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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 12/21/2014

PA Plate Trivia.  Pennsylvania first began using the state map outline on 1937 Passenger plates.  That feature continued to be used for many years but disappeared on most plates with the issue of the '71 base.  Which plates, if any, are still issued with the map outline? Answer next week.


Plate News.  For anyone who follows the progression of license plate serial numbers here's an update:

Motorcycle plates are currently in the T0000 series.  When the end of the series is reached at Z9999, the new series will begin at 0AA00.

Permanent Trailer plates which are currently in the PT000Z series, will soon go to the PT00A0 series.

An for anyone who follows highs, go to Tom Perri's PA Plates, .


These are not new plate images on this website, but they do require some explanation.  Neither of Pennsylvania's two United States Senators use state-issued U.S. Senate license plates, nevertheless the plates were made up and are kept in reserve in case they do choose to use them.  The images shown here are actual fax copies of the #1 plate in standard and reverse formats.  There would also be a #2 of each of these plates.  The reason for showing these now is that they have been added to the U.S. Senate history section.  If anyone has an image of a '57, '71 to '76, or '77 to '83 U.S. Senate plate, it would be most appreciated.


Ryan Battin snapped this high number School Bus plate recently.  This series started as SC-00000 on the www base on June 11, 2000.  When plates reached the SC-47000 mark in August of 2006, the base was shifted to the visitPA base.  That's a lot of school buses.



Here's another high number mark for the Conserve Wild Resources, or Otter plate.  This plate series was introduced in February 2002 following the termination of the Conserve Wild Resources - Owl plate program.  This picture was provided by Ryan Battin.


No map outline on this 1937 Bus plate?  It's not a mistake; 1937 was the last year before the state map outline became a standard part of bus plates until 1971.  Aside from the map, the formatting is similar to later plates.  Some 6,062 bus plates were issued in 1937.  As described below, there were both 10-inch and 12-inch plates depending on the number of characters, this being a 12-inch.  This image may have come from eBay.


Here's a good example of the long and short of it.  These are both 1938 Bus plates, as can be seen one plate is shorter than the other, reason being plates up to 4 characters used a 6 by 10 inch base, while 5 character plates used used the longer 6 by 12 inch version. The other striking feature of this plate is the map outline.  This feature made it debut on passenger plates in 1937 and was expanded to other plates in '38.  Clayton Moore supplied the O526 plate picture, while the O1785 image is courtesy of Jeff Francis.  Approximately 5,451 bus plates were issued for 1938.


Here's another 1946 Bus plate.  Click the link to see all three images showing the variations of size and formatting.  For 1946 there were some 10,517 plates registered, making this the first year plates began using an alpha character after the O, such as OA629.  This image is from Jerry McCoy.


This is the second 1950 Bus shown.  Note the serial is all-numeric except for the O prefix, while the other 1950 plate was OB721.  Some 12,684 plates were issued that year so the plates likely were issued well into the OC series.  This image is courtesy of Jerry McCoy.



Posting 12/14/2014

Here's a newly issued personalized # 2 H/V Honoring Our Veterans plate.  I'm sure this is quite an eye catcher on the road.  The contributor wished to remain anonymous.



It appears that several Combat Infantryman Badge plates have now been issued.  The person who sent this image wished to remain anonymous.



The following newer PA plate types are now on the street:

Combat Medical Badge, no image yet.




Pennsylvania Monuments, Gettysburg 1863, first image was provided by John Kerestes.  Looks like plate sales are brisk.  I would expect to see personalized versions of these such as 1863 G/B or 153PA G/B.



Ohio River Trail Council, no image yet.




First image of an In God We Trust plate.  Picture courtesy of Dale Bernecker.




On the Veterans Plate Page I have tried unsuccessfully for several years to place the plates in some order of rank, achievement or significance.  This has not worked well and the page has been reorganized and placed in alphabetical order with the exception of the Medal of Honor plate which will always be first.  This in no way is meant to diminish the service and the deeds of our veterans.


Speaking of Veterans Plates, Ryan Battin has provided another image of the newly formatted Vietnam War Veteran plate on the far left.  The sample on the near left represents the plates issued from 1999 until the changeover in 11/2014.


Starting off this week's bus plate run is this 1940 'shorty', no rhyme intended.  Apparently during the period from 1930 to 1942 two plate sizes were used.  Plates with up to 4 characters used a 6 by 10 inch blank, and those with 5 characters used a 6 by 12 inch version.  This plate is a low number, being plate 171 with the O prefix.  Plates starting at O1000 would have used the larger base.  5,900 plates were issued in 1940.  Thanks to Jerry McCoy for the image.  Anyone have the larger size?


I don't have a 42 plate to display with this 43 war-time tab, but click open the thumbnail image to enlarge it and you can look below the 43, and the 3-31-44 expiration date and read the stamped O6155 serial number indicating this was used on a Bus plate.  The tabs measure 1⅞" x 2⅛".  Bus registrations for 1943 were some 8,200 while '42 registrations were 7,800.  I can only assume that newly registered buses in '43 got a left over '42 base with a 43 tab.


