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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 8/31/2014

Following the passing of House Bill 770 on July 2, now called Act 23, it is now possible to personalize many of PA's plate types.  This includes types that may not seem logical.  For example, Apportioned Trucks and School Vehicles plates can now be registered as vanity tags, as can Repossessor and Moped Dealer plates.  Since the scope of this bill includes so many plate types, a new column is being added to most of the plate galleries with the column heading "IS PLATE VANITY ELIGIBLE?"  If the plate is eligible, the additional cost will be shown.  For most plates an additional $100 is required, $76 for passenger plates, and $50 is required for a few veteran and handicapped types.  I think the high price will deter many potential buyers.  Also, many of the newly authorized vanities have a weight limit of 14,000 lb.  It may take a few weeks to complete this project.  If you see any errors, please let me know.


A contributor sent me a link to a WHTM-27 news article and video of a proposal by State Representative Mike Regan to make PA license plates easier to read.  He says "They're called EZ-ID license plates, and instead of numbers they incorporate symbols, like stars or hearts, and only four characters."  Click the link above to see the article and video.


It didn't take long once these Pinnacle Health System plates hit the street for Arthur Levine to snap this picture.  And what better plate to photograph than the #1, while I would much prefer not to see the identity of plate partially obscured by a dealer frame.


Brendan Sherry snapped this nice Operation Iraqi Freedom plate recently.




This is a 1965 State Senator base with a '68 sticker.  There is no identifying legend but the 'PA' in either the prefix or suffix position and a serial number from 1 to 50 confirms the plate type.  This is not to be confused with U.S. Senator, which used USS-1, USS-2 or 1-USS, 2-USS at the time.  These plates were undated and could be revalidated thru 1970; however, in 1966 there was a redesign of the State Senator plate.  The new design placed the PA inside a keystone giving it a more distinctive look.  Beginning in 1966 both variations were in use at the same time up thru 1970.  This image was provided courtesy of Eric Conner.

I need an image of a 1957 State Senator and one of the '66 designs with the PA in a keystone.


Here's a pair of '71 base State Senator plates from Eric Conner on the far left, and from Clayton Moore on the near left.  This '71 base was used thru 1976.  The PA 12 plate has '72 and '73 validation stickers, while the PA 23 has a '76 sticker.  Note the refinements on this pair and compared to the '65 base above.


These weekly installments of motorboat plates have been fun.  This week we are starting with a couple of 1953 MBL plates.  The nice 4-digit plate follows the typical formatting of the era.  If the 5-digit plate looks different, it's actually made of cardboard or fiberboard.  Also shown is the reverse side.  In 1953 PA made a run using this alternate material.  Apparently cardboard and boats were not a winning combination as the following year all plates went back to metal.  I'm going to go out on a limb and say that plates below 10000 were metal.  Can anyone confirm this?  Again thanks to Jerry McCoy for these pictures.


Next is this 1954 Motorboat.  The formatting is similar in size and layout to other MBL plates made between 1950 and '54.  The color is white over a dark blue base.  The dimensions are 4" by 8" which is similar to motorcycle plates of the time.  Jerry McCoy provided this image.


The size stayed the same but not much else.  This 1955 Motorboat plate shows a number of changes.  This is the first time the expiration date was listed — it's part of the top border.  Gone is the MBL designator being replaced by MB now stacked on the right.  Also, the year has been reduced to two digits.  The biggest change is the obvious switch to the map base.  Except for yearly color variations, this basic design was kept until motorboat plates were discontinued after the '63 issue.  Jerry McCoy provided this photo.


The last picture for this week is this '59 Motorboat tag.  The colors appear to from the automotive series, however, they are reversed for this year.  Thanks to Jerry McCoy for all the great pictures.




Posting 8/24/2014

Sometimes the first image captured of a new plate is not of the highest quality, but in this case it's picture-perfect. Thanks to Tom Perri and Jordan Irazabal for this Birdsboro Union Fire Company plate image.  The organization is from Berks County.



Another very nice image is this Bronze Star plate from Tom Perri.




This Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation plate picture was provided by Arthur Levine.




Here's a new organizational plate Community LifeTeam EMS from the Dauphin County / Harrisburg region.  No plates are on the road yet.




Here's a '71 base House of Representatives  plate with 75 and 76 stickers.  The 12 would represent the legislative district and the image was provided by Eric Conner.

This almost completes the run of State Representative plates, except for plate run between 1984 and 1999, of which an image is still needed.


