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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 10/4/2015

Plate News — When Act 17 was signed into law back on July 8, it provided for an "Honoring Our Veterans" motorcycle plate.  That plate is expected to become available on October 6, 2015.  It seems likely that it will be considered a Special Fund plate.  I'm expecting the plate to be the first motorcycle plate with some type of graphic feature (except for Person w/ Disability), possibly similar to the full size Honoring Our Veterans plates.  Stay tuned.


In other plate news, here's a prototype image of the World Meeting of Families - Philadelphia plate.  Unfortunately very little is known about this plate.  My efforts to obtain more information on this plate from the DMV were futile.  Contacting the World Meeting of Families organization was not attempted; however, nothing could be found on their website.


Here's the second example we have of a Moravian College in a vanity or personalized configuration.




While on the subject of Moravian College plates, these older www base plates have been added to show three and four-digit plates in addition to the one and two-digit plates posted previously.  The plate on the far left was actually taken back in 2002, the other plate is the current reported high and was provided by Jordan Irazabal.  As always check Tom Perri's PA Plates website to see all the latest highs.


This low number St. Thomas More Alumni Association is from Jaska Börner.  St. Thomas More was a Philadelphia Catholic boys high school that was closed back in 1975 but still maintains an active alumni association.  The reported high is G/B01056 on the www base.  The organization has not moved to the graphic visitPA base.


This nighttime traffic shot of the latest high Taxi plate is also from Jaska Börner.  The first Taxi plates were issued in 1977.  Prior to 1977 taxi vehicles used bus plates.  When Taxi plates were reissued on the www base in March of 2000, the starting point was TX-35000, then in late 2007 the plates moved to the visitPA base at TX-46000.


Here's another traffic shot of the latest high Person with Disability plate, also from Jaska Börner.  This plate type dates back to 1965 when they were known as Handicapped Person plates and used a rectangle box with the letters HP inside.  Around 1977 the HP and wheelchair symbol were used together for the first time.  Then on the last version of the '84 base, probably issued in the late 1990s, the HP was replace with PD.  To see the history of HP/PD plates click here.


One older www-base Salvage Yard plate was added to show an additional example of this run.




Also 4 four visitPA Salvage Yard plates have been added.  The WL-23464 plate on the far left helped to narrow down where the transition took place away from the dash separator (on the visitPA base) to the keystone separator.  The WL-26218 is the current high and was taken by Jordan Irazabal


This mint condition 1967 Tractor Dealer plate picture is being used with permission of Jeff Lesher.  The plate is a beautiful example of the Tractor Dealer plates that were used from the late '50s through 1970.  While the formatting is very similar during that period, 1967 is the first year to have the state name embossed into the upper margin of the state map outline.  Prior to '57 PA was part of the plate legend.  These plates were first issued in 1916 but I have no pictures and very little information until the early 1950s.



Posting 9/27/2015

Check back next week to see more on the World Meeting of Families - Philadelphia plate, including a prototype image.


Here are a few examples of the latest run of Permanent Trailer plates.  This current group with the A in the next to the last position have been out since some time in April and were first seen in May.  It appears that all four numeric characters progress as a group even though the A falls in between.  So the next plate in the series with PT-424A9 would be PT-425A0.  The A is the last character to advance and the PT prefix does not advance.  The far left plate was spotted by Bill Stephens, and the near left was provided by Jordan Irazabal.


Clayton Moore sends along this image of the latest high Blue Moon Cruisers Rod & Custom Association.  These plates have been on the street since about August of 2013.



Here is a pair of Shippensburg University Alumni plates.  The plate on the far left is an older photo on the www base with logo and all of the alpha-numeric characters embossed, except for the word PENNSYLVANIA at the top.  Then in 2013 the plates received a facelift with the logo now in color, and the S/U and plate legend all flat screened.  It appears that the newer plate series began as S/U01700.


I don't focus a lot on Passenger Vanity plates, but certainly single letter and single number plates would tend to catch anyone's attention.  So it is with this Q plate.  Q is probably the least used letter in the PA plate alphabet.  PA also has a slash zero character (Ĝ), which is supposed to be used on amateur radio plates where the number zero (0) is used, so as not to be mistaken for the letter O; however, I have never seen this character in use, except on an older Amateur Radio sample plate.


Here's the latest high number Antique Vehicle plate courtesy of Jeff Lawson.  Click the link to see more images, history and evolution of this plate type.



