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Pennsylvania License Plate Images

John McDevitt, Walnutport, PA

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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.

What's new in the last 30 days?

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Posting 6/28/2015

In Legislative News, Senate Bill 284, which authorizes “Honoring Our Veterans” license plates for motorcycles, has passed both the Senate and the House.  Assuming the Governor will sign the bill into law, it will then take effect in 90 days after signing, and will be the first Special Fund plate for motorcycles.  


It appears that about 525 Pennsylvania Hunting Heritage plates are now on the street or soon will be.  No image yet.  Total cost for the new plates is $56 with $31 of that going to the PA Game Commission.



Bruce Bufalini captured this passenger vanity image of a plate that in his words ". . . got past the censors."  Always good to have the camera or smart phone handy.  Just never know what you're going to see, and not just license plates.


Jordan Irazabal spotted this vanity version of a Vietnam War Veteran plate.  These plates are allowed to be personalized for a fee with up to five characters.  The stacked V/W prefix is required and helps identify the plate type.



Here's a pair of 1920 Dealer plates.  The colors are white on dark blue.  For many years beginning in 1911, and continuing until about 1965, the 'X' was the hallmark of a PA Dealer plate, but like everything else there are exceptions.  For example, in 1934, the letter A was used, and of course in later years additional dealer configurations were used.  According to BMV records there were some 12,680 Dealer sets issued, but this plate might suggest at least 13,925 were issued.  Likely all Dealer plates measured 6" x 16" due to the way the legend is spaced out.  This 95 year old pair of plates is courtesy of Jeff Francis.


This yellow on dark blue 1923 Dealer plate picture was provided by Clayton Moore.  These steel plates were issued in pairs and it is believed that all Dealer plates that year measured 6" x 16".  The wide legend helped to dictate the size of the plates.  It is believed that the series began at X1, the plate pictured here may be a high.


Beginning 1923 and lasting thru 1933, Dealer plates did not have any identifying legend, and while the use of 'X' is generally considered the Dealer plate identifier, there were some variables that can not be conclusively verified.  For example, the 1931 Dealer plate shown here is limited to 5 characters as all plates were either 10" or 12"; however, there were some 28,000 plates issued.  The solution seems to be moving the 'X' into the second or third position considering that each move would allow another 10-thousand plates; however, additional research is warranted on alpha-numeric formatting.  This plate is courtesy of Jeff Francis.


Here's a pair of 1942 Dealer plates.  As stated above more research is needed on the alpha-numeric formatting; however, we do know from the images shown here that 4-character and fewer plates were 6" x 10", while 5-character plates were 6" x 12".  In addition, it is likely that the 'X' could occupy various positions.  What is really needed is a copy of the registration plate design for each year.  Such a document is known to exist for 1935 only.  Certainly they were made for other years, but have any others survived?  Also, notice the expiration date of 3-31-43 is now embossed in the top of the map outline.  This started in 1941.  This pair of plates is thanks to Jeff Francis.


This is the same '42 Dealer plate shown above but this time with its companion 1943 validation tab.  This image is courtesy of Jeff Francis.





Posting 6/21/2015

Legislative News  I'm going to go way out on a limb and say that Senate Bill 284 will pass.  The Bill, which is now under consideration in the House, will authorize “Honoring Our Veterans” license plates for motorcycles.  They would likely be similar to the full-size Honoring Our Veterans plates currently in use.  If passed, this will be the first Special Fund plate for motorcycles, and will likely be the first PA motorcycle plate to display a graphic symbol.  Watch for final action on the bill by the end of June.


This first generation Antique Motorcycle plate was provided by Sarge at Klassy Karz.  It appears that the initial run went from A0 or A1 to D99 with PENNA on top and MOTORCYCLE along the bottom.  The legends were flip-flopped in the next series.


I believe this very nice 1971 base Official Use plate on the far left is likely a sample, but I'm not sure of this.  Can anyone verify?  The plate picture was provided by Sarge at Klassy Karz.  The image on the near left is from a 1971 BMV license plate brochure.


I'm thinking this is likely a novelty plate, and likely produced by the BMV.  I've seen similar plates in the past without any legend to identify the type, but never with 8 characters.  Does anyone know more about this plate?  The plate picture was provided by Sarge at Klassy Karz.


Hard to believe this is still in use but this old Passenger vanity has a 5-15 validation sticker.  The owner of this vanity likely has a current version of the same plate.  This image was provided by Adam Garrettson.


I don't have a single picture of a 1930 Trailer plate, but thanks to Clayton Moore, I now have three.  Note that this is a trio of sequential plates.  There was no identifying legend in 1930 only the T in this case.








I'm working on filling in some of the many gaps in the Dealer History section and with some help from Jeff Francis this 1916 Dealer and a number of others have been added to the mix.  For 1916 some 6600 pairs of Dealer plates were issued.  This series would have started at X1.


