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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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  Antique, Classic, etc.

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  Dealer & MV Business

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  2006 Archives (from 7/22)

Posting 3/22/2015

Here's the first image of a vanity version of a Veteran plate.  This plate type allows up to 5 characters + the required stacked U over S.  The plate was spotted by Nick Tsilakis.  Most of the Veteran plate types, with the exception of Korean War Veteran, Pearl Harbor Survivor, World War II Veteran and Medal of Honor, are now available to be personalized.  Most of the plates have a $100 price tag while a few disabled veteran types are $50.


Here's the very latest Antique Vehicle plate, shared with us by Ryan Battin.  These plates seem to be progressing steadily from the FM series back in August of 2013 to the current RN series a little more than a year-and-a-half later.  Great plate for a nurse.


This Northampton Fire Department (Northampton, PA) plate has been added to the list of pending / proposed plates.  The plate is not yet on the PennDOT list of organizational plates, and certainly not yet on the road.



Alcova Jones had this 1945 Motorbike (MB) plate on the far left, and this 1942 Motorcycle Dealer (MCD) plate on the near left, up for auction on eBay.  I inquired about using the pictures.  He said OK and would like to give the credit to his dad, Edward F. Jones, who passed away in 2009, since the tags were originally used by him when he rode in the 1930s and 40s. He lived in Jenkintown, a suburb of Philadelphia.  Nice when a plate has a story behind it.


Clayton Moore has provided quite a few new images starting with this 1916 Tractor E+3 digit.  If you recall Tractor plates from their inception in 1914 up thru 1927 used the E prefix which stood for Engine or short for Traction Engine.  My image gallery also shows plate E1792 (E+4 digits) for that year.  In spite of the longer serial number both plates appear to be the same size at approximately 6" x 14" which differs from the the sizes shown in the ALPCA Archives.


Next we have a 1917 Tractor E+3 digit Tractor plate also from Clayton.  Again the image gallery also shows plate E2234 (E+ 4 digits) for that year.  I do believe the plate pictured here measures about 6" x 14" while the E2234 (E+ 4 digits) measures 6" x 16" although it's difficult to discern that difference looking at the pictures.


And another E+3 digit 1918 Tractor plate from Clayton Moore.  Again this one is a companion to the E+4 digit plate previously posted.  In this case the plate shown here measures 13⅝" x 6" while the E+4 digit plate measures 16" x 6".  Unfortunately it's hard to maintain the relative size and aspect ratio when displaying plate images.


The final tractor plate for the week is a E+3 digit 1920 Tractor.  If you click to enlarge the thumbnail it's easier to see the plate.  This plate series went from E 1 to E 999, then for the first time a dash was added to the serial number as shown elsewhere on the E1-254 plate.  All of the 1920 plates are believed to be 16" x 6".  Again thanks to Clayton Moore for sharing his plates.


This is the first image on this website of a 1939 Trailer plate.  The progressing of the series would have been 0001 to 9999, then A000 to Z999, and finally 0A00 to 9Z99, if needed; however neither the '38 or '40 plates extended into the 0A00 series.  Thanks to Clayton Moore for the image.


Here's a 1978 Tractor Dealer.  This is the last dated year for this plate type.  The '79 plate was undated and used stickers until the introduction of the Dealer-Farm Equipment plate in 1991 or '92.  Some time in the mid-'80 the alpha-numeric formatting derailed when the A series, new car dealer, and the B series, used car dealer plates ran out of numbers.  As a result the D and E series were needed for new and used car plates, and eventually the F-series came about.


Check back next week for more dealer plates and trailer plates, and whatever else comes along in the meantime.



Posting 3/15/2015

Recently spotted this low number International Association of Fire Fighters plate.  If you click the link you can also see the number zero and number 1 plates.  This plate type is eligible to be personalized.  With some 6000 of these plates in use, a few vanities are likely to be issued.



Long ago I decided that I would probably never do a dealer plate history section.  The complexity of the effort does make the process a little daunting.  As a result I never collected many dealer plates and the same goes for pictures.  Now Clayton Moore has provided several dealer plates and well . . . I can't say no.  It may never be a complete history, but here goes.  Just for the record I currently have dealer history sections on Auto Manufacturer, Dealer-Farm Equipment, Dealer-Multi-Purpose, Moped Dealer, Motorboat Dealer, Motorcycle Dealer, Motor Vehicle Business, Repair/Service Towing, Repossessor, Salvage Yard, Snowmobile Dealer, Trailer Dealer, Transporter, and Watercraft Trailer Dealer.  What am I missing?

