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Flags

A flag is a piece of material that is flown from a metal or wooden pole. The material usually has a design or a color that sends a signal or message. The first flags, called vexilloids by researchers, were poles made of wood or metal with carvings on top. These flags date to about 3000 B.C. Later, pieces of fabric were added to vexilloids for decoration, setting the precedent for modern-day flags.

Flags are used for many different purposes, but the two most well known are to symbolize a country, state, or organization, and to send a signal. Every country in the world has its own flag, and some states or provinces within countries also have flags. Good examples are the individual flags of the 50 states that make up the United States of America. Collectors search for historical examples of these flags as well as flags that have provenance, or stories, associated with them.

Signal flags include colors that have specific meanings. For example, the color red on a signal flag means danger, yellow means caution, green means safety, and white means surrender. Signal flags are often used by ships to signal safe travel through waterways or to indicate dangerous weather.


Quick Facts

  • Flags from specific historical periods are very popular with collectors. These might include flags from specific wars or certain periods in a country's history. Flags from the American Revolution or from the Soviet Union are good examples
  • Flags with provenance usually sell for the highest prices. A good example is the flag carried into battle during the American Civil War by Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart. This flag sold at auction for $956,000 in 2006
  • The term "Jolly Roger" was used to refer to all pirate flags, not just the skull and crossbones design. Many pirate flags were plain black or red

Recommended Items at Auction

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AMERICAN FLAGS
Feb 29, 12:00 PM CST
AMERICAN FLAGS
by McCurley Auction Company
Est: $0- $0
$126 Bids
45 Star Flag
Mar 01, 5:00 PM EST
45 Star Flag
by Dovetail Auctions, LLC
Est: $5- $500
$706 Bids
The Union Flag (1801-1901)
Mar 03, 2:00 PM AEDT
The Union Flag (1801-1901)
by Theodore Bruce Auctioneers & Valuers
Est: AUD60- AUD90
AUD705 Bids
7 NAUTICAL SHIP FLAGS
Mar 04, 6:00 PM EST
7 NAUTICAL SHIP FLAGS
by Atlee Raber Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$405 Bids
International Signal Flags (13)
Mar 03, 2:00 PM AEDT
International Signal Flags (13)
by Theodore Bruce Auctioneers & Valuers
Est: AUD50- AUD100
AUD404 Bids
7 NAUTICAL SHIP FLAGS
Mar 04, 6:00 PM EST
7 NAUTICAL SHIP FLAGS
by Atlee Raber Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$304 Bids
Capital Awning Company 48 Star Cotton US Flag
Feb 27, 10:00 AM EST
Capital Awning Company 48 Star Cotton US Flag
by Weschler's
Est: $40- $60
$404 Bids
An Australian Flag, E.H.Brett, Sydney
Mar 03, 2:00 PM AEDT
An Australian Flag, E.H.Brett, Sydney
by Theodore Bruce Auctioneers & Valuers
Est: AUD60- AUD100
AUD453 Bids
Thirty-eight star printed American parade flag
Feb 28, 9:00 AM EST
Thirty-eight star printed American parade flag
by Pook & Pook Inc.
Est: $120- $160
$1103 Bids
Nacho Becerra b.1962 Urban Textile American Flag
Feb 28, 12:00 PM EST
Nacho Becerra b.1962 Urban Textile American Flag
by Hill Auction Gallery
Est: $100- $1,000
$502 Bids
GARFIELD, James A. (1831-1881) and ARTHUR, Chester A. (1829...
Mar 07, 10:00 AM CST
GARFIELD, James A. (1831-1881) and ARTHUR, Chester A. (1829...
by Potter & Potter Auctions Inc.
Est: $2,000- $5,000
$1,0001 Bid
United States 6x10 Nylon Flag
Feb 27, 9:00 AM EST
United States 6x10 Nylon Flag
by Wehrly's Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$51 Bid
New South Wales State Flag (John Christian Vaughan)
Mar 03, 2:00 PM AEDT
New South Wales State Flag (John Christian Vaughan)
by Theodore Bruce Auctioneers & Valuers
Est: AUD60- AUD100
AUD301 Bid
Australian Federation Flag
Mar 03, 2:00 PM AEDT
Australian Federation Flag
by Theodore Bruce Auctioneers & Valuers
Est: AUD40- AUD80
AUD201 Bid
EUCLID BEACH SOUVENIR FLAG& TRAQ BINOCULARS
Mar 04, 6:00 PM EST
EUCLID BEACH SOUVENIR FLAG& TRAQ BINOCULARS
by Atlee Raber Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$51 Bid
A large Union Jack together with a French Ensign together with other Naval bunting 193 x 94 cm (8)
Mar 01, 10:00 AM GMT
A large Union Jack together with a French Ensign together with other Naval bunting 193 x 94 cm (8)
by Hannam's Auctioneers
Est: £30- £50
£250 Bids
A Papua Guinea Naval Ensign Flag +
Mar 03, 2:00 PM AEDT
A Papua Guinea Naval Ensign Flag +
by Theodore Bruce Auctioneers & Valuers
Est: AUD60- AUD90
AUD300 Bids
48 STAR AMERICAN FLAG
Mar 04, 6:00 PM EST
48 STAR AMERICAN FLAG
by Atlee Raber Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$50 Bids
Collectible Israeli Painted Linen Flag
Mar 20, 10:00 AM EDT
Collectible Israeli Painted Linen Flag
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc.
Est: $40- $100
$10 Bids
Collection of framed American flags, 20th c.
Feb 28, 9:00 AM EST
Collection of framed American flags, 20th c.
by Pook & Pook Inc.
Est: $100- $200
$500 Bids
5 USSR SOVIET FLAG BANNER LOT LENIN
Mar 06, 9:00 AM EST
5 USSR SOVIET FLAG BANNER LOT LENIN
by Affiliated Auctions & Realty LLC
Est: $200- $300
$500 Bids
5 USSR SOVIET FLAG LOT PLUS OTHERS
Mar 06, 9:00 AM EST
5 USSR SOVIET FLAG LOT PLUS OTHERS
by Affiliated Auctions & Realty LLC
Est: $200- $300
$500 Bids
19th Annual Frontier Days Celebration Pennant. [Denver: Hen...
Mar 07, 10:00 AM CST
19th Annual Frontier Days Celebration Pennant. [Denver: Hen...
by Potter & Potter Auctions Inc.
Est: $100- $200
$500 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Flags


Theodore Bruce Auctioneers & Valuers

Theodore Bruce Auctioneers & Valuers

Atlee Raber Auctioneer

Atlee Raber Auctioneer

Affiliated Auctions & Realty LLC

Affiliated Auctions & Realty LLC

Potter & Potter Auctions Inc.

Potter & Potter Auctions Inc.