Vehicle registration plates of Pennsylvania

Vehicle registration plates of Pennsylvania

The U.S. state of Pennsylvania first issued vehicle registration plates in 1906. Until 1979, the embossed date or sticker on the plate represented the date of issue, as opposed to the rest of North America, where it represented the date of expiry. Beginning in 1956, the plates, except those for motorcycles, were standardised throughout North America to a size of 6 by 12 inches, with universal placement of mounting holes.

Passenger baseplates 1956 to present


In 1958, the state issued its first plate intentionally valid for multiple years, as the 1942 issue was revalidated with metal tabs due to wartime materiel restrictions. It was on this base plate that between 1960 and 1964 that special number plates for station wagons as well as passenger trucks such as the International Harvester Travelall, were issued classed as "Suburban," as was the practice in other states such as New York and Delaware.

1965 marked the issuance of a new base plate superseding the one first issued in 1958. There were no separate class of plate for station wagons on this base plate. This also was the final plate issued by the state that featured the outline of the state. These plates were valid until their replacement in 1971.

The commemoration of the bicentennial of the American Revolution was marked with the issuance of the 1971 base plate five years ahead of the actual event. The yellow on blue plates featured a representation of a broken bell in place of a dash in the centre of the plate with and embossed "BICENTENNIAL STATE ‘76" on the bottom, which caused a bit of confusion as to the actual expiry of the plate.Fact|date=April 2008

Beginning in 1977, a new base plate was issued, superseding the previous one. It was blue on yellow with a keystone used as a dash and "KEYSTONE STATE" replacing the anniversary motto on the previous issue. Unlike previous plates, these used reflective Scotchlite sheeting. These plates, when used over time, saw the yellow paint fade away. According to urban legend, a prison worker stamping the plates urinated in the yellow paint, causing it to fade, but this story has never been confirmed to be true.

1984 marked the introduction of a controversialFact|date=April 2008 plate, as it used a tourism slogan with implied religious ties to the Society of Friends, more commonly known as the Quakers. The slogan on the yellow on blue plates was "You've Got a Friend in Pennsylvania." Issuance of these plates was quickly dispatched with once Bob Casey, Sr. took office and replaced them with ones saying "KEYSTONE STATE" as well as the old "Pennsylvania" font (this dating back from the 1977-1983 plates); however, the plates were not recalled. These plates used a "filled in" keystone as opposed to the "hollow" keystone on the 1977-1983 plates. These yellow on blue bases plate also were reflective, however it was the embossed areas that were. This was done using glass beads in the paint as opposed to the the Scotchlite sheeting of the previous base plate. In 1992, a fourth digit was added after the plates reached ZZZ-999, resetting itself to AAA-0000 and saw the use of a smaller keystone to make room for the extra digit. The keystone, still in use on the current issue plates, was recycled from both the 1958-1964 and the 1965-1971 plates as a divider.

In 1999, a new base plate was issued replacing all plates issued from 1977 onwards. The plates were similar to those issued by other states in their use of a gradient fade background (in this case blue on top, white in the centre, and yellow on the bottom). The state placed its governmental website in place of a slogan, making the state the first government of any kind to issue license plates with a web address on the plate. This baseplate also used reflective sheeting.

In 2004, the base plate was tweaked by eliminating the gradient fade, changing the typeface used on the state name and slogan and switching from the state's official website to the state tourism website. As of 2008, the old "Pennsylvania" type font used from 1965-1999 (except for the 1984-1987 "Friend" years) is still used on specialty plates such as emergency vehicles and classic cars.

All passenger types issued from 1999 onwards are valid for display in Pennsylvania. [Penndot brochure "License Plates of Pennsylvania" March 2007]

*1 Plus remakes of serials issued on previous bases

Current standard types

[Penndot brochure "License Plates of Pennsylvania" March 2007]

2No longer issued, but remain active for drivers who had the plates before they were dropped.

Optional types

Pennsylvania offers dozens of optional "special organizational" license plates. [ [] .]

External links

* [ Pennsylvania license plates 1969-present]


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