This 1949 Dealer plate shows the second alpha character ('D'), in the 4th position instead of the 5th spot which is more common.  When all of the A000A alpha-numeric series was used, the next progression was A00A0, with the second letter now in the 4th spot.  The initial A does not advance.  Image courtesy of Jeff Francis.


Next is this 1958 base New Car Dealer with a 59 sticker.  The 58 base was renewable thru '61.  Besides the legend, the first letter also identifies the plate type.   All dealer plates beginning in 1957 were 6 characters, and the final character advances last, while the initial A does not advance.  Early plates had the tab slot while later plates did not.  Anyone have a '58 Dealer without?  This image is also courtesy of Jeff Francis.


Next in the lineup is this '62 Miscellaneous Dealer.  It this case the 'X' is the only alpha character on the plate and it does not advance.  The '62 base was renewable thru 1963.  Thanks again to Jeff Francis for the image.



The final plate for this week is this 1967 New Car Dealer.  Again the initial 'A' does not advance, but the final letter does.  Again thanks to Jeff Francis for the photo.




Posting 6/14/2015

This is the first image of a vanity National Ski Patrol plate on this website.  The system allows up to 5 characters plus the S over P which are required.  The image was provided by Steve Ondik.



Also from Steve Ondik is this Repair Towing plate which appears to be the current high for this plate type.




This Legislator (Retired) plate image was provided by Colin M.  He indicates that there is another such plate in his area on the visitPA base.  All Retired Legislator plates seen so far have been on the older www base as seen here.



Here is Delta Waterfowl plate picture from Brendan Sherry.  These are not very common as there are only about 36 such plates in use.




This grouping represents the progression of Municipal Government plates likely issued around 1984 to '86.  The center-left shows is a newly identified plate variation.  When the serial number sequence ran out at MG-99999 (far left), and then changed over to 00000-MG (center-left), for a period of time the MUNICIPAL legend used a wide font as in the previous series, then later the legend switched to MUNICIPAL on a narrow font on the 26775-MG plate.  The changeover to the narrow font occurred before 24852-MG.  By the way, this new discovery comes from Clayton Moore.  Need help narrow down this run of plates?


Here's a 4-16 PA0000 validation sticker from From Ryan Battin.




It is not my goal to provide extensive coverage of YOM plates, but since they are a part of the plate collecting hobby, I will provide some coverage.  Based on the plate I'm guessing that this is a '69 VW.





These Tractor Dealer plates have been cross-listed from the Tractor Dealer section into the Dealer section.  The '64 is from Jerry McCoy, the '68 is from Mike at PL8SOURCE and the '70 is from Kelly Brewer.



This 1975 Tractor Dealer is also courtesy of Mike at PL8SOURCE.  The '75 Dealer series was issued as a 2-year plate and could be renewed for 1976.



They don't get much lower than this.  Well actually the O1 plate does exist.  That's the letter O for anyone not familiar.  The letter O was used on Bus or Omnibus plates since their inception in 1924 up to the present.  The 1950 Bus series went from O1 to O9999, then progressed into the OA000 series.  Thanks to Clayton Moore for sharing this find.


This 1930 Bus plate has also added to the Bus History section.  According to BMV records there were some 8460 buses registered that year.





Posting 6/7/2015

This very nice low number Press Photographer plate was recently spotted by Jordan Irazabal.  This relatively rare type has never used an identifying plate legend, even as far back as 1956 when the plates were first introduced; however, the PP has always been part of the serial number.  They are also one of the few PA plate types issued in pairs, but only the rear plate gets a sticker.


Here's an Operation Enduring Freedom in a personalized or vanity format.  The image is courtesy of Bruce Bufalini.  The law now permits the personalization of these plates with up to 5 characters.  The stacked E/F are required.



Here's another personalized plate, this one being a Severely Disabled Veteran from Tom Perri.  As with the above plate, the stacked letters D/V are required and up to 5 additional characters are permitted.  You may wonder why this plate type is not using the same 'family of plates' coloring as most others, this is because the legislation that authorized this plate also specified the formatting that the plate must follow.


Spotted this fairly low number Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. in southern Delaware.  This organization has almost 280 plates in use.




Here's a Robert Morris University plate.  Robert Morris is located near Pittsburgh, and I have never seen a plate here in eastern PA, but did spot this one even farther away and out of state.



