Snapped this Bronze Star
image while enjoying some of PA's beautiful scenery in our north-central
mountains. As the owner was about to enter his vehicles I asked his
permission to take the picture and thanked him for his service.
It's always treat to spot a number
1 plate, as I'm sure it was for
James (Jaska) Börner
who photographed this PA Choose
Life plate. This plate is also shown on
Tom Perri's PA Plates website
with a 9-11 sticker.
Another plate from Mr.
Börner is this current
Passenger plate he recently spotted.
These 1931 Passenger
images were sent to me by a friend, Deb Kaczmar from one of the Macungie car
shows. Don't know if this is a YOM plate or not, as that could be
determined by what was on the rear of the car. Can someone ID the vehicle?
I don't do a lot with older Passenger plates but when someone sends a nice
pair of older images, well they need to be shown.
No I'm not doing a run of old Passenger
plates (yet), but Charlie Metz sent this unique image of 3-digit 1954 Passenger
plate he recently acquired.
This undated Motor Boat License
(MBL) plate was issued for 1934, and by renewing the registration it could
be reused in 1935 and
1936. Apparently this concept did not work as well as expected and for
1937 plates again were issued annually. Besides being undated, this
plate also measured 6" by 12", with MBL stacked on the left and PENNA
stacked on the right. It is believed that the number series was 1 to 4
For 1937 MBL
plates went to a smaller size of 5⅛" by 9½", and remained this size until
some time in 1947 when plates had to be lengthened due to the need to go to
5 digits. Formatting also remained similar for a number of years
except for the annual change in colors. This '37 plate is white on red
and was provided by Jerry McCoy.
For '38 Motorboat
plates remained much the same except for the white on blue colors and the
year. Again the image was provided by Jerry McCoy.
These are 1957 cardboard templates that were
provided to help facilitate the plate mounting process
on a boat. Don't know what years these were used other than 1957, or
whether the cardboard is left over from the run of '54 cardboard plates.
Also, I understand that it was not necessary to mount the state-issued plates if the
registration number was painted or otherwise displayed on the bow of the boat.
Again I don't know if this rule applied to every year. Any additional information
would be appreciated.
latest style of Antique Motorcycle plates made their debut around May of
2013. They are becoming fairly common at motorcycle shows and events.
This series began at 01000. The plate pictured here is the new high.
This nice image came from Ryan Battin.
Ryan Battin also provided this nice image of
the latest high number U.S.
Marine Corps Veteran plate. These plates hit the street
around November of 2009, with the series beginning at 10001M/C
The next picture is a West Virginia
University (WVU) Alumni Association plate. This is not a
sample plate plate despite the all-zero configuration. Note the 12-97
validation sticker. This plate type likely dates back to 1996 and the
picture was also
provided by Arthur Levine.
The last of these first generation
plates is from
York College. Again thanks to Arthur Levine for the image.
The validation sticker is hard to read but the type goes back to 1995.
This week's Motorboat gems again are
from Jerry McCoy starting with this beautiful 3-digit 1939
Motorboat license plate.
These plates could be 1 to 4 numeric
characters in length and measured 5⅛" by 9½".
For 1940 the biggest change was the colors which were now black on white.
Again Jerry McCoy provided the picture.
1941 wasn't skipped, it was previously posted. For
1942 the only real
change was the color, now being white on blue. Jerry McCoy provided
the plate image.
The final image this week is a 1943 Motorboat
plate. In contrast, for 1943 there were no plates issued to cars and trucks in order the
conserve steel for the war effort. Only small rectangular tags and
strips were issued to renew those registrations, but motorboats still
got plates. They were black on yellow. Image from Jerry McCoy.
This very unique Passenger Vanity plate is likely the letter O, not the number zero. I'm sure it's quite an attention getter
at traffic lights. At first glance most
drivers would probably describe it as a 'zero-plate'. Quite a find, thanks to
This is the first Severely
Disabled Veteran plate on this new format that I have been able
to photograph. This latest version with flat screened legend,
wheelchair symbol and DV were first seen in June of 2013. It appears
like they started at D/V92500
with the current high being D/V93653.
These plates both represent
organizations that are still using fully embossed logos and plate legends.
Neither has switched to the graphic style on the visitPA base, and as such
are ineligible to be configured as a vanity plate. There are still
about 28 college and 30 fraternal and other organizational plates that are
not eligible to be personalized. This $100 option is only available on
plates that are on the visitPA graphic base. The Kings College
Alumni plate was spotted this week and the American Motorcyclist Association is from Tom Perri.
Even with those vanity-eligible organizations, I doubt that many plates will
be seen due to the price.
