Value of 38 star flag?

Discussion in 'Flag Identification and Collecting' started by Bopsie, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. Bopsie

    Bopsie New Member

    Our Historical Society would like to know the rough value of a 38-star flag in our collection, and I hope someone here can give us some help. The flag is about 6.5' x 12' (didn't want to pull too hard to straighten it out.) Printed along the top is "American Ensign. 12-FT. Patented Apr. 26th 1870". The fabric is cotton. The stars are printed, and the flag consists of panels sewn together (looks like sewn by machine.) There are 2 repairs in the blue part of the canton, and there are several small areas of holes forming at the ends of the stripes. See the pictures for a look....

    We were told by the donor (now deceased) that the flag flew over her mother's house in Chicago during the Great Chicago fire. It must have been in a part of Chicago not affected by the fire. Written on one side is the family name and the word "Chicago".

    I looked at eBay for similar flags, and saw 2 completed auctions that looked similar. One with hand-sewn stars sold for $305; another with printed stars sold for $433. Both were similar in size.

    So I thought I'd ask here whether these 2 prices are a reasonable estimate for the value of our flag. Or, if "it depends....", then I hope that some knowledgeable folks could offer opinions about this flag....

    Thanks
    Charlie

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  2. St.Nick

    St.Nick New Member

    Hello,

    I own a wool 38 star flag with hand sewn stars in an abnormal formation, aprox 4.5x8 Ft. I bought it about 6 years ago online for about $500. I consider myself lucky, as I have seen other auctions with similar flags go for over double. It all depends on the demand at the time. I have since had mine framed on an acid free backing with UV resistant plexi, and hung on my living room wall. It makes quite the statement and conversation piece. From what I have seen, I would expect your flag to be at the higher end of your prices if not higher. The flag is in great condition. It's very rare to find something that is 140 years old in such great condition, especially when it was meant to be flown outdoors until it ripped. If not necessary, hold on to it. It will only be come older and worth more!

    Best,
    Nick
     
  3. St.Nick

    St.Nick New Member

    Hello,

    I own a wool 38 star flag with hand sewn stars in an abnormal formation, aprox 4.5x8 Ft. I bought it about 6 years ago online for about $500. I consider myself lucky, as I have seen other auctions with similar flags go for over double. It all depends on the demand at the time. I have since had mine framed on an acid free backing with UV resistant plexi, and hung on my living room wall. It makes quite the statement and conversation piece. From what I have seen, I would expect your flag to be at the higher end of your prices if not higher. The flag is in great condition. It's very rare to find something that is 140 years old in such great condition, especially when it was meant to be flown outdoors until it ripped. If not necessary, hold on to it. It will only be come older and worth more!

    Best,
    Nick
     
  4. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    Hello Charlie,
    Your flag was made by the United States Bunting Company of Lowell, Massachusetts. They owned the 1870 patent for press dyeing flags. You can see two flags from my collection made the same way at: Flickr: Search nicka21045's photostream
    Your estimates of value are correct, as large flags like yours do not generally sell for a whole lot more because of the difficulty of displaying them. The cost to properly frame a flag that size would be double the value of the flag, or more.
    Nick A
    Columbia Maryland
     
  5. Bopsie

    Bopsie New Member

    Thanks for the comments, and thanks for the link to the flags. I've learned a lot about flags reading through the posts here....

    Charlie
     

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