Next comes this '44 Bus plate image courtesy of Jeff Francis.  This plate has the expiration date embossed into the upper border, although this change actually came about on the '41 plates.  This feature remained thru the 1957 issue, after which the '58 plates began the use of multi-year plates.  These plates also came in two sizes depending on the number of characters.  For 1944 there were some 83-hundred plates registered.


This 1951 Bus plate with its low number of O155 is now a partner with the O13 plate which was previously posted.  All plates measured 6" x 11", and there some 12,700 plates were issued which means the high should have been somewhere around OC700.  This image is from Jerry McCoy.



The final plates this week are this low numbered '58 Bus.  The series started at O10-000.  Next is the O12-765, '64 base with a 67 sticker.  Both plates represent lower number plates in both series.  These images are both courtesy of jerry McCoy.




Posting 12/7/2014

On the far left is the latest Trailer high from Ryan Battin.  It's ready to be mounted with its 10-15 validation sticker.  This plate series (on the visitPA base) started at XCA-0000 in mid-2005.  The center plate was the previous series which began at XBA-0000 back in 2004, and finally the earliest of the current plates is the XT plate, with that series starting at XK-00000 back in 2000.  All three variations are considered current.


Thanks to Tom Perri and his Pennsylvania Highs page (, we see that Permanent Trailer plates have progressed into the Z series.  The Zs will likely be exhausted in the next few months.  Any thoughts how the next series will be formatted?



Another nice image from Tom Perri's Pennsylvania Highs page ( is this current Pinnacle Health System plate.




How long will this plate type continue before a major facelift transforms it into a shadow of its former beauty in order to give it the "family of plates" look?  At least for now it's still available.  Chris DiNunzio shares this latest high Preserve Our Heritage plate.  These plates were first introduced in 1998.


It's not a high and not a low, just a decent shot of a Lion Member plate spotted recently.  The current high is L/I01548, and still on this www base.




Leading off this weeks addition to the Bus plate history section is this 1948 Bus plate from Jerry McCoy.  Sometimes the weekly displays are out of sequence.  It's because I received some great new images which help fill some of the earlier gaps.  Anyway this '48 uses an alpha character in the second position.  Production that year was some 12,700 bus plates.


Next in the lineup is this 49 Bus plate, also from Jerry McCoy.  It's a low-numbered plate with the series beginning at O1, making this the 208th plate produced.  Total bus registrations that year were some 12,338.



The next image is this 1952 Bus plate, again a low number as seen by the 3-digit plate number.  The one change seen on the '52 plate is the expiration date that had been 3-31 of the following year has been changed to 5-31.



The final bus plate this week is another 64 base — this one with a 67 sticker and a higher number than the one shown previously.  The last year with published registration numbers was 1963 with some 14,675, however, with multi-year registrations it's pretty tough to guess the high number.  What can be said is that between the '64 reissue and this plate with a '67 sticker, at least 17,200 plates were issued.  This is also the last issue using the O prefix, following this issue Buses changed to a BA prefix.

Check back for many additional historic Bus plates over the next weeks.


This is a 1984 to 1999 U.S. Senator plate.  The image is courtesy of Eric Getchell.  Obviously Senate plates, even pictures, are hard to come by, and so it is with 1971 to '76 and 1977 to '83 plates.  If anyone can help with these needed images it would be greatly appreciated.




Posting 11/30/2014

Here's another personalized Virginia Tech gem.  This one using all five of the available spaces to personalize the plate.  This plate is courtesy of Sean O'Toole.  Last week we featured the 1 VT plate from Brendan Sherry.  I think the steep price tag will be the limiting factor for many potential buyers.  I'm anxious to see other recently legislated vanities as they could appear on such types as Apportioned Trucks, 11 Dealer types, most Veteran types, many special fund and miscellaneous types.  Of course the limiting factor for some plates will be the weight which in most cases can not be more than 14,000 pounds.


Here's a prototype image of the new optional In God We Trust registration plate.  This along with the Teen Driver plate has a $20 price tag, and yes, they can both be personalized for an additional $100.



There was supposed to be a U.S. Olympic plate that came about thru the same legislation that authorized several recent plate types and other changes.  There is no mention of the plate on the PennDOT website.  I have also written to the state senator who was the prime sponsor of the bill and have received no response.


Ryan Battin provided this image of a U.S. Military Airborne Units plate.  This plate is fresh off the press and therefore the current high.




Sarge of Klassy Karz provided this image of a first generation Kutztown University plate for the Organizational Plate history page.  These were first issued in 1995.



Bus Plate Update — I have received a number of additional plate pictures from Jerry McCoy, including a couple of rare early H-prefix bus plates and a bus plate with evidence that it came from a taxi.  Please check back over the next several weeks.


