Welcome to PApl8s.com!
Supporting the hobby, conducting research, preserving & promoting the history of Pennsylvania License Plates
The photos on this website are intended for use solely on this website, and may not be otherwise used without permission.
Other Years: 2024 Archives
The Plate of the Week award goes to Bryan Hummel for this blue base Implement of Husbandry plate. This type is issued to non-motorized farm implements. According to PennDOT's 2022 Report of Registrations, only 173 Implement of Husbandry plates were active. For comparison, a total of 12,063,924 registrations were active in 2022. The highest number observed on the blue base is IMP-2167; numbering restarted at IMP-5000 on the 1999 "www" base.
Bryan Hummel also sends this plate which appears to be a a prototype/test plate for the U.S. Senate plate type. Little is known about this type in general, as the first year is largely unconfirmed and it's believed that they ceased to be issued in about 1999. Curiously, the U.S. Congress plate type is still issued today.
Michael Breedlove shares this picture of a 2-digit number, which is technically classified as a personalized/vanity plate, found in the Passenger page. As mentioned in previous posts, it's quite difficult to secure a number under 100 in PA - feel free to share pictures of lwo numbers you've captured! See the "Contact" page for our email address. Click the picture to see a larger version!
Although the vast majority of Disabled Veteran plates had 5 numbers, the series actually started at DV-1000. Thanks to George Kunsman (left) and Clayton Moore (right) for the pictures.
Earlier this year we reported that the Southampton Fire Company No 1 started a plate program. As of this posting, 21 plates are now active. Keep your eyes out for one! Thanks to John McDevitt for the info.
Here's a new high from John Clark for the Williamson College of the Trades plate type. This plate has proven to be elusive to spot in the wild so we are grateful to John for sending us a picture of one. For all current highs, be sure to check out the Highs page!
Jeff Lesher spotted this neat personalized plate for the Pollinator Habitat type. This plate type is one of PennDOT's "Special Fund" plates, which means that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the plate benefits that specific cause. This plate costs $40 plus $128 if you want to personalize. Of the $40, $25 goes to the designated special fund.
Here's another new high from John Clark, for the Westminster College plate type. This plate type made its debut in 2005.
Here's a golden oldie: a Circus-Carnival Truck plate from Manny Jacob. This plate type started in 1990 and is only valid for 6 months. Because of this, the annual fee is half the cost of a regular truck registration (take the fee for the weight class of the truck the plate is going on and divide the fee by 2). Another fun fact about this plate type: it is not eligible for a two-year renewal!
John McDevitt reports that a new plate type is coming: "Spay/Neuter Saves Lives". The plate will cost $68; add $128 if you want to personalize the serial number. The organization which created the plate is Spay/Neuter Assistance Program of PA.
Continuing on the topic of animal-related plates, here's a new high from John Clark for the Going Home Greyhounds plate type. This plate has been available since 2005 and started at G/H 20001, meaning about 11 plates are issued per year, on average. For all current highs, be sure to check out the Highs page!
Avery Merz sends in this picture of a new high for the Preserve Our Heritage type. This type is expected to change over to the "Family of Plates" standardized design language after R/R 9Z99, making it the last Special Fund plate to make the transition.
This picture of a personalized Combat Medical Badge plate comes from Bruce Bufalini. This is the first picture submited to this site of a personalized version of the plate. PennDOT offers dozens of military and veteran plates, click here to see the full listing!
Last but not least we have a new high for Penn State Alumni Association from Julian Marrero. This plate type started in 1985 at P/S 00001, which means about 790 are issued every year (66 per month, 2 per day!), on average!
Mike Alfonse starts us out with a new high for the Conserve Wild Resources plate type, which recently changed from the Otter to the Eastern Hellbender! Numbering for the Eastern Hellbender started at R/C 07501 so this is the 42nd plate issued featuring the new animal. For all current highs, be sure to check out the Highs page!
Here's another high, this time from Bill Young for Truck. It's unknown what sequence Truck will use after ZZZ-9999. Perhaps YBA-000A? 0000-YBA? Who knows?
Chris Van Zandt shares this picture of a low-number plate, and a nice repeater at that! In Pennsylvania, low numbers fall under the Personalized/Vanity category, which on this website is listed under the Passenger page. A few people who follow this page have been able to secure a 3-digit number, but getting a 1- or 2-digit is pretty tough.
This picture of an Expeditionary Forces Veteran plate comes from Clayton Moore. Clayton notes that the plate is not that old but is already in poor shape, possibly referring to the sheeting on the right side of the plate. PennDOT offers dozens of military and veteran plates, click here to see the full listing!
Finally this week we have a plate that is not often posted on this site: All-Terrain Vehicle. These plates are issued by the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and are separated into two classes: Class 1 (max width of 50 inches and max weight of 1,000 lbs) and Class (width over 50 inches and weight over 1,000lbs). Click the link above to learn more! Thanks to Clark Wothe for taking the picture, and thanks to Ross Day for forwarding the picture to us!
Clayon Moore noticed this interesting find (left) on eBay (seller was "cbwestphal"). It appears to be an ordinary 1909 Passenger plate, but it's actually a 4-digit number printed on a 5-digit size. The picture on the right (from unknown) is how standard 4-digit plates looked. Until 1956, the dimensions of the plate were dependent on the amount of characters the plate number had (there are a few exceptions but this is the general rule). Click on "Passenger" to learn more and see all four sizes of 1909 Passenger plates!
Nick Tsilakis shares this picture of a personalized IUP Alumni Association plate. IUP stands for Indiana University of Pennsylvania, which is located in Indiana, PA and has no affiliation with the state of Indiana. This is the first time a personalized IUP Alumni Association plate with the map outline has been photographed - thanks Nick!
Here's another school plate, this time Penn Alumni from Tim Gierschick. Their plate program started in 2005 and Penn Alumni stands for University of Pennsylvania, located in Philadelphia.
Here's one of the rarest and least-issued types in Pennsylvania: Commercial Implement of Husbandry. This type is for self-propelled vehicles that perform "agricultural production or harvesting activities exclusivsely on farms other than farms owned or operated by the owner of the implement of husbandry." This type began in 1997 and switched to the "www" base in 2000. The picture on the left is from eBay seller "geekboy92" and the picture on the right is from Jordan Irazabal.
Last but not least we have a new high from Bruce Bufalini for the Permanent Trailer plate type. Bruce notes that "U" has not been used in serials for several decades. For all current highs, be sure to check out the Highs page!
The Plate of the Week award this week goes to Bill Young for this shot of a Lincoln University (Official Use) plate, the first time one has been observed on the "visitPA" base! This type came out in the 1990s on the blue base, then transitioned to the "www" base in 1999 which was in use until very recently. Numbering on the blue base started at L0000U, on the "www" base at L0500U, and numbering on the map outline base at L0700U. This also a new high! For all current highs, be sure to check out the Highs page!
Three more highs for the week! This new Omnibus high comes from Ben Vaughn. This type started in 1926 with the "H" prefix, stopped after 1929, and began again in 1977 at OB-10000.
Next we have a new Apportioned high, coming from John McDevitt. This type began in 1982 at AA-00000. See the link for more history!
Lastly we have a new high for the Let Freedom Ring plate type from Richard Than. This type is classified by PennDOT as a "Special Fund" plate, which means that proceeds from the plate go towards a special state trust fund that is relevent to each type. Click here to see all of the Special Fund plates!
John Clark sends in this picture of a Reading Buccaneers, Inc. plate, a type that is seldom spotted in the wild! This is a new high for this type as well. This plate came out in 2008, which means about 9 plates have been issued each year, on average. For all current highs, be sure to check out the Highs page!
Here's another high from John Clark, this time for the Bloomsburg University plate type. This type began on the blue base in 1992
Mike Alfonse sends in this National Police Defense Foundation high. This is another plate type that is seldom spotted in the wild. It started in 2010 which means about 15 plates are issued each year, on average. Good spot!
Nick Tsilakis recently noticed that the separator for the School Bus type changed from a keystone to a dash. These two pictures (left from Bill Young, right from Nick Tsilakis) represent the highest keystone and lowest dash plate known to this website. A PennDOT warehouse report from November 2021 shows one order ending at SC-92299 and another starting at SC-92300, which may explain this change.
Jeff Lesher sends in these pictures of early Passenger sample plates! Plate formatting was not as standardized back then as it is now (it's all relative...) so multiple serial formats are known for most years until the mid-1950s. Thanks for sharing, Jeff!
