5 of the most important US flags ever sold



2015-06-26 14:08:35

It's been 203 years since the US adopted the stars and stripes. To celebrate, let's take a look at 5 of the most important flags in American history.  

5. Confederate army flag

This Confederate flag was made for the Virginia Infantry in around 1861 and measures 4 feet across.

It passed down the family of Major Richard Kidder Meade, a high-ranking officer in the Confederate army who fought in some of the most vicious battles of the US civil war and later advised Robert E Lee during the Peninsular Campaign early in 1862.

Meade died of typhus in July the same year. The flag made $70,000 at Brunk Auctions in North Carolina in 2011.

4. Native American Alcatraz flag

Image: PBA Galleries

Between 1969 and 1971, the island of Alcatraz in the San Francisco bay was occupied by activists belonging to the United Indians of all Tribes as a protest against US policies affecting Native American peoples.

The occupation was intended as a forum to object to the US government's breaking of treaties and to force them to recognise traditional societies.

It had a significant impact on changing the policies of the Nixon administration and brought greater attention to the plight of the Native peoples.

This flag was designed by Lulie V Nall of the Penobscot people, one of the many activists on the island, and displays the red and white stripes with the stars rearranged in the shape of a tepee.

It made $72,000 at PBA Galleries in 2008.

3. Apollo 11 flown flag

Image: Heritage Auctions

While it may not be the largest flag, this next example has been further than any other on this list.

It's one of a small number that were flown aboard the Apollo 11 mission in 1969 and is presented attached to a certificate signed by all three of the astronauts who made that first, groundbreaking journey.

It sold for $71,875 at Heritage Auctions in November 2013.

2. First national flag of the Confederate States

Image: Louis J Dianni

This example of the first national flag of the Confederate States was captured by Union army officer Charles Caldwell, commander of the gunboat Ithaca, during the advance up the Mississippi to New Orleans in 1862.

The lot was accompanied by a letter by Caldwell that detailed the ship's holing during the assault on the city. The circumstances surrounding the flag's capture are not mentioned, but it's likely it was taken in the city itself.

It achieved $120,000 at Louis J Dianni in 2010.

1. JFK's Oval Office flags

Image: Heritage Auctions

These two flags hung behind Kennedy's desk in the Oval Office throughout his presidency and were presented to Evelyn Lincoln, his faithful secretary, just days after his assassination in November 1963.

She later wrote: "Special Agent Clint Hill and John J. 'Muggsie' O'Leary came to my office in the EOB (Executive Office Building) and handed me an envelope upon which was written the words 'The President's Office.'

"When I got home later that evening I handed the envelope (to my husband), telling him that Jackie had given it to me.

"Not knowing what was in the envelope we opened it and to my surprise there were these two flags. I cried and cried and cried. I sat down and immediately wrote her a note expressing my gratitude."

The enormous historical importance of the flags led to fierce competition from bidders, resulting in a final figure of $425,000 at Heritage Auctions last year.

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