Object 7

Silver equestrian seal and counterseal of empress Maria-Theresia
for the duchies of Brabant and Limburg and the Margraviate of Antwerp
original box, 1753
National Archives of Belgium,
Matrices and Seals Collection, n°6-7


The use of the personal seal fell into decline from the 14th century, when it was gradually replaced by the signature. Nevertheless, sovereigns and States continued to use seals as a mark of their authority when authenticating the important documents they produced.

Since Philip the Good in 1430, the Reigning Prince had to use a specific seal for the Duchies of Brabant and Limburg and for the Marquisate of Antwerp. The imperial dignity in the person of Maria Theresa was recognised after the War of the Austrian Succession, and this led to the replacement of the seal and counter-seal used in the Netherlands, including this one, which was used for the Principalities and engraved in 1753. The silver moulds were created by engraver Jacques Simon, who lived in Brussels. They are kept in a leather-covered, wooden pyx.

Collection of seal templates

The collection of seal templates of the National Archives of Belgium comprises some 2,000 objects from the 12th to the 19th century. These templates are currently the subject of a three-dimensional digitisation project that will make them available for study on the institution's website (

Collection of seal moulds

The National Archives of Belgium own the second largest collection of seal moulds in the world. The 37,861 moulds and their descriptions can be consulted on the website of the State Archives.

Further information

  • Collection of seal moulds of the National Archives of Belgium
  • Laurent (René) & Roelandt (Claude), Inventaire des Collections de Matrices de Sceaux des Archives générales du royaume et de la Bibliothèque Royale, Brussels, 1997.
  • Libert (Marc), "La numérisation en 3D de la collection des matrices de sceaux des Archives générales du Royaume", M. Libert, J.-F. Nieus (eds), Le sceau dans les Pays-Bas méridionaux, Xe-XVIe siècles. Entre contrainte sociale et affirmation de soi. Proceeding of the Brussels and Namur symposium, 27-28 November 2014, Brussels, 2017 (ABB, special issue, 103), p. 91-109.



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