Brandon Sowers submits the picture of a Notary Public plate, which is a new high for the blue base. Numbering on this base started at N/P 00001 and then restarted at N/P 03000 on the "www" base of 1999.
Mike Alfonse also sends in this new high for the Gettysburg 1863 plate type. This plate falls under PennDOT's "Special Fund" umbrella, which means part of the proceeds from the sale of the plate go towards a special cause. In this case, "proceeds from this plate go directly to the Veteran Trust Fund and will support the cleaning, repair and restoration of the Pennsylvania monuments by the Gettysburg National Military Park." To order this plate, click here! For all current highs, be sure to check out the Highs page!
Mike's third submission this week is a new high for Lock Haven University. It's also the first Lock Haven plate spotted without the sticker well which means we will see the small map outline soon. Thanks, Mike, for three submissions this week!
John McDevitt shares three bills that are currently pending: HB 73, providing for Operation Inherent Resolve veterans plate; HB 826, providing for special plates for recipients of Borinqueneers Congressional Gold Medal; and HB 1747, provides for motorcycle plates for more veteran types. We will update you if any of these become law.
The Plate of the Week Award goes to Richard Than for this shot of a personalized Philadelphia Centurions Motorcycle Club plate! This is the second picture captured of this type, and the first picture where all the text on the plate is legible. The other picture that was captured was 30001 P/C, so the current high is only at #1!
Matt Ciecka sends in this good picture of what's already the current high for the We The People plate. This plate came out in 1987 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the ratification of the Constitution. These plates were only issued from mid-September 1987 through December 31, 1987 but are still eligible for renewal.
Jane Sassaman sends in this picture of #26, a nice-looking low number. This is technically a personalized plate, and the history page is located on the Passenger page. Until about 1987, low numbers were generally under control of the Governor, with numbers 3-23 being reserved for members of the Governor's Cabinet. Today, anyone can get one provided that it's available as a personalized registration. To check available numbers, click here!
The last submission for this week is a new high for the New Car Dealer type from Jordan Irazabal. If you've been keeping up with the weekly updates on this site, you will know that all Dealer types were replaced starting in October 2022. That means that the old plates were required to be handed back in to PennDOT in exchange for the new plates. As of today, no redesigned Multi-Purpose Dealer plates or Farm Equipment Dealer plates have been issued. It should also be noted that the Fleet Transporter type is not considered by PennDOT to be a Dealer type and, accordingly, will not be part of the replacement. For all current highs, be sure to check out the Highs page!
The Plate of the Week award goes to Reddit user "BehindTheBrook" for spotting NUMBER 1! Technically this is a vanity plate but still it's NUMBER 1! Number 1 was reserved for the Governor of Pennsylvania from 1912 until around 1987. It's likely that the person whose Rolls-Royce this is has connections in the state government to have gotten NUMBER 1! There may be a few 3-digit numbers available for your PA-regisered car, click here to access PennDOT's vanity checker site!
Chris Van Zandt shares this picture of a Salvage Yard plate, one of the Dealer types that was redesigned and replaced, starting back in October 2022.
This new high for West Grove Fire Company comes from Jordan Irazabal, spotted in Kennett Square. Fire company plates don't typically number this high, yet this one still has the sticker well, which means there must have been a large demand for this type when the plate first came out. For all current highs, be sure to check out the Highs page!
Two more highs for this week... the first one is Moravian College, sent in by Nick Tsilakis. Moravian College is located in Bethlehem, PA and touts themselves as the 6th oldest college in the country!
Last but certainly not least, we have a new high for a VERY rare type: Hearing Impaired. This type started in 1987 on the blue base at HE-00001, and numbering restarted at HE-03000 on the "www" base when plates were replaced in 1999-2001. Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for the picture!
The Plate of the Week award goes to Ken Koontz for this picture of the first Share the Road plate issued. This is another one of those types that is considered by PennDOT to be a "Special Fund" plate, as discussed on this page a few weeks ago. Plates with this designation support some sort of state trust fund or cause. For more information, check out PennDOT's page for Special Fund plates.
John Clark shares this picture of a Holy Family University plate, hot off the press! This type has been around since 2008 and is a new high! For all current highs, be sure to check out the Highs page!
Bill Koneski found this neat, old Motor Bike plate (link and history coming soon!) This type started in 1920 and ended in 1949. It was for motorized bicycles, what we would call "mopeds" today. This is a new high number for this year - thanks Bill!
Speaking of highs, John McDevitt, the creator of this website, spotted this new high for the Apportioned Bus plate type. This type started in 1982 on the blue-on-yellow base at BL-10000 - only a few hundred were issued on that base! The "BM" series was skipped and numbering began at BN-00001 on the "www" base (faded blue and yellow bands) in 2000. The "visitPA" base (solid blue and yellow bands) began at BN-04000.
Last but not least we have yet another high - for Passenger, a type we rarely report on! The 7-character serial format started in 1992 on the yellow-on-blue base at AAA-0000 and went through CEG-3865. Numbering restarted in 1999 at DAA-0000 on the "www" base (faded blue and yellow bands), then again in 2005 at GBA-0000 on the "visitPA" base (solid blue and yellow bands).
The Plate of the Week award goes to John Clark for this image of the new The Video Game Clubs of America plate type. This one is hot off the press! Bruce Sakson received #00005, which is the new high for this type. For all current highs, be sure to check out the Highs page!
John Clark also shares this picture of a Shippensburg University Alumni plate. This type has been around since 1989! This particular number is also a new high.
Buce Bufalini sends in this new high for the Person With Disability type. The serial format recently moved to A0000 PD after hitting 97999 PD (98000 PD and above is reserved for Double Plates, see link for more information).
A few people have photographed the Williamson College of the Trades plate type but all of those pictures have been at a far distance... until now! Thank you John Clark for this great picture and also new high!
Lastly we have this personalized U.S. Coast Guard Veteran plate, sent in by Chris Van Zandt. Personalized versions of this plate type have been observed on all three formats - see the link for more information!
This picture of a Honoring Our Veterans plate is a new high and still without the sticker well! This is considered by PennDOT to be a "Special Fund" plate. Plates with this designation support some sort of state trust fund or cause. For more information, check out PennDOT's page for Special Fund plates. For all current highs, be sure to check out the Highs page! Thanks to Bruce Bufalini for the picture.
Hunter Slavid shares this picture of a personalized Erie Yacht Club. Many special organization plates have been seen with personalizations like "1" and "2" but they are not "the" number 1 or 2 plate for that type; that would be 00001 or 00002. Either way, this one looks pretty cool!
Bruce Sakson spotted this new high for the new Afghanistan and Iraq Veteran type. This plate is for those who served in both Afghanistan and Iraq, not just one or the other. Click here for a full listing of all Military and Veteran plates.
Last but not least, this personalized Operation Enduring Freedom plate was sent in by Charles Metz. This is the first personalized version of this plate type with the map outline.
Julian Marrero sends in this picture of a Official Use - PA Turnpike (Non-Commercial) plate. In 2018, a few sub-types split off from the Official Use plate type: Turnpike Commission, PennDOT, and State Police. Similar to the standard Official Use plates, Non-Commercial has "P/A" at the end of the serial and Commercial has "P/A" at the beginning of the serial. In this case, "commercial" refers to the type of vehicle the plate is registered to. See the Highs page for links to all of these types.
This new high for University of Michigan comes from John Clark. This plate type has been around since 2003, which means about 27 plates are issued per year, on average. It's also one of a handful of plate types that is still on the "www" base, which means that PennDOT overestimated demand and "www" base plates are still sitting in their inventory.
At first glance this might look like a Passenger plate, but this is actually a personalized plate and the serial is from the "www" base. This particular number was issued late-1999 or early-2000. Thanks to Nick Tsilakis for sending this picture in.
Kaylee sends in this picture of a "personalized" D.A.R.E. plate. Personalized is in quotes because personalization was not an option at the time the black D.A.R.E. plates were being issued. Whoever made this plate did a great job because everything looks correct, from the base plate to the dies for "NUDE".
The Plate of the Week award goes to Clayton Moore for finding this 1928 Trailer plate! Before now, no plate numbers under TT-100 were known for this year and all known plates measured 6" x 15", but thanks to Clayton we now have evidence of a sub-100 number and have confirmed that these plates measure 6" x 13". Great find!
