surprise of the unexpected is one of the
constant allures of American Flag collecting experienced
by collectors of all levels. I have seen thousands of
thirteen star flags, both old and new, appear for sale
over the years. Yet still, on rare occasion, a flag such
as this surfaces and I find myself surprised and
captivated by yet another rare and novel representation
derived from the simple guidance of our
forefathers in the First Flag Act of 1777: that "the union be thirteen stars,
white in a blue field, representing a new
This thirteen star flag is a true folk art treasure.
Its nearly square proportions and tall, elongated canton
are unlike most other surviving early flags. Flags
of this shape, with tall, rectangular cantons, are very
rare. The flag's unique star pattern, in what
seems to be a 3-3-3-3 configuration with the thirteenth
star inserted between the two center rows, is striking.
The single-appliqué stars are expertly sewn and allowed
to rotate or "dance" on the canton. The flag's
beautiful coloration is also notable. The blue and
red somehow seem to match each other perfectly and both
remain rich and vibrant. Overall, the flag's
condition is extraordinary, with only minor mothing and
wear. Although the origins of the flag are
unknown, the reverse of the hoist is marked with the
name of a previous owner of the flag, "F. P. Crane",
providing a charming tie the person who at one time
cherished and cared for this flag.
I believe that one measure of the greatness of a flag is
how memorable it is once you encounter it. There
are flags, such as this, which only need be seen once in
order to make a permanent mark on a collector's mind.
These are the flags that collectors remember for
years--the ones that get away, and the ones that are
captured and treasured. Seeking out and acquiring
those special flags is one of the great experiences in
the hunt for great and rare flags.