Extraordinary 13 Star Antique Flag with a Hop Bitters Overprint | One of the Finest Advertising Flags Ever Produced | Circa 1872-1890

Framed 13 Star Antique Flag with a Hop Bitters Overprint
Closeup of 13 Star Antique Flag with a Hop Bitters Overprint
Hop Bitters Patent
Framed 13 Star Antique Flag with a Hop Bitters Overprint
Closeup of 13 Star Antique Flag with a Hop Bitters Overprint
Hop Bitters Patent

Extraordinary 13 Star Antique Flag with a Hop Bitters Overprint | One of the Finest Advertising Flags Ever Produced | Circa 1872-1890

0.00

Frame Size (H x L): 13.5” x 16.5”
Flag Size (H x L): 4.5” x 7.5”

Offered is an extraordinary thirteen-star advertising flag, dating to between 1872 and 1890.  It is one of the finest advertising flags ever produced.  It is made of paper, and includes the following overprint for Hop Bitters:

HOP BITTERS
Contain Hops, Buchu, Mandrake, and the Purest and Best
MEDICAL QUALITIES OF ALL OTHER BITTERS.
They Cure all Diseases of the Stomach, Bowels, Blood, Liver, Kidney and Urinary Organs
Nervousness, Sleeplessness, Female Complaints, and Drunkenness
$1000 in Gold
Will be paid for a case they will not help.
Ask your Druggist for Hop Bitters & Free Books, and try the Bitters before your Sleep.  Take no other.

John D. Doyle patented the Hop Bitters formula in 1872 (see the patent image), but gave sole proprietorship to Asa T. Soule, a patent salesman.  Soule started the Hop Bitters Manufacturing Company with $125,000 in capital, and became a millionaire, in part because of his elaborate advertising campaigns.  He was well known for using the American flag in his advertisements, and was also known for his Rochester baseball team, known as the “Rochester Hop Bitters.”  He died in 1890. 

Of additional interest with respect to this flag is its unusual canton.  The canton includes thirteen haphazardly placed stars, including an upside down center star, and further includes the verbiage “THE GREAT APPETIZER”.  Further yet, is the interesting vertical white hoist, which includes the verbiage “KEEP THIS FOR THE CHILDREN”.  The combination of the overprint across the stripes, the canton, and the hoist; the folksy subject matter; and the interesting star pattern makes for a tremendous combination of desirable features on just one flag.  It is for this reason that a nearly identical flag was held in the Mastai collection, and then offered as lot 130 in their 2002 Sotheby’s auction.          

The original use of the thirteen-star flag dates to June 14th, 1777, the time at which the Continental Congress adopted a resolution creating the first official flag.  The resolution stated, “Resolved, that the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white, that the union be thirteen stars, white on a blue field, representing a new constellation.”  Thirteen-star flags were official from 1777-1795, but have been in use ever since. 

Small US Navy boats used it as the ensign from 1795 until 1916.  Thirteen-star flags were also flown at the time of George Washington’s death in 1799 and to celebrate the nation’s 50th anniversary in 1824.  They were also flown in 1824 in honor of General Lafayette’s return to the US for his nationwide tour.  Celebrations for his Revolutionary War service were held in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, along with many locations in the southern and western states. 

Further, thirteen-star flags were also common during the Mexican War in 1846-1848 and the Civil War in 1861-1865.  They were both relatively close in time to the revolution, and were very patriotic times, particularly during the Civil War time period when flag use became much more common than had ever previously been the case.  Thirteen-star flags were also flown during the centennial celebrations, which were held across the country and, most notably, in Philadelphia at the Centennial International Exhibition. 

Conservation Process: The flag is sandwiched between cotton fabric and a UV resistant acrylic.  The cotton was hand sewn to a mounting board.  To prevent the black dye in the cotton from seeping into the flag, it was first washed in a standard wash and then in a dye setting wash.  The antique frame includes three separate layers, including a gilt inner layer.  It is among the very best of antique frames and dates to between 1860 and 1890.   

Condition Report: This flag exhibits some very minor fading, but overall is in excellent condition.

Collectability Level: The Best – Perfect for Advanced Collectors   
Date of Origin: 1872-1890
Number of Stars: 13
Associated State: Original 13 Colonies

Add To Cart