Tom Castelli sends in this picture of a Superior Court plate. This is a very uncommon plate type to find in the wild. This number was previously photographed by Tom Perri.
This World War II Veteran plate was photographed by Bruce Bufalini. Unfortunately, this type will one day be extinct as the last of the WWII vets pass away. Your author is acquainted with a gentleman who served in WWII and was in the campaign that freed the Jews from Buchenwald. Luckily his memory is still sharp and he is able to recount his experience in the war. Thank you all for your service!
Chris Van Zandt sends in this picture of a personalized Philadelphia Fire Fighters' Union plate. This plate type has been around since 2005. One quirky thing about this plate type is that a handful in the 23000 block have been issued in error.
Last but not least, Matt Ciecka sends in this picture of a personalized Emergency Vehicle plate. Most types have personalization available but this type doesn't see much of it. This plate type has a two-tier numbering system (Paying Customers and No Fee/Permanent) but, unless you know which fire department it is, it's impossible to tell which tier it is on a personalized plate.
Jeff Lesher sends in this picture of a new high for the Antique/Historic Vehicle plate type! This type has been around since 1956 - it started on the white-on-purple base and transitioned to the "Family of Plates" style in 2005. For all current highs, be sure to check out the Highs page!
Here's another high, this time from Jordan Irazabal for the St. James Alumni plate type. This type started in 1996 on the blue base and transitioned to the "www" base in June 2001, with new registrations starting at S/J 11000. That means that only 173 plates have been issued since 2001, or about 8 plates per year since 2001.
This plate, sent in by Chris Van Zandt, appears to be a Vanity plate on the "You've Got a Friend" base, but upon further inspection, it's a homemade plate to look like same. Quite a few homemade plates have been spotted over the years.
Chris Van Zandt also sends in this picture of a personalized Wisconsin Alumni Association plate. This plate type has been around since 2009 and costs $47 plus $128 to personalize. Click here to order one!
Last but not least we have this personalized Afghanistan and Iraq Veteran plate type, sent in by Dan Mong. This plate is available to veterans that served in both Afghanistan and Iraq and costs $26 plus $128 to personalize. Click here to order one! A copy of your DD214 must accompany your order form.
Clayton Moore found this picture on eBay of what appears to be the first Penn State (Official Use) plate produced! This type started arond 1983 and was white on blue until 2019, when it moved to the "Family of Plates" design. There were actually two variations of the white-on-blue plates: very early plates had two sticker wells (top-left and top-right) and the rest had one sticker well (bottom-left).
Here's another #1 plate, this time from Tim Gierschick for the Exeter Township Fire Department plate type. Exeter Township is just east of the city of Reading. This plate type has been around since 2013 and the current high is 00016 E/T, so only about 3 plates have been issued every 2 years, on average.
At first glance, this plate does not appear to be anything special, but it's actually one of the rarest plate types to spot on the road: Superior Court. The Pennsylvania Superior Court is one of two intermediary appellate courts in the state, the other being the Commonwealth Court, which also has a plate!
Clayton Moore shares this picture of a 1923 Truck plate. From 1920 - 1923, Truck plates were all 6" x 16", regardless of the amount of digits on the plate. As mentioned in previous posts, Truck plates have always had some sort of weight class system. During those four years, the first digit of the plate number defined the weight class (1 being the lightest, 7 being the heaviest). The highest plate number known for the "2" weight class is 26939.
Bruce Bufalini sends in this new high for the School Vehicle plate type. As you can see in the History page that's linked, PennDOT has been anything but consistent with using the keystone separator over the years. We do our best to track this! For all current highs, be sure to check out the Highs page!
Here's another high, this time from Jerry McCoy for the Motor Home plate type. Motor Home has an interesting application of an existing rule: you can get a personalized plate but the vehicle has to be less than 14,000 lbs! This is the general weight cut-off for personalized plates but Motor Homes can be less than or more than 14,000 lbs, whereas all passenger cars are (way) less than 14,000 lbs so that limit never really comes up!
Clayton Moore sends in this 3-axle Truck plate, which is also a new high for the "V" weight class for 3-axle trucks. As trucks got larger, new types were introduced, such as this 3-axle type. "V" is the weight class and "Z" indicates 3 axles. Those letters don't change, only the serial after it changes. The lowest VZ plate for this year and type would have been VZ0-00A, up to VZ9-99A, then over to VZ0-00B, etc.
Bruce Bufalini sends in this new high for the Westminster College plate type. Westminster College is located in far central-western Pennsylvania and their plate has been available for purchase since 2005. Click here to order one!
Bruce Bufalini also sends in this pair of St. Francis University plates. The left picture is a new high and the right picture is the first plate observed with the refreshed design, with both the map outline in place of the sticker well and the new logo. St. Francis University is located right outside of Altoona and their plate has been avaialble for purchase since 1999. Click here to order one!
Lincoln University Plate Mysteries
As best as can be determined, neither of these Lincoln University organizational plates ever made it onto the street.
On the other hand, Lincoln University does have an official plate as seen above-left (1999 issue ending at L0529U) as do the other state-related facilities such as Penn State, Pitt and Temple. So far it is unconfirmed if this plate type was ever issued on the visitPA solid bands base; however it appears based on an inventory report that plates from L0570U to L0572U likely were on this base but not seen so far. Then in 2019, like the other official university plates listed above, Lincoln’s plate was revised with the addition of the map outline, but so far has also not been seen. It is possible that only one plate L0700U has been issued to date.
It may be worth mentioning that there was an earlier Lincoln Official plate than what is shown here. This plate would have been white on blue, or yellow on blue, and has never been collected or even photographed. Efforts to get help from Lincoln U. have not been successful. It’s also not easy to tour the campus. Any help on this?
John Clark submits the leftmost picture of the relatively new Pollinator Habitat plate type, which happens to be a new high! Matt Ciecka submits the rightmost picture, a personalized Pollinator Habitat plate, the first one observed! For all current highs, be sure to check out the Highs page!
This picture of a personalized Veteran Motorcycle plate comes from George Kunsman. This plate has a total cost of $154 ($26 for the plate and $128 to personalize) and the "V" must be the first character, regardless of what you personalize it with. Click here to order one!
Jordan Irazabal snapped this picture of a Temporary plate, which is a new high! Temporary plates have been issued in PA since 1946.
John Clark also sends this new high for St. Thomas More Alumni Association. This plate has been out since 1997 and not many have been issued since then. it started on the blue base at G/B 00001 and the highest known number on that base is G/B 00441. Numbering started on the "www" base at G/B 01000 so this is the 73rd plate on this base. That means just over 500 plates have been issued in the last 26 years, so about 19 plates are issued per year, on average.
One plate type that's hard to find new highs for is Farm Truck, but Colin Schaefer managed to find one this week! Farm Truck started in 1977 on the yellow base. Be sure to check out the Highs page for this new high and highs for all of the other plate types!
Here's another high for the week (Saint Joseph's University, known locally as "St. Joe's"), this one from Jordan Irazabal. This is also the first time a St. Joseph's U plate has been spotted without the sticker well - which means the map outline isn't far behind.
Here's a pair of 1940s Dealer plates. The 1940 plate is the first 1940 Dealer plate known to this website in the 10" variety and the picture comes from "ALPCA 4739". The 1941 plate is the first 1941 Dealer plate with the "X" in the fourth position in the serial and the picture comes from Brandon Sowers.
Jordan Irazabal snapped this picture of a Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority plate. This plate type is very seldom spotted and this is, believe it or not, a new high!
The last one for this week is yet another rare one to see on the road: Therapy Dogs United. This organization is based in Erie, the plate type has been out since 2010, and the current high is 00066 T/D, which means only about 5 plates have been issued per year. If you're interested in getting one of these plates for your car, click here!
What's the best time to find new highs for Antique and Classic plates? Car show season! Bruce Bufalini sends in this pair of highs for Antique Historic Vehicle and Classic Vehicle. Having an Antique plate means your car has to be 25 years old or older and it exempts you from safety and emissions tests during your ownership of that car. Having a Classic plate means your car has to be 15 years old or older and it exempts you from emissions tests, but not safety tests. Daily driving on either plate is not allowed. For more information on Antique and Classic plates, visit this link, and as always, be sure to check out the Highs page!
