49 Star Flag flown over State Capital

Discussion in 'Flag Identification and Collecting' started by plummerak, Apr 11, 2011.

  1. plummerak

    plummerak New Member

    Hello Everyone,

    I was wondering if I could get someones expert opinion and valuation on a 49 Star 5x8 BullDog Dettra flag, flown over the State Capitol July 29, 1959. I have a signed document from the Architect of the Capitol, J. George, Stewart with carbon copy. It was to a (D) Congressmen Samuel Friedel of Maryland.
    I am certian these are very Rare. I will add pictures if I can figure out how to post them. I would love some history on this flag if anyones got any.
    Thank you for taking the time and grateful for any feedback.
  2. csaanv

    csaanv Member

    Hi Plummerak,
    if you want to email me the photos I can prepare them and post them for you.
    I am at: emmalpass(at)yahoo(dot)com

  3. plummerak

    plummerak New Member

    Okay I think I got posting the pictures right. If they don't come out I will try again.
    I forgot to mention, that the flag did come in a box with a number and the name of the Congressman.

    Pictures by plummerak - Photobucket

    Thank you!
  4. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    The very first "thread" in this Forum (Flag Identification and Collecting) is a "sticky" (it's always the first entry) titled, "How to include a photo in your posts". In the entry, American_Flag_UK (Amanda) explains step-by-step how to include a photo in your posts. The entry was made in July, 2008 and it still works.

    Here's a link to it : http://www.usa-flag-site.org/forum/how-to-include-photo-your-posts-2820.html

    In May, 2009, I did a slightly altered version of it to show how one could include the photos as an actual part of a thread reply.


    Since then, I have found another (much simpler) way of including a photo as part of a reply. It doesn't always work in every situation but it seems to work in most situations. It is the simple "Copy/Paste" method, but the photo has to be showing somewhere else first.

    Just highlight the picture, right-click on it to bring up the sub-menu and select the "COPY" option. The find the location in your entry where you want to place the picture and LEFT-click there to put the flashing cursor, then right-click and select the "PASTE" option, OR hit the "Ctrl" and "V" keys on your keyboard.

    I'll go find your photos on your other entry for this.


    SEE ???


    Robin Hickman
    Eugene, Oregon, USA
  5. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    Hello, PlummerAK ! :D

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

    Please note that the Flag's certificate shows that the Flag in question was flown over the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington D.C. and NOT over the Alaska State Capitol in Juneau. (BIG difference!)

    49-Star American Flags were "official" for only one year so they are relatively "rare", especially when compared with the 48-Star (47 years) and our current 50-Star (50+ years and counting) Flags.

    The 5'x8' size of your Flag is much rarer than the more common ("standard") 3'x5' size Flags. Although I am not an antique flag collector, I have read several statements on this site that collectors seem to prefer smaller sized flags as they are easier to "show" and store. What is considered "smaller" I don't know.

    The Dettra Flag Company no longer exists as it was bought by Annin & Co. in the mid-1990's.

    To possibly give you some idea as to the approximate "market value" (at least on eBay) of your Flag, you can do an eBay "Completed Listings" search. The "RED" prices means the item did NOT sell and the "GREEN" listings DID sell.

    "49-Star" +FLAG :


    "49-Stars" +Flag :


    In BOTH of the above searches the results are for the previous 15 days.

    There are, of course, a number of factors to consider when attempting to place a "value" on a Flag such as yours. There are some very experienced expert members here and I'm sure you'll be getting some of their opinions. They might also have some additional questions for you about your Flag.

    GOOD LUCK !!! :D

    Thank You for bringing your Flag-related question to our Forums!

    Robin Hickman
    Eugene, Oregon, USA
  6. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

  7. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    Thanks to Robin for posting the pictures. 49-star flags are not rare. Even though they were only official for one year, flagmakers produced quite a number of them, and most were set aside by people who knew that the 50-star flag would supersede the 49's in less than a year. Most 49 star flags are still in fairly good shape, often "mint in box" or "new old stock" condition.