Some old plates just never die.
This old Passenger plate was likely issued around 1990 or '91, and despite it age,
has a current 4-15 validation sticker. The image is courtesy of Bill
These are State Senator
plates on the '84 base. These were issued from 1984 until
replacement plates were issued on the www base beginning in September of
1999. The image on the far left is a sample plate, and is formatted
correctly, except for the 0, which on an actual plate would indicate the
senatorial district, from 1 to 50. The plate image on the near left is from
eBay and shows a format I have never seen before with the use of
If someone can claim ownership or have knowledge of this plate please let me
know. In any case the PA in the keystone can be used in either the
prefix or suffix position allowing two vehicles to be registered.
These are not new images on this website
but are being added to the State Senator
history section from the current
Political Plates page. Note the variations in spacing and also
the use of the PA identifier in both the prefix and suffix position.
The last plate in the group, 17 PA, was provided by
This week's motorboat plate series begin
with this nice 1944
red on white edition. As was the practice at the time, these could be
1 to 4 characters in length and measured 5⅛" by 9½". Thanks again to
Jerry McCoy for the nice image.
The following year, 1945, saw
the motorboat plate colors reversed, but the rest of the formatting remained
the same. Jerry McCoy provided this image.
plates, except for the color change are again the same. These plates
used the same 5⅛" by 9½" size from 1937 up to 1947 where part way thru the
year the 5-digit serial number necessitated a longer plate. See below.
The 1947 Motorboat
plate on the far left was posted last week and I was hoping to find a
5-digit version, as 5-digit plates were first issued part way thru '47.
The longer plate, now 5⅛" by 11" was found by Clayton Moore on eBay.
Somehow I missed the auction. Here is visual proof that there were two
plate sizes that year. If the new or previous owner would like credit
for the image, please let me know.
Also check out Tom's website (www.paplates.com)
for all the latest in highs and lots of pictures. Tom tracks the high
numbers of every PA type.
Here's an image of the first DARE plate issued in
PA. The image is from Andrew Pang.
Many of the older fully embossed
organizational plates have moved to the semi-flat format with color graphics on
the visitPA base. A very few, such as this Blue Lodge plate,
have had an intermediate run of about 200 plates where the visitPA base was used
in conjunction with the older embossed graphics, before going over to flat
graphics and tag legend. Sound confusing? Click the link above to see
all three versions of the plate.
plate on the far left may not be that elusive plate that we are all looking for
but it does help to narrow the range of an early change to Person with
Disability plates. The first group of these PD plates on the
www base used a slightly
larger PD and wheelchair symbol as compared to later plates. The later
plates, example on the near left, shows a plate after the change to the smaller
PD and wheelchair. It may be easier to see this difference by clicking the
thumbnails to enlarge them. The change has been narrowed down to between
PD5700A and PD5900A. The image is from Ryan Battin.
In a news article from June 9, 2004,
from the Pennsylvania Independent, Andrew Staub describes an effort by State
Representative Tom Murt to eliminate legislative plates. Click the link
below to see the article. Also the article featured this Retired Senator
plate. For what it's worth, I was unable to find any such current legislation.
While on the subject of State Senator
plates, this image of a '77 base with '86 and '87 stickers was added to
Plate History Section 2.
The plate now belongs to long time contributor and fellow plate collector
This nice 4-digit 1947 Motorboat
image comes from Jerry McCoy. 1947 was the first year for plate numbers to
exceed 4 characters (9999) which necessitated going to 5 digits. The plate to the left
measures 5⅛" by 9½". As can be seen, there
is no way to squeeze another number into the available space. As a result
I believe the 5-digit plates were enlarged to 5⅛" by 11". Unfortunately I don't have a
plate or photo of a 5-digit version. Can anyone help?
plates were all the larger 5⅛" by 11" size regardless of the number of
characters. This plate size remained in use until 1950. The 4-digit
plate image came from Jerry McCoy, while the source of the 5-digit is unknown.
For 1949 Motorboat
plates remained the same size, even for low numbers such as this 3-digit tag.
The formatting remained the same as the '48 above except for the annual
color change. This very nice yellow on red plate picture is also from Jerry McCoy.
Finally this week is this 1950 Motorboat
License. The plates have been reduced in size to 4½" by 8" which required using a smaller, more condensed font. The plates are
now the same size as motorcycle plates of the time, and remained that size thru 1963,
the final year of issue. While I'm sure Motorboat tags are not the most
popular plates for collectors, there is no doubt they are the most colorful.
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.
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.
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
I need an image of a 1957 State Senator and
one of the '66 designs with the PA in a keystone.
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 4½" 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.