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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 10/19/2014

Plate Update — The Appalachian Trail Conservancy now has, or very shortly will have, 117 active plates.  Even though this plate came about as the result of legislation, it is still considered part of the Special Organization Plate Program.


Spotted this Prisoner Of War plate on the far left recently which is not far from the current reported high of POW-V67.  With the reduced troop involvement in combat situations, it seems unlikely that many POW plates will be issued in the future.  For that reason I'm wondering why POW plates have been given a facelift, as a new prototype was announced back in August of 2013.  It seems more likely that holders of current plates may wish to update their plate, but so far none have been seen.


Nick Tsilakis snapped this Emergency Vehicle plate photo.  It shows a plate that was probably issued in 1977, and should have been replaced in 2007, and somehow has survived, and is now on a recent model fire department Ford Expedition.  The link above is to the Emergency Vehicle history section since that is where this plate belongs.  To see current EV plates click here.


This image was provided by Jason Plank of a plate he has seen in the Pittsburgh suburbs.  Click the image to enlarge it.  This plate appears normal except for the slanted or italic font and the dash separator seems low, actually below the mid-line of the plate.  Also Jason says the RATAN-05 appeared to be flat rather than embossed, and the normally white background was more of a dingy grey.  The RATAN-05 is a valid registration number; however, the plate is considered a fake.



This is the last installment of Motorboat Dealer plates.  At this point I only have Motorboat Dealer plates from 1949, '55, '59 and '60.  Most of these came from Jerry McCoy.  These plates are pretty hard to come by, so if anyone has any I'd be happy to post your images.  As stated last week, the dealer plates are essentially the same as regular Motorboat plates but with the addition of the X prefix followed by 1 to 3 digits as seen in this 1949 Motorboat Dealer plate.


Here's a pair of Motorboat Dealer plates from 1955.  The X57 plates image is from Jerry McCoy while the X122 plate may have come from eBay.  These plates would have started at X1 and extended to X+3 digits as seen here.


This 1958 Motorcycle plate is courtesy of Chuck Sakryd and helps to fill one of the gaps for the '58 to '62 run.  Note the tab slots on either side of the 58.  These were never used for metal tabs.  Instead validation stickers were issued.  Later plates on the '58 base did not have the tab slots.


Here's a very nice 1931 National Guard plate.  The image is courtesy of Eric Tanner.  The early issue of National Guard plates was from 1930 to 1935, newer plate were issued beginning in 1984.



This is the first one of these I've seen.  This Classic Car Club of America or CCCA plates has a date of 1988.  I can't say for sure if this was a Special Event plate or a Booster plate, but since it has a serial number I'm going to call it a Special Event plate, at least for now.  Note the embossed portion of the plate seems to use same font as PA Classic and Antique plates did up until a few years ago.


Posting 10/12/2014

Here's a new Farm Truck high, and it's also the first image of a Farm Truck plate on the visitPA base.  It appears that the changeover took place at FM-0000D.  The D is the last character to advance.  Farm Truck plates were first issued in 1977 on the blue on yellow base, in a FM-00000 format.  Later they switched to the yellow on blue base but the same number series continued.  With the introduction of the www base all previous plate were replaced and series began anew at FM-000A.  Click this link to see Farm Truck plate history.


Here's the new high Combat Wounded Veteran / Purple Heart plate.  Thanks to Ryan Battin for the picture.




Here's a new high Trailer plate.  The image was provided by Vern Kreckel, III / Kreckel Enterprises.  To view the progression and evolution of PA's Trailer plates click this Trailer History link to see the 1914 and '15 extremely rare porcelain beauties.


House Bill 241 expands the definition of a Fire Department vehicle.  I received an email stating that HB 241 has passed both houses and has been sent to the Governor for his signature.  If signed, it will amend the vehicle code to allow a fire department vehicle owned by a fire relief association to receive an Emergency Vehicle plate.  In the past, PennDOT would not issue an Emergency Vehicle plate to a vehicle owned by a fire department relief association.  Here is a link to a Bucks County Courier Times news article.


Clayton Moore recently got this first generation Fire Fighter plate.  It only has a single sticker of 2-00 suggesting that it was issued near the end of the issuing cycle on that base, therefore it is considered a high.  Can anyone top it? Has anyone seen one of these with a sticker well?  This plate type was first issued in 1983, prior to the introduction of the yellow on blue base.  The only Fire Fighter plate ever made on the blue base were samples.


