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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 11/22/2015

Back on November 1 several new organizational plate types were added but without preliminary images.  Below are some of the new plates with prototype images.

Here is a conceptual Cumberland Valley Corvette Club based in Carlisle.  No plates are in use yet.




Next is this Fraternal Association of Professional Paramedics plate.  This group is based in Pittsburgh and has no plates in use yet..



Newtown Fire Association of Newtown, Bucks County, will make this plate available to its membership.  No plates on the street yet.



And the final new plate belongs to Springfield Fire Company located in Delaware County.  They also have no plates are in use yet.



These amazing Tractor Dealer plates shown here this week are likely some of the rarest PA plates in existence today.  A huge thank you to Jake Eckenrode for sharing images of these fine plates.  This 1916 Tractor Dealer is likely the oldest one known to exist.  It was generally thought that Tractor Dealer plates were first issued in 1916, however, it has been suggested that seven Tractor Dealer plates were issued in 1915.  A new law was passed in 1915 authorizing Tractor Dealer plates and according to Eric Tanner it likely took effect on 1/1/1916.  So probably in 1915, any Tractor Dealers were issued regular Dealer plates.  The final answer to this question may lie within the 1915 registration records, however, my own research suggests that these records for 1915 are no longer in existence. 


The next plate is a 1918 Tractor Dealer plate, very similar in formatting to the above plate except for the obvious color switch to white on black.  It is not known how many of these plates were issued, but tractors in the late teens weren't that plentiful, even today, how often do you see a Farm Equipment Dealer plate on the road?  Thanks again to Jake Eckenrode for sharing the images.


Next is a 1922 Tractor Dealer plate.  This plate seems a little strange in that some of the plate legend is stacked like earlier plates, and the words TRACTOR DEALER are completely spelled out along the bottom of the plate.  It is not known if any other years followed this same format.  Again thanks again to Jake Eckenrode for sharing this plate history.


The 1925 Tractor Dealer plate has reduced the plate legend to just 1925 and PENNA flanked by keystones.  Gone is any mention of the word dealer; however, the TX prefix is the giveaway.  The color is yellow on dark blue.  For the first time on Tractor Dealer plates we see the use of the dash separator.  This plate also shows an obvious reduction in the width of the plate.  Thanks again to Jake Eckenrode.


For 1926 Tractor Dealer plates use a different font than the 1925 plate.  The formatting is much the same while the colors have been reversed.  This is also the highest number seen so far, again suggesting a small number of plates issued.  Note at this point in PA plate history the letters and numbers were the same size; however, 1926 was the last year for this.  In 1927 the size change took place; see the 1930 plate below.   Thank you Jake.


The final plate from Jake Eckenrode is this 1930 Tractor Dealer.  The TX-79 is the highest number seen in these early plates, and generally follows a similar format to the '25 and '26 plates above.

We don't have any plate images between 1930 and 1950.  This is not to suggest that they were not issued, only that few, if any, have survived.  We do know that the 1935 and '36 plates did not use the TX prefix but instead used TRACTOR DLR as part of the plate legend.  Hopefully some additional plates or pictures may come along. 



Posting 11/15/2015

To see more on current Pennsylvania License Plates visit Tom Perri's  Tom features all the latest highs with lots of new pictures.  To see history of PA passenger and truck plates and much more, visit Rick's Plate at


Tom Perri recently captured this first image of a Spring Mill Fire Company No. 1 plate.  They are located in Montgomery County and have about 11 plates on the road.



Here are the first generation and the current Drexel University Alumni plate.  The current plate display has been refined to show the two-tiered plate numbering.  These are not new pictures.  As with other organizational plates that were originally issued on the old yellow on blue base, when plates were reissued on the www base the first run was a number for number replacement.  New plates that were issued after the replacement process came from a higher number series.  That first series ran from D/U40001 to D/U40837, then the second ties series jumped ahead to D/U41500.  Drexel has never moved to the graphic visitPA base, in fact there is evidence that the plate program is no longer active.  The oldest plate is courtesy of Jordan Irazabal.


