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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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 4½" 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.
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
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
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
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.
More images are being added to the history
State Representative plates. Most of these image came from the
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
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
Thanks to Ned Flynn for sharing this plate
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 9½". 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.
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
Sons of the American Legionplate. 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
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
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