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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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ARNOLD PALMER'S FAREWELL TO THE OPEN AUTOGRAPHED FLAG
Oct 24, 10:00 AM MST
ARNOLD PALMER'S FAREWELL TO THE OPEN AUTOGRAPHED FLAG
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$8112 Bids
1OZ SILVER GOD BLESS AMERICA ROUND & U.S. FLAG BAR
Oct 21, 11:00 AM EDT
1OZ SILVER GOD BLESS AMERICA ROUND & U.S. FLAG BAR
by Silver City Auctions
Est: $85- $100
$102 Bids
A bag of assorted flags incl. Japanese etc.
Oct 23, 10:00 AM AEDT
A bag of assorted flags incl. Japanese etc.
by Theodore Bruce
Est: AUD30- AUD50
AUD151 Bid
1954 Flags of the United Nations Lunchbox with Thermos
Nov 08, 6:00 PM EST
1954 Flags of the United Nations Lunchbox with Thermos
by Caswell Prewitt Realty, INC
Est: $0- $0
$51 Bid
Domed Scottish Plaid and US Flag Lunchboxes with Thermos
Nov 08, 6:00 PM EST
Domed Scottish Plaid and US Flag Lunchboxes with Thermos
by Caswell Prewitt Realty, INC
Est: $0- $0
$51 Bid
Flag bearer, Lomonosov, St. Pe
Nov 03, 10:00 AM CET
Flag bearer, Lomonosov, St. Pe
by Historia Auktionshaus
Est: €0- €0
€1001 Bid
REED'S FLAGS & FUNNELS
Nov 02, 10:00 AM GMT
REED'S FLAGS & FUNNELS
by Charles Miller Ltd
Est: £200- £300
£1001 Bid
WWII GERMAN SA FLAG BEARERS CHAINED GORGET
Oct 21, 9:00 AM EDT
WWII GERMAN SA FLAG BEARERS CHAINED GORGET
by Affiliated Auctions & Realty LLC
Est: $150- $200
$401 Bid
VIETNAM ERA NORTH VIETNAMESE NVA REGIMENT FLAG
Oct 21, 9:00 AM EDT
VIETNAM ERA NORTH VIETNAMESE NVA REGIMENT FLAG
by Affiliated Auctions & Realty LLC
Est: $50- $100
$101 Bid
BANDIERA DEL REGNO D'ITALIA XIX-XX SECOLO - BANNER OF THE KINGDOM OF ITALY 19TH-20TH CENTURY
Oct 21, 10:00 AM CEST
BANDIERA DEL REGNO D'ITALIA XIX-XX SECOLO - BANNER OF THE KINGDOM OF ITALY 19TH-20TH CENTURY
by Aste Bolaffi
Est: €0- €0
€3000 Bids
USSR Order Red Flag of labor
Oct 25, 3:00 PM CEST
USSR Order Red Flag of labor
by Bertolami Fine Art
Est: €100- €200
€500 Bids
A Nesterov Order medal and tsarist small flag
Oct 25, 3:00 PM CEST
A Nesterov Order medal and tsarist small flag
by Bertolami Fine Art
Est: €50- €100
€300 Bids
Savoy flag - Italy, first quarter of the 20th century
Oct 25, 3:00 PM CEST
Savoy flag - Italy, first quarter of the 20th century
by Bertolami Fine Art
Est: €200- €300
€700 Bids
A.R. Penck, 1939-2017, serigraph on cardboard,# 'Show flag
Oct 22, 11:00 AM CEST
A.R. Penck, 1939-2017, serigraph on cardboard,# 'Show flag
by Henry's Auktionshaus AG
Est: €400- €800
€4000 Bids
c. 1876 Centennial Period 13-Star Great Star United States Parade Flag With Pole
Oct 23, 9:00 AM PDT
c. 1876 Centennial Period 13-Star Great Star United States Parade Flag With Pole
by Early American History Auctions
Est: $300- $400
$2200 Bids
Enamel flag vintage bracelet
Nov 17, 6:00 PM EST
Enamel flag vintage bracelet
by Captain Ahab's Antiques
Est: $30- $80
$250 Bids
Lot Of vintage wool Union Jack Flags
Oct 30, 1:00 PM EDT
Lot Of vintage wool Union Jack Flags
by Kavanagh Auctions
Est: $50- $15,000
$500 Bids
Scott Griffin. Flag.
Oct 23, 1:00 PM EDT
Scott Griffin. Flag.
by Casco Bay Auctions
Est: $300- $500
$1500 Bids
FOUR ENAMEL FLAG AND BURGEE BROOCHES
Nov 02, 10:00 AM GMT
FOUR ENAMEL FLAG AND BURGEE BROOCHES
by Charles Miller Ltd
Est: £100- £150
£500 Bids
WWII BRIGADIER GENERAL EDWIN HOWARD UNIFORM & FLAG
Nov 05, 10:00 AM EDT
WWII BRIGADIER GENERAL EDWIN HOWARD UNIFORM & FLAG
by Poulin Antiques & Auctions
Est: $2,000- $3,000
$1,0000 Bids
Hand MadeMotorcycle Bike with Flag 3D Wall Mount Painting
Oct 29, 1:00 PM EDT
Hand MadeMotorcycle Bike with Flag 3D Wall Mount Painting
by OG Collections
Est: $450- $650
$1900 Bids
United State Map with American Flag 3-D Wall Mount Painting
Oct 29, 1:00 PM EDT
United State Map with American Flag 3-D Wall Mount Painting
by OG Collections
Est: $450- $650
$1900 Bids
Spanish Style Ship's Flag and American Red Cross Flag
Nov 06, 12:00 PM EDT
Spanish Style Ship's Flag and American Red Cross Flag
by Cottone Auctions
Est: $200- $400
$1000 Bids
PETER MAX AMERICAN B.1937
Nov 06, 12:00 PM EDT
PETER MAX AMERICAN B.1937
by Trinity International Auctions & Appraisals, LLC
Est: $1,500- $3,000
$1,0000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Flags


Cottone Auctions

Cottone Auctions

Bertolami Fine Art

Bertolami Fine Art

Affiliated Auctions & Realty LLC

Affiliated Auctions & Realty LLC

Charles Miller Ltd

Charles Miller Ltd