This modern series of State Senator plates began in 1957 after the early Legislative plates were discontinued back in 1935.   The plate pictured here is 1958 base with a '62 sticker.  The PA in the serial number is the designator for State Senator and can be used as a prefix or a suffix, in later years word Senator was added to the plates.  This image was provided by Eric Conner.

I need an image of a 1957 State Senator plate if anyone has a plate or a picture of one, and would be so kind.


Each week I will continue to add more images of Pennsylvania's colorful motorboat plates until there is at least one image from every year.  This plate display is largely the result of Jerry McCoy sharing images from his very complete collection.  The plate to the left is a 1958 Motorboat.  These were issued with all-numeric serial numbers starting each year at 1.


Next in line is this '59 Motorboat plate.  From 1955 up to 1963, the last year of issue, these plates were somewhat similar to motorcycle plates.  They used the same map outline, expiration and PENNA legend, but Motorcycle plates never used 5 characters until 1965 which is after Motorboat plates were discontinued.  Also, while this plate may look like a Bureau of Motor vehicles color scheme, the colors are actually reversed from automotive use.  Image courtesy of Jerry McCoy.


The next plate in the lineup is this 1960 Motorboat, formatting is similar to above, colors are blue on white.  Again thanks to Jerry McCoy for this picture.



This 4-digit '61 Motorboat plate on the far left is the final image for this week, and was again provided by Jerry McCoy.  This is the only year to use the same colors as standard plates, but Motorcycle plates at that time were on a '68 base and used renewal stickers.  See near left image for comparison.  The M/C plate image is from Jeff Francis.



Posting 8/17/2014

This Blue Knights International Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club plate has been on this site before, but this is a better image of the #1 plate.  Thanks to Jordan Irazabal for the picture.



Jordan Irazabal also shared this Delaware County Fallen Firefighter and EMS Memorial Committee plate image.  That long tag line, even though it's been slightly abbreviated on the plate, is just about at the limit for compressing the font.



Here's a nice Marywood University plate which is also the current high.  Ryan Battin provided the picture.




Speaking of new highs, this Person with Disability - Motorcycle plate is also the highest reported to date.  The small flat screened PD is not a part of the registration number, and large embossed P is part of the registration number but at least so far is a static, non-advancing character.  The last alpha character is also the last to advance.


Pinnacle Health System now has about 19 active plates.




The consensus of several friends who watch the patterns and trends of PA plates is that there is little chance that this prototype will make it to production as depicted here.  There will be a PA Monuments - Gettysburg 1863 plate around October 30, but most likely it will be on the all-too-familiar family of plates visitPA base.  Click this link to see a news article on State Representative Harry Readshaw's plans to celebrate the debut of this new plate.  The plate will fund the maintenance of the Gettysburg Battlefield monuments.  Thanks to Ned Flynn for sharing this article.


Here is a very nice 1958 base State House of Representatives plate from Eric Conner.  These plates could be revalidated with stickers up thru 1964.  The tab slot seen on early issues was never used.  The HR, used here in the suffix position, could also be configured as a prefix.  The number represents the legislative district.


Following the '58 base above is this undated 1965 House of Representatives plate also courtesy of Eric Conner.




Here is a pair of 1951 Motorboat License plates.  Note the 4-digit and 5-digit displays, while 1, 2 and 3-digit formats were also utilized.  These plates measure 4" by 8" and the colors are white over blue.   The far left plate is mine while the 5-digit plate is from Jerry McCoy.  Jerry has kindly sent photos of almost all of his very nice Motorboat plates, including a number of Motorboat Dealer plates which I will gladly post over the next several weeks.


Here are a 5-digit '61 Motorboat plate.  Note the similarity of the colors to street vehicle plates sometimes causing confusion between the Motorboat and Motorbike plates, but there were no Motorbike plates after 1949.  Thanks to Jerry McCoy for the image.



And finally here's a nice 3-digit '63 Motorboat plate.  These plates were issues with up to 5 digits.  Again many thanks to Jerry McCoy for sharing his collection.




Posting 8/10/2014

Here it is — the Holy Grail of PA license plates.  The Collectible Motorcycle plate type has been available since 2000 and this is only the 3rd plate issued.  And it is the first plate of this type to be photographed.  For reasons unknown, some of the lower numbered plates appear to have been skipped.  Many thanks to Daniel Selin for all his efforts in getting this plate registered to a bike he recently acquired, and a special note of appreciation to Ryan Battin for helping to spearhead this monumental effort.  Jordan Irazabal and I also played a supporting role.  This plate definitely helps fill a long-standing void in the history of Pennsylvania license plates.