John Clark shares this picture of a Geneva College plate, hot off the press. This is the first picture of a Geneva College plate with the map outline, and it also happens to be a new high!
Here's another pair of plates, this time personalized versions of the Legion of Merit (from Bruce Bufalini) and U.S. Coast Guard Veteran (from Brendan Sherry) plate types. Legion of Merit came out in 2019 and U.S. Coast Guard Veteran came out in 2009. PennDOT offers an array of military and veteran plate types, click here to learn more!
This picture of an AFSCME Council 13 plate comes from Brendan Sherry. It's a new high and also the first sighting of one with the map outline. It's also a type not often seen (or at least photograhed)!
Here is another plate type not often seen on the road: University of Michigan. This not a new high, just some exposure on a plate type you don't see often. Thanks to Brendan Sherry for the picture!
John Clark sends in this perfect picture of the new Conserve Wild Resources plate. This plate type began in 1993 featuring the Saw Whet Owl, then changed to the Otter in 1999, and as of a month ago features the Eastern Hellbender. This change was mentioned in the 7/4/2023 update (accessible here on the 2023 Archives page). It appears that the Eastern Hellbender graphic began at R/C 07501.
This motorcycle version of the Honoring Our Veterans plate comes from Ian Emmett. It is one of a dozen Special Fund plates that PennDOT offers. "Special Fund" means that proceeds from the sale of those plates go to a specific state trust fund. In this case, proceeds benefit the Veterans Trust fund. It also happens to be a new high! For all current highs, be sure to check out the Highs page!
Clayton Moore shares this picture of the recently redesigned Transporter plate. As mentioned in several previous posts, PennDOT redesigned all dealer-related plate types to match the "Family of Plates" design language (if you want to call it that) and is in the midst of replacing all of those types. In other words, they are sending out the redesigned plates to everyone who currently has them and the existing plates must be sent back to PennDOT. The only redesigned dealer-related types that haven't been spotted are Farm Equipment Dealer, Multipurpose Dealer, and Watercraft Trailer Dealer.
John Clark submits this picture of an Ohio River Trail Council plate. It's also a new high number! This plate type started in 2013 and only 29 plates have been issued, which means they have sold about 3 per year. Click here to order one!
Last but not least, we have this picture of Eastern University plate #1, sent in by Chris Van Zandt. Eastern University is a private, Christian college in St. David's. This plate type came out in 2012 and the current high is 00045, which means they sell about 4 plates per year. I could not locate a link to order a plate, which may explain the small amount of plates on the road.
PennDOT recently updated its list of Special Organization plates and it appears that seven new plates have been added to the lineup (one of which we noted in an earlier post but no picture was available). The following organizations now have plates:
Alpha Fire Company No. 1 Inc.
American Hose Company No. 1
New Kingstown Fire Company
Southampton Fire Company No. 1
The Colebrookdale Railroad
The Edward Francis Cancer Foundation
The Video Game Clubs of America
George Kunsman submits this picture of a personalized Fire Fighter plate. This plate type began in 1983 and is unique because you were able to personalize them when they first came out (on the yellow base) but that was quickly stopped. If you wanted it remade when the "www" base began in 1999, they would print your personalized plate on the then-new base. No other type offered that at the time.
Bruce Bufalini shares this picture of an NRA Foundation plate. What's unusual about this plate is that it has a map outline graphic, which didn't appear on NRA Foundation plates until numbering reached the high 0800s, AND the "NRA" being right-aligned on the plate did not happen until numbering reached 0840 or so. Therefore, it appears that this is a replacement plate, which is not something PennDOT commonly does!
This ... interesting ... plate was spotted by Nick Tsilakis. It resembles a D.A.R.E. plate but is clearly a custom job. It seems like more and more unauthorized/homemade black and white plates are on the roads - maybe it's time for Pennsylvania to make it an option?
The Plate of the Week award goes to our very own John McDevitt for providing this picture of the recently-redesigned Trailer Dealer plate. As mentioned in previous posts, all of the Dealer types were redesigned to adhere to the "Family of Plates" design (tri-color scheme with the small graphic to the left of the serial) and are in the process of being reissued. This means that any business that has a Dealer type of any kind are required to return their current dealer plates to PennDOT once they receive the new ones.
John also submits this picture of a Circus-Carnival Truck plate. As the plate says, it's only valid for half of a year (from April 1 through September 30) and therefore costs half the normal annual registration amount. It also happens to be a new high! For all current highs, be sure to check out the Highs page!
Ian Emmett shares these two Motorboat Dealer plates. This type was issued from 1934 through 1963, back when motorized boats were required to have plates (they looked just like the dealer plates pictured but their serial format was numbers only, no "X"). "MBL" stands for "Motorboat License" and the 1953 plate is fiberboard, a very unusual thing for PA to do!
This personalized Share the Road plate was spotted by Jordan Irazabal in Connecticut. This plate type is one of PennDOT's "Special Fund" plates, which means that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the plate benefits that specific cause. From PennDOT: "All proceeds from this plate will help fund the Department's Bicycle & Pedestrian safety efforts as well as highway infrastructure signage for bicyclists with the purpose of wayfinding and/or safety." Click here for a full list of Special Fund plates!
Bruce Bufalini shares this picture of a personalized Disabled Veteran (Severe Disability) plate. This plate was blue on white for 35 years and was converted to the "Family of Plates" design in 2021. This plate costs $13 and there is an addition fe of $64 to personalize it. There are requirements to receive this plate, click here for more info.
The Plate of the Week award goes to Jeff Lawson for capturing this picture of an ultra-rare Fleet Transporter plate. There are less than 200 of these plates issued, and they are only used when transporting so they're extermely difficult to spot in the wild. Thanks Jeff!
John Fedorchak shares this zoomed shot of the new Blue Star Family plate, a "first-of" sighting! This plate is for family members of a person who is an active-duty service member in the military, including a reserve component or National Guard. Click here to order one!
Bruce Bufalini shares this picture of a personalized Expeditionary Forces plate. This plate type is pretty uncommonly spotted in the world, let alone a personalized version!
This pair of U.S. Armed Forces Retired plates comes from Devan Ciemiewicz. This plate type began issuance in 1990 but was discontinued in 2006 due to rising expenses of the plate program and not enough plates being sold.
Devan Ciemiewicz also submits this picture of what appears to be a test plate for the Fire Department plate, a now-defunct plate type. As you can see on the plate (click the thumbnail to enlarge), "68" is etched into the sticker well at the bottom-left, indicating the year 1968, which was the same year the final design of this plate ended up in production. If you click the link above, you will be able to see how those plates looked when they went into production.
Speaking of picture-picture shots, this WHYY plate comes from Richard Than. It's also a new high. WHYY is Philadelphia's largest public radio station.
John McDevitt found this picture of a 1940 Commercial Motorcycle plate on eBay (seller "mia6556"). It's believed that Commercial Motorcycle plates were issued to business-owned cycles and/or cycles used for commercial purposes (delivery, hauling, etc.) This type was short-lived, only being issued 1938 - 1949 and its purpose is largely unknown. This site still needs pictures for years 1945, 1947, and 1949.
John Clark submits this picture of a Disabled Veteran (Severe Disability) plate, but with a twist! It appears that the plate owner cut off the bottom of a Vietnam War Veteran plate and connected it to the bottom of the Disabled Veteran plate. That's one way to do it!
John McDevitt submits this picture of an Emergency Vehicle plate, which represents the first "paying customer"-tier EV plate (read on...) with the map outline in the place of the sticker well, and it's also a new high. EV plates are issued in two tiers: "Paying Customers" and "No Fee". The former (starting at EV-30000 on this base) is issued to private ambulance companies, while the latter (starting at EV-50000 on this base) is issued to township- and state-owned vehicles.
The Plate of the Week award goes to Chris Turner! Chris spotted the recently-redesigned Motorcycle Dealer plate and managed to get a great picture of it, a first-of image! As mentioned in previous posts, PennDOT is in the midst of replacing all Dealer types with the "Family of Plates" design (tri-color theme with a relevant graphic on the center-left). Thanks Chris!
A close second for Plate of the Week goes to John McDevitt, who spotted this recently-redesigned Repossessor plate. This type is pretty difficult to spot in the wild but it helps us plate spotters that PennDOT is replacing all current plates, instead of only issuing this new style to new registrations.
