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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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[FLAGS]. 30-star American parade flag. Ca 1848-1850.
May 31, 10:00 AM EDT
[FLAGS]. 30-star American parade flag. Ca 1848-1850.
by Hindman
Est: $700- $1,000
$1,10011 Bids
bp parity badge
AMERICAN FLAG STARS AND STRIPES FOLDED IN DISPLAY CASE
May 23, 9:00 AM AEST
AMERICAN FLAG STARS AND STRIPES FOLDED IN DISPLAY CASE
by Albion Antique Auction Centre
Est: AUD10- AUD40
AUD253 Bids
Fante, Asafo South Ghana Flag In Shadowbox
May 21, 10:00 AM EDT
Fante, Asafo South Ghana Flag In Shadowbox
by Schwenke Auctioneers
Est: $700- $900
$1751 Bid
Large 48 Star American Flag
Jun 22, 9:30 AM EDT
Large 48 Star American Flag
by Old Barn Auction
Est: $40- $1,000
$201 Bid
Framed "Betsy Ross" Thirteen Star Flag
May 21, 10:00 AM EDT
Framed "Betsy Ross" Thirteen Star Flag
by Schwenke Auctioneers
Est: $50- $80
$201 Bid
Burial flag
May 20, 12:00 PM EDT
Burial flag
by Atlee Raber Auctioneer
Est: $10- $1,000
$100 Bids
Italia, Repubblica
May 28, 3:00 PM CEST
Italia, Repubblica
by Bertolami Fine Art s.r.l.
Est: €400- €500
€2000 Bids
Belgio
May 28, 3:00 PM CEST
Belgio
by Bertolami Fine Art s.r.l.
Est: €400- €500
€2000 Bids
Vaticano, Stato del (Città del Vaticano)
May 28, 3:00 PM CEST
Vaticano, Stato del (Città del Vaticano)
by Bertolami Fine Art s.r.l.
Est: €400- €500
€2000 Bids
Cile
May 28, 3:00 PM CEST
Cile
by Bertolami Fine Art s.r.l.
Est: €300- €400
€1500 Bids
[FLAGS]. 13-star American flag, possibly a US Navy boat flag. Ca late-19th century.
May 31, 10:00 AM EDT
[FLAGS]. 13-star American flag, possibly a US Navy boat flag. Ca late-19th century.
by Hindman
Est: $3,000- $4,000
$1,5000 Bids
American Flag Holder and Flag
Jun 06, 10:00 AM EDT
American Flag Holder and Flag
by New England Auctions
Est: $200- $400
$250 Bids
Vintage Large Cloth Flag of Finland
Jun 02, 10:00 AM CDT
Vintage Large Cloth Flag of Finland
by Rivich Auction
Est: $100- $200
$500 Bids
19 STAR AMERICAN FLAG COMMEMORATING INDIANA
Jun 10, 10:00 AM EDT
19 STAR AMERICAN FLAG COMMEMORATING INDIANA
by Poulin Antiques & Auctions
Est: $2,000- $3,000
$1,0000 Bids
Twenty 1876 Centennial 13-Star Great Star United States Parade Flags With Pole
Jun 08, 12:00 PM EDT
Twenty 1876 Centennial 13-Star Great Star United States Parade Flags With Pole
by Early American History Auctions
Est: $1,000- $2,000
$5000 Bids
USA FLAG IN BOX
May 31, 12:00 PM EDT
USA FLAG IN BOX
by Dennis Auction Service
Est: $50- $100
$250 Bids
[FLAGS]. 13-star American flag with medallion pattern. Ca late 19th-early 20th century.
May 31, 10:00 AM EDT
[FLAGS]. 13-star American flag with medallion pattern. Ca late 19th-early 20th century.
by Hindman
Est: $2,500- $3,500
$1,2000 Bids
[FLAGS]. 39-star American flag. Ca 1889.
May 31, 10:00 AM EDT
[FLAGS]. 39-star American flag. Ca 1889.
by Hindman
Est: $700- $1,000
$3500 Bids
Naval Flag
May 25, 9:00 AM EDT
Naval Flag
by Dovetail Auctions, LLC
Est: $5- $500
$50 Bids
Albany Bicentennial Flag
May 25, 9:00 AM EDT
Albany Bicentennial Flag
by Dovetail Auctions, LLC
Est: $5- $500
$50 Bids
LOT VLAGGEN, INSIGNES, PINS,…
May 21, 10:00 AM CEST
LOT VLAGGEN, INSIGNES, PINS,…
by DEWIT Auctions
Est: €50- €150
€100 Bids
[FLAGS]. 31-star American parade flag. Ca 1850-1859.
May 31, 10:00 AM EDT
[FLAGS]. 31-star American parade flag. Ca 1850-1859.
by Hindman
Est: $6,000- $8,000
$3,0000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Flags


Hindman

Hindman

Berliner Auktionshaus GmbH & Co. KG

Berliner Auktionshaus GmbH & Co. KG

Bertolami Fine Art s.r.l.

Bertolami Fine Art s.r.l.

Early American History Auctions

Early American History Auctions