The present design of the Seal of the Department of the Treasury was approved by Treasury Secretary Henry H. Fowler on January 29, 1968. Because it was used by the Board of Treasury under the Articles of Confederation, the basic design of the Treasury Seal has existed longer than the Federal Government itself.
In 1788 the Continental Congress named , and to design seals for the Treasury and the Navy. The committee reported on a design for the Navy the following year, but there is no record of a report about a seal for the Treasury.
Treasury Department records indicate that the actual creator of its seal probably was , who is known to have submitted bills to the Congress in 1780 authorizing design of departmental seals, including one for the . Although it is not certain that Hopkinson was the designer, the Seal is similar to others he designed. Also obscured by the absence of historical proof is the reason for the original wording that embraced all of North America.
For nearly two hundred years, the Seal bore the Latin inscription, "Thesaur. Amer. Septent. Sigil." which translates "The Seal of the Treasury of North America." This inscription was changed on the present design to read "The Department of the Treasury."
Other changes to the seal was the addition of the date "1789" to record the year the Department was created. The Seal shows its arms depicting balancing scales (to represent justice), a key (the emblem of official authority) and a chevron with thirteen stars (to represent the original states).