    That being said, 49's are popular among collectors and command a premium over most 48-star flags, even on eBay. And I do believe the documentation showing that your 49-star flag was made and flown over the U.S. capitol while there were only 49 states in the Union would add to the flag's value.

    48-star flags of that size generally sell for $25 to $75 while 49's can be double that range. Add your US Capitol documentation and I would double that price range again. (i.e. $100 to $300).

    And yes, a $200 range is pretty wide, but it all depends on how well you describe the item, how good the photos are, and who is looking on eBay or participating in the auction at the moment can have significant influence on the winning bid.

    Nick A
    Columbia MD
  8. plummerak

    plummerak New Member

    Thank you Robin for posting the pictures in the thread and for all your information! I knew the flag was flown at the US Capitol, it was just when I lived in D.C. a time ago serving in the USAF Honor Guard, we called it the State Capitol. I was so excited about posting, I didn't even think twice about it. :)

    What great information! And I am excited about having a flag that flew over the US Capitol in 1959. Thank you Nick for all your insight and thoughts on this flag. I sure do appreciate places like this, to instantly get help and information.

    Thanks Mike for your offer to help, I am not getting the email notifications when someone has posted on the thread, so I didn't get it until after Robin posted the 'know-how'. :)

    Much Graditude,
  9. csaanv

    csaanv Member

    You are welcome! I never realized that the congressmen of that time handed out flags of that size. Usually they were the smaller 3' x 5'. Thank you for posting. I learned something new!
  10. plummerak

    plummerak New Member


    That is interesting to know. I would be curious too if that is the case, but the box the flag (5x8) came in has the congressman's name on it with a number. So I have every reason to believe it is legit.

    I am going to try and find the congressman's next of Kin to return the flag to the family. I think that is the right thing to do. But if I have no luck, I will be selling it, so I would like to offer it here first (if I can even do that), to the collectors here who truly value this vintage piece of history.

    I will keep you posted. :)
    Thank you for the valuable informtion!
  11. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    The name was written on the box so that the Architect of the Capitol could deliver the flown flag to the correct office. From that point, the Congressman's staff probably just mailed the flag to the person who requested it (unless it was a rare situation where the Congressman actually gave the flag to a constituent for some particular reason.)

    Today when you order a flag from your Rep or Senator, his/her name is written on the side of the box, along with a control number to help them keep track of the dozens to hundreds of flags they process daily. You can also ask that the letter specify for whom the flag was flown, and for what occasion. For example. on July 4, 2010, I had a flag flown in recognition of the 50th Anniversary of the 50-star flag (first flown on July 4, 1960.)

    It is nice of you to consider selling it to a Forum member first. :)
    Although I don't have a "49" that has been flown over the Capitol, I have enough 49s in my collection, as well as a number of 50-star flags flown over the Capitol that I would not be able to offer you what the flag is worth.:(

    If you just want to sell it, I might suggest you put it up on eBay with a minimum bid of $20 and a "reserve" of $100 and see if it goes higher. (Posting pics on eBay is a lot easier than posting them to the Forum - eBay will "shrink" photos for you if they are too large to begin with.):cool:

  12. plummerak

    plummerak New Member

    Hi Nick,

    The letter I have is addressed (the salutation) to the Congressman. Which makes me believe that it was sent directly to him, for him. If it was meant for another person, wouldn't they have put their name in? Hmmmmm.... I have already contacted the AOC, and hopefully they can help me.
    If you are right Nick, and my concious (sp) clear, I will sell to the highest bidder...:D ebay to me is a scary place, I might go another route in selling it.
    Thank you again for your insight! Just like Csaanv, I learn something new everyday!

  13. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    No, the Architect of the Capitol flies the flags for the member of Congress, not for the constituent. The Congressman/woman then presents/sends the flag to their constituent.

