Stunning 48 Star Antique Flag Salesman Sample | One of Five | Circa 1912-1930

48 Star Antique Flag Salesman Sample 1.jpg
48 Star Antique Flag Salesman Sample 2.jpg
12 Large Distressed Gold.JPG
Large Frames.JPG
48 Star Antique Flag Salesman Sample 1.jpg
48 Star Antique Flag Salesman Sample 2.jpg
12 Large Distressed Gold.JPG
Large Frames.JPG

Stunning 48 Star Antique Flag Salesman Sample | One of Five | Circa 1912-1930

0.00

Price: Call 618-553-2291, or email info@bonsellamericana.com
Frame Size (H x L): 31.5” x 44”
Flag Size (H x L): 21.5” x 34.5”   

Offered is a forty-eight star antique flag salesman sample, dating to between 1912 and 1930.  Salesman samples were used in the 19th and 20th centuries, as salesmen needed condensed versions of their products to showcase to potential retailers.  Similarly, retailers needed salesman samples to showcase their products to customers. 

This flag salesman sample includes eight different cotton flags, the smallest of which is 5.5” wide and the largest of which is 34.5” wide.  The eight flags are stacked on top of one another.  The largest flag is at the bottom of the stack, and the smallest is at the top of the stack.  Its appearance is remarkably similar to Jasper Johns’ 1958 Three Flags painting.  The Three Flags painting includes a large flag, a medium flag, and a small flag.  Similar to this flag salesman sample, the large flag is on the bottom, and the other flags are stacked on top of it in successive fashion.  The Three Flags painting was acquired, in 1980, by the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City for $1 million.    

Flag salesman samples are as rare as they are beautiful.  There are a total of five known forty-eight star samples, and they are available in two versions.  In the first version, the flags are smaller and are joined together by a white cotton header.  In contrast, in the second version, the flags are larger and joined together by a blue cotton header.  An example of the second version was once in the Richard Pierce collection.  We are aware of two other flag salesman samples, one with thirty-eight stars and one with forty-five stars.  There is one known example of each of these lower star count samples, making for a total of seven known flag salesman samples.

Until 1912, flag makers were free to arrange the stars on a flag’s canton in any manner they liked.  For example, early forty-eight star flags often exhibit a staggered star pattern, in that the rows are laterally offset relative to one another.  In 1912, President Taft issued Executive Order 1556, specifying that the star arrangement on forty-eight star flags should be a rectilinear 8-8-8-8-8-8 pattern.  This sampler exhibits a rectilinear arrangement, and for this reason, it likely dates to 1912 or later (but 1930 or earlier based on its construction).        

The forty-eight star flag represents the inclusion of New Mexico and Arizona to the Union.  New Mexico was admitted on January 6th, 1912, and Arizona was admitted on February 14th, 1912.  The forty-eight star flag became official on July 4th, 1912.  Presidents Taft, Wilson, Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower all served under this flag.  World Wars I and II, and the Korean War were all fought under it. 

The forty-eight star flag was official for forty-seven years up until July 4th, 1959, the time at which the forty-nine star flag became official and began to represent the inclusion of Alaska in the Union.

Conservation Process: This flag was hand sewn to cotton fabric, and both were hand sewn to a mounting board.  To prevent the black dye in the cotton fabric from seeping into the flag, it was first washed in a standard wash and then in a dye setting wash.  The flag is positioned behind Conservation Clear Acrylic (standard) or behind Optium Museum Acrylic (per request).

Frame: This offering is in our Large Distressed Gold Frame.  However, it can be reframed and would look great using any one of our Large Frames, which are shown in the final image.  The pricing associated with the different framing options may vary.  Reframing of an offering may delay shipment by up to two weeks.   

Condition Report: The largest flag and the second largest flag are slightly stained along their fly ends.  The other flags are nearly flawless.  The flag salesman sample was found rolled, and thus it is logical that the largest “outside” flags sustained some damage while in storage.  Many collectors prefer flags that show their use and age.

Collectability Level: The Best – Perfect for Advanced Collectors
Date of Origin: 1912-1930  
Number of Stars: 48
Associated War: WWI   
Associated State: Arizona  

Add To Cart