Dies and Realizations
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.
First color painting (1786) Unknown Artist
First popular magazine article (1856) Benson J. Lossing
First book: The Seal of History (1897) Charles Totten
Reverse side (1975) Terry Lamb
Bicentennial poster (1976) Rance Barela
United Seal (2001) Doris Rowe
Eagle Rising (2004) Cy Hundley
The problem is, many illustrations and dies are not based on the original Great Seal blazon. Instead, they are derived from other realizations or dies that may be inaccurate.
For example, most Great Seal dies copied an error in the first die which did not show the rays of light breaking through a cloud as specified in the blazon.
Historical content is based on the official history of the Great Seal.
Author and webwright: John D. MacArthur