This week's bus plates begin with this 1954 issue with an OC prefix.  The letter O was the standard prefix on bus plates at the time, while the C indicates that the initial series of plates from O1 to O9999 were exhausted, then went thru the OA000 and OB000 series and finally went into the OC series with a total of over 12-thousand plates being issued.  This plate image was provided with permission of the ALPCA archivist, but I'm also in the process of buying this plate.


Here's a pair of 1946 Bus plates with different serial formatting.  The O87 plate on the far left is a low number being the 87th plate produced that year, while the OA629 was much closer to the end of production.  BMV records for that year show 10,517 plates issued, which doesn't quite match up with the OA629, but likely additional plates were produced and some may have been issues out of sequence.  The source of the far left plate is not known, the other image is with permission of Jeff Francis.


The final bus plate this week is from Clayton Moore and is a 1945 issue.  According to BMV records for that year, some 8900 plates were issued making it very unlikely that any plates were issued with an alpha character following the O.  Of course with the end of World War II part way thru 1945, which signaled a shift in the economy away from the war effort, focusing more on domestic needs as can be seen with the higher number of bus plates above for 1946.


These are U.S. Senate plates, and like other political plates between 1965 and '70 there were at least two versions, with the second version coming around 1966.  It is unknown which of these was first.  Annual stickers were used to revalidate.  Serial number used could be US1 and US2, 1US and 2US, or USS1, USS2, 1USS and 2USS.  The US-1 image is the from the ALPCA Archives (with permission) and the source of the second image is unknown.



Posting 11/23/2014

Who would have thought a year ago that such an organizational vanity plate would be possible in PA?  And yes, it's real.  Here is a comparison between the older Virginia Tech 00001VT and this hot off the plate press 1VT plate.  Brendan Sherry, the Virginia Tech plate program administrator, shares these images.  This is the first one of these organizational vanities shown on this website.  The change to allow this came about as the result of Act 23 being signed into law on 3/19/14 and taking effect 7/17/14.  Now most (but not all) organizational and many other plate types can be personalized for a fee.  In most cases it's an additional $100 on top of the standard fee and for some plate types it's a mere $50.


A little PA Plate trivia.  Did you know that PA now has over 500 plate types?  That number does require some explanation.  The largest single group are organizational plates of which there are about 332 listed; however, of that number there are about 18 with no active plates on the street, but they are authorized.  There are also over 50 NASCAR varieties.  These are no longer issued, however, they are still considered current.  It should be noted that a handful of NASCAR plates were never issued due to lack of demand.  The remainder of the 500 are made up of miscellaneous, special fund, official, bus and mass transportation related plates, car enthusiast plates, political and dealer plates.  This number does not include the many type variations seen with certain plates, nor does it include plates no longer on the street such as Foreign Consul, Auto Manufacturer, Fire Department, and a few others.


As mentioned last week there are two new special organizational plates being released.  The first of these is ChildFirst Pennsylvania.  Here is a link to their website, but as of today, there is no mention of plates, and no plates are in use yet.  I'm guessing that the organization will make plates available to the public as a fundraising effort.


The other plates is this St. Charles Borromeo Seminary plate.  Like the plate above there is no listing of the plate on their website.  And again no plates are on the street.  I've also moved this plate listing to the college and university page.



Your choice of colors?  Not really.  The white on blue Emergency Vehicle plate is likely an error plate that was painted with the municipal plate color scheme.  Possibly there was a short run of these.  For some reason this plate is still in use; it should have been replaced back in 2007.  The white on red plate is an example of correct formatting.  Thanks to Nick Tsilakis for this unusual plate picture.


Back to the weekly pursuit of historic Bus plates, we begin with this 1953 plate.  Beginning with the '53 plate, the expiration date for bus plates, which is embossed in the top border, was changed from 3-31 of the following year to 5-31.  As with previous weekly postings, this plate uses the letter O prefix followed by 4 digits.  When the 4-digit number sequence ran out, the plates used OA000 to OA999, then OB000 etc.  The high number is unknown, although records show that some 12,000 plates were issued which may have extended the progression into the OC000 series.


This '51 Bus plate is an excellent example of the low-numbered format.  It appears that the series started at O1, that's the letter O and the number 1, making this the 13th plate that year.  The scarcity of the low numbered plates makes it difficult to say for certain how many years followed this progression.  I can say for certain that the 1935 plates were authorized to run from O1 to O999, then O1000 to O6000.  This image is courtesy of Clayton Moore.


This 1950 Bus plate shows the use of the alpha character in the second position.  While this may look like OB stands for Omnibus, the progression after O9999, went to OA000, and eventually OB as seen here.  Bureau of Motor Vehicles records for 1950 shows almost 12,700 bus registrations, which would likely extend the sequence into the OC000 range.  The source of this plate picture is unknown.


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John McDevitt, Walnutport, PA

ALPCA #4376