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

John McDevitt, Walnutport, PA

ALPCA #4376

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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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Posting 1/26/2020

Here's the first of two 'plates of the week'.  This Passavant Memorial Homes Family of Services plate was recently photographed by Bruce Bufalini. Here is a link to the organization's website.  Presently about 29 such plates have been issued, yet the PennDOT page of Approved Special Organizations doesn't even list the plate!  It would be an improvement if the official page would at least be up to date and reflect what's current and what's pending.  There are other organizational plates that are not listed as well. 


Here's the other plate of the week.  This Ridley School District has been mentioned several times recently but this is the first image of an issued plate.  There are about 22 serial numbered plates in use.  It is also one of several plates that is not listed on PennDOT's page of Approved Special Organizations.  Thanks to Tom Perri for this perfect image.


Here is a photo of a Pennsylvania Equine Council sample plate which was provided to Paul Bargnarol by the organization.  At present some 149 serial numbered plates have been issued.  Their plate program dates back to 2012, and plates are available to non-members.


PA Amateur Radio plates with the number 3 as the call sign indicator for this region would not be considered rare.  On the other hand, PA plates with other than 3 would be considered unusual.  The plate shown here with the call sign with 9 as the region identifier would have originally been issued to someone from Indiana, Illinois or Wisconsin who later moved to PA.  Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for sharing this photo.


This is a very early www base Dealer plate likely issued on or close to 9/1/1999.  This plate was also likely a replacement for one the previous series Dealer plates.  The previous series progressions used A00-000A, through F99-999F, excluding C00-000C.  The G00-000G series was never needed.  The re-plating in 1999 launched the series shown here.  Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for sharing this photo. 


This personalized Disabled Veteran plate was recently spotted by Arthur Levine.  I'm going to guess that 1STID stands for 1st Infantry Division.  It appears that this plate does not have the sticker well.  This change was previously spotted on serial numbered plates.


Here is a new high number Mass Transit plate spotted by Brandon Sowers.  This series, which is believed to have begun in 1982, started at M/T10000.  The series has continued with that progression since the start, and now 38 years later the series is still below 50,000, which means actually less than 40,000 considering the starting point was 10-thousand.  These were also number gaps when switching to new bases in 1984 and 2000.


This Format 2 1937 Trailer plate shows what the PA Archivist describes as a new high number.  While the paint is not in great condition, Drewski, the owner, feels it a nice candidate for a restoration.  This plate measures 6 inches by 12 inches.  Format 1 was all numeric from 0001 to 9999, Format 2 started at A000.


Here's a very nice 1915 3-Star Weight Class Truck plate.  As you may know, truck plates were first issued in 1914.  During 1914 and '15 the plates were porcelain on steel.  The aluminum band on the left depicted the weight class by the number of stars ranging from 1 to 5 for the lightest to the heaviest classes.  The aluminum keystone was riveted to the plate with the words NON TRANSFERRABLE showing the MAKERS NUMBER which is the same as today's VIN number.  Thanks to Tim Geirschick for the plate photo.


Here are several welcome additions to the 1924 Truck photo gallery.  1924 marked the beginning of the R to Z letter classes.  1924 also saw the first use of alpha characters on Passenger plates starting with A.  So to keep the series separate, the Truck series used 8 letter classes at the end of the alphabet excluding X.  Here we have an R-overflow plate on a 6" by 12" base.  These with the R in the suffix position were used after the original series hit R99-999.  Next is a Class W plate.  While many 5-character plates measured 6" by 12", this plate with the wide W used the 6" by 15" base.  Finally the addition of this Y Class plate.  These image are from Worthpoint, a service I subscribed to for research purposes; however, if the owner of a plate wishes, I can acknowledge them as well.


Posting 1/19/2020

I had knee surgery this past week.  While recovering over the next couple weeks, additions to this website may be limited.


While this is not a new Boy Scouts of America high, it is the highest plate spotted that still retains the sticker well.  Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for the photo.  Plate 00171B/S, without the sticker well, was previously spotted by Brendan Sherry.  This organization's plate program dates back to 2007.