The first plate in this new section is a 1964 Transit Dealer.  You may ask what is a Transit Dealer?  I ask the same question.  The formatting is very similar to Motor Vehicle Business plates that were introduced in 1966, but the question remains, was the Transit Dealer the predecessor to the Motor Vehicle Business?  To add more confusion to the mix, there was also a Miscellaneous Dealer plate (X prefix) at the time.  In any case, it appears that in 1966 the Transit Dealer and Miscellaneous Dealer were merged into, or replaced by, the Motor Vehicle Business plate.  Maybe in time these questions can be answered, or maybe someone can explain it.


Here are the companion '64 Dealer plates to the Transit Dealer above.  On the far left is a New Car Dealer plate, the first A in the serial number indicates new car dealer, and this character does not advance.  This plate is from my collection.  The next plate is a Used Car Dealer plate, where the B indicates used car dealer, and again does not advance.  The near left plate is a Miscellaneous Dealer with the characteristic X prefix.  The source of these last two plate images is unknown.  If they're yours please let me know.


Here is a very nice, very low number 1965 New Car Dealer plate image from Clayton Moore.  This would have been the 9th or 10th plate produced.  Dealer plates had the year embossed in '64 and '66, but skipped that feature in '65.  Maybe there were plans to revalidate them with stickers like was done with most other plate types that year.


Also from Clayton Moore is this pair of Trailer Dealer plates.  The E10-000E format during these years identifies these plates as Trailer Dealers.  Sometime in the mid-80 the A-series New Car Dealer and B-series Used Car Dealer were running out of numbers so the D series (Tractor), E series (Trailer) and eventually the F series plates were assigned as needed and were no longer designated as a particular dealer type.  The plate on the far left is an undated plate that was issued for 1975 and then revalidated for 1976.  The plate on the near left is an undated 1979 base, although it may have been issued some time later in the run since it does not have the sticker wells that were seen on earlier '79 bases.  These plates were issued stickers and could be revalidated until Trailer Dealer plates with that legend were introduced in 1995.


Clayton Moore provided this very nice, high number, Farm Truck plate picture.  This may be considered an '84 base, however, over the years from the time they were first issued on this base until the plates were replaced in early 2000, there were several width variations of the FARM TRUCK legend.  First they were wide, then narrow, then wide again.  This would have been part of the last group.


This 4-digit 1923 Motorcycle plate has been added to the Motorcycle History section.  It is a companion to the 5-digit plate that was previously posted.  Cycle plates that year were all-numeric starting at 1 and running well up in the high 19-thousands.  This image is from Clayton Moore.



This beautiful 1954 Trailer plate come from Clayton Moore also.  The history section shows three other '54 Trailer plates, but this is the first 4-digit all-numeric version.  The others are a 5-digit all-numeric, and two different alpha-numeric formats.



I would like to express my gratitude to Clayton Moore for most of the plate images this week and for his continued contributions of material to this website over the years.  Because of people like Clayton and a number of other plate enthusiasts, collectors, photographers, historians and friends, this website has become an ever-growing resource aimed at documenting PA license plate history as well as supporting the hobby of plate collecting.



Posting 3/8/2015

Tom Perri captured the first image of a Community LifeTeam EMS plate.  Great find!  This is a relatively new organizational plate with tags first hitting the street in February of this year.  The organization is based in Harrisburg.



Speaking of new organizational plates, the Sons of the American Legion now has plates on the street.  No pictures yet.




Ryan Battin keeps us up to date with this latest high Vertical Motorcycle plate.  Apparently people still buy or customize motorcycles in the winter, but nobody's riding, at least not where I live.  You may recall that the the M and the C are static non-advancing characters, although these plates are eligible to be personalized allowing up to fiver characters.  The K in this plate is the last to advance.  This plate type is about one year old.




Here's the latest high Moped plate and the first one I've seen in the CB series.  The www base Moped plates started at BA000 back in 2000, then went to the visitPA base at BN000 in 2007.  Thanks to Ryan Battin for the image.



