 2005.



And another high from Brayden Harnish.  This plate is a new issue in spite of its appearance, York College remains with their all-embossed original design including the sticker well.  It may be worth mentioning that as of 10-22-2021 plates up to 01199Y/C were in the warehouse inventory.  After reaching that number, it will be interesting to see what York College does.


How about a new Transporter high, also thanks to Brayden Harnish.  This plate still appears to have a validation sticker, so while this is the highest observed plate, a record check shows that DT-16145 is the registered high.  That plate likely has the map outline.


► Click this Vanity Page link to see additional personalized plates of the week including this "You've Got a Friend" era plate still in use from Bill Young.




Here is a low number 1914 Dealer plate.  This white on black porcelain tag measures 6 inches by 10 inches and is the second of four sizes used that year depending on the number of characters in the serial number.  I took this photo at an ALPCA plate meet in Bethlehem on June 11, but missed identifying the owner.  I'd like to credit the owner if possible.


This, as the plate says, is the #1 1932 Legislative plate.  Plate size is 6 inches by 12 inches.  Such plates extended at least as high as 260 and were likely used by both the House and Senate.  Credit for this unique plate would go to John Willard and John Anshant.


Aside from the colors being reversed, the 1933 Legislative plate is much like the 1932 above.  The number series is known to go from 1 to 334.  This image is from Worthpoint.



This low number 1933 National Guard plate is similar in design to the '33 Legislative plate above.  It was my understanding that with each succeeding year of membership, the plate number would likely be lower as more senior members would retire.


It's definitely not much to look at, but it fills a gap in the 1945 Format 4 Passenger series which ran from 10A0 to 99Z99.  This is the first 4-character plate from that series seen.  The photo is from Worthpoint.

Still in need of a Format 8, 4-character in the AA10 to ZZ99 series.  Was this series ever issued?


No matter how you look at it Bob Connison has a nice run of low number Passenger plates starting with a pair of 1950s, and a pair of 1951s.  After '51 the state went to singles.  All '50 and '51 plates measured 6 inches by 11 inches.

Also see Group Display Page for other similar exhibits.


Plates beginning in 1952 were issues as singles.  Most '52 plates, including the one shown here, measured 6 inches by 11 inches; however some later plates were scaled back to 6 inches by 10 inches.  Plates from 1953, 1954 and 1955 were all 6 inches by 10 inches.  Then, as you may recall, that beginning in 1956 all full-size plates were standardized to 6 inches by 12 inches.  Note the difference in the map outline between the 1955, 1956, 1957 and 1958.  Note the difference in serial dies between the '56, '57 and '58.  The '58 also has multi-year validation thru 1964.




8/7/2022 Posting

A new feature has been added called Needed Images to help identify the growing number of plate types without photos.  This website is dedicated to photo-documenting as many plate types and variations as possible.  Any help with pictures of any of the listed plate types, would be much appreciated.  Many are new issues or logo updates.  Also included are a number of low-issue NASCAR plates, and several extinct or nearly extinct types from the 1980s and 90s.


This beauty is a personalized Honoring Our Women Veterans plate.  The photo is thanks to Drew Steitz (aka Drewski) who got it for a family member to help honor another family member.



Here is the #1 82nd Airborne Division Association plate.  The photo was snapped by Ben Vaughn in Pittsburgh.  This plate type has been on the street since 2007.  The most recent observed high was 00290A/B, which was in June of 2019.



Zach Taylor posted this Conserve Wild Resources - Otter plate photo at the end of May, which I missed.  When these plates switched to the small graphic, the series started at R/C00001 which was back in November of 2017.  At present the registered high is around R/C05562.



While this AH-series Apportioned Truck is not a new high, it is a picture perfect image of an unspoiled plate.  Thanks to Jim Moini for the photograph.  Jim maintains an excellent website featuring New Jersey, Apportioned, Mexican and Corporate Fleet Plates.  Check it out.


These Person with Disability Motorcycle plates were posted by Clayton Moore.  They are actually standard Motorcycle plates with a sticker.  It is unknown when the Person with Disability stickers were first issued, but likely in the late 1990s.  Anyone know for sure? 

