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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.

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Posting 9/21/2014

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.



This nice Dickinson College plate was spotted in the same area.




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 high 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 digits.


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.



Posting 9/21/2014

This 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



In an effort to provide some of the missing pictures in the Organizational Plate History Page, Arthur Levine dug up several old photos he had.  This first picture is a Bloomsburg University plate with an 8-97 sticker.  These plates date back to about 1992.



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.



Posting 9/14/2014

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 Eric Conner.



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 Ceravola.




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 SEN.  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 Eric Conner.


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.



1946 Motorboat 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.


Posting 9/7/2014

Tom Perri notes that there is now one active Air Force Cross plate.  No photo yet, just an image of the prototype.

Also check out Tom's website ( 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.


The 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 sample 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 Clayton Moore.



This nice 4-digit 1947 Motorboat plate 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?


1948 Motorboat 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.


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 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.




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John McDevitt, Walnutport, PA

ALPCA #4376