Prince Hall Masonic Lodge has given their plate a remake on the far left.  The symbol is now flat screened, where it had been embossed, and the tag legend has been updated and of course it's now on the visitPA base.  It is not known if existing plates will be replaced, or if old and new will both be in use.  This organization has had a plate program since 1988.


So what happened to the PA United State Olympic plate?  You may recall that Under Act 109 which was signed into law on July 2, 2014, Section 1354.1 of the Vehicle Code authorizes a PA United States Olympic license plate. There is no mention of this license plate on the PennDOT website except within the vehicle code.  So I posed the question to PennDOT and received the following response, "No information has been provided to us at this time. When that plate is made available, its availability will be promulgated."  I also posed a similar question to State Senator Argall, the sponsor of the bill. and received no response.  Two examples of our state government at its finest, and we still don't have an answer.


This nice image of a first generation Muhlenberg Alumni plate has been added to the Special Organizational Plate History Page.  The page lists all the organizational plates that were in use prior to the 1999-2000 plate reissue.  This plate type dates back to 1996.  The image came from a Tom Roberts website where he had it for sale.  Efforts to contact him have not been successful.


This is the first image of a 1956 Motorcycle Dealer plate.  These plates up thru 1967 began with plate # 1.  It is unknown how many were issued but it is likely less than 1000.  Thanks to Dave Lincoln for the image.



Beginning with the 1958 Motorcycle Dealer, the expiration date and the PA, as seen in the above plate, are missing.  The PA has been replaced be PENNA in the top border where the expiation date used to be.  This was the first multi-year plate and it is likely that the earliest issued plates had slots for tabs that were never used.  Instead stickers were issued for 1959 thru '61.  Thanks to Dave Lincoln for the image.


Here's an extremely nice undated 1965 Motorcycle Dealer plate from Dave Lincoln.  Not sure what the thinking was that there was no sticker and no embossed year, since the following year new plates with the year embossed were again issued.  The number series would have started at plate # 1.  It is not known if plates exceeded 1000.


So far this website has not done much to catalog and display older Passenger plates.  This is a rare, low number 1906 Passenger.  1906 was the first year for Passenger plates to be issued by the state, and the series started at # 1.  The oldest surviving 1906 plate is a pair of # 6 plates.  This image was sent to me by eBay seller black19821.



Posting 3/1/2015

On the far left Ryan Battin provided this first image of a an Antique Motorcycle plate in a personalized or vanity format.  On the near left is an example of a typical 5-digit  Antique Motorcycle plate.  Legislation in 2014 made it possible for many plate types to be issued as vanity plates.


On the far left is an image of a personalized / vanity version of a Gettysburg 1863 - Pennsylvania Monuments plate.  The image came from the Civil War Dance Foundation's website —    For more information on ordering this or another Special Fund plate, go to

The yellow on blue plate was part of an earlier private effort to raise funds for the preservation and restoration of the approximately 140 Gettysburg battlefield monuments.  These were used as front plates, what we might call a booster plate.


Spotted this new Municipal high plate.  Hate plate frames — at least you can read the entire plate.




Millersville University of Pennsylvania (Lancaster County) has given their plate a complete remake on the far left.  The symbol has been replaced, the name has been fully spelled out and of course it's now on the visitPA base.  It is not known if existing plates will be replaced, or if old and new will both be in use.  Millersville has had a plate program since 1994.


Ryan Batting spotted this change to the PA State Nurses Association plate on the far left.  On the near left is the version that has been in use since 2005.  As with the the plate above, it is not known if existing plates will be replaced, or if old and new will both be in use.  The older style plate image was provided by Tom Perri.


Having one Motorbike plate picture to post is an accomplishment, but this week we have two such images.  The first on the far left is a 1939 MB plate thanks to Lee Madigan.  The plate on the near left is a 1944 Motorbike from Dave Lincoln.  1938 plate would have been the first year for the map outline.  The 1944 plate also has the expiration date of 3-31-45 in the upper border.  The use of the expiration date began in 1941.


This is an inversion error plate.  May have been a bad day in the big house when this '77 base Motorcycle plate was made.  Somehow it got through, and the owner used it, judging by the wear around the bolt holes.  This unusual find was courtesy of Dave Lincoln.  I have been posting these plates in the Oddball section but I will also show them with other plates of their period.


