Mel Crawford: Great Seal of New Jersey
Artist: Mel Crawford
New Jersey made it one of her first official acts as a state to adopt a state seal. However, on his own authority, the engraver deviated from the planned design, added a helmet and wrote the date 1776 in Roman numerals. In 1928 the legislature authorized a new seal, and this device substituted the Arabic 1776 for the Roman numerals. The horse's head on this seal symbolized not only agriculture but also speed, strength and usefulness in both war and commerce. The helmet denotes sovereignty and the "supremacy of the human mind in all civilized life." On the left, the figure of Liberty holds a pole bearing the cap of freedom and on the right Ceres, Goddess of Earth and Agriculture, holds a Horn of Plenty with apples, plums and grapes inside. The three plows in the center of the design recall the importance of agriculture to the state's economy. The inscription at the figures' feet proclaims the state motto of "Liberty and Prosperity." Together, the components of the New Jersey state seal form a stirring symbol of the aspirations and accomplishments of the people of New Jersey.
This painting was originally published on the Fleetwood® Great Seal of the State of New Jersey Commemorative Cover issued December 18, 1984.
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