This LEGISLATOR PA 0 plate has the PA within the keystone indicator that would normally only be seen on a State Senator plate.  This appears to be a one of the 65 bases after the keystone indicator was added on some '66 plates.  The LEGISLATOR plate should have the Keystone / HR indicator, not the PA.  This plate may have been produced as a test plate, or possibly a sample that was not formatted correctly.


The 33-year run of Motorboat plates has been completed, and thanks again to Jerry McCoy, I will add a few Motorboat Dealer plates.  The Dealer series is essentially the same as the regular series, except the serial number is always preceded by an X.  Obviously the number of dealer plates issued was likely in the hundreds, not thousands.  It is also believed that the dealer series dates back to 1933 or 34, whereas the regular motorboat plates began in 1931.  The plate shown here is from 1959.


This 1960 Motorboat Dealer has a low serial number.  The series for each year likely started at X1.  Thanks again to Jerry McCoy for the great images.




Posting 10/5/2014

Nick Tsilakis snapped this rare U.S. Navy Reserve plate.  What's unique about the plate is that it has a low number which was carried over from the previous generation of plates.  In 2000 when the original series was replaced, those with NR0001 through NR0010 had the option to keep the same number on the new plates, while all others got new plates starting at NR1000.  Plates N/R0001, 3, 6 and 8 were also remade.


I tried to get a better picture but traffic and travel lanes would not permit it.  Anyway, this is a new high Multi Purpose Dealer plate.  The plate is reads MP465?D.  The consensus among a couple friends is that the hidden digit is likely a 9.  The final D is a given, as it is always a part of the serial number.  Only the 4 numeric characters advance.


These are both U.S. Congressional plates for the period 1971 to '76; however, the plate on the far left was probably released in 1971, while the U/S plate came along later in the same issue.  The early plate format on the far left used the Bicentennial State base with PENNSYLVANIA along top border and BICENTENNIAL STATE '76 along bottom border.  The serial number used MC for Member of Congress, then the liberty bell separator, then the serial number.  It would also have been available in reverse order with serial number first and MC last.  On the near left is a later format also with PENNSYLVANIA along top border but now with U.S. CONGRESS along the bottom border, serial number had U S stacked left of center then the number to right.  Both variations used two sticker wells upper left and right.  It is not unusual to see format variations on political plates even within the same issue period.  The image on the far left was from a 1971 BMV/DOT document, the image on the near left is from a plate in my collection.


A new general issue of plates came out in1977 and continued until '83.  These were blue on yellow, PENNSYLVANIA along top border and U.S. CONGRESS along bottom border, serial number had U/S stacked, then full size C, then the serial number on right.  They were also available in reverse order with serial number first followed by U/S, then C in order to register a second vehicle.  The photo on the far left is from Reid Williamson which came from an old photograph.  That photo was taken at a difficult angle, thus the odd shape.  The photo on the near left is from Michael Wiener.


Each week for the past month-and-a-half I have posted Motorboat plate images starting with the newest and working back to this 1931 MBL plate.  Almost all of the pictures were provided by Jerry McCoy, and a special Thank You to Jerry for sharing this great pictorial resource.  This black on yellow 1931 was the first year of production for MBL plates.  These were full size 6 by 12-inch plates.  Note the use of a beveled edge on these early plates which was different from automotive plates.


For the following year 1932 MBL plates were formatted the same except for the color change to black on white.  There are not a lot of examples of these early plates, nevertheless it appears that they started with single digit plates and went up to 4 numbers.  Again the image was provided by Jerry McCoy.


This nice 1933 plate, also from Jerry is a rare 2-digit example.  The color is white on either dark maroon or reddish brown.  It's a little tough to say for sure what the original color when it was produced 81 years ago.  The plate picture was provided by Jerry McCoy.

This completes the run of Motorboat plates.  From time to time I will add additional images usually to show plates with fewer or more characters on the plate.


This 1931 National Guard plate picture was sent to me by a C. McCandless.  The plate was found hidden away in an old house covered in dust and dirt.  The owner was hoping to clean it up, and I'm hoping for a better image.  In any case this is the only 1931 image I have.




Posting 9/28/2014


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.



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Images and photos are always welcome.  Please send to:

John McDevitt, Walnutport, PA

ALPCA #4376