48 Star Stamped "HCO"

Discussion in 'Flag Identification and Collecting' started by sandyjeans, Jul 20, 2011.

  1. sandyjeans

    sandyjeans New Member

    In going thru a family estate, we have found a 48 star flag that is 6'x9'. The stripes are sewn, but the stars are printed. I'm pretty sure it's cotton. There is a grommet at the top and bottom only. Stenciled on the border in black block letters is "H.CO." followed by a 5-cornered star. There might be a spread-wing eagle at the beginning, but it's pretty smudged, so not sure. There are no other identifying marks.

    One family member vaguely remembered being told that had something to do with having been made for a federal Health Care Organization but couldn't be sure. Can anyone tell us anything about it?
  2. csaanv

    csaanv Member

    Hey Sandyjeans,
    Could you post a photo of the flag? That would be very helpful in indentifying the flag. If you like I could post it for you. Send it to emmalpass@yahoo.com
  3. sandyjeans

    sandyjeans New Member




    Fabric: Lightweight Cotton with Absolute White stripes
    B Grade- meaning the stars are printed on rather than sewn on
    Dimensions: 6 feet by 9 feet
    Special Markings stamped on the Binding: H. CO. preceded by (an eagle?) followed by a star
    Held by: 2 Brass Grommets
    One 90 degree tear inside the canton
    Scuff looking marks on stripes #8, 9, 10, 11, 12
    Worn spots in stripes 1, 2, 7, 11, 12 13
    Only 4 feet 7.5 inches left of the 13th stripe

    Besides that, it's also yellowed but hard to tell if it's just dirty or if the fibers themselves have yellowed.

    There has been much discussion within the family not only of the H. CO. markings, but whether it has any value or not. I hope someone here can shed some light for us.
  4. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    Re: 48 Star Stamped "HCO" = "H Company"?


    Hi, SandyJeans! :D

    Welcome to the USA-Flag-Site forums! :D

    Perhaps the "H. CO." is a military abbreviation that stands for "H Company"? If so, then that might help explain why the 13th stripe has been partially cut away (bits & pieces snipped off by the members of "H Company" as tokens of remembrance or souveneirs).

    Good luck with it!

    Robin Hickman
    Eugene, Oregon, USA
  5. csaanv

    csaanv Member

    Hi SandyJeans,
    Thanks for posting the photos, this is very helpful. I think Robin is correct in that H.CO. is H Company which would suggest a military connection. However, most military issue flags of that size were sewn and adhered to a set size for different functions (see: http://www.apd.army.mil/pdffiles/r840_10.pdf ). Your flag meets nether of those requirements. Having said that I have seen and heard of civilian flags being used in the Armed Services when the other became unavailable or it could have been given to a soldier from his family to carry into battle with him. This was a common ritual that continues even today in Iraq and Afghanistan. If that was the case with your flag it would most likely be of the World War 2 era. The stamp on the hoist really makes this flag unique and collectable and obviously it had some sentimental value for someone. Maybe some of our other guys would care to comment with their thoughts and opinions.
  6. sandyjeans

    sandyjeans New Member

    Thanks! "Unique and collectable" are good words to hear! Glad I wrote! We're anxious to hear any more info anyone has.
  7. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    I have been unable to find any info that would positively identify the HCO marking on that flag. However, I do think it curious that the stamping appears to read "H. CO." If that flag were the property of "H Company" I would not expect to see a period after the H. Nor does it look like a maker's mark. My first thought was "Horstmann Company" of Philadelphia, but they always spelled out their name on the heading.

    As far as the value of the flag is concerned, there are a great many 48-star flags in excellent condition that sell for $15 to $100 depending on size and material. Sometimes markings on the heading will be a selling point, sometimes not. For example, this flag with a great marking from the US Department of the Treasury only sold for $28:
    LARGE 48 STAR STAMPED " U.S. DEPT OF TREASURY " FLAG - eBay (item 270781793708 end time Jul-20-11 10:31:44 PDT)
  8. ConED

    ConED New Member

    Pitiful!! :D Don't have that flag. It's a good collection.
  9. Spasmatic

    Spasmatic New Member

    Hey NAVA, I was lucky enough to be the buyer of the U.S. Treasury 48-star flag. It showed up yesterday, and it's beautiful! The dimensions are actually a little bigger than described (8.3' x 16.3' including hoist end instead of 7.3' x 16.3') which more closely conforms to the Gov't spec.

    Maybe these should be new topics, but I'll ask anyway:
    - In dating this flag, might I assume it was simply retired from the Treasury Department when the 49-star became official?
    - It included two additional strips of elastic along the top and right side with small eyelet holes every four inches, or so: this elastic was professionally sewn to the flag. This elastic facilitates hanging the flag horizontally without inducing damage to the flag itself. Question: was this elastic a standard addition to flags of this type? Can the flag still fly with this, or should it be removed?

Share This Page