This is an example of the second tier Bucknell University plate issued on the www base.  There were two tiers of these plates issued. The first series were the number for number replacement plates issued on the www base.  This second series, still on the www base consists of plates issued since the re-plating, and shows a jump in plate numbers leaving a block of numbers skipped.  The first tier went from B/U20001 to B/U20388, the second series B/U21500 to B/U21657.  Then in late 2011 Bucknell was approved for the newer graphic visitPA base which appears to begin at B/U21700, and has a current reported high of B/U21718.


On the far left is a very rare 1938 Commercial Motorcycle plate is part of a short 12-year run.  The plate base is similar to standard motorcycle and motorbike plates except for the legend.  It is believed that the plate serial numbers started with 1 and were likely limited to 3 digits.  The expiration date was added to the top border in 1941.  Thanks to eBay user bigdave763 for permission to use the picture.  The other plate is a '38 Motorbike (MB) sample from Dave Lincoln shown for comparison.


Here's a 1945 Motorcycle plate with an alpha character followed by three numbers.  This was the second series in the '45 issue as the first issue was all numeric starting at 1 and progressing to 9999 before going to the alpha-numeric layout.  Actually the second series likely began with single letters such as A to Z before going to A1, etc.  An old BMV source shows nearly 14-thousand motorcycles registered; however, this may have included Motorbikes and Commercial Motorcycles.  Thanks to ebay user luv2wheels for allowing the use of the image.


This all numeric 1948 Motorcycle is also courtesy of eBay user luv2wheels.  Except for the color, the '48 plates were formatted similarly to the '45 plate above, with an all numeric series followed by alpha-numeric run.  With the war being over, motorcycle registrations skyrocketed to some 32-thousand in 1948.



Posting 9/20/2015

Here's the latest reported high Bus plate and Limousine plate courtesy of Jordan Irazabal.




Here are two Classic Vehicle vanity plates.  The plate on the far left was recently photographed by Steve Ondik, while the 94ZUK plate was provided by Ryan Battin some time ago.  For personalized Classic Vehicle plates, the prefix 'C' is supposed to be part of the serial number.  Of the 4 pictures of such plates I have, 2 have the prefix and 2 do not.  So much for consistency.


This Antique Historic Car plate picture on the far left kind of reminds one of the old sample plates on this base with their PA00 format.  The PA02 picture was provided by Steve Ondik.



The Antique Historic Car plate on the far left was snapped on the go by Bruce Bufalini.  The plate however, is believed to be a fake, as the T80Z serial number comes from the later graphic series of plates as shown on the near left plate.  Bruce also noted that the purple looked darker than it should.  Many antique car owners prefer the older style plates.


Here's the latest high Repair Towing plate.  The picture was provided by Steve Ondik.  This plate type started at RT-20000 on the www base, with the R/T00000 to R/T19999 series reserved for Rails-to-Trails Conservancy organizational plates.



Here's another high, also from Steve Ondik.  The frame makes the legend — Blue Moon Cruisers Rod & Custom Association, a little hard to read.  I never understood the rational behind purchasing an organizational plate, then obscuring some of its features with a frame.



Jeff Lawson sent this photo of the number 1 Civil Air Patrol plate.  These plates first hit the streets in 2007 with a current reported high of some 32 plates; however, there may be as many as 57 plates out there — so not a common plate.



This road shot of a Pennsylvania Hunting Heritage plate was provided by Steve Ondik, and represents the latest reported high number.  Sales seem brisk, but PA has lots of hunters.



It doesn't look like anything special, but thanks to Eric Tanner and his research skills, we now know that this is a 1924 State Owned vehicle plate.  This is the first year for what would later be called Official, Official Use or Official Use Only plates.  Eric found an article in the Altoona Mirror of December 13, 1923, describing all of the new code letters for 1924 types.  This is a great piece PA plate history.  Also thanks to Jordan Irazabal for sharing Eric's find.



Posting 9/13/2015

Plate News — It looks like a couple new plates are in the works.  In looking thru the PennDOT list showing Personalized Registration Plate Availability, there are two plates not yet listed on the Special Organization list. The first is Kuhl Hose Co. Inc.  They are located in Erie County and the plate appears to be formatted as 00000K/H.  The other is World Meeting of Families - 2015 Philadelphia plate.  This appears to be related to the papal visit this September.  The plate formatting is likely 10000W/M.  If this last plate is part of the festivities surrounding the Pope's visit, it seems a little late not to have the plate already on the street.


In other plate news. 

Arizona State University has, or soon will have, 2 plates on the street.



It appears that Bucks County Community College, now has, or soon will have, about 6 plates in use.



And the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society will have about 159 plates on the road.