To the left and below are a couple recent veteran's plates from Bruce Bufalini.  Oft times these traffic shots aren't perfect, but always worth the effort as with this Expeditionary Forces.  This is one of those 'tweener' plates without a sticker well but still no map outline.  This plate type dates back to 1996.


This tough traffic shot was also taken by Bruce Bufalini.  And while it's not the first example of a vanity Vietnam War Veteran plate, it is the first one spotted with the map outline.  These veteran plates date back to 1999 when they were fully embossed and remained so until 2014 when the color graphic base was introduced.


This remarkable 65 year old plate is part of a matching pair of 1955 Motorboat plates.  For 1955 the series ran from 1 to at least 43609.  Starting in 1955 Motorboat plates looked much like motorcycle plates of the day except for the colors and legend.  These plates were on eBay this past week, and my thanks to eBay user snortwheeze55 for the use of the photo.  There were also Motorboat Dealer plates which used an 'X' prefix.


Here is a pair of 1933 Passenger plates.  The first of these shorties is a 3-digit Format 1 plate which went from 1 to 99999.  The next is a Format 2 which ran from A to Z9999.  Both plates measure 6 inches by 10 inches.  The first image is from Worthpoint, a service I subscribed to for research purposes; however, if the owner of a plate wishes, I can acknowledge them as well.  The other plate is from eBay user zekeyman50. 


These photos are of before and after 1916 Trailer plates.  The early photo was from Judd Clemens which I've had for several years, the new owner of the plate is Clayton Moore who refinished the plate.  He also confirms the actual size of the plate to be 6 inches by 14 inches.  The series started at T1 and extended to at least T427.  T+1 digit and T+2 digit plates are believed to be 6 inches by 11 inches.


This 1951 Trailer plate is thanks to eBay user j0hnnyo (not a typo).  It is part of Format 3 where the progression ran from 0A00 to 9Z99.  Plates measure 6" x 11".  The Archives lists 667R as the high, but in 1952 the series went to a 5 digit format at least as high as 17663.  I would not be surprised if some 5 digit plates were issued late in 1951.


This is a 1942 R-Weight Class Truck plate with a '43 tag.  The R weight class used 4 serial progressions that year including: R000A, R00A0, R0A00, R00AA.  The photo gallery now has an image of each of the four serial progressions.  Thanks to eBay user PA-Collector for the use of this photo.



This is a 1951 Y-Weight Class Truck plate.  Unlike the '42 above, there was only a single serial progression for the Y-class — Y000A.  All plates measured 6 inches by 11 inches.  Thanks to eBay user j0hnnyo for the photo.



Posting 1/12/2020

Here's a new high Mario Lemieux Foundation plate recently spotted by Bruce Bufalini.  This plate type dates back to 2006, then at or before 01680L/F the map outline was added.  Then later between 01791L/F and 01813L/F, the logo received a facelift. 



On the far left is the latest iteration of a PA Chiropractic Association plate.  The near left plate is an example of the plates that have been in use since their beginning in 2006.  The new sample plate image was provided by Paul Bagnarol.  It is unknown if any plates have been issued with the new logo.


Here is a low number Pennsylvania Coal Alliance Inc. plate recently spotted by Bruce Bufalini.  These plates have been on the street since 2016, and so far according to vanity check about 170 serial numbered plates have been issued.  Bruce spotted several of these plates outside a mining company entrance in Armstrong County.


The Temple University Alumni Association has been in the license plate business since 1987 on the yellow on blue base.  Then around 7/3/2001 the first generation plates were replaced by the www base as shown here on this low-number plate.  Thanks to the LicensePlateKingCompany for the photo.


Here's a recent high Limousine plate. At first glance I didn't see the sticker well, but the photo shows that it's still there.  According to a July report, a new batch of plates will start at LM-31000, and vanity check shows the current high as LM-30950.



For those who watch and track Truck plates, here's the latest high from Bruce Bufalini.



Here is a 1954 Format 4 Passenger plate.  This series ran from 10A0 to 99Z99, so both 4 and 5-character plates made up this progression.  All plates measured 6 inches by 10 inches regardless of the number of characters.  This photo is also thanks to the LicensePlateKingCompany.



