Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 1. General Provisions
Chapter 5. Emblems
12/3/2021

Article 1. Symbols of Sovereignty.

§ 1-500. The great seal.

The great seal of the Commonwealth shall consist of two metallic discs, two and one-fourth inches in diameter, with an ornamental border one fourth of an inch wide, with such words and figures engraved as follows: On the obverse, Virtus, the genius of the Commonwealth, dressed as an Amazon, resting on a spear in her right hand, point downward, touching the earth; and holding in her left hand, a sheathed sword, or parazonium, pointing upward; her head erect and face upturned; her left foot on the form of Tyranny represented by the prostrate body of a man, with his head to her left, his fallen crown nearby, a broken chain in his left hand, and a scourge in his right. Above the group and within the border conforming therewith, shall be the word "Virginia," and, in the space below, on a curved line, shall be the motto, "Sic Semper Tyrannis." On the reverse, shall be placed a group consisting of Libertas, holding a wand and pileus in her right hand; on her right, Aeternitas, with a globe and phoenix in her right hand; on the left of Libertas, Ceres, with a cornucopia in her left hand, and an ear of wheat in her right; over this device, in a curved line, the word "Perseverando."

Code 1950, § 7-26; 1966, c. 102, § 7.1-26; 2005, c. 839.

§ 1-501. The lesser seal.

The lesser seal of the Commonwealth shall be one and nine sixteenths inches in diameter, and be engraved with the device and inscriptions contained in the obverse of the great seal.

Code 1950, § 7-27; 1966, c. 102, § 7.1-27; 2005, c. 839.

§ 1-502. Custody; impressions displayed in The Library of Virginia.

The seals of the Commonwealth described in §§ 1-500 and 1-501 shall be kept by the Secretary of the Commonwealth and used as provided by law, and at least three clear impressions of the seals shall be kept and displayed by the Librarian of Virginia in some suitable place in The Library of Virginia, for public inspection.

Code 1950, § 7-28; 1966, c. 102, § 7.1-28; 1994, c. 64; 1998, c. 427; 2005, c. 839.

§ 1-503. Uses and tax on great seal.

The great seal shall be affixed to documents, signed by the Governor, which are to be used before tribunals, or for purposes outside of the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth; and in every such case, except where the Commonwealth is a party concerned in the use to be made of the document, the tax imposed by § 58.1-1725 on the seal of the Commonwealth shall be collected and accounted for by the Secretary of the Commonwealth.

Code 1950, § 7-30; 1966, c. 102, § 7.1-30; 2005, c. 839.

§ 1-504. Uses and tax on lesser seal.

The lesser seal shall be affixed to all grants for lands and writs of election issued by the Governor; to all letters of pardon and reprieve; to all commissions, civil and military, signed by the Governor, and to all other papers, requiring a seal, authorized to be issued by the Governor for the purpose of carrying the laws into effect within the Commonwealth; and also, when deemed necessary by the Secretary of the Commonwealth, may be used by him as an authentication of his official signature. No tax shall be imposed on the use of such lesser seal, except upon commissions appointing notaries, and commissioners in other states for taking acknowledgments, and upon certificates of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, when, at the request of the parties desiring such certificates, the seal is attached. In all such cases the tax shall be the same as upon the great seal, and shall be collected and accounted for in the same manner.

Code 1950, § 7-31; 1966, c. 102, § 7.1-31; 2005, c. 839.

§ 1-505. Seals deemed property of Commonwealth; unauthorized use; penalty.

The seals of the Commonwealth shall be deemed the property of the Commonwealth; and no persons shall exhibit, display, or in any manner utilize the seals or any facsimile or representation of the seals of the Commonwealth for nongovernmental purposes unless such use is specifically authorized by law.

Except for the authorized commercial use of the seal as provided in § 2.2-122, any person violating the provisions of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than $100, or by imprisonment for not more than 30 days or both.

1966, c. 102, § 7.1-31.1; 1995, c. 295; 2005, c. 839.

§ 1-506. Flag of the Commonwealth.

The flag of the Commonwealth shall be a deep blue field, with a circular white centre of the same material. Upon this circle shall be painted or embroidered, to show on both sides alike, the coat of arms of the Commonwealth, as described in § 1-500 for the obverse of the great seal of the Commonwealth; and there may be a white fringe on the outer edge, furthest from the flagstaff. This shall be known and respected as the flag of the Commonwealth.

Code 1950, § 7-32; 1966, c. 102, § 7.1-32; 2005, c. 839.

§ 1-507. Governor to prescribe size of flag.

The Governor shall regulate the size and dimensions of the flag proper for forts, arsenals and public buildings, for ships-of-war and merchant marine, for troops in the field, respectively, and for any other purpose, according to his discretion by proclamation.

Code 1950, § 7-33; 1966, c. 102, § 7.1-33; 2005, c. 839.

§ 1-508. Director of General Services to have available flags of the Commonwealth for sale.

The Director of the Department of General Services shall have available at all times flags of the Commonwealth, to be offered for sale to the public in such manner as the Director may determine.

Such flags shall be of good quality, shall conform to the specifications prescribed in § 1-506, shall be offered in the various sizes prescribed by the Governor pursuant to § 1-507, and shall be purchased in compliance with the provisions of § 2.2-4323.1.

The prices to be charged for such flags shall be at cost as determined by the Director.

Code 1950, § 7-33.1; 1958, c. 553; 1960, c. 347; 1966, c. 102, § 7.1-34; 2005, c. 839; 2016, cc. 289, 297.

§ 1-509. When flag to be suspended over Capitol.

During the sessions of either house of the General Assembly the flag of the Commonwealth shall be kept raised over the respective chambers of the Capitol, or other place of session, if practicable, as directed by the Director of the Department of General Services and the Chief of the Virginia Capitol Police in consultation with the Clerk of the House of Delegates and the Clerk of the Senate.

Code 1950, § 7-34; 1966, c. 102, § 7.1-35; 1970, c. 561; 2005, c. 839.