Dallis Broderick notes that a new Conserve Wild Resources plate will be available to Pennsylvania drivers starting July 1. If you're keeping track, this is the 3rd "Conserve Wild Resources" plate that Pennsylvania has offered: first was the Saw Whet Owl, then the Otter, and now the Eastern Hellbender. According to waterlandlife.org, "the hellbender is the largest salamander in North America and can grow up to two feet in length" and may be known by its "nicknames, including mud devil and devil dog." "While not listed as an endangered species, this critter is a species of concern due to declining populations."
Clayton Moore saw this picture on eBay of a 1951 Tractor plate on an actual tractor! Click the picture to see an enlarged version.
This picture is the 2nd "HJ" series Motor Home plate sent to this website. It also happens to be a new high! For all current highs, be sure to check out the Highs page! Thanks to Sebastian DiSclafani for taking the picture and thanks to Colin Schaefer for getting it to us!
Clayton Moore submits this picture of a souvenir plate from the 2018 AAMVA conference. AAMVA stands for American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators and their annual conference draws leaders from DMVs/MVAs/RMVs/BMVs across the country. This plate can be found in the Special Event Plates page of the website.
Clayton Moore turned up these two Truck plates. "W" and "Y" are the third- and second-heaviest weight classes, respectively. These two plates are also both new high numbers for each respective year and weight class.
Speaking of Truck plates, here's the second 4-star 1918 plate known, courtesy of John Flint! From 1914-1919, Truck plates used a star system to denote the registered weight class, 1 star being the lightest and 5 stars being the heaviest.
The plate on the left (coutesy of John Fedorchak) is (I think) someone's attempt to make people think they have the number "6" license plate for Pennsylvania. The D/A and logo confirm that it's a personalized version of a Distracted Driving Awareness plate. They even covered up the legend on the bottom. The plate on the right (courtesy of John Clark) is what a standard plate from that series looks like.
Mike Alfonse sends in this picture of a 1910 Dealer plate. During this era of plates, the length of the plate varied with the amount of characters in the plate's serial. This is the lowest number known for a 1910 Dealer plate and the only example known of the shortest plate, 6" x 8". Unfortuantely this plate has been repainted, but it's still nice to have this wonderful piece of history around!
Tim Jumper spotted this interesting Street Rod plate. Although I'm not a fan of using plates that aren't state-issued/sanctioned, this one has a lot of thought behind it, including the year-make-model of the vehicle it's registered to.
This new high number for the Penn State University plate type comes from Brayden Harnish. Penn State offers the Penn State Alumni Association plate as well as the plate pictured here. This plate is offered concurrently with the Penn State Alumni plate but costs $100 more. According to their website, The Penn State University plate is offered to people who are not active membbers of the Alumni Association but still want to show off their Penn State pride. For all current highs, be sure to check out the Highs page!
These pairs of consecutively-numbered 1931 Passenger plates come from John Kiehl. The sequence of serials in 1931 is fairly complicated but in general the letter moves from left to right, so 1-99999, then A1-Z9999, then 0A-9Z999, then 00A-99Z99, and beyond. The pictured plates fall into the last grouping just mentioned. The letter was the last to advance, so 60B00 comes after 59B99 and 00C comes after 99B99.
This picture of a Eddington Fire Company plate comes from Matt Ciecka. Matt spoted it once before but was unable to get a picture, which is why we have E/D 00002 noted as the high but no picture shown - until now!
Nate Miller sends in this picture of a hot-off-the-press Preserve Our Heritage plate. This is the last Special Fund plate with a full-size graphic background, and I'm sure it's only a matter of time before it transitions to the "Family of Plates" style (marked by the tri-color plate with the 3" x 3" graphic on the left). This number also happens to be a new high! For all current highs, be sure to check out the Highs page!
These two plates are "first-of" pictures on this site for 3-number Truck plates for their respective years and weight classes. R and S are the first two of the seven weight classes used from 1924 through 1967, the lightest two classes. The picture on the left comes from "agentsteel53" on eBay and the picture on the right comes from "jjijil6" on eBay.
I spotted this School Bus plate, which is a new high but more importantly, as Nick Tsilakis pointed out, it has a dash separator instead of a keystone separator. According to John McDevitt, the most recently Warehouse Inventory Report shows a new batch of plates beginning at SC-92300 - perhaps that's when they switched to the dash separator? Only time will tell!
John Clark sends in this picture of a low-number Vietnam War Veteran plate. The curious thing is that it's on the current base! This is not the first time a low(er) number has been spotted on a current base, which means that PennDOT does replace plates, even though they say otherwise.
This week's update is all about pairs. Not "pair" in the traditional sense, but a group of two photos per entry. The first one is a pair of Bus plates from Clayton Moore. The Bus type started in 1924 and used the letter "O" from 1924 through 1967, except for 1934, which used all numbers and the "BUS" legend at the bottom (see first picture).
The next pair comes from Nick Tsilakis, two Offical Use plates. When the "PA" is on the right, that means it's a passenger vehicle. When the "PA" is on the left, that means it's a commercial vehicle. Both of these numbers also happen to be new highs! For all current highs, be sure to check out the Highs page!
Last but not least we have this pair of Truck plates sent in by Rob Baran. Truck plates in PA have always had a weight class system of some sort, even today (via a windshield sticker), but from 1924 through 1967 (except 1930, where they tried something different), PA used a letter to denote the weight class (R for lightest, Z for heaviest, and X was skipped since it was used for Dealer). The Truck type started in 1914 - from 1914 through 1919, PA used 1 thru 5 stars to denote the weight class. From 1920 thru 1923, the first number of the plate number denoted the weight class. After 1967, Truck became Commercial starting at CA-10000, and then in the early 90s the "Y" prefix was used for Truck, starting at YA-00000, then restarting at YAA-0000 on the "www" base of 1999, going through YZZ-9999 and onto ZBA-0000. The current high is ZWM-9008.
John McDevitt reached out to PennDOT to get prototype images of the redesigned Dealer types we have yet to see on the road and they sent them! The types that were redesigned that have already been spotted on the road are Dealer (New), Dealer (Pre-Owned), Repair Towing, Moped Dealer, and Salvage Yard (new this week, see below). Thanks, John, for doing the legwork for these!
George Kunsman spotted the redesigned Salvage Yard plate on the road, the first time it's been submitted to this site. As mentioned above, all of the Dealer types have been redesigned and are replacing the current issues (that is, they are not only going to new registrations).
John McDevitt also spotted this pair of highs for the Exeter Township Fire Department and Gettysburg Fire Department plate types. They are also first-of images with the map outline in place of the sticker well, AND they're both the 38th plate produced for each type! For all current highs, be sure to check out the Highs page!
Bill Koneski posted this beautiful Bloomsburg University blue base plate. This plate type started in 1992 (on the blue base) and transitioned to the "www" base in 2000. The school is in Bloomsburg, PA, which is 40 miles southwest of Wilkes-Barre. The plate costs $50 plus a $112 fee if you want to personalize it. Click here to order one!
Last but not least, John Clark sends in this picture of all three bases of the Steel Worker plate type. This is available to individuals who worked in the steel industry or a member of their family, however no documentation is required to obtain one of the plates. This particular plate is $23 plus a $112 fee if you want to personalize it. Click here to order one!
This may be the find of 2023: a picture of recently-redesigned Moped Dealer plates. These three plates replace the plates in the picture on the right - they all belong to the same dealer. I made a lot of phone calls about ten years ago to track an example of these plates down and found the guy who has the plates pictured. Very nice guy!
Clayton Moore sends in this picture of a 1921 Dealer plate, which is also a new high number for this year. Pennsylvania used the "X" prefix from 1911 to 1965. The first year for Dealer was 1910 and the plates just said "DEALER", and in 1930 a different serial system was used but plate still had the word "DEALER" in the legend. Starting in 1946, the "A" and "B" prefixes were added to the mix and "X" was relegated to the "Misc. Dealer" sub-type, and that was in effect through 1965.
I spotted this new high for the Temporary plate type this past week. It appears that they are zipping through the 40xx-xxx series! Fun fact: Pennsylvania residents cannot get a Pennsylvania temp tag (assuming their car is going to be registered in Pennsylvania). For all current highs, be sure to check out the Highs page!
Bruce Bufalini sends in this picture of a personalized Seton Hill University plate. Seton Hill University is in Greensburg, PA and there is not much information on their website about their specialty plate. I presume the standard $112 fee applies to personalize the plate, on top of whatever the school charges for the plate.