This is another one of those plates that looks just like another piece of rusty old steel from 1925.  There is no legend or other marking except for the E-prefix, which in this case identifies it as a Tractor plate with the 'E' symbolizing Engine.  1925 was only the second year to use alpha-prefix letters on Passenger plates, but the run only extended into the B-series, so not to be confused with this plate.  Thanks to Tim Gierschick for sharing this photo.


No question about this being a Tractor plate with that legend and '58 date embossed + a '63 sticker.  This would have been a very early issue based on the series which started at 100-000.  Note the presence of the tab slot which was never used and later removed somewhere between 131-000 and 132-000.  Again my thanks to Tim Gierschick for sharing this photo.


This is a very nice 1953 Class S Weight Class Truck plate.  Class S consisted of 5 serial progressions including: S000A, S00A0, S0A00, S00AA, S0AA0, with this plate being part of the first progression.  All plates measure 6" x 10", and were issued as singles.  This plate photo is thanks to eBay user Tper3750.


Here is a pair of 1964 Truck plates.  On the far left is a low number T Weight Class plate with that class starting at T00-00A making this the 33rd or 34th plate made in this class.  Thanks to Rob Baran for the photo.  The near left YT plate is a 3-axle truck tractor which used both YT0-00A and YT0-0A0 serial progressions.  Both the 1958 and 1964 truck series used separate weight classes for 3-axle truck tractors including WT, YT and ZT.  There were also distinct classes for 3 and 4-axle straight trucks, which were not truck tractors.  This image is from Worthpoint, a service I subscribed to for research purposes; however, if the owner of a plate wishes, I can acknowledge them as well.    


Posting 1/5/2020

This is the latest image of an AFSCME Council 13 plate from Jordan Irazabal.  This plate type dates back to 2008.  Plate 00092A/U still had the sticker well, while 00103A/U and the plate shown here are without the sticker well.  Some 109 serial-numbered plates have been issued.



Here is a nice low number Eureka Volunteer Fire and Ambulance plate thanks to Arthur Levine.  Their plate program dates back to 2017, so from the beginning the white map outline was part of the plate.  Vanity check indicates that so far about 13 serial numbered plates have been issued.  They are located in York County. 


We've seen this State Senator plate before, in fact the far left photo was taken on January 4, 2011 by Eric Conner, while the near left photo is from this past December by Jordan Irazabal.  Note the 6-11 and 6-17 stickers.  This State Senator plate was issued to the senator representing the first senatorial district located in Philadelphia.  


This is one of those plates that at first glance you might simply pass it off as just another 5-digit Passenger plate.  Upon further scrutiny, Passenger plates did use a 5-digit format but that series started at 10-000, while this plate actually starts with the letter 'O', not the number zero.  The 'O' prefix makes this a 1926 Bus plate reading O6-875.  After 1926 alpha characters were made smaller than numbers, thus the confusion about the first character of this plate.  Need more confusion, there was also another class of Bus plates at the time with an H-prefix.  Click the link to see more.  Many thanks to Clayton Moore for the use of this and so many other plate images.   



Needless to say this is a rare plate.  It's a 1929 Format 1 Passenger plate.  That series went from 2 to 9999 on a 6 inch by 10 inch base before adnancing to the 10-000 format and a 6 by 13 inch plate.  Thanks to Clayton Moore for the use of this photo.



Here is another 1929 Format 4 Passenger plate, which ran from A-1 to F-99, then to F999, on 6" x 10".  It should be noted that while Formats 4, 5 and 6 are shown as separate groups, the series actually progresses as one group with the alpha character being the last to advance, and the series progressing as A-1, A-2, etc. to A99-999, then B-1, etc. to F23-960.  This image is from Worthpoint, a service I subscribed to for research purposes; however, if the owner of a plate wishes, I can acknowledge him or her as well.


