Bicentennial Flag

Discussion in 'Flag Identification and Collecting' started by fredflag, Feb 19, 2008.

  1. fredflag

    fredflag New Member

    Hi all,
    I'm new to this forum and am looking for some info on a particular flag I have recently come into posession of. It's a standard 3X5 Bulldog outdoor flag...but it was flown over the US capitol on July 4, 1976, at the request of Senator John Tower. I have the pristine flag in the original box, with a certificate signed by George M. White, FAIA, Archetect of the Capitol. There is grease pencil writing on the side of the box...Sen. Tower 7/4 5168.
    Can anyone give me info on this type of thing. I'm really clueless as to worth, scarcity, how many flags flew that day, etc. Any data on this subject would be appreciated.
    Thanks much
  2. wooooooooooah! i wonder if thats the same flag i saw on ebay a few months ago - the bidding went out of my reach as i was unemployed!

    i also have a flag flown over the US capitol from 29th february 198o

    but that is a VERY NICE date on the certificate of yours ! - i'd love that here in my flag collection!
    as to its scarcity - the date on the certificate makes it scarce and that particular date is very poignant - and as such would be rather sought after if you were to sell it together with the flag

    the flag itself - well is this identified as THE flag that went with the certificate?
    theres 2 flags i think that fly over the US capitol each day - so yours would be only one of 2 with that particular date

  3. fredflag

    fredflag New Member

    Thanks for the fast reply. No, this is not the same flag that was posted on ebay a few months ago, but will probably be on the site pretty soon. This is part of a large bunch of stuff my boss got from Sen. John Tower's estate. We are sellers on ebay ( so I am researching this to find out what we can expect from it. Your info was most helpful.
    So don't be jealous, this can be yours, too.
  4. oh sweet - can u please let me know when its up on ebay - though ill keep an eye out aswell

    as to how much u can expect - well im not sure really -but i wouldent start it too expensive or u wont get as much interest as with a lower start price
  5. lightman

    lightman New Member

    I can answer your questions as I was actually there! I was woriking for Sen. Strom Thurmond as his personal messenger for the summer of '76. I found out about the 4th flag flying at the last minute and was scrambling to get one for myself. The marking on the box is the requestor's (Senator or Member of Congress) name, date the flag is to be flown, and the flag number. Your flag happened to be number 5168 on the 4th. You probably wonder how I know this! Because I found out late, like, about less than an hour, I had to move. First, I had to purchase a flag. Second, I had to have a letter from Sen. Thurmond to the Architect of the Capitol requesting that the flag be flown on the fourth for me. Lastly, I had to get both the flag and the letter to the special office in the Capitol that was handling the flags before they closed for the 4th. I purchased my 5' x 8' Bulldog flag in the stationary store while the staffers were handling the letter for me. Then I had to pick up the signed letter and bolt for the Capitol. The Senator's secretary called over to let them know I was coming. I arrived about 5 minutes after they were supposed to close and thankfully they were waiting for me. When I arrived they said ' You're the last one, now we can close." I saw this room stacked with boxes of flags everywhere. They explained to me that they had crews on every flag pole n the Capitol and will begin flying the flags at the strike of 12 midnight, July 4th, running each flag up and then down the flagpoles ( about 10 I think) until every flag was flown. Being that my flag was the last one and numbered, I know the exact number of flags flown that day. My flag is number 10,388! Hope this answers your questions! Joe
  6. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member


    W O W -! ! !

  7. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Back in 1986, Scot Guenter wrote a very interesting article in "Flag Bulletin" called "This Flag Flew Over the U.S. Capitol." It was a history of the flag-flying program since its inception in 1937, including interviews with the Capitol flag-office staff as well as documentary and press sources. This was one of my favorite passages:

    " . . . in 1967 a Washington journalist created a mild sensation when he reported that misbehaving pages were being given the flag-flying chore as punishment. He also revealed that they were not always actually flying the flags but sometimes simply claiming that they had; another rumor had it that they took the opportunity alone on the roof to indulge in undetected cigarette-smoking." (p. 154)

    The article included this interesting graph:

    Capitol Flag Graph.jpg

    Which shows the number of flags flown as part of the program from 1945 through 1985. Note the big spike for the centennial year in 1976. Remember, the y-axis is in thousands of flags. The figure for 1985 was 90,148. It would be interesting to get an update.

    Peter Ansoff
  8. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    Hi, Peter ! :D

    Perhaps if you (as past-president of NAVA) send an e-mail to the "Architect of the Capitol" asking for some updated statistics, they'll send them??? Assuming, of course, that they're still the ones in charge of the Capitol Flag-flying program! :eek:

  9. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    Yes, the Architect of the Capitol is still in charge of the "Capitol Flags" program! :D

    Here's their web address :

    While they don't list the actual number of Flags flown over the Capitol, they DO say THIS :

    QUOTE (From : "Currently, the Architect of the Capitol fulfills on average more than 100,000 flag requests from Members of Congress annually, with the number of requests and the popularity of the Capitol Flag Program growing steadily each year."

    MORE than 100,000 Flags a year !!! :eek: :eek: :eek:

    Robin Hickman

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