The Great Seal of the State of Wisconsin is a seal used by the secretary of state to authenticate all of the governor’s official acts, except laws. It consists of the state coat of arms, with the words "Great Seal of the State of Wisconsin" above it and 13 stars, representing the original states, below it.
* Forward, the state motto
* A badger, the state animal
Center, the state shield:
* Top left: A plow, representing agriculture
* Top right: A pick and shovel, representing mining
* Bottom left: An arm and hammer, representing manufacturing
* Bottom right: An anchor, representing navigation.
* Center: The U.S. coat of arms, including the motto E Pluribus Unum
* The shield is supported by a sailor and a yeoman (usually considered a miner), representing labor on water and land
* A cornucopia, representing prosperity and abundance
* 13 lead ingots, representing mineral wealth and the 13 original United States
The state seal emphasizes mining and shipping. At the time of Wisconsin's founding in 1848 the mining of lead and iron was a major industry that ended by the early 20th century. According to the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey "Significant remaining tonnages of lower grade ore have been identified by magnetic surveys and limited core drilling in [Gogebic District in Iron and Ashland Counties]." The state was also a particularly important navigational link from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River via Wisconsin rivers. This was gradually phased out with the advent of railways in the mid- to late-19th century.
The Secretary of State is the keeper of Wisconsin's great seal. The seal is displayed in all courtrooms in the state, often alongside the county seal.