Two Governors' plates added.  At the recent ALPCA plate meet at Trexlertown, PA, John Willard had his Governors' plate display.  From that display I captured these two images of 1953 and 1957 plates.  Take a look at the page, it includes the first Governor's plate from 1912 up thru the last plates issued on the '77 base and likely used into the early 1980s.  Unfortunately several years are missing and may still be out there in someone's collection.  Also check out Eric Conner's site, "Pennsylvania Politicals" -


Back to the weekly Dealer plate updates.  Toward the end of the run of the '79 base dealer plates, it appears that the A-series New Car Dealer and B-series Used Car Dealer plates were running out of numbers, and since the '79 base Dealer plates were not being replaced by the new '84 series, it was decided that for the future, all dealer types would be merged into a single dealer type as far as plate serial numbers.  Therefore it appears that the new '84 Dealer plates used the few remaining A & B-series plates and then moved into the D-series, and likely started where the '79 base D-series Tractor Dealer left off.  It also appears that the first D-series plates had PENNSYLVANIA on top whereas later plates at some point after D27-270 had DEALER on top.  The A-series image is from Clayton Moore and the two D-series images are courtesy of


1984 Dealer continued.  As the now-generic Dealer plates progressed from the D-series into the E-series, the E-series would have started above where the E-series Trailer plates left off on the '77 base.  Then as the E-series filled up, the progression eventually expanded into the F-series which had not been used on the '77 base.  The F-series ran at least as high as the F88-000F series.  It is not believed that any G-series plates were ever issued.  When the full scale plate replacement was done in 1999 - 2000 the new series started at H00-000H.  These images are courtesy of


Also for 1984, the C-series M.V. Business plates were no longer issued; however, those in use on the '79 base were allowed to continue and to be renewed.  The M.V. Business category was then split into four groups, the largest of which was Repair/Service Towing. The other three included Salvage Yard, Transporter and Repossessor.  Each of these new types had their own distinctive prefix. RS & RT for Repair/Service Towing which used the legend REP / SER TOWING and later changed to REPAIR TOWING.  Salvage Yard used a WL prefix, while Transporter and Repossessor used DT and RE respectively.  So for a number of years M.V. Business, Rep/Ser Towing, Salvage Yard, Transporter and Repossessor all co-existed.


As a side note, about 1991 or '92, dealerships that had been listed as Tractor Dealers, even though their plates no longer indicated such, were given a new plate type called Dealer-Farm Equipment.  About the same time another new dealer type was introduced called Dealer-Multi Purpose.  Then in 1995 another new type with Trailer Dealer legend was issued.  If all of this is not confusing enough, around the same time a Watercraft/Trailer Dealer plate was issued.



Posting 5/31/2015

This is the first image I've seen of an Antique Vehicle in a vanity format, although we have shown a few personalized Classic Vehicle plates and one Antique Motorcycle plate.  This picture was provided by Steve Ondik.



Here's the first image of an Ohio River Trail Council plate.  The picture was provided by Bruce Sakson.  I failed to track this plate type; however, Tom Perri ( lists them as having 18 active tags back in December of 2014.



The Arizona State University (Alumni Association I presume) is the latest organization to get an organizational plate in PA.  No plates on the street yet.



Gettysburg College's old plate gets a new look on the far left.  An unusual feature of the old style plate was that the serial number was limited to 4 digits.  Normally organizational plates have 5 digits, with a handful of exceptions.  Wonder if the new design will stay with the old format or go with 5?


Here's the latest ATV Class 2 plate with a 2-year validation sticker.  It was provided by Vern Kreckel.  Class 2 ATVs are larger and heavier than their smaller counterparts.  It appears that all Class 2 plates use the letters X, Y or Z.  The first plates issued had the letter in position 5 , then later in the 4th position and now in the 3rd position.  These plates are issued by DCNR (Department of Community and Natural Resources) and not by PennDOT.  DCNR also handles snowmobile registration.


I'm not completely certain if the Auto Manufacturer came out in '78 or '79, but since it is undated and has sticker wells, so I'm going to list it with the other '79 dealer types.  (Note that this is not a new plate on this website.)  According to the December 1988 issue of the ALPCA Newsletter, Governor Shapp asked for 125 Auto Manufacturer plates to be made as a courtesy to the new VW plant in Mt. Pleasant.  These plates were used up to the late '80s or possibly 1990.  The exact beginning and end numbers are uncertain but they are between A38-800A and A38-999A.  This number series came right out of the New Car Dealer series as there was no such Auto Manufacturer plate type up to that point.  Obviously upon closure of the plant, these plates have become highly collectible and sought after.  I've been fortunate enough to acquire the one shown here.


Here are examples of the 1979 New Car Dealer base on the far left from Clayton Moore and Used Car Dealer on the near left from  The '79 base was issued up thru 1983, and could be revalidated up to around 2001 or so when the www base plate replacement took place.  Beginning in 1984, both the '79 base and '84 yellow on blue base were in use concurrently.


This C-series Motor Vehicle Business is being cross listed to help complete the series.  This is a '79 base with 1981 and 1982 renewal stickers.




This 1979 base D-series Tractor Dealer and E-series Trailer Dealer are also being cross listed from the Tractor Dealer and Trailer Dealer sections.  The Trailer Dealer picture is thanks to Clayton Moore





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John McDevitt, Walnutport, PA

ALPCA #4376