President Lincoln Mourning Flag, 1865. This is one of a series of five or six styles of paper-printed flags produced instantly following Abraham Lincoln’s assassination on April 15, 1865. The black canton represents a nation in mourning. The words are concise, yet poignant, calling the beloved president “father”. The flags were affixed to plunges and flapped along the president’s funeral route. The glue on the raise of the flag where it was affixed to its stick is still visible.

Andersonville Prison Memorial of W. H. Courtney, A Co. 12th Fresh York Volunteers, 1864. One of the most private and poignant relics to have survived the American Civil War, this flag was present in Andersonville Prison and commemorates the death of Private William Courtney on July 14, 1864. A more detailed description of the flag can be found here.

Dr. Martin Luther King, “I Have A Wish”. August 28, 1963. Without a doubt among the rarest, if not the rarest, of all flags in the collection, this printed parade flag in pennant form was carried during the March On Washington on August 28, 1963 and present in the audience when Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his eternally famous “I Have A Wish” speech. “We Shall Overcome”, the rallying sob of the early Civil Rights Movement, is printed in the canton. The presence of the date and location of the event, and the plain spoken words “I MARCHED FOR EQUALITY” make it perhaps the most extreme American flag-related artifact extant from the Civil Rights Movement.

Centennial Advertising Card, 1876. This Centennial advertising card from 1867 was printed as an advertisement for Gould’s Hotel in Philadelphia. The bold, stylistic 1876 overprint and unusual 37 starlet configuration with a single central starlet on an otherwise standard 36 starlet field is a beautiful presentation. The uneven cut of the card shows the top of what shows up to be the Canadian Crimson Ensign, a reminder of the international scope of the event.

Hop Bitters Advertising Card, c1870. This fragile paper flag was packed and distributed along with Hop Bitters, a purportedly medicinal concoction of the 1870s. The flag is a good folk presentation, with fascinating writing including a $1000 in Gold promise to those who aren’t cured, and an even bolder claim that the bitters can even treat “Nervousness, Sleeplessness, Female Complaints & Drunkenness”, right next to the instructions to “Keep this [flag] for the Children.” The presence of writing in the canton is especially uncommon.

Lowe’s Aeronauts Reunion, 1913. This fantastic overprint flag descended in the family of James Allen, a renowned early American aeronaut and assistant to Union Balloon Corps founder Thaddeus S. C. Lowe. Albeit the unit was technically a civilian unit, it is regarded as the earliest American military aeronautical unit and the earliest American employment of overhead surveillance for the purpose of gathering intelligence on enemy troop movements. The 48 starlets of the flag became official just one year earlier in 1912.

Left: James Allen, 1863. Right: Thaddeus Lowe ascending during the Battle of Seven Pines in the balloon The Intrepid, May 31 – June 1, 1862. Note the “Starlets and Stripes” painted balloon basket.

Roosevelt’s Rough Riders Reunion, Circa 1900. This very uncommon flag of 45 starlets was made for one of the reunions of Theodore Roosevelt’s famed Rough Riders, officially designed as the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry. Aside from being associated with one of the most famed units in American military history, the flag’s writing mentions the unit’s most famous battles, the Battle of San Juan Hill, fought in Cuba on July 1, 1898. The flag is made of wool bunting with pin dyed starlets. The overprint is stenciled in large stencil letters. Like the Lowe’s Aeronauts flag pictured above, stenciling was used to overprint commercial flags for military reunions in the early part of the 20th century.

Buffalo Soldiers Reunion Flag. National Indian Wars Veteran’s Camp No. 30, known as the Abraham Lincoln camp, was organized in San Antonio, Texas, on October 14, 1929 by Thomas J. Dilwood of B Company,10th US Cavalry. The 10th US Cavalry was one of the original Buffalo Soldiers regiments, and Camp No. 30 was the only all-black veteran’s camp for the Indian Wars veterans. This flag, made for the veteran’s camp, was found with the note: “This flag was purchased from the Kelly family. Their Superb Grandfather Wm. H. Kelly was a member of Camp 30.”

506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, “Band of Brothers” Reunion Flag. This uncommon reunion flag was found in an estate in Bergen County, Fresh Jersey, along with a utter dress uniform decorate of a lieutenant of the 506th Regiment. A famous subordinate directive of this unit, E Company (“Effortless Company”), 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division is the unit featured in the famed book “Band of Brothers” by author Stephen Ambrose, which was later made into an award winning classic television series by Tom Hanks and Stephen Spielberg.

September 11, 2011, with a Graphic Representation of the World Trade Center and Lower Manhattan. This flag is still manufactured and sold today, in various sizes including Three feet x Five feet, and in various construction technics including sewn and embroidered polyester, or printed. This particular flag is a petite variant, but is embroidered with sewn stripes. The design is covered by US Patent No. 464590.

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