    So the letter from the Architect is the formal transmittal of the flag to the Congressman, certifying that it has flown over the Capitol. As I noted in my email, nowadays you can specify why or for whom the flag was flown, and when the Architect writes back to the Congressman, the letter will say "I understand that this flag was flown for...."

  14. plummerak

    plummerak New Member

    Oh okay, I understand what your saying. You think this isn't a flag FOR the Congressman, but for a requester or constituant. Gotcha! ;)

    Thanks Nick for the clarification, it means alot to me that I do this right. Because I do want to sell it, but not if this belongs to the Congressman's family. :D

  15. plummerak

    plummerak New Member

    Well just like you all, the AOC got back to me super FAST and here is what she said,

    Hello Mrs. Plummer:

    I received your request for information concerning old flag records. I’m sorry to say we only keep records six years back, so we would not have the information you are looking for. To be honest, I don’t think anyone on Capitol Hill would have any records that far back.

    I’m sorry I can’t be of more help to you it is very kind and thoughtful of you to try and find the family or the next of kin. I wish you the best of luck.


    Karen Livingston
    Flag Office Supervisor
    U.S. Capitol Building

    Well I tried... And if Nick is right, this flag could've belonged to anyone...

    So I will move on to try and sell the flag. if there are any takers in this Forum send me a message (if that is okay with the Moderators and Creators of this Forum. If not,, please delete this post). Or in a few days you can see it on Etsy, Ruby Lane, or maybe even Ebay... keep an eye out! :)

    Thank you again for everyone's help!
  16. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member


    ON eBay (Until April 21st, 2011 @ 15:13:48 PDT) :



    49 Star US Flag Flown Over US Capitol

    What a unique and one of a kind find!

    Although 49 Star flags are common, they are popular among collectors. This one that has been flown over the US Capitol on July 29, 1959 are sought after in the flag collecting community and are rare, any vexillology expert or flag collector will tell you. It being 5x8 ft in size is also unique.

    This vintage flag is 52 years old and made/flown in the USA. Because of its age, there is very minor yellowing in small areas in white stripes; but overall they are white (please see picture). The box is slightly damaged in the top left corner and there is some slight wear on this 52 year old box (please see pictures). The Certificate and brochure from the flag manufacture are crisp with no damage. As well as the signed letter with a carbon copy page, to Congressman Samuel Friedel (D) Maryland from the Architect of the Capitol, Washington D.C., Mr. George J. Stewart. Certifying that it was flown over the US Capitol on July 29, 1959.

    Robin Hickman
    Eugene, Oregon, USA
  17. csaanv

    csaanv Member

    Seems a bit high for an opening bid. Given the political climate most folks are not too happy with anything that has an attachment with the the "Capitol".
  18. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    It might have seen more action had it been listed as I suggested: an opening bid of $20 with a reserve of $100. Even listing it with a straight minimum bid of $100 would cause most people to pass it by, as there are many 49s that start out at a much lower price.

    Nick A
  19. csaanv

    csaanv Member

    You are so right. That is Sales 101.
  20. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member


    Re-Listed with an opening bid of $302.62..... :eek:


    I always recommend searching through the "Completed Listings" to find similar items and see what the "market prices" are for them. I think that what items sell for (or don't sell for) is a much more reliable indicator of their "market value" than the prices that sellers "ask".

    In the case of 49-Star American Flags, there has only been 7 or 8 completed listings in the past two weeks, and none of those were 5x8 or flown over the U.S. Capitol, or both. I think the 2 or 3 larger ones (2x3 & 3x5) sold in the $25-$50 range.

    I agree that the "opening" price is way high, but I'm not sure that the relatively "low" opening bid with the secret "reserve" price strategy is the way to go. But then I've never sold anything on eBay and I always avoid auctions that have a "reserve" price.

    Robin Hickman
    Eugene, Oregon, USA

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