Unusual 48 Star Flag

Discussion in 'Flag Identification and Collecting' started by BillyRuffian, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. BillyRuffian

    BillyRuffian New Member

    I'm an Appraiser and attempting to determine the Replacement Value of an unusual 48 star American Flag. In the canton, all the rows have eight stars but the 1st, 3rd, and 5th rows are offset 1/2 star to the left and the even numbered rows are offset to the right. Almost looks like the current 50 star arrangement except there are only six rows and 48 stars.
    Appreciate it if anyone knows when this pattern of flag was made and if any have sold on the secondary market. An old post on the "Flags of The World" web site said this offset star pattern was produced for a short period in 1912. We're just trying to advise the client on how much insurance to carry on the flag but it's always nice if we can provide information on the history of the object. The flag is in a museum collection so it's not going to be sold, but it may be helpful to someone in the flag community to know that this flag actually exists.
  2. Hi there -

    'Many people are not aware that for the first 135-year existence of the Stars & Stripes, there was no official way to configure its stars. It was not until 1912 that an official design was adopted, following an executive order of President Taft'

    There were several different arranements for the 48 stars on the flag - before President Taft called a halt on this, and set the star pattern and design to one in particular
    On the wall behind me I have a 48 star flag with its stars in 6 rows of 8, but rows 1,3 and 5, the stars lean to the left, and rows 2,4 and 6 lean to the right

    you can see some of it next to my Statue of Liberty here

    The 48 star flag came into official use July 4th 1912 - so that can only leave a few months at best (I dont know the exact date that Taft ordered the stars be a certain way... Peter do you know?) that these flags with different star patterns could have been used.

    It is very likely that most of the patterns were thought up, and made prior to 1912 so the flags we have with different star patterns with 48 stars could indeed have been made in 1910 or 11.
  3. BillyRuffian

    BillyRuffian New Member

    Hi - Thanks for the picture, I read somewhere that Taft's order was that the stars had to have the point up. I'll have to dig a bit more to find when we finally dictated that the rows and columns line up. At least now I have two sources pointing to circa 1912. That helps a lot.
  4. fast1

    fast1 Member

    how many flags do you have american_flag_uk?[​IMG]
  5. In that picture, there is 2, because at the time we didnt have 2 curtains, so, the flag was a temporary curtain, that we pegged up to the curtain pole.. it looked pretty cool actually!

    In answer to you question, I have about 110 US flags, and about 40 others (other countries, state, and territory flags)
    Heres a pc of my US flag collection about this time last year, with me.
    Now thats what I call camoFLAGe!!!! LOL

  6. BillyRuffian

    BillyRuffian New Member

    Just figured out how to include attachments so here is an image of the 48 star flag.

    Attached Files:

  7. thats a nice flag!

    I have seen that pattern before on flags..

    Here is one I found.
    This one, the 1st row of stars is nearer the stripes- the oppoisite of yours!

  8. BillyRuffian

    BillyRuffian New Member

    Just to let you know what I figured out.
    Per Leepson in Flag, An American Biography, pages 178-179. - The Dewey Commission was tasked to sort out what the flag should look like after a study in 1907 showed that federal agencies were flying 66 different sizes/proportioned flags. The Commission recommended the 48 star flag have the stars arranged in six horizontal even rows of eight stars each with one point of each star facing up. President Taft accepted their recommendation and on June 24, 1912 signed the Executive Order defining the 48 star arrangement for government flags. The order was not binding on non-government flags, but served to reign in the creativity of flagmakers.
    The flag design I’ve working on is depicted on page 233 of Mastai’s The Stars and Stripes. Its in a Combination Flag of the flags of the WWI Allied Nations. Since it clearly is of the 1914-1918 era, not everyone was on-board with the “officialâ€￾ 48 star arrangement. The exciting thing about flags is that there are always a few deviations from the "Norm".

  9. cleonetti

    cleonetti New Member

    Hi people,
    Great info you guys share. I'm new to this site but I signed up to get some info of my own. my 10 star flag 13 stripe flag .....it's been in my family for 3 generations ......can you help : ) also how do you attach a picture
  10. BillyRuffian

    BillyRuffian New Member

    To attach a picture, hit "Go Advanced" next to "Post Quick Reply" and look for the PaperClip symbol - then just find your image and send it.
  11. jlundine

    jlundine New Member

    48 Star Flag

    I have a 48 star flag that I found in my attic, it is made out of linen and has printed stars and stitched stripes. It has the markings 'MARITIME E 3 X 5' printed on the hem. It is on a 12' wooden pole. Just curious how old it is, any info would be great! Thanks!