Here's the current high Disabled Veteran high.  Unlike its counterpart, the Severely Disabled Veteran, this plate type is still being issued on the fully embossed base.  Both of these plates are likely to retain their current color format into the future since the vehicle code specifies the design of these plates.


This #1 Blue Mountain Jeep Alliance plate with a 6-15 sticker was spotted by Jim McDevitt.  The same plate was spotted some years ago with a 6-09 sticker.  Take notice that the #1 Jeep plate happens to be on a Ford.




This the first image of a NASCAR 21 Ricky Rudd plate.  These were only available for the 2004 and 2005 racing seasons and a total of only 15 were issued.  Many NASCAR type variations were issued.  Some sold well, some poorly while others sold no plates at all.  I'm still listing about 16 NASCAR plates, where plates were sold in such small quantities that no photos have been taken to document the plate design..


Note the use of the standard font on the serial number on the Classis Car plate in the center.  This was part of a run of only 1000 plates in the 20000 series, and could be considered error plates.  The plate on the near left shows the typical antique font which was used up until the plates were redesigned to give them the generic 'family of plates' look.


The Birdsboro Union Fire Department is now sporting about 16 first time plates on the road.




More images are being added to the history section of State Representative plates.  Most of these image came from the current State Representative plate section but the HR170 plate in the center is courtesy of Tom Perri.  Note the use of HR in both the prefix and suffix position, as well as the narrow and wide REPRESENTATIVE legend.  The number represents the legislative district.


Following last week's Air Force Reserve plate comes this first generation U.S. Army Reserve plate.  This plate also uses the cursive Pennsylvania 'Friend' font.  Thanks to Ned Flynn for sharing this plate picture.



This is a 1941 Motorboat plate.  The earliest plates issued in 1931 were 6" by 12", then in 1937 the size was reduced to 5" by 9".  Later 5-digit serial number required longer 5" by 11" plates, then in 1950 another size change took place.  More details and pictures in future weeks. 



This pair of 1957 Motorboat plates is similar in size and formatting to Motorcycle plates of the day.  Serial numbers ranged from single digits well into 5-digits.  The colors are white on blue.  The source of these images is unknown.




Posting 8/3/2014

Here the latest Philadelphia Union Foundation high plate.  The image was provided by Spike Rogan.




This is also a new high Blue Lodge plate from Ryan Battin.




This Lehigh Township Volunteer Fire Company No 1 plate is not a great image but it is the latest high.




Jordan Irazabal provided this very nice low number Franklin and Marshall plate on the far left.  The other plate on the near left is an early Franklin and Marshall sample plate from back in the 1990s.  Their plate program never quite got off the ground at that time, but the picture proves that they were in the game.


Here is a prototype image of the new special organization plate Sons of the American Legion plate.  No plates of this type are believed to be in use yet.



This Street Rod plate seen at a recent car show also represents a new high.  More Street Rod highs coming next week.




Thanks to Ned Flynn for sharing this first generation U.S. Air Force Reserve plate image.  For anyone not familiar, these were not considered military plates, but rather they were organizational plates.  While they were organizational plates, they lacked a logo or symbol.  This holds true for all five of the military reserve plates.  Note the use of the cursive Pennsylvania 'Friend' font.  I don't recall seeing this on other military reserve plates before, but there are very few to compare it to.  This is also a very low number, so possibly later plates used the more traditional PENNSYLVANIA font.


This is the first time I've shown Motorboat plates on this website.  Ed Coghill sent these images with questions about how to tell these from Motorbike plates.  The simplest explanation I can give is all MBL plates were Motor Boat License plates, and the MBL prefix was used up thru 1954, after which just MB was used in the suffix position.  Motorboat plates were discontinued after 1963.  Motorbike plates on the other hand used MB up thru 1949 after which the plates were discontinued.

Shown here is a very nice '52 Motorboat plate and a '62 Motorboat plate.  I will post one or two plates from my own collection over the next week or so.  If anyone has plates or pictures, I'll gladly post additional images.


Here's a nice '77 base House of Representatives / Legislator plate with a 78 and an 80 sticker.  The source of this image is unknown.  If it's yours, let me know and I'll give you credit for it.



Finally this week is this House of Representatives sample.  This sample plate is a reasonably accurate representation of the plates issued from 1984 until the plates were replaced in late 1999.  Note the plate legend Legislator has now been replaced with Representative.  The use of that term continues to this day.


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Images and photos are always welcome.  Please send to:

John McDevitt, Walnutport, PA

ALPCA #4376