Great Seal of the Confederate States of America
Scope and Content
One of one hundred electrotype replica copies made from the original Great Seal of the Confederate States of America in the early 1870s. Of the hundred, 75 were made of copper and 25, as is the case with this example, are silver over copper. The original seal was produced for the CSA in 1864 by J. A. and A. B. Wyon, London, Chief Engravers of Seals for the British Monarchy. Accompanying the seal is a letter of authentication from Wyon dated 6 March 1874, verifying the authenticity of the impression as a faithful reproduction of the original. The Seal is held in its original gutta percha box.
- ca. 1872-1874
Language of Materials
The materials in the collection are in English.
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use
The copyright status of this collection is unknown. Copyright restrictions may apply. Contact Special Collections and University Archives for assistance in determining the use of these materials.
Reproduction or digitization of materials for personal or research use can be requested using our reproduction/digitization form: http://bit.ly/scuareproduction. Reproduction or digitization of materials for publication or exhibit use can be requested using our publication/exhibition form: http://bit.ly/scuapublication. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives (email@example.com or 540-231-6308) if you need assistance with forms or to submit a completed form.
The original Great Seal was commissioned by the Confederate States of America, likely in 1863, from J.S. and A.B. Wyon, London, England, then Chief Engravers of Her Majesty's Seals. Reaching Richmond before the end of the American Civil War, the seal, as reported in the New York Times (21 May 1912), was removed from the city during the evacuation of April 1865 by William J. Bromwell, chief clerk of the Confederate State Department. By 1872, it was in the possession of John T. Pickett, formerly a Colonel in the Confederate army and then a lawyer in Washington D.C. and Thomas O. Selfridge, a U.S. naval officer. Pickett, reportedly, had 100 electrotype copies made, possibly by George Massamore, numismatist of Baltimore. Seventy-five were made of copper and twenty-five of silver over copper. The original seal was returned to Selfridge, who remained in possession of it until he sold it in 1912 to a group of Richmond businessmen. It now resides in Richmond at the Museum of the Confederacy.
One of the copies made for Pickett was presented by him in 1874 to Wyon, the engravers of the original seal, for authentication, as described in the document that accompanies the seal in this collection. The seal itself is one of the silver on copper electrotype copies.
0.1 Cubic Feet (1 folder)
Collection consists of an electrotype replica of the Great Seal of the Confederate States of America, along with a letter of authentication, dated 6 March 1874, from J.S. and A.B. Wyon of London, England, the engravers of the original Great Seal made for the Confederacy in 1864.
Source of Acquisition
The Great Seal of the Confederate States of America was donated to Special Collections and University Archives in 2001.
The Seal and the gutta percha box are in excellent condition. The Wyon letter had previously been taped together and that tape is still present on the reverse of the letter. Though fragile, the letter is perfectly legible.
Rights Statement for Archival Description
The guide to the Great Seal of the Confederate States of America by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 (https://creativecommons.org/share-your-lwork/public-domain/cc0/).
Original processing of this collection occurred in 2001. Reprocessing, arrangement, and description occurred in August 2017.
- Great Seal of the Confederate States of America, ca. 1872-1874
- Marc Brodsky, Archivist
- 2017 (CC0 1.0)
- Language of description
- Script of description
Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository
Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg Virginia 24061 US