Like the Drexel series above, Moravian College also had its plate roots back in the first generation yellow on blue plates.  And when the new plates were released on the www base, the earlier plates were replaced on a number for number basis up to M/O00797.  Then when later plates were issued the series jumped ahead to M/O01500 skipping over the number in between.  The M/O01700 plate is the latest high on the visitPA base.


Steve Ondik shares this current La Salle University  plate image.  La Salle began their plate program back in 1988 and has gone thru a couple design changes since then.



Jake Eckenrode has been kind enough to share this photo of an early Transporter plate.  Besides the low number, the main distinguishing feature of this plate is the word TRANSPORTER which is screened.  On later plates it was embossed.  This plate is part of the Misc. M.V. Business series which also includes Repair/Towing, Salvage Yard and Repossessor.  After the initial run where all of these plates used the screened legend, the next series included an embossed 'Pennsylvania' legends with the "You've got a friend" font and sticker well lower left.  So far it is unknown if the Transporter plate also followed in the same pattern.  Click the link above to see more.


As promised here is another group of old Tractor Dealer plates beginning with this 1950 version.  Thanks again to Jake Eckenrode for sharing the images.  Again the TX prefix and the legend Tractor are the identifying features.  It is unknown how many were issued or if the series went beyond TX999.


'58 plates were initially intended to be renewed with metal tabs, and therefore tab slots were punched into the early plates.  It was later decided to use adhesive stickers instead of the tabs eliminating the need for the tab slots.  So in general early plates had the slots and later ones did not.  Here we have Tractor Dealer plate 600 with a tab slot and plate 616 without.  Then the slot is again present in the 949 plate.  My guess is that the 616 just got skipped in the process.  These plates could be renewed thru 1961.  The two on the far left are thanks to Jake Eckenrode and are new to this website.  The TX0-949 was from Jerry McCoy and has been on this website for a couple years. 


For 1962 Tractor Dealer plates followed the same formatting as the '58 above, and were also multi-year plates renewable thru 1963.  Again thanks to Jake Eckenrode for the image.



For 1964 Tractor Dealer continued on with the same formatting and colors as the previous release, but for '64 they were single year plates.  Thanks to Jake Eckenrode for the image.



At first glance there are a number of changes for the 1966 Tractor Dealer.  The colors are now blue on yellow, the word Dealer now appears in place of Tractor, the year is displayed with 4 characters and the TX has been separated from the serial number.  Thanks to Jake Eckenrode for the image.  Check back next week for older Tractor Dealer plates.



Posting 11/8/2015

Here's a U.S. Marine Veteran vanity plate.  Thank you for your service to our country.  Now did I mention my disdain for plate frames?




The Masonic Blue Lodge plate is no stranger to PA plate watchers, but unless you are a member of ALPCA, you won't see a complete plate grouping all together.  The far left plate is from the original series dating back to 1984, image from Clayton Moore.  The next plate was part of the number-for-number replacement in 2001 on the WWW base, image from Eric Conner.  Following the 2001 replacement, later plates saw the number series jump ahead to M/B10000 as seen in the M/B11269 plate.  Then there was a short run of about 200 plates on the visitPA base but with all the features still embossed.  And finally, the current version with the logo, M/B and plate legend all flat screened.  


As stated in the past, the purpose of this website is to help document and record Pennsylvania license plate history, both in words and pictures.  This website has also been fortunate enough to receive data, pictures and other research material from many generous individuals in support of the history and the hobby.  Today is one of those special days with the first round of Tractor Dealer plates from Jake Eckenrode.  Those of you who know Jake know that he is the consummate collector of PA plates and author of a book and several articles.  The plates this week are from changeover in 1971 up thru 1979.  Over the next couple weeks additional Tractor Dealer plates will be shown as far back as 1916, believed to be the first year of production.

