40 star flag

Discussion in 'Flag Identification and Collecting' started by kmdd292, Dec 14, 2008.

  1. kmdd292

    kmdd292 New Member

    Hello. I recently came upon a 40 star American flag. Does anyone have any information about it, including value?

    Thank you.
  2. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    The 40 star flag is one of the scarcer "unofficial" flags of the late 19th c. Flags with 39 and 42 star flags a quite common. 41 star and 47 star (1912) flags are exceedingly rare. I have two 40 star flags. The larger is printed on wool, with a white wool fringe, I have seen two others identical to it. My other one is a printed cotton "parade flag" about 11x17 inches. Apparently 40 star parade flags are also very rare. Can you give us more details on your flag? __________________
  3. shepbest

    shepbest New Member

    Dear Sir

    I have an 3' x 5' 40 Star American Flag that I want to donated to the
    South Dakota Army National Guard.

    Would any one happen to know, what the possible value is of this

    I have a photo, but unable to attach, to large

    Thank you

    SGT Shepherd
  4. csaanv

    csaanv Member

    If you will email me your photograph I will prep it and post it for you. My email is emmalpass(at)yahoo(dot)com
  5. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    Welcome to the USA Flag Forum, Sargent Shepherd.

    First of all, I assume you are talking about an authentic, 1889 period 40-star flag.

    Are you sure that the National Guard wants a 40-star flag? I realize that ND and SD were the 39th and 40th states, but does the NG have a museum or other facility to display or properly conserve the flag? If they want it, that's great, but many museums consider flags to be "white elephants" as flags either require a large piece of wall to display, or safe and secure storage facilities.

    40-star flags are scarce, but probably do not qualify as "rare" for a couple of reasons. 1) Many may have been set aside in relatively good condition once the 41st, 42nd, 43rd, and 44th states joined the Union by July of the next year (1890.) and 2) since the 40-star flag is "unofficial" it is not in as much demand as, say, the 43-star flag that was the official flag of the US from July 4, 1890, to July 3, 1891. However, the 44th state, Wyoming, was admitted less than a week after the 43-star flag became official, and most flagmakers ignored the law and immediately stopped making 43-star flags and began making 44 star flags. That being said, 40-star flags are not common, and some people are attracted to them just because the are "unofficial." Now that I have blabbered on, let me get you some numbers.

    The last 40-star flag sold on eBay went for about $400. It was printed on wool, which seems to be the most common version (I have one just like it in my collection.) A "retail" price for that same flag would be $1000 to $1500 at an antique shop. A brick-and-mortar auction house estimate would be $500 to $1000. Why the difference? Auctions are frequented by dealers who need to get stuff at a price they can afford to mark up for re-sale. If a collector can get a 40 star flag on ebay for $400, a dealer isn't likely to find many collectors willing to pay 4 to 5 times that, no matter how fancy their shop is. For insurance purposes, I would say the "replacement value" would be around $1500 to $2000. This figure is higher because whoever is commissioned to look for the flag is going to want a cut of the action.

    Please note that all the values I have quoted, except for the acutal eBay high bid of about $400, are my opinion. I am a collector, not an appraiser, but I think I have a decent handle on antique flag values.

    Nick A
    Columbia Maryland

    Speaking of flags and white elephants, the flag of Siam (now Thailand) featured a white elephant on a red field until 1917:
  6. csaanv

    csaanv Member

    Hey Nick,
    You probably know this but Thailand still uses the elephant on their naval ensign. :)

  7. csaanv

    csaanv Member

    Here are the photos of Shepbest's flag.

    40 Star Flag 1web.jpg

    40 Star Flag 3web.jpg

    40 Star Flagweb.jpg
  8. bksk

    bksk New Member

    I also have a 40 star flag - original to the period. It is of sewn construction. The stripes are machine stitched together and are of loosely woven wool. The stars are hand appliqued on both sides of the flag and I believe the background fabric is cut away from the areas where the stars are. Metal grommets and a handwritten name on the canvas edging.
    This is also very large. I do not have the flag with me so cannot give accurate measurements but would guess it is about 5-6 feet long.
    It is in very good condition - little if any fading, some small holes, small areas of old patching around the edge, clean. Color is not quite as deep as it looks in the photos.

    40star flag forum1.jpg

    40star flag forum2.jpg

    40star flag forum3.jpg

    Any guess on the value and rarity?

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