Here is a pair of 1941 Passenger plates.  The far left is a Format 3 which ran from 1A00 to 9Z999.  So 4-character plates measured 6" x 10" and 5-character plates were 6" x 12".  Thanks to eBay user Stationstuff for the photo.  The near left photo is a Format 4 consisting of 10A0 to 99Z99.  So again both sizes were used with this plate being 12".  Thanks to eBay user Nekollena for the use of the photo.


This 1949 Passenger Sample plate photo came from Paul Bagnarol.  I believe this is the last of these I have to post.  This leaves only 1925, 1931 and 1944 samples needed.  In addition to Paul, many thanks to Eric Tanner for all their help filling in the gaps.



Here is a pair of 1941 Trailer plates.  The far left plate is a needed Format 2 plate using the A000 serial format, while the near left plate is a previously undocumented format for 1941, and will be referred to as Format 3 using 0A00 as the serial format.  These image are from Worthpoint, a service I subscribed to for research purposes; however, if the owner of a plate wishes, I can acknowledge him or her as well.


Posting 12/29/2019

Happy New Year

Personally I don't put a lot of effort into watching and tracking Passenger and Truck plates, but many plate enthusiasts do.  Here is a pair of recent Passenger highs spotted by Jordan Irazabal on the far left and Eric Conner on the near left.  To see a comprehensive listing of all PA highs, check out Tom Perri's


Nick Tsilakis spotted this latest high Person With Disability plate.  The use of the map outline is believed to have started at 72000PD.  For the past few years PD plates have also been available personalized.  In addition, a 2-plate option is available to vehicle owners who have a device on the rear of the vehicle for carrying a wheelchair or personal assistive device.  These plates originally date back to 1965 and were called Handicapped or HP plates.


This Amateur Radio error plate was spotted by Bruce Bufalini.  Note the use of the number zero (0) as the next to the last character.  Bruce, who is a ham radio operator, points out that only one number is used in any call sign. The format would be 1 or 2 letters to the left and 1 to 3 letters to the right of the number, never more than 6 characters.


Here is a parking lot shot of a personalized Moravian College plate, now with the map outline.  This is the the first photo of a Moravian plate with the map.  It is unknown if standard issue plates have the map yet.  Frequently personalized plates are the first to be spotted with formatting changes.  Moravian's plate program dates back to 1990.


This is a Shippensburg University Alumni sample plate thanks to Pail Bagnarol.  Shippensburg's plate program dates back to 1989 on the yellow on blue base.  Sometime between 2013 and 2014 they switched to the graphic base as seen here.  Their latest plates have been spotted with the map outline.


This is a 1933 Format 3 Passenger plate.  This serial grouping ran from 0A to 9Z999, so 2, 3, 4 and 5 character plates were issued.  The 2, 3 and 4 character plates would have been 6 inches by 10 inches, while the 5-character plates were 12 inch.  Thanks to eBay user rqb507 for the use of this photo.



This 1935 Format 7 Passenger was also provided by eBay user rqb507.  The serial number is part of AA to ZZ99 and AA100 to ZZ999 serial progression.  This plate measures 6 inches by 10 inches, and of course the 5-character plates would be 12 inches.



Here is another pair of Sample plates.  The far left is a 1947 thanks to Paul Bagnarol, while the near left 1948 is thanks to Eric Eric Tanner and Worthpoint.  Both of these plates measure 6 inches by 11 inches.  Next week I will have a couple more samples.



In Older Truck Plate News: I received an interesting and insightful email from Eric Tanner concerning the use of RA000 and SA000 Truck series during 1935, 1936 and 1937.  These series were listed in the 1935 BMV Design of Registration Plates document, however, none were ever seen.  During this period approx 240,000 R and S plates would have been issued, yet not a single plates from these series has ever been seen.  If my memory serves me correctly, Rick Kretschmer may have also brought up this issue, so at the time I listed these series as needing confirmation, and now we have it.


While we're talking trucks, here's a 1945 Class R Truck plate.  This depicts the third of four serial formats which include R000A, R00A0, R0A00, R00AA.  The plate gallery now shows one of each group.  Thanks to Ebay user Our Favorite Things for the use of the photo.





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Images and photos are always welcome.  Please send to:

John McDevitt, Walnutport, PA

ALPCA #4376