In 1971 all types of full-size Dealer plates acquired a brand new fresh look.  The new series consisted of New Car Dealer, Used Car Dealer, Motor Vehicle Business, Tractor Dealer and Trailer Dealer.  All plate types except the Motor Vehicle Business used the same legend 'DEALER', the different types could be identified by the prefix and suffix code, i.e. A10-000A - New Car Dealer, B10-000B - Used Car Dealer, C10-000C - Motor Vehicle Business, D10-000D - Tractor Dealer, and E10-000E - Trailer Dealer.  This extremely nice Tractor Dealer plate shown here is likely the first plate produced, and as stated above was provided thanks to Jake Eckenrode.


For 1972 the same Tractor Dealer format is retained except for the date now being 1972.  Note also that throughout this series the plate serial number never rises much above 12-000, meaning slightly more than 2000 plates issued.  After all, tractor dealerships aren't like car dealers.  In fact many of the 1960s and '70s farm tractor dealerships have ceased to exist.  Thanks to Jake Eckenrode for this image.


This is the first image of a 1973 Tractor Dealer plate.  Again the formatting follows along with the arrangement started in 1971 with only the year changing.



The 1974 Tractor Dealer plate has no changes except for the year.  Thanks to Jake Eckenrode for this image.




The 1975 - 76 Tractor Dealer plate has a couple changes.  These are two-year undated plates with two sticker wells, each intended to accommodate one sticker.  Thanks to Jake Eckenrode for this image.



Just as other plates had their colors reversed for 1977, so did Tractor Dealer plates.  In addition the plates are back to a single year issue, and the plate legends have been reversed top to bottom and vice-versa.  This plate picture was also provided by Jake Eckenrode.



Finally from Jake this week is this 1978 Tractor Dealer — a single year issue and very similar to the above plate except for the date.




In the interest of completing the run, this 1979 Tractor Dealer plate was the final year of the D-series tractor dealer.  These were multi-year plates and could be renewed up until the Dealer-Farm Equipment came out in late 1991. This is not a new image, and it's one of my own.




Posting 11/1/2015

This State House of Representative plate is somewhat unusual in that it's on the visitPA base with the HR in the suffix position. First one I've seen.  Most visitPA plates spotted so far have the HR in the prefix position.  PA has 203 house legislative districts, so plates can range from HR1 to HR203 and 203HR to 1HR.  Click the link above for more images of PA political plates.  This plate picture was sent by Colin M.


The two plates to the immediate left are some of the last DARE plates issued.  DARE is an acronym for Drug Abuse Resistance Education, the proceeds of the sale of these supported the DARE Fund.  These plates were introduced in September of 1996, on the black base (above left), and were very successful.  Then in late 2005 the plates were switched to the visitPA family of plates.  Looking at the registration numbers, there were some 33,500 DARE plates registered at the end of 2005, then following the change in the plate design, the number of plates on the street actually declined faster than sales could keep up, so that by the end of 2014 there were fewer than 20-thousand DARE plates on the street.  The center left plate was provided by Steve Ondik, and right plate is thanks to Jordan Irazabal


Organizational Plate News  — A few weeks ago PennDOT revamped their website. The old list of organizational plates is gone. The new list, with some prototype images, is very incomplete. The better list is the one that allows you to check for special organization vanity availability, but even that list is incomplete.  Here’s what I have found.
The following are new plates:
 • Cumberland Valley Corvette Club (00000C/V, no prototype, no active plates)
 • Fraternal Association of Professional Paramedics (00000A/P, no prototype, no active plates)
 • Kuhl Hose Co. Inc. (00000K/H, previously listed on this website, no prototype, no active plates)
 • Newtown Fire Association (20000N/F, no prototype, no active plates)
 • Springfield Fire Company (30000S/F, no prototype, no active plates)
 • World Meeting of Families - 2015 Philadelphia (10000W/M, previously listed on this website, no active plates)
The following plate types were on the previous list but are now missing from the new list:
 • Sons of the American Legion
 • St. Charles Borromeo Seminary
There is a general disconnect between PennDOT's two lists.


In other organizational plate news, the Quality Deer Management Association has, or soon will have, some 33 plates on the road.