I have thrown in another pair of pictures from Bill Pratt of an inversion error plate that was posted some time ago in the Oddball section.  This plate is a '71 base Motorcycle with a '75 sticker.  These oddballs are not everyone's cup of tea, but they definitely have a place in the hobby for some collectors.  These error plates still manage to slip thru the system.


The 4-digit '67 Motorcycle Dealer plate on the far left is from Dave Lincoln and is a new addition.  The 3-digit on the near left was from Jerry McCoy.  It was posted some time ago but is shown here again to compare the two.  Up thru 1967 the Motorcycle Dealer plate series started at plate # 1.  Beginning in 1968 M/C Dealer plates started at 1000. 


For 1969 Motorcycle Dealer plate were similarly formatted except for the obvious year change, and the series starting point mentioned above.  Dave Lincoln has been kind enough to let me use many of his very nice M/C Dealer plates and others.  Dave is downsizing his Pennsylvania collection and is selling many plates on eBay under the user name Tagbarn.  Watch for more in the future.



Posting 2/22/2015

As mentioned last week, Ducks Unlimited gave their plate a new graphic look with the duck image now flat screened, and the plate is now on the 'family of plates' / visitPA base.  This action also makes the plate eligible to be personalized.



Also mentioned last week was the addition of an organizational plate for the Lancaster Bible College, Lancaster, PA.  No plates are on the street yet.



Another new issues comes from the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society or PAWS.  No plates are on the street yet either; however, the organization is advertising the plate.



The PA Game Commission is now marketing the Pennsylvania Hunting Heritage specialty plate.  The fee for the plate is $56; however, the plate will not be available in a personalized version.  The link to their website is: then click on the Hunting License Plate.  The link will take you to the application form and instructions.  I don't think they are selling any samples.


Jordan Irazabal hit the eBay jackpot with this one.  What looked like a Dealer-Farm Equipment sample at first glance was actually the number 0 plate, or first plate of its type to be produced.  It's definitely the real thing as it came from a farm machinery dealership auction.  These plates were first issued in 1991 or '92.


Here's a very unusual 1967 Motorcycle Sample plate from Dave Lincoln.  What makes it unusual is the fact that it's a '63 base — see embossed year under the sticker. In addition the colors are reversed for a '63 base, but correct for a '67.  The sticker has 'PA0000' on it.  I don't think any '63 bases were actually isssed during the '65 to '70 run, so this anomaly only appears on samples like the one here.


This is the first and only image of a '72 Motorcycle Dealer plate on this website.  Thanks to Dave Lincoln for sharing so many images from his collection.  Motorcycle Dealer plates are much harder to find than regular motorcycle plates.  In addition where regular motorcycle plates would make multi-year runs, dealer tags were often reissued yearly.  In any case, my pictorial run of MC Dealer still has many gaps in it.


This is the first image of a 1931 Official (Use) plate to be posted on this site.  Thanks to Eric Tanner for making the image available.  These were issued to state-owned vehicles such as state police cars.  There are some gaps in the history of this plate type, such as were there plates issued in 1924 and '25?  Pictures are needs of a '34, '37 and '39 Official plates.  All the subsequent plates up thru 1956 have no official legend.


I obtained the 5-digit 1952 Trailer plate on the far left this week.  In comparison on the near left is a previously shown 4-digit low number.  What I don't have for this year are any of the alpha-numeric combinations of A000 to Z999, 0A00 to 9Z99, 00A0 to 99Z9, 000A to 999Z that are believed to have been issued before going to the 5-digit version.


I have updated the Omnibus plate history section.  The changeover points between when the 1974 base left off and the 1984 base began, have been refined, based on a plate spotted on eBay.  We now know that the '74 base ran at least as high as OB-24604 and the '84 base started at OB-29000 or below.  There also could have been a gap between numbers that were actually issued.  In other words '74 bases may have been produced as high as OB-28999, but only issued as high as 27000, meanwhile in anticipation of the '84 run the new plate series started at OB-29000.




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Images and photos are always welcome.  Please send to:

John McDevitt, Walnutport, PA

ALPCA #4376