You are here:

Flags/48 star flag


QUESTION: I was wondering what my flag is worth with the possibility of selling. I know it was made for a very short time due to is size. making it 103 years old and it was made for the government I have one more photo I can send

ANSWER: Hi, Dan.

The 48 star flag became official on July 4th, 1912 and remained so until July 3rd, 1859.  It was therefore our national flag during 3 major wars:  WWI (U.S. involvement 1917-18), WWI (U.S. involvement 1941-45) and the Korean War (1950-53).  We were highly industrialized by this period of course and commercial flag production was done entirely by machine.  The quantity made throughout this 47-year time frame was massive.

Before 1912 there was no official star pattern for the American national flag.  In 1912 President Howard Taft passed an executive order that created, for the first time, an official star configuration for flags used by the Department of the Government, which mean military and government use.  This consisted of 6 justified rows of 8 stars.  Taft's order also dictated such things as the shape of the stars (5-pointed), the shades of red and blue, and the flag's proportions.  Flag collectors prefer unusual star patterns and interesting graphics that are not typically seen on 48 stars flags, most all of which conform to Taft's order, are plain and ordinary.

It is for this reason that most 48 star flags are common and thus lack significant value as antiques.

Yours is made of cotton and probably dates post-WWII.  $25 - $100 is likely at auction.

Warm Regards,


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Welcome to the forum! Your flag was a flag made for the government under a contract that Collegeville Flag had with it. The "odd" size is because the government standardized their flag sizes for all their departments in 1912. "On June 24, 1912 president William Howard Taft implemented the first specific regulations governing the proportions and design of the flag of the United States by the signing of Executive Order 1566." Could you send us some photos of your flag? We would love to see it.
48 stars college flag& mfg. co, pa. 3.52x 6.688
this means it was made between the time of the 48 state and tafts order.making it a limited size dose this change anything?

ANSWER: I disagree entirely.  This is a post-WWII flag.  The answer represents logic for sure, but not reality with regard to construction.  This would be a wool bunting flag if it was that early.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: it has the company name and size right an it and it is a different type of meterial that its made of/, also the forum I got info from was from the manufacturing site. if it was from then what would it be worth? as the consturction is pre wwll

Sorry for the delay in answering.  We here at AllExperts are volunteers from various fields.  Unfortunately I was dealing with an ill family member and my time was much more limited than usual.

Value at auction is between $75 and $200, depending mostly on the luck of the day.  48-star flags such as this, regardless of the unusual size and potential date, are simply not sought after by high end collectors.  That's why so little of my time is spent studying details like the markings on this flag, which despite the information provided by the person who is from the Flag Forum (which I am also a member of), I think was made later and probably is post-WWII, incorrect measurements or not.  I see so many deviations like this that I can't count them.  The government did not even stick to official star counts in the second half of the 19th century.  With today's strict regulations, the answer seems much more simple.  In actuality, many WWI era 48-star flags don't even have the official star configuration, let alone measurements.  The flag looks to be post-WWII and I would guess that the size is some sort of oddball clerical error.  But even if the flag is 1912, the value doesn't change much at all because well-healed collectors don't seek out this sort of feature.  They don't get excited about an odd measurement in a 48 star flag.  They want wild star patterns and earlier dates and rare star counts and/or great specific history.

Warm Regards,



All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Jeff Bridgman


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.


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

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

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.

Graduate Degree, 1994

©2016 All rights reserved.