These are not new plate pictures.  The plate on the far left was a replacement plate for one of the yellow on blue plates when they were reissued on the www base. That series ran from A/L00001 to A/L02002.  Following that, any plates that were issued after the replacement started at A/L02500, as shown on the near left plate picture.  This practice of leaving a gap in numbers has been seen on almost all organizational plates that existed prior to the changeover to the www base.  Thanks to Jordan Irazabal for doing much of the research on the number patterns.  Gradually I am attempting to group organizational plates accordingly.


Here's the first example of a personalized or vanity St. Joseph's University plate.  The S/J is required, then up to five alpha or numeric characters are allowed, but no special characters.  Jordan Irazabal get the credit for this image.



In the Amateur Radio history section, a 1957 Amateur Radio plate picture was needed.  These plates first came out in 1956, and while there was no legend on the plates at the time indicating the plate type, the FCC call sign is the give away.  In the early years of these plates, most Amateur Radio plates used a 'W' or a 'K' prefix followed by a '3' to designate that PA is in region 3.  Numbers other than 3 are sometimes seen indicating a call sign from outside region 3.  Click the link above for more images and information on PA Amateur Radio plates.  This plate picture was provided by Clayton Moore.



Posting 10/25/2015

If you have an interest in Pennsylvania License plates, there are several other websites that offer a different perspective.

 • Check out Tom Perri's PA Plates site, just updated with all the latest highs;

 • Also take a look at Jaska Börner's License Plates website.  He also covers Maryland to Rhode Island;

 • Last, but certainly not least, Rick Kretschmer, (Rick's Plates) offers an excellent historical layout.

While not a PA collector, Jordan Irazabal is the low-number Delaware 3000 plate guru, and a major contributor to the PA effort.


Here's the first picture of one of the new motorcycle sized Honoring Our Veterans special fund plate.  The picture was provided by Marlin Horan.  The plate series began at H/V0101.  As I opined in the past, the tiny graphic does a disservice to the veterans it is intended to honor.  As of 10/23 there are about 16 of these plates in use.


This low number Veteran plate is one of those where I use the term 'reserve issue'.  When Veteran plates were first issued, the over-the-counter plates began at 00100U/S.  Then lower number plates were spotted on vehicles and also seen in the hands of a state representative getting his picture taken.  Of course efforts to get an explanation of the low-number plate from the politician were futile.  So far the plate gallery shows plates 1, 2, 5, 14 and 15.  On the high side the series is now over 02200U/S.  The number 5 plate shown hear is courtesy of Tom Perri


The high and the low of it.  Tom Perri again makes these two images of West Chester University plates possible.  West Chester began their plate program in 2005 and have so far issues some 400 plates, with the reported low and high shown here.



Here's another gem from Tom Perri.  Very nice image of a Conshohocken Fire Company No. 2 plate, and very close to the reported high which is 10021C/F.



And from Steve Ondik comes this U.S. Marine Corps Veteran sporting a new high number.  These plates came out in late 2009 or early 2010 and started at 10001M/C.



The two pictures on the far left are West Chester University Campus Use license plates.  WCU is the only known PA college campus to use an official Campus Use license plate.  This other picture of a Moravian College Campus Use vehicle with some kind of what appears to be a made-up piece of card stock based on the Moravian College plate.  Its official status is unknown.  Anyone aware of any others?


Here's a numeric progression of Expeditionary Forces Veteran plate photos.  I only had a single image of the strange 'intermediate' version of this plate type shown on the three plates starting on the left, then over the last few days I spotted the above plates in the 22-hunderd and 23-hundred series.  The current format is the 24-hundred series version, now on the visitPA family of plates base which came out at the end of 2014 depicting the actual medal.  Credit for the E/F2171 plate goes to Brendan Sherry, and the E/F2405 plate to Ryan Battin.


First generation Farm Truck History high  number has been revised.  Farm Truck plates first came out in 1977 on the blue-on-yellow base.  Thanks to a recent plate acquisition by Clayton Moore, we have a better idea of when the the plates switched over to the yellow-on-blue base.  The change took place somewhere between FM-45328, which is still on the blue-on-yellow, and FM-48650 which is on the yellow-on-blue base.  Anyone have something in between?






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Images and photos are always welcome.  Please send to:

John McDevitt, Walnutport, PA

ALPCA #4376