History of America’s Great Seal

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The Great Seal had many homes before coming to rest in the Department of State’s Exhibit Hall – its current residence – in March of 1961. Each year, it is used approximately 2,000 to 3,000 times. (Image courtesy of americanheritage.org)

The Great Seal of the United States of America, fashioned from brass and measuring 2 1/16 inches in diameter, made its inaugural impression upon an official document dated Sept. 16, 1782.

The physical seal, kept by the Secretary of State (currently Anthony Blinken, the country’s 71st), depicts the national coat of arms on its obverse surface while the reverse features an unfinished pyramid, topped by an Eye of Providence, with the date 1776 in Roman numerals – all of which, since 1935, have appeared on the one-dollar bill.

In total, there have been six seal designs, with the current version cut in 1903.

– Hannah Van Sickle, The 100 Companies