    Attached Files:

  12. csaanv

    csaanv Member

    Thanks for posting and for the pic. From the picture I see the grommet does not look like it is made of brass which was the usual metal of choice for grommets. Maybe you can confirm that? During WWII all brass was used for the War effort and thus civilian companies were force to use other metals, like aluminum or other alloys so that could be a clue. It is most likely a civilian made flag from that era. Being 3'x5' and having a printed canton it would not meet government or military specs. Do you have another photo that shows the entire flag?
  13. jlundine

    jlundine New Member

    Thank you very much for the information. The metal is corroded, but appears to be either brass or copper, but I don't know for sure. I have included a close up of the grommet and a photo of the whole flag. I appreciate your interest!

    Attached Files:

  14. jlundine

    jlundine New Member

    Here is a better picture of the grommet. Thanks again

    Attached Files:

  15. csaanv

    csaanv Member

    You are correct, looks like corroded brass. In any case I think you have a unique flag with the Maritime stamp. It looks like it is in great shape.
  16. macroft

    macroft New Member

    I have 2 x 48 star flags. One is 29'' by ~56.5" and a larger flag 55'' by 102''. I would like to know the value of these flags. The larger flag has two tears that be be easily sewn and is otherwise in good shape. The smaller flag is in pristine shape.
  17. csaanv

    csaanv Member

    Hi macroft, welcome to the American Flags Forum! Because so many 48 star flags were made during the period between 1912-1958 as a rule of thumb 48 star flags are not quite as collectable, valuable as say a 46 star or earlier. With that said depending what a particular flag is made of (cotton, nylon,wool bunting) or if it is government issued, along with a few other factors a collector may be interested in it. I know a lot of folks have been disappointed when they find out their "ancient" flag has little monetary value . I see dozens and dozens of 48 star flags on ebay hoping to sell for hundreds of dollars when in fact they are still quite common. Please if there is any way you could post some pictures of your flag and then we can better identify it's age and value. Or if you want to email the pictures to me and I can prep them to the correct size limit the forum allows and post them. My email address is: emmalpass@yahoo.com.
  18. csaanv

    csaanv Member

    Thanks macroft! As a rule of thumb, sewn stars and stripes flags sell better than printed flags and wool bunting flags are more collectable than cotton.
    Small flag.jpg
    Large flag.jpg
  19. kmelton

    kmelton New Member

    Hello, I have an unusual 48 star flag. It is 5' x 8', has a stamp on the side...'STERLING', and the field of stars has 6 rows of 8 stars, and the rows are offset. The stars are sewn on. I have learned some of the history of this flag, and I'm finding that it may have had a 4-5 month life? I would like some information on the value of this flag as well.
  20. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    Hello kmelton and welcome to the USA Flag Forum. "Sterling" was the brand name that Annin and Co. used for their wool bunting, which is what your flag is basically made of. The stars and heading are cotton. In good condition with no tears and very little "mothing" 48 star flags sell for $50 to $75 on eBay. If you wanted to purchase one from a brick-and-mortar antique store the price tag could be anywhere from $50 to $200 depending on condition, and whim. The staggered rows to add value, perhaps as much as 50%.

    The 48 star flag was in official use for 47 years, and Annin was producing flags of sterling bunting for nearly the whole time. However, 48 star flags with staggered rows were made long before the 47th and 48th states were added. They were not uncommon as early as 1898 when the 45 states of the USA went to war with Spain and came out with three new territories: Cuba, Phillippines, and Puerto Rico. Some manufacturers added three stars right then and there and produced the staggered row 48 star flag. If you look at the date of admission of Arizona, state #48 in February of 1912, and the Taft executive order of June 24, 1912, establishing the "official" 6x8 pattern for the 48 star flag, I see where you get "4 to 5 months" but they were used many years before and after 1912. Still a neat flag, though. Can you post some photos?

    Columbia Maryland

Share This Page