Even though I live on the eastern side of PA, this is the first Rutgers University plate I've seen.  According to Tom Perri's website, the reported high is 00079R/U.  Their plate program was approved in 2011 with plates first seen on the street in 2012.  Rutgers is headquartered in New Brunswick, NJ, and is considered the state university of that state.


Here's the latest high Vietnam War Veteran plate.  Toward the end of 2014, this plate received a make over to bring it into the family of plates.  This change likely occurred at V/W09500.  This move also paved the way to allow Vietnam War Veteran vanity plates.



This Allegheny College plate picture on the far left was taken in traffic by by Bruce Bufalini.  It is also the new high.  This plate type has been around since 1997 and was originally issued on the yellow on blue base as shown in the sample image.  If anyone has an actual first-issue Allegheny College plate they are interesting in selling, or a picture of one, it would be much appreciated.  I have no pictures of actual plates on the yellow on blue base.


Here's a street shot from Steve Ondik showing the latest reported Passenger high and and registration credential in rear window.





These Gettysburg 1863 plates seem to be selling well, and there appears to be a market for paying the extra fee to have them customized into a vanity version.  This plate was spotted by Arthur Levine.



Finally this week a couple more old dealer plates for the gallery.  This first plate is a '51 Miscellaneous Dealer with the 'X' in the second position.  The series started with the 'X' in the first position and as the series filled, the 'X' would advance to the next position, and so forth.



This 1953 New Car Dealer plate shows the final alpha character in the 4th position.  After the initial series reached A999Z, the next series began at A00A0.  Both series are shown in the plate gallery by clicking the link above.




Posting 9/6/2015

A friend commented, when will it end?  As long as there are interested organizations, and as long as the current process remain intact, there will be more organizational plates.  Of course there are some plates that are no longer available for one reason or another.  And so this is latest organizational plate, Quality Deer Management Association.  No plates yet.  You can find them on the web at


The NASCAR 3 Dale Earnhardt Legacy plate on the far left was spotted recently.  Note the NASCAR logo along the bottom of the plate is black and white, while the plate on the near left, which is an older picture, has a colored logo.  I have six images of this plate type, five of them with the black and white logo.  Of all of the NASCAR plates seen so far, the Dale Earnhardt Legacy plate is the only on where this anomaly has been noted.


It appears that the starting point for the Collectible Vehicle series was CV0100 back in 1996.  The plate on the far left is the lowest I've seen, while the near left plate is the latest reported high from Ryan Battin.  So far some 1500 plates have been issued.  Unfortunately this unique style and color combination will give way to the family of plates look.


It's not a new high but it the newest Classic Vehicle plate on this website.  Tom Perri's website reports the latest high as C33981 based on an picture from Bruce Bufalini.  In addition to the Classic and Collectible plates shown here, PA also offers Antique and Street Rod plates, as well as the YOM/Vintage registration option.  There are similar motorcycle plates with the exception of Street Rod.


I just acquired some dealer plates, nothing special, but they do help to fill some of the many gaps.  This 1954 New Car Dealer has the second alpha character in the 4th position.  After the initial series peaked at A999Z, the next series began at A00A0.  The first A did not advance.  An old BMV document says some 58,000 dealer plates were issued; however, what is really needed is a breakdown by dealer type.


Next up is this 1955 Used Car Dealer.  At the time, and for many years, the B-prefix stood for used car dealer while the A-prefix stood for new car dealer.  There was also a C-prefix Dealer or Transit Dealer plate, but their scarcity makes it difficult to establish the year of origin.  Could they date back to the start of the A and B series in 1946?  One PA collector may have a C-prefix Dealer from 1954.


For 1957 the same assortment of plates was issued.  What '57 brought to the table was the use of 6-character plates for the first time.  Plates were all 6" by 12" and the map outline had been reduced to accommodate the additional character.  Narrower dies are also in use.  These were first seen on later '56 plates.  Aside from the additional numeric character, the A, B, C, and X prefixes were essentially the same and identified the type of dealer plate, as seen here with this '57 Used Car Dealer.


The final dealer plate this week is this 1971 New Car Dealer plate.  This plate is in my collection and I do believe this is likely a sample; however, it is formatted correctly.  Although this is not the only '71 dealer plate plate in the History Section, 1971 saw the end of the map outline and the beginning of 7-character plates.  All of the dealer series now uses a small keystone separator between the 3rd and 4th character.  Also the Tractor Dealer did away with the TX prefix and now uses a D12-345D format.  It is also likely that the Trailer Dealer series began with E12-345E format.




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Images and photos are always welcome.  Please send to:

John McDevitt, Walnutport, PA

ALPCA #4376