Quiz: How Much Do You Know About US Seal Types?

Posted on 10/18/2016

Take our small quiz to see how much you really know about Treasury seals.

While they are a very important feature in determining varieties, Treasury seals can easily be forgotten. Have you ever considered collecting US type notes by Treasury seals before? Collecting by Treasury seal is a great alternative and often overlooked, but most importantly, a fun way of collecting banknotes.

How much do you know about United States Treasury seals? Take our quiz to find out. When complete, the answers can be found at the bottom of the article. [Please note, this quiz will contain information only for large size banknotes.]

1) What year was the first Treasury seal seen on a US banknote?

  1. 1860
  2. 1861
  3. 1862
  4. 1863

2) With the exception of the Demand Notes and the Two-Year Notes of 1861, all large size notes feature the Treasury seal.

  1. True
  2. False

3) When did the concept of the Treasury seal first come about?

  1. 1776
  2. 1777
  3. 1778
  4. 1779

4) When was the Treasury Department founded? Hint: this same year they adopted the seal which was already in use.

  1. 1789
  2. 1791
  3. 1792
  4. 1793

5) All seals feature a shield and what two items? Hint: these two items represent justices and official authority. Fun Fact: did you know the 13 stars represent the 13 original colonies?

  1. Stars and Stripes
  2. Scales and Key
  3. Gavel and Hammer
  4. Blindfold and a Fist

Here are two more interesting facts: The amount of spikes around the seal represents the amount of states at that time. Each seal carries a Latin motto: “Theasur(i) Amer(icae) Septent(rionalis) Sigil(lum)” or “Seal of the Treasury of North America”.

6) What color was never used on large size notes for their seals or for the serial number?

  1. Green
  2. Red
  3. Blue
  4. Gold

Fun Fact: As per the BEP, no documentation has been found detailing why certain seals were placed on certain notes.

Now that you have taken the test, how did you do? Compare your answers to the answer key below.

Answer Key:

  1. C
  2. True
  3. C
  4. A
  5. B
  6. A

Below are samples of the Treasury seals that can be found on large size type notes.

(Left) Type 1 – 21mm from spike to spike. Many of the Interest Bearing Notes
from the 1860s had this seal. Type 1: Solid Center without pattern.

(Right) Type 2 – 21mm from spike to spike. Also, found on United State notes of 1860’s.
Type 2: Pattern of lines in center around shield.
Click images to enlarge.

(Left) 20mm across – 45 spikes representing 45 States in the Union only appearing on Educationals.

(Right) 42mm across 1880’s United States notes.
Click images to enlarge.

(Left) 19mm across. Mid-1800’s Silver Certificates $1 through $20.

(Right) 12 scallops – 26mm across. First used on 1899 Silver Certificates,
then seen on Nationals, FRBN’s and more FRN’s.
Click images to enlarge.

(Left) 50mm across – Late 1870 Silver Certificates.

(Right) 50mm across. 1880s Silver Certificates.
Click images to enlarge.

(Left) Eight scallops - 32mm across. Seen on all 1882 Brown Back Nationals,
which were in production between 1882 and 1908. Also, seen on
several Gold Certificates. The same seal, but printed in red was used
on many Refunding Certificates of 1879.

(Right) 12 scallops – 26mm. Later issued Gold Certificates. It will always carry the
Washington, D.C. text at the center on all seals of this type.
Click images to enlarge.

(Left) Gold Certificates.

(Right) 54mm. United States notes, Silver Certificates, Gold Certificates and Treasury notes.
They were not used on Nationals.
Click images to enlarge.

(Left) 27mm across. Most of the United States notes of 1870 carried this seal.
There is a close resemblance to the Type 1 used in the 1860’s.

(Right) 54mm. This large seal with spikes was used before its Red brother.
United States notes, Silver Certificates, Gold Certificates and Treasury notes.
They were not used on Nationals.
Click images to enlarge.

12 scallops – 26mm. First seen on 1875 Nationals,
but by 1890 you can find these on
United States notes, Silver Certificates,
Gold Certificates, and Treasury notes.
Click image to enlarge.

PMG is an independent member of the Certified Collectibles Group (CCG).

Stay Informed

Want news like this delivered to your inbox once a month? Subscribe to the free PMG eNewsletter today!


You've been subscribed to the PMG eNewsletter.

Unable to subscribe to our eNewsletter. Please try again later.

Articles List