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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The PA Game Commission is now
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
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.
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 theOmnibus plate
history section. The changeover points between when the 1974 base left off and the 1984 base
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.
Thanks to the many generous contributors, I
have been able to complete or nearly complete several runs of older plates over
the past few months. At the moment I am pretty much out of older plate
images. If anyone has a collection of plates or pictures of a particular type
not displayed on this site, let's talk.
PA Plate News
Mellon University organizational plate is now listed by PennDOT as
not available. The plate had about a 10-year run with about 396 plates
Ducks Unlimited has given their plate a
facelift to the newer graphic style base. Prototype image coming.
a pair right off the plate press. These
Severely Disabled Veteran andAntique Motorcycle plates have had many showings on this website thanks to Ryan
Battin. Nice number on the Antique MC. Both plates represent new
I have actually received pictures of this
plate from 3 people. This very low number Save Wild Animals -
Tiger plate, from Ryan Battin, happens to be the best image.
After a run from 1996 to 2013, this plate was discontinued and was replaced by
the less popular
Support Your Zoo plate.
This larger image and cropped image of a Limousine plate were
provided by James (Jaska) Börner. The picture appears to have been taken
near Philadelphia City Hall. The plate is also the new high.
This 1917 Motorcycle
plate is one of some 24,000 that were issued that year. The series is
believed to have started a plate # 1 and advanced in an all-numeric progression. The colors were white on brown.
The plates were
4½ inches high, and were either
6 or 8 inches wide depending on the number of digits. The plate gallery
shows 3, 4 and 5 digit plates. Thanks to Dave Lincoln for the nice image.
This 1970 motorcycle sample
shows a change in format that took place when the undated '65 series ran
out of 4-character combinations and went to a revised 5-character format. This
change likely took place about 1967 and the use of 5 characters eliminated the
space for the stacked MC. The MC was replaced by the legend MOTORCYCLE
along the bottom of the plate. The 5 character format was 0A000 to 9Z999.
you to Dave Lincoln for the nice image.
pair of beauties from Dave Lincoln are these first issue Municipal
Motorcycle plates. These came out in 1974 or '75 after the full-size
municipal plates were first issued in 1971. They were only in use a couple
years when they were replaced by the '77 base. The MG000 plate is a
sample. Logic might suggest that if there were Municipal MC plates, were
there also Commonwealth Official Use motorcycle plates. The answer is no.
State Police motorcycles use standard issue motorcycle plates.
I have been following Antique Motorcycle
plates for a number of years and have probably seen close to a thousand plates,
and have close to 150 pictures, but have never seen an all-numeric plate, except
for the one pictured here and the new style plate the visitPA base. If 1, 2, or 3-digit Antique
Motorcycle plates were produced, most likely it would have been at the beginning
of production, however, the 18 plate on the left has wide hole spacing,
indicating it was probably issued after 1985 when regular motorcycle plates
switched to the wide hole spacing. Therefore I believe the 18 plate was
not issued as part of a normal plate progression but rather was made up as a favor, souvenir
or test. There were 2-character alpha-numeric plates issues, such a A5 and
C8, I have one in my collection, but it is unknown if single letter plates were
This is quite a lineup of Antique Motorcycle
Sample plate images. I can't say with certainty in which order they was
produced, but the center plate with the letters
centered, is the only plate with the wide bolt hole spacing, making it the last
one of the older style issued. The plate on the far left is the first
sample I've seen with the Q 00 formatting. This plate is courtesy of Dave
The plate on the far left is a front 2015
Inaugural plate and the # 17 plate is for the rear. These
plates were produced for members of the Governor's inauguration committee as souvenir
plates and placed on the dashboard for vehicle identification during
Inauguration event on January 20. Although rear plates were produced, they
were not used due to the overall negativity that the public has toward
legislative officials and concerns about terrorism. Governor Tom Wolf was
offered #1 and Lt. Governor Mike Stack was offered #2.
These Honoring Our
Veterans plates became available in November of 2012, and they have
just surpassed the 2,000 mark; however, the starting point was 00100H/V, so
technically 1,900 plates have been issued. These are one of the
Fund plate series, and have a price tag of $35, however the vanity version costs
an additional $100. Thanks to Ryan Battin for sharing the image.
Bruce Bufalini shares this traffic shot
of a high number Thiel
Collegeplate. It's only the second image of such a plate.
Thiel College is located in Greenville, Mercer County, PA, about 90 minutes from
Pittsburgh and Cleveland.
The value of this Disabled Veteran
plate picture from Nick Tsilakis is in what it contains. It helps to
narrow down the changeover point between Format 7 and 8. Format 7 used a
keystone separator, as shown here, while format 8 went back to the expected dash
separator. The changeover is between DV-34641 and DV-34708. These
changeovers do not always occur at logical points.
Here's a gem — this 1916 Motorcycle
plate from the collection of Dave Lincoln. This low number plate is on the
narrow six-inch base, while four and five-digit plates were eight inches wide.
Click the link to see three, four and five-digit examples. This and
several of Dave's plates shown here are being auctioned on eBay but ending later
in the day on 2/8.