The use of a standard Motorcycle plate + a sticker was replaced in 2007 with Person with Disability Motorcycle plate as shown below.  See Person with Disability, Motorcycle History page for more images.  It may be worth mentioning that a Veteran Motorcycle plate with a Person with Disability sticker, shown below, makes it a Severely Disabled Veteran Motorcycle plate.





► Click this Vanity Page link to see additional personalized plates of the week.






Here is a group of 1967 New Car Dealer plates.  What I recall about such plates is that the plates were actually surplus 1966 plates that were never issued, and rather than discard them, they received '67 stickers.  Dealer plates at the time were issued annually and were not revalidated with stickers.  This practice of re-dating plates also took place with some 1968 and 1969 plates.  The group photo is also posted under Group Displays.  Thanks to Clayton Moore for sharing the display.



Ben Vaughn shares an interesting newspaper article sighting vehicle registration records for 1914.  The article indicates that there were 1,167 Tractors registered that year and 116 Trailers.  Click the article to enlarge.  Ben also provided a photo of a 1914 Tractor plate.  This white on black porcelain plate measures 6 inches by 12 inches and would have been issued as part of a pair.






7/31/2022 Posting

Here is a recent photo of a Linglestown Fire Co. #1 plate from Zachary Bent.  Note that this plate has the map outline, the previous high, 30056L/F, did not.  This plate program dates back to 2008.



We don't have a photo yet, but Bruce Bufalini recently spotted Legion of Merit plate number 10052L/M but was not able to get a photo.  Record check suggests that plates from 10001 to 10054 are in use.  The medal is awarded for: Exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements.


It's worth mentioning that Nick Tsilakis spotted a motorcycle version of the International Association of Firefighters but could not get a photo.  The plate he saw was P/F0010.  Record check shows that 41 plates are in use.  I don't even have a prototype plate image, so I did a R2K request to PennDOT on Tuesday and received nothing than an acknowledgement so far.


This is part of what I have categorized as a Format 6 Antique Motorcycle Plate.  That group ran from 0A to 99Z.  The wide bolt hole spacing indicates that this is not one of the earliest groups of Antique Motorcycle plates.  This plate is still valid.  Possibly someone can narrow down the time period.  The plate was photographed by John Fedorchak, but had been previously spotted by Preston Turner who was unable to get a picture.




Didn't get any vanities posted last week, so here are a few.  The far left is an eye-catching U.S. Marine Corps Veteran vanity.  Next is a personalized Antique Vehicle plate showing the letter "I" and numeral 1 next to each other.  This photo is thanks to Bill Stephens.  Unlike most PA plates, the letter "I" has been used as part of the serial progression on Antique Vehicle Format 11 plates and Motorcycle plates.

  ► Click this Vanity Page link to see additional personalized plates of the week.


Added this low number International Association of Firefighters to the Organizational Plate History page.  Also added this high number plate which is a new high for the Archives.  This plate program dates back to 1993.  Both images are from Worthpoint.


Finally succeeded in finding a West Point Alumni Sample plate.  For whatever reason these seem to be very scarce.  The West Point plate program dates back to 1987.  This nice image came from Worthpoint.



They didn't get much lower than this — considering the fact that the 1949 Passenger plate series started at 1001.  This initial series eventually went to 99999 before extending into numerous alpha-numeric formats.  These plates measured 6 inches by 11 inches and were issued in pairs.  Thanks to Tim Gierschick for the photo.


Much like the plate above, this 1950 Passenger plate was part of the initial all-numeric series running from 1001 to 99999.  These plates measured 6 inches by 11 inches and were still issued in pairs.  Thanks to Tim Gierschick for the photo.


7/24/2022 Posting

Sorry, this update didn't get posted until 7/25.

Here is a new Passenger high recently spotted by John Fedorchak.





The Hearing Impaired is one of PA's rarest plates.  Do not let the 3281 serial number suggest that over 3000 plates have been issued.  The series actually started at HE-03000 on the www base.  They originally dated back to 1987 on the yellow on blue base.  Thanks to Richard Than for this photo.


It's been 12+ years since PA issued NASCAR plates, yet they are still renewable, and there are still several plate types that have never been photographed.  The 2005 racing season NASCAR 99 plates of Carl Edwards is one such plate.  There were logo color differences for 2005, 2006 and 2009, yet so far no plates have been photographed with the green 2005 logo, except samples.  The plate shown here with the 2006 colors helps establish that the group ran from N/9/90109, or lower, to N/9/90113.  Many thanks to Richard Than for this photo.  Does anyone in the hobby collect these?