This picture of a personalized Distinguished Flying Cross plate comes from Nick Tsilakis. PennDOT offers dozens of Veterans plates, and 24 of those acknowledge medals/badges/ribbons. This particular plate is $10 plus a $112 fee if you want to personalize it. Click here to order one, you must send a copy of your DD214 discharge paperwork with the application.
Tim Gierschick sends this sequential pair of 1925 Tractor plates. Tim's passion for Tractor plates is palpable; he has one from every year they were issued, including a pair of 1914s and a pair of 1915s, the only two years they were issued in pairs! This is his latest score. The "E" prefix was used until 1927 - it stood for "Engine". It was then "TE" for Traction Engine" and then "TRACTOR", and finally "TR" prefix. In 1984 this type was replaced by the Special Mobile Equipment for tractors used for commercial purposes and the Implement of Husbandy type for tractors used for agricultural purposes.
The Motorcycle plate type has moved into its next serial sequence, going from 9ZZ99 to 00AA0. Thanks to John McDevitt for the picture. This number also happens to be a new high! For all current highs, be sure to check out the Highs page!
David Hobbs sends in this picture of a new high for the Antique Vehicle plate type. In order to qualify for an Antique Vehicle plate, the vehicle has to be at least 25 years old, in good overall condition, and cannot be used for daily transportation. Antiqued vehicles are exempt from both safety and emissions inspections. This is a series that moves fairly slowly so it will be a while before we see Z9ZZ.
Here's another new high from John McDevitt, this time for the Combat Action Badge plate type. PennDOT offers dozens of Veterans plates, and 24 of those acknowledge medals/badges/ribbons.
I have been noticing a proliferation of legitimate plate numbers put on black and white plastic plates. In fact, these four came to me all within a month's time. Have you seen any of these around? (Top-left picture is from Chris Van Zandt, top-right from me, bottom-left from Bruce Bufalini, and bottom-right from Craig Skotnicki)
This NRA Foundation plate comes from John McDevitt. This type is interesting for two reasons: (1) it's one of two plates with three stacked letters (other than NASCAR) and (2) the N/R/A moved from next to the serial to the right edge somewhere in the early 0800s. This number also happens to be a new high! For all current highs, be sure to check out the Highs page!
Clayton Moore sends this picture of a blue base American Legion plate. This plate type came out in 1984 which makes it one of the first special plates to be offered in Pennsylvania (Fire Fighter was first, in 1983). Numbering on the blue base topped out at around 02002 and the current high is 02644. This type is still on the 1999 base (faded yellow and blue bands) which means PennDOT had more produced than they anticipated would be ordered and therefore have not exhausted the stock. Once that stock is exhausted, we will see this type move onto the 2005 base (solid yellow and blue bands).
Chris Van Zandt sends in this picture of a low-number Vanity plate. Low numbers in Pennsylvania are not a separate series, they fall under the Vanity umbrella. They're still nice to look at, regardless of how they're classified!
This is a new high for the Purple Heart plate type, sent in by John McDevitt. Purple Heart plates started in 1986 and, like the American Legion plate above, is one of the first special plates to be offered. PennDOT also calls this plate "Combat Wounded Veteran."
In this week's installment of rare/low issuance specialty plates, we have this Pittsburgh Harlequins Rugby Football Association plate. This type has been out since 2008 and only 22 of these plates are on the road, according to the PennDOT vanity plate checker! This is a slightly higher issuance the weeks past, but it averages out to 3 plates issued every 2 years!
Chris Van Zandt sends this #1 plate for Porsche Club of America. PCA is one of the largest car owner groups around and Pennsylvania has offered their license plate since 2002. The current high is P/C 00693. For all current highs, be sure to check out the Highs page!
Chris Van Zandt also sends this personalized BMW Car Club of America plate. This plate has one of the longest legends of all time: "Delaware Valley Chapter of the BMW Car Club of America." And that's all jammed in between the bolt holes at the bottom of the plate! This plate type has been out since 2011 and the current high is 00182 B/W.
Clayton Moore sends in this picture of a low-number Motorcycle plate. It's only a "low number" because numbering for the 1999 base started at AAA00, so this was one of the first issued. Numbering ran up to NZZ99 on this base, then started at PAA00 on the solid blue/yellow bar base of 2005, then to ZZZ99, then 0000A thru 9999Z (with a special "LiveFreeRideAlive.com" legend for 7600L thru 7599T), then A0000 thru Z9999, and finally 0AA00 through the current high of 2ZR55. The "00AA0" format is next.
This picture of a Fraternal Order of Police plate shot by Avery Merz is a new high! This plate type came out in 1987 which equates to about 636 plates issued per year, or about 53 per month on average.
In this week's installment of rare/low issuance specialty plates, we have this Hartsville Fire Company plate. This type has been out since 2009 and only three of these plates are on the road, according to the PennDOT vanity plate checker! Hartsville Fire company is located in Bucks County.
The Mount St. Mary's University plate type is not ultra-low issuance but it's still fairly uncommon to spot. The school is actually located in Frederick County, Maryland and is one of a few out-of-state schools which have license plate programs in Pennsylvania. Thanks to John Kerestes for the picture!
Clayton Moore sends in this very low numbered Moped plate. Numbering on this based started at BA000 so this is the 103rd plate issued on this base.
Your author spotted this Dealer (New Vehicles) plate at Ferrari of Philadelphia. This type started in 2023 and it, along with the Dealer (Pre-Owned Vehicles) type, replace the former Dealer type. Expect this type to go through numbering fairly quickly.
I thought it would be a good idea to feature some of PA's rarer specialty plates. The PA Council on Independent Living plate type has been out since late 2008, but, according to the PennDOT vanity plate checker, only TWO are on the roads! To the best of my knowledge, any non-profit can start a plate program as long as PennDOT gets their money - whether it's 1,000 plates or just 1.
Here's another new high, this one of a Juniata College plate spotted by John Clark. This is one of a handful of plates that are still issued on the 1999 "www" base. The reason for this is that the supply that was initially produced has not been exhausted. In other words, demand was not as strong as PennDOT predicted.
Colin Schaefer sends in this great picture of an Amateur Radio plate. This type dates back to 1956 and allows your FCC call sign to be printed on a license plate for use on your vehicle. The plate costs $11 and you must have an FCC-issued call sign. Click here to order one!
The last entry this week comes from Vern Kreckel: a recently-issued Truck plate. As of today, the current high for Truck is ZWF-0781.
We don't typically track or post low numbers but this Dealer (Pre-Owned) sighting from Arthur Levine is notable since this plate type just came out. The current observed high is P/R 15900. Dealer plates broke out into different sub-types under the same legend of "DEALER" as early as 1946 (Transit Dealer and Misc. Dealer), then had a reorganization in 1966 (New, Used, M.V. Business), and had a third reorganization in 1971 (New, Used, M.V. Business, Tractor Dealer, and Trailer Dealer). In 1984, New and Used were combined into serial designation previously used by New, M.V. Business split into Salvage Yard, Repair Service Towing, Repossessor, and Transporter, Tractor Dealer became Dealer - Farm Equipment in 1991, and Trailer Dealer got its own type in 1995. Watercraft/Trailer Dealer also became a plate type in 1995, and Fleet Transporter started in 1997.
This beautiful 1915 Passenger plate comes to us from Mike Alfonse. This is one of the nicer ones your author has seen - very little damage and a beautiful blue sheen.
Mike Alfonse also sends in this picture of a Flyers Charities plate. This plate started out with the legend "Flyers Wives Charities", then changed to "Flyers Wives Charity", then back to "Flyers Wives Charities", and now it simply says "Flyers Charities". This is also a new high! For all current highs, be sure to check out the Highs page!
This personalized St. Francis University plate comes from Bruce Bufalini. St. Francis University, just outside of Altoona, has a fairly low-selling plate program. Your author estimates that less than 500 plates have been sold since the plate came out in 1999 (about 20 plates per year). The plate costs $100, plus an additional $108 to personalize. Click here to order it!
Richard Than sends in this picture of an Eagle Scout plate. This plate type came out in 2019 and the highest observed number is E/A 00024 - another low-selling plate type. Perhaps coincidental is that a plate type for a similar group, Boy Scouts of America, has been out since 2007 and the highest observed number as of today is 00172 B/S (about 10 plates per year).
