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Flags/49 star flag

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Question
Jeff, I washed my 100% cotton Dettra 49 star, Dettra Flag Products. Two grommets, Bull Dog Bunting and it came out clean. No color run, no seams undone. It's label is somewhat faded of which some is still readable. I washed before I discovered you did not recommend to some fellow who inquired of cleaning his. Mine is 2 X 3 foot, and I purchased it recently for $1.99 at a thrift store in my region. Is there more history on this 49 star flag? What would a 2x3 ft. be worth. Also have a 1989 flag that Congressman Jim Slattery sent to me. It had been certified that it had flew over the U.S. Capitol. 5 Foot X 8 Foot. Valley Forge Brand - Best. 50 star, 100% Cotton. I think I spent $27.00 for it.  It is still in its cardboard box with metal edged corners (on the cardboard box. Never been flown or exposed to weather. Would the value have changed?

Answer
I would never advise washing a flag like that.  The detergent will usually make the colors run and you end up with a pink flag.  Who says someone can't be lucky though.  It may not happen to every flag, but I wouldn't do it.

Most people will go their entire lives without seeing a 49 star flag, but they are very common among flag enthusiasts.  49 star flags were official for 1 year and many thousands were made.  Thousands of unused 49 star flags were found in a warehouse and released into the marketplace, which also didn't help in regards to their being more scarce.  I own at least 100 of them.

The flag is worth probably $35-$100 at auction.  Larger ones are a bit more unusual.

I hate to say it, but flags flown over the Capitol building were run up and down the pole one after another so that they could be gifted to individuals by senators and the like.  That practice still takes place today.  I have never seen one sell for any significant value.  $50-$100, but perhaps even less, less might be expected at auction.

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Jeff Bridgman

Expertise

I am an expert in antique American flags, particularly in Stars & Stripes flag, both printed and sewn varieties. I also have expertise in antique Confederate flags. I am not an expert in flag etiquette and flag laws, so please don't ask me questions concerning where and how to fly modern American flags. My particular focus is on the 19th century, when there basically were no laws or rules of formal etiquette.

Experience

I am the world's largest buyer and seller of antique flags. I also have 25 years of experience selling other early American textiles.

Organizations
Antiques Dealers Association of America (ADA); Antiques Counci; Antiques & Arts Dealer's League of America (AADLA); Cinoa; North American Vexillogical Association (NAVA)

Publications
The Magazine Antiques, FOCUS (Journal of the Antiques Council), Antiques and the Arts Weekly, Northeast, New England Antiques Journal, Chubb Collectors [Chubb Insurance Group], Country Home Magazine, Country Living Magazine, etc.

Education/Credentials
Graduate Degree, 1994

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