Here is a new high Official Use Truck plate and was provided by Richard Than.  This plate would have been used on a state-owned vehicle, but not one used by PennDOT, State Police or Turnpike, as those agencies have plates with their own logos.


What do we have here?  Yes, it's a Person with Disability plate, and was provided by Richard Than.  My first thought is that  it was part of the double plate series starting at 98000PD, but plate check shows that plates only up to 98161PD have been issued so far.  It also appears that no plates in the 99000PD series have been issued, except for the one shown here.  Therefore, I am of the opinion that this is a vanity plate.


It ain't pretty, but it's a needed piece to complete photo displays of the 1945 U-Weight Class truck series.  The U-series consisted of U000A, U00A0, U0A00 and U00AA.  Plate measures 6" by 11".  This image is from Worthpoint, a service to which I have a subscription.


And they're not getting any nicer, but again it's a needed piece to complete photo displays of the 1947 Y-Weight Class truck series.  There was only a single Y-series, Y000A.  Plate measures 6" by 11".  Again this image is from Worthpoint.


For 1951 R-Weight Class trucks there were 6 serial progressions, including R000A, R00A0, R0A00, R00AA, R0AA0 and R0A0A.  This plate fills the remaining photo gap.  Plate measures 6" by 11".  Again, this image is from Worthpoint.  '51 was the last year for plates to be issued in pairs.  This image is from Worthpoint.


This 1954 S-Weight Class truck fills the remaining photo gap.  S-class plates consisted of S000A, S00A0, S0A00, S00AA, S0AA0, with all plates measuring 6" x 10".  These plates were issued as singles.    This image is from Worthpoint.


7/17/2022 Posting

My apologies, Bill Stephens spotted this new Passenger high back on July 8, so I'm a little behind.  It has, however, been posted to the High Page, thanks to Jordan.



Here is a new high Permanent Trailer I spotted in my travels.  It was a windshield shot with the truck moving.




Here is a new high Temporary Intransit cardboard plate.  The photo was snapped by Jordan.




This is a new high Truck plate recently spotted on the fly by Nick Tsilakis.  After exhausting this series at ZVZ-9999, the next series will be ZWA-0000.



Here is one from Bill Ceravola added to this week's Vanity Page.






It appears that from the earliest state issued plates there was always those who sought low number plates, especially those with political connections.  Just look at the 1912 registration records for the first 100+ plates; it kind of reads like a who's who in PA at the time.  Eventually the demand for such plates went beyond the political arena and was made available to the average driver.  An application form was developed for 1965 Special Registration Plates spelling out the process.  Thank you to John Willard for a copy of the form.


Click the photo to the left to enlarge this pair of low number 1914 and 1915 Passenger plates, or click on the photos below to see them individually.  The photo of these 100+ year old plates is thanks to John Willard.  The 1914 is white on black, while the '15 is white on sky blue.  Both are 6" by 10" and were manufactured by Brilliant Manufacturing Co.   

of Philadelphia.  




These are 1929 W-Weight Class Truck plates that were recently spotted by Tim Gierschick at Renningers.  These W-Class plates measure 6" by 15", with a documented high of W8-646.  Anyone have a Y, X or ZZ-Class?


If you didn't immediately recognize this tag as a Truck plate, you are probably not alone.  For 1930 Truck plates adopted a new, and somewhat cryptic 2-letter suffix method of displaying the weight class of the vehicle, abandoning the R through Z prefix classes.  This plate, for example, is a Class V with the serial formatting from 00PA to 999PZ.  Thanks to Clayton Moore for sharing the image, I also understand the plate's new home will be with Rob B.


But wait, there's more!  This 1931 Truck plate came off the same truck!  And again thanks to Clayton Moore for the photo.  It should be noted that in 1931 Truck plates went back to using the R through Z prefix to indicate the weight class.  This was after 1930 plates used a 2-letter suffix to identify truck weight classes as seen above.  This class would have started at V0A00.  This is believed to be the first plate of this class to be documented.


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Images and photos are always welcome.  Please send to:

John McDevitt and Jordan Irazabal





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