Dale Bernecker sends in this perfect shot of a Gettysburg 1863 plate. From PennDOT: "Proceeds from this plate go directly to the Veteran Trust Fund and will support the cleaning, repair and restoration of the Pennsylvania monuments by the Gettysburg National Military Park." This is also a new high! For all current highs, be sure to check out the Highs page! To order this plate, click here!
Speaking of great pictures and new highs, here's a shot of a Let Freedom Ring plate. This plate celebrates the 250th Anniversary of the United States and is available through December 31, 2026. To order this plate, click here!
Devan Ciemiewicz sends in this picture of an Expeditionary Forces plate. This plate type is now on the "Family of Plates" style so it's a treat to still see the original style!
This personalized Animal Friends plate comes from Richard Than. Animal Friends is an animal shelter in Pittsburgh. The plate costs $38 and you can personalize it for an additional $112. Click here to order one!
Clayton Moore sends in this picture of a West Catholic High School plate on the blue base. West Catholic High School is located in Philadelphia and their plate program began in 1997. In 2000, special organization plates transitioned to the tri-color base.
Bruce Sakson sends in this first-of image of the new Pollinator Habitat plate. PennDOT allocates $25 from the sale of each of these plates to the Pollinator Habitat Program Fund. Your author finds it strange that they started at 10000 and not 10001, but we ARE talking about PennDOT here...
Speaking of types that start at 00000, Michael Almoney sends in this picture of a PA Association of Realtors plate. This type came out in 1995, starting on the blue and yellow base, and is still being issued today on the 1999 base. This means PennDOT ordered a batch of them but haven't sold them all yet, which is why we haven't seen any on the 2005 solid blue/yellow band base. Most special organization plates start at 00001 but a few types have started at 00000.
Mike Alfonse sends in this picture (left) of what's now the previous base/style for the Repair Towing plate type. Repair Towing plates were redesigned in 2022 to look like the plate on the right but presumably there was still inventory for the style on the left. It will be fun to track down the highest number printed on the lefthand plate.
This new observed high for the Limousine plate type comes from our own John McDevitt. This is a plate type that does not have a high rate of issuance so new highs are sometimes just a few numbers apart from previous highs. For all current highs, be sure to check out the Highs page!
This picture of a personalized Disabled Veteran (Severe Disability) plate comes from Mike Alfonse. This plate costs $11 plus another $56 to personalize it. It also grants the driver handicapped parking privileges. If you qualify for this plate type and would like to order it, here is the link to the form.
Licensed Driver badges were the precursor to modern driver's licenses. This topic has been something covered in detail on this website - until now! Here is the link to the page that shows Licensed Driver badges by year and type. Thanks to John McDevitt for cropping the photos and publishing the page, and thanks to Mike Alfonse for all the photos and info!
This is the first picture of the newly-redesigned New Vehicle Dealer plate. This type is part of a general redesign of the various dealer types. So far, only redesigned versions of this type, the Pre-Owned Dealer type, and the Repair Towing type have hit the streets. Thanks to Brayden Harnish for the picture!
Dave Fry sends in this picture of what appears to be a test plate for what's now the Emergency Vehicle plate type. PennDOT has a history of producing test/prototype plates so it is not totally surprising to see this one. We will eventually be adding a Test/Prototype section to this website.
Bradley Woodring sends in this picture of a personalized Distracted Driving Awareness Motorcycle plate. This is the first picture of a personalized version of this plate type. Thanks Bradley! The fee for this plate is $40 plus an additional $112 if you want it personalized. Click here for the plate order form.
Clayton Moore sends in this picture of an Apportioned Truck plate. What's special about this picture is not the plate, but the stickers. According to Clayton, the stickers are rare to find in collections, especially the 1988. This website has an entire page dedicated to validation stickers - check it out here!
John Clark sends in this first-of image of a Blackthorn Rugby Football Club plate. This club is located in Horsham, PA and was established in 1971. The plate became available in 2022. It's also a new high! For all current highs, be sure to check out the Highs page!
Tiger Joe Sallmen shares this picture of a 1925 Truck plate. Truck plates have always had a weight class identifier of some kind since the plate type started in 1914, but the R-Z (no X) system was in place fom 1924-1967 (excluding 1930). Z denotes the heaviest weight class - 9,001+ unladen weight in 1925! In fact, Z-844 is the highest known number for 1925 "Z" plates.
John Clark also sends in this picture of a Fraternal Order of Police - Survivor plate. These are fairly rare to spot so we are thankful that he got such a good picture! The FOP Survivor fund was created to remember the surviving families of fallen officers.
This picture of a personalized Zeta Phi Beta Sorority plate comes from Mike Alfonse. This is a fairly uncommon one to spot as-is, let alone a personalized version!
Last but not least, John McDevitt spotted this new Repair Towing high. This type came out in October 2022 as part of a general redesign of the various dealer types. So far, only redesigned versions of this type and the Pre-Owned Dealer type have hit the streets.
Effective March 3, 2023, four new plate types are now authorized: (1) Pollinator Conservation, (2) Afghanistan and Iraq Veteran (veteran who served in both conflicts), (3) Blue Star Family, and (4) Air Medal. It's unlikely that any of these plates are on the road yet but here are the prototype images from PennDOT's website.
Tim Gierschick sends in this low-number 1925 Tractor plate. Tractor plates started in 1914 and used the "E" prefix for "Engine" until 1928 when the prefix "TE" was used for "Traction Engine". From 1934 to 1984, the prefix was dropped and the word "Tractor" appeared on the plate. In 1984, Tractor plates broke out into two types: Special Mobile Equipment if used for industrial purposes and Implement of Husbandry if used for agricultural purposes.
Michael Vislocky shares this picture of a 1943 tab that was meant for a Bus plate. If you click on the picture, you will see the serial number "O 7589" etched into the bottom of the tab. In an effort to conserve steel during the war, these tabs were distributed in 1943 in lieu of a new annual plate, and the serial numbers had their own series, just like regular plates did. These tabs were affixed to the 1942 plate. The second picture shows whata plate would have looked like during 1943 (passenger plate, picture from Tim Gierschick).
Brendan Sherry sends in this picture of a Official Use - PA State Police plate. Starting in 2017, agency-specific Official Use plates began to roll out, starting with PennDOT, then PA Turnpike Commission, and then PA State Police. Those are the only agency-specific plate types known so far.
The "plate of the week" award goes to this low-number Motorboat plate. Motorboat plates started in 1931 and were issued annually, except for the pictured plate, which was used for 1934-1936. This particular plate was recently sold by Briggs Auction in Chadds Ford, PA and is the first known single-digit plate for this year span.
This is a personalized Fraternal Order of Police plate, sent in by John Clark. Starting around 2016, PennDOT allowed personalization of all special organization plates that weren't still on the faded blue/yellow band base. The cost to personalize a special organization plate is around $100.
Brendan Sherry sends in this picture of the newly-redesigned (unfortunately) Disabled Veteran plate. There are two types of Disabled Veteran plates: Disabled and Severely Disabled. The latter comes with handicapped parking privileges. The second image (sent by Bruce Bufalini) shows the base before this type was switched to the "Family of Plates" design.
This picture of a School Bus plate, sent in by Bill Young, is a new observed high! Once SC-99999 is reached,
SD-00000 SE-00000 will likely be the first plate of the next series (thanks to Nick Tsilakis for pointing out that the SD-00000 series is used by Square & Round Dancers.) For all current highs, be sure to check out the Highs page!
Bruce Bufalini sends this new high for the Duquesne University plate type. This type started in 1991 on the blue and yellow base.
Brayden Harnish sends in this new observed high number for the Teen Driver plate type. This type came out in late 2013 so this is not a high-volume type. For all current highs, be sure to check out the Highs page!
We have a number of new highs this week. This one (Limerick Fire Department) comes from Mike Alfonse. In terms of fire company plates, this is a fairly high number to reach for any one department.
John McDevitt sends in this picture of the newly-redesigned Pre-Owned Dealer plate, which is also a new observed high number!
Our last high of the week comes from Mike Alfonse: Official Use - PennDOT. Starting in 2017, agency-specific Official Use plates began to roll out, starting with PennDOT, then PA Turnpike Commission, and then PA State Police. Those are the only agency-specific plate types known so far. Similar to plain-jane Official Use plates, the letter in the prefix position means passenger vehicle, while the letter in the suffix signifies a commercial vehicle.
