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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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13 COLONIES FLAG & BETSY ROSS FLAG HOMAGE FLAGS
Dec 07, 9:00 AM EST
13 COLONIES FLAG & BETSY ROSS FLAG HOMAGE FLAGS
by Affiliated Auctions & Realty LLC
Est: $80- $150
$302 Bids
SOVIET UNION AGRICULTURAL COMMUNE PROPAGANDA
Dec 07, 10:00 AM EST
SOVIET UNION AGRICULTURAL COMMUNE PROPAGANDA
by Poulin Antiques & Auctions
Est: $200- $300
$1001 Bid
Two American Flags
Dec 09, 6:00 PM EST
Two American Flags
by Dovetail Auctions, LLC
Est: $5- $500
$51 Bid
Vintage Union Jack Flag / Naval White Ensign
Dec 17, 1:00 PM EST
Vintage Union Jack Flag / Naval White Ensign
by Kavanagh Auctions
Est: $40- $15,000
$401 Bid
A FINE RUSSIAN IMPERIAL NATIONAL STATE FLAG OF
Dec 07, 10:00 AM EST
A FINE RUSSIAN IMPERIAL NATIONAL STATE FLAG OF
by Poulin Antiques & Auctions
Est: $500- $800
$2501 Bid
EAST GERMAN COMMUNIST SOCIALIST
Dec 07, 10:00 AM EST
EAST GERMAN COMMUNIST SOCIALIST
by Poulin Antiques & Auctions
Est: $200- $400
$1000 Bids
GERMAN SOCIALIST UNITY PARTY FLAG CIRCA 1935.
Dec 07, 10:00 AM EST
GERMAN SOCIALIST UNITY PARTY FLAG CIRCA 1935.
by Poulin Antiques & Auctions
Est: $200- $300
$1000 Bids
AMERICAN INDIAN PRESENTATION FRENCH
Dec 07, 10:00 AM EST
AMERICAN INDIAN PRESENTATION FRENCH
by Poulin Antiques & Auctions
Est: $200- $300
$1000 Bids
OFFICIAL US DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY
Dec 07, 10:00 AM EST
OFFICIAL US DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY
by Poulin Antiques & Auctions
Est: $200- $400
$1000 Bids
SERBIAN, SPANISH, BRITISH FLAGS & AN INDOOR FLAG
Dec 07, 10:00 AM EST
SERBIAN, SPANISH, BRITISH FLAGS & AN INDOOR FLAG
by Poulin Antiques & Auctions
Est: $300- $500
$1500 Bids
Defiance 4' x 6' American Flag
Dec 07, 5:30 PM EST
Defiance 4' x 6' American Flag
by Lettieri Auction & Appraisal
Est: $30- $40
$200 Bids
Palio di Siena, Leocorno Flag
Dec 12, 11:00 AM CET
Palio di Siena, Leocorno Flag
by Bertolami Fine Art
Est: €50- €100
€500 Bids
French Third Republic tri color standard flag
Dec 17, 9:00 AM EST
French Third Republic tri color standard flag
by Mohawk Arms Inc.
Est: $250- $500
$2500 Bids
West German Flag
Dec 17, 9:00 AM EST
West German Flag
by Mohawk Arms Inc.
Est: $25- $50
$250 Bids
British Royal Fleet Auxiliary Jack Defense of the Crown
Dec 17, 9:00 AM EST
British Royal Fleet Auxiliary Jack Defense of the Crown
by Mohawk Arms Inc.
Est: $200- $400
$2000 Bids
Royal British Mersey Docks and Harbor Flag
Dec 17, 9:00 AM EST
Royal British Mersey Docks and Harbor Flag
by Mohawk Arms Inc.
Est: $200- $400
$2000 Bids
SOVIET UNION PROPAGANDA BANNER, circa.
Dec 07, 10:00 AM EST
SOVIET UNION PROPAGANDA BANNER, circa.
by Poulin Antiques & Auctions
Est: $300- $400
$1500 Bids
Maid of Erin Flag. A large and impressive blue linen Flag, approx. 10' x 5' (4 meters x 2 meters),
Dec 07, 10:15 AM GMT
Maid of Erin Flag. A large and impressive blue linen Flag, approx. 10' x 5' (4 meters x 2 meters),
by Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers
Est: €800- €1,200
€8000 Bids
Early Canadian Union Flag
Dec 17, 9:00 AM EST
Early Canadian Union Flag
by Mohawk Arms Inc.
Est: $250- $500
$2500 Bids
United States Flags, 34 Stars And 45 Stars, 19th C., H 63'' W 104'' 2 pcs
Dec 14, 11:00 AM EST
United States Flags, 34 Stars And 45 Stars, 19th C., H 63'' W 104'' 2 pcs
by DuMouchelles
Est: $400- $600
$3000 Bids
Palio di Siena, Aquila Flag
Dec 12, 11:00 AM CET
Palio di Siena, Aquila Flag
by Bertolami Fine Art
Est: €50- €100
€500 Bids
US State flag of Delaware
Dec 17, 9:00 AM EST
US State flag of Delaware
by Mohawk Arms Inc.
Est: $100- $200
$1000 Bids
US State flag of Maine
Dec 17, 9:00 AM EST
US State flag of Maine
by Mohawk Arms Inc.
Est: $75- $150
$750 Bids
US State flag of Vermont
Dec 17, 9:00 AM EST
US State flag of Vermont
by Mohawk Arms Inc.
Est: $75- $150
$750 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Flags


Poulin Antiques & Auctions

Poulin Antiques & Auctions

Affiliated Auctions & Realty LLC

Affiliated Auctions & Realty LLC

Bertolami Fine Art

Bertolami Fine Art