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State seals appear on many railroad stocks and bonds, often serving for both a security-oriented vignette and a stand-in for state names. Therefore, to properly identify the states of origin for many certificates, you must be able to identify state seals.
To help you decipher state seals, I have assembled a collection of all state seals and a finding system.
The state seals that I have assembled here are generally official in nature. Unfortunately, not all states make good copies available on their websites. Please help if you find better copies.
When state seals appear on stocks and bonds, they are extremely variable in appearance. State laws often prevented engravers from using "official" state seals. Of course, official state seal were usually rendered in a manner very crude to what could be created by bank note engravers. Therefore, engravers usually modified the the most important elements of official state seals and then added new surrounding features. The least modified seals are found on certificates from the states of Alabama, Georgia, Rhode Island, and Texas.
Pennsylvania's seal, on the other hand, is represented by a huge number of variants. Generally, Pennsylvania's seal shows two horses flanking a plaque rearing on their hind legs. In actual fact, the official Pennsylvania state seal is the central plaque that the horses surround. Practically all images on certificates - and on the state flag - include the horses.
Click here to find out what state matches a state seal you already have on a certificate.
This is a special search that will allow you to find states based on features your state seals are most likely to display.
If you prefer, you can click here to see a full collection of images of ALL the state seals.
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