This personalized Press Photographer plate comes from Cam Zynel. Almost every plate type can be personalized; the fee is around $100, depending on the plate type.
This very odd plate was spotted on eBay by Clayton Moore. It appears to be Pennsylvania's contribution to Ford's 28 millionth vehicle, built in 1940. Thank you to Rick Kretschmer for clarifying those details. More oddball plates can be found on the Mystery, Oddball, Etc. page.
Bill Stephens sends in this FIRST-OF picture of the Williamson College of the Trades plate type. This school is located in Media, PA (Delaware County) and is technically a new high! For all current highs, be sure to check out the Highs page!
John Fedorchak sends in this picture of the newly-redesigned Repair Towing plate. It's not a new high number, but a great picture nevertheless!
Devan Ciemiewicz sends in this picture of a 1980s-era Vanity plate. It's always nice to see older plates still in great condition!
Mike Alfonse sends in this pair of Licensed Driver badges. What's special about them (pun intended) is the "Special" designation, which were issued to drivers 15 years of age and younger(!) or handicapped, according to Mike. A section for these will be on the website in the near future.
Jordan Irazabal submits this picture of a newly observed high number Temporary plate, the first one on this website in the 4000-000 series! It is also a new high. For all current highs, be sure to check out the Highs page!
This Vietnam War Veteran plate picture is a new high from Bruce Bufalini. The map outline took the place of the sticker well around V/W 10900.
Continuing on this week's theme of new highs, Richard Than sends in this new high for the Preserve Our Heritage plate type. This is the one of the few plate types that has not transitioned to the "Family of Plates" design (blue-white-yellow), and the final Special Fund plate left that hasn't transitioned.
This new high for the Classic Car plate type comes from Mike Alfonse. The last reported high was in the 56000s so this is a nice update!
Mike Alfonse also sends this newly observed high number for the Disabled Veteran plate type. This type has always intrigued me; there are two sub-types: Disabled and Severely Disabled (complete w/ handicapped parking eligibility), and each of those types has two sub-types: regular issue and double plate (a second plate in a separate number block to mount on a scooter/wheelchair hitch on the back of a car so the plate can still be seen when the hitch is installed on the vehicle).
Clayton Moore sends in a picture of this pair of U.S. Armed Forces Retired plates. This plate type was introduced in 1990 and discontinued in 2006. The highest observed number is D/D 04569. For all current highs, be sure to check out the Highs page!
Mike Alfonse sends in this shot of a Bronze Star for Valor plate. Although not a new observed high number, it's certainly one of the rarer ones to spot!
This new observed high number for the Antique/Historic Car plate type, courtesy of Keaton Chapman Reckard. This plate type began in 1956 on the white-on-purple base, starting with #1, as pictured!
Bruce Bufalini sends in this picture of an Amateur Radio plate with the "-2" suffix. As mentioned in the 12/25/2022 post, it's believed that this is used so a second vehicle titled to the radio operator can receive the same call sign appended with a "-2". Another theory is a situation where someone had their call sign on a plate, gave up the call sign, someone else takes the call sign but the PennDOT database still shows the former owner's name so a "-2" is added to make everyone happy. Please feel free to contact us if you have better information!
Matt Ciecka reports this new observed high number for the new Pre-Owned Dealer plate type. This type came out in October 2022 as part of a general redesign of the various dealer types. So far, only redesigned versions of this type and the Repair Towing type have hit the streets.
Clayton Moore sends in this picture of a Civil Defense plate along with a registration card. This is significant because, before Clayton found this registration card, little was known about the year of issue of these plates. It was thought to be any time between 1950 and 1979. Click the picture to see a larger image.
Here is a new Passenger high from Ethan Lopez, spotted in the city of Philadelphia. The Passenger series rolled over to the Mxx series in September 2022. For all current highs, be sure to check out the Highs page!
Brayden Harnish sends in this picture of a new observed high number for the U.S. Marine Corps Active Duty plate. The Active Duty plates do not seem to be ultra-popular, possibly because people may not wish to identify themselves as active duty military.
Although this is not a high observed high number, it's the clearest picture of a current-style Official Use plate we have on this site. This type switched from the white-on-blue style to the "Family of Plates" style in mid-2021. PennDOT is hell-bent on switching all plates to this "Family of Plates" design, much to our collective chagrin. Thanks to Mike Alfonse for the picture.
Mike Alfonse also sends in this picture of a Repossessor plate, a type that is very seldom spotted in the wild. It's speculated that this is one of the dealer types that will be redesigned.
Act 112 of HB 1486 clarifies the law on plate frames and confirms what justifies law enforcement to pull someone over for. Before this was enacted, any obstruction on the plate was enough for police to make a traffic stop. This new law says that only obstruction to the serial number justifies a traffic stop. This law was written pursuant to a recent Pennsylvania Superior Court case involving someone who was pulled over because "visitPA.com" was hidden by the plate frame.
Brandon Sowers sends in this picture-perfect image of a Teen Driver plate. These plates are available for any Pennsylvania driver to order. It's also one of the few plates that PennDOT offers where the funds don't go to a specific charity or state trust fund. According to news articles, the main purpose of this plate is to inform drivers that an inexperienced driver is ahead.
Here is another picture-perfect shot, this time from Richard Than, of an In God We Trust plate. Like the plate above, the proceeds from the sale of these plates are not earmarked for any specific charity or state trust fund. This is a new observed high number as well! For all current highs, be sure to check out the Highs page!
Bruce Bufalini sends in this image of a U.S. Army Reserve plate. This type came out in 1987 on the blue and yellow base and started at 0001. When plates transitioned to the tri-color base in 1999, numbering resumed at 1000 or 1001. The current high is A/R 1251 as of January 2021 so only about 1,250 plates have been issued in the last 23 years.
Mike Alfonse shares this image of a Combat Infantryman Badge plate, which also happens to be a new observed high number. PennDOT offers dozens of military and veteran plates, click here to see a full list.
John McDevitt located this ultra-cool picture of a 1935 Bus plate from the Philadelphia Free Library archives! Bus plates began as their own type in 1924 and had an "O" prefix (that's the letter, not the number zero). Today, they live in with a "BA" prefix. Click the picture to see a larger version!
This Saint Joseph's University plate, sent in by Jordan Irazabal, is not a new high observed number but it's a rare one to spot in the wild. Its logo was redesigned in 2013.
Speaking of redesigned college plates, this Gettysburg College plate (left) was sent in by Bruce Bufalini. This plate was redesigned in 2015 and the new design (right) hit the roads in 2019.
The late-1980s vintage plate was spotted (on a YUGO!) by Jeff Lawson. The plate appears to be in much better shape than the car... Passenger plates on this base started at SAA-000 and went to ZZZ-999, and the moved to AAA-0000 in 1992. Click the picture to see a larger version!
Clayton Moore sends in this image of a 1926 Tractor plate. The "E" prefix was used for Tractor (sometimes called "Traction Engine") plates from 1914 through 1927, then "TE" from 1928 through 1933. Beginning in 1934, the word "TRACTOR" appeared on the plate as the identifier. Click here to see historical pictures of Tractor plates!
HAPPY NEW YEAR! Welcome to the new PApl8s.com! Primary navigation is at the top of the website, which stays visible as you scroll down each page. The only pages that are currently redesigned are this homepage, the Highs pages, and the 2023 Archives page. It is optimized for mobile devices also! There is much work to be done to bring this great website to today's coding standards but it is being worked on! Be sure to click on the thumbnail pictures below to see some new tech!
Speaking of new tech, be sure to check out the Highs page to see the new search feature!
John Clark sends in this pair of Friends of Drake Well plates, the bottom one being a new observed high number. He notes that these were issued over a year apart yet they are consecutive numbers. Check all the current highs on our Highs page!
Nick Tsilakis sends in this #1 Pennsylvania DUI Association plate. He notes that he saw the same plate back in 2016.
Here's a personalized Delaware Valley Chapter of the BMW Car Club of America plate sent in by Jordan Irazabal. I believe it also holds the title of the longest legend on a PA plate!
Brayden Harnish sends in this picture-perfect shot of a Pennsylvania Equine Council plate. It also happens to be a new high number.
This personalized In God We Trust plate was sent in by Dallis Broderick. A few years ago, PennDOT started allowing personalization on most plate types for an additional fee. This is one such example.