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Seal FAQs

Design Process
 1st Committee
 2nd Committee
 3rd Committee
 Final Design

Latin Mottoes
 E Pluribus Unum
 Annuit Coeptis
 Novus Ordo Seclorum

Symbols (front)
 Bald Eagle
 Olive Branch
 Rays of Light

Symbols (back)

Great Seals
 Official Dies
 First Engravings
 First Painting
 1792 Medal
 Indian Medals
 1882 Medal
 One-Dollar Bill

 Eagle Side
 Pyramid Side


 Wild Turkey
 President's Seal

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Symbols on the Reverse Side
of the Great Seal of the United States

Symbols and mottos link to their respective pages.
Text is original  1782 description of the design.

The reverse side of the Great Seal of the United States is composed of four symbolic elements derived from nature and culture that combine to create a dynamic design whose whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

  • In the zenith of an unfinished pyramid, an eye in a triangle is surrounded with rays of golden light.

  • On the base of the pyramid is the date MDCCLXXVI (1776).

The iconic imagery is complemented by two Latin mottoes:
Annuit Coeptis and Novus Ordo Seclorum.

Official 1782 Remarks and Explanation of the symbols

Note: The Great Seal has a reverse side because in the 18th century when it was designed, pendant seals were used. These were in the form of a two-sided disk of wax attached to the document by ribbons or cords.

Historical content is based on the official history of the Great Seal.
Author and webwright: John D. MacArthur