Some may say that Sample plates aren't the
real thing, but for many collectors it's a sought-after category. They
fill a special niche in that they help preserve plate formatting and generally
survive the ravages of time and wear with few scars. So it goes with this
plate from Dave Lincoln. Confused with Motorboat plates? Motorboat
plates at the time used MBL as the designator and they were larger. I'm
not aware of a Motorbike Dealer plate until the Moped Dealer plates came along in the
Here's another unusual sample. Also
from 1938 is
this Motorcycle Dealer
sample. By 1938 the use of an X to designate a dealer plate had been
replaced by the MCD. Actual plates would have had 1 to 3 numeric
characters, and likely didn't exceed a few hundred plates. This image is
also from Dave Lincoln.
Here is a
pair of undated
1965 Motorcycle Dealer and '65
Motorcycle license plates courtesy of Dave Lincoln.
This was the first year for a series that ran through 1970, with date stickers
for all but the first year. These particular plates with the nice low
number were actually displayed as samples in one of the State locations. Dave
obtained these, directly from a collector-friendly Motor Vehicle Department
employee who rescued them from the recycle bin.
Here's a nice 1965 Motorcycle Sample with a '66 sticker. There were several alpha-numeric variations
on this base. Most used 1 letter and 3 numbers but as these combinations ran
out there was a 5-character version without the stacked MC and with the word
MOTORCYCLE along the bottom border. I do believe there were samples plates
made with 5 zeros, but no plates were issued with five numeric characters.
This image is also from Dave Lincoln.
The last image this week is also thanks to
Dave Lincoln, and is also the first image (on this website) of a '78 Motorcycle Dealer.
This was the final year for an embossed date, after which the undated '79 base
was re-stickered and used until the plate changeover around 2000.
Farm Truck plate
Jordan Irazabal and
The is only the second of these spotted on the visitPA base. The
changeover took place at the start of the D suffix, and was first seen in
October of 2014.
It seems challenging to get a good clean
image of a
Bronze Star for Valor plate. This is a good picture
unfortunately the frame is kind of a detractor. These are also much less
plentiful than the Bronze Star
which has some 370 plates in use, while the Bronze Star for Valor has slightly
more than100 plates issued. This image also came
Jordan Irazabal and
I'm certain very few of us have one of these
hanging on our plate wall. Dave Lincoln has been kind enough to share
two of these extremely rare PA Commercial Motorcycle plate pictures.
These were only issued from 1938 until 1949, except 1943 when metal tabs were
issued. In 1950 a change in the registration fee structure eliminated the
need for this plate type. All of the plates were formatted similarly with
COMM over MC over PA and the 2-digit year all to the left of the serial number.
Serial number started at 1 and I have never seen one higher than 675.
Over the past couple weeks we've pretty well
covered the H-series bus plates, but we still have a couple O series images to
show. This nice, low-number, 1926 Bus plate
image is from Jake Eckenrode. 1926 was also the last year that letter
characters were the same size as the numeric characters, thus the large O.
This is also a short plate likely measuring 6" by 10". Larger sizes were
used on plates with additional characters; however, the actual size or sizes
need to be confirmed.
The final O-series bus plate image for this week is this
is also from Jake Eckenrode's
collection. Note that the letter O is now a smaller character than the
numbers. This change took place in 1927 making it easier to differentiate.
This also appears to be 6" by 10" in size, while 1928 the 5-character bus plate
shown in the plate gallery measures 6" by 13".
There are still about 8 years without bus
plate images, and other years with missing format and size variations.
Would you believe these are both 1929 Legislative plates?
The L-16 plate on the far left follows the same format as the 1928 Legislative
plates; however, based on information from Jake Eckenrode, it appears that there
was a change in the design of the Legislative plates part way thru the year
giving the plates a bolder more distinctive look. It's likely all of the
early issue plates were replaced with the plates bearing the LEGISLATIVE legend.
Interesting piece of plate history. Thanks to Jake for sharing some of his
vast plate knowledge, thanks to Dave Lincoln for the use of the early
legislative image, and thanks to the ALPCA Archives for allowing me to use the
This is the first image of a 1919 Motorcycle
plate on this website. Thanks to Dave Lincoln for the nice image. As
can be seen, PA had not yet adopted the standardized colors of dark blue and
yellow. Some 25 thousand plates were issued that year, and plates came in
two lengths depending on the number of characters. 1 to 3 number plates
were 6 inches across, while 4 and 5 character plates were 8". All were 4½"
Motorcycle plate shows that the formatting was somewhat similar to
the '19 plate above. The 2-digit year is now stacked over PA where the '19
plate was just the opposite. It's kind of hard to distinguish on this
plate but the colors had become standardized to yellow and dark blue. The
other interesting thing about this plate is the high number. BMV records
show some 13,600 plates were issued making this close to the end. On the
other end of the spectrum the image gallery page shows a picture of the # 3
plate — quite a contrast between the 6-inch single-digit plate and the 8-inch
5-digit plate. Another thank you to Dave Lincoln for the nice image.
It appears that 1931 Motorcycle plates began
to use alpha-numeric formatting for the first time. Plates were limited to
4 characters. Once 9999 was reached, an alpha prefix was used with up to 3
number, or 2 numbers in the plate shown here. Some 12,432 plates were
issued. Thanks to Dave Lincoln again for the fine image.