SOLD! for $377.00.
(Note: Prices realized include a buyer's premium.)
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- Low Estimate: $300.00
- High Estimate: $400.00
- Realized: $377.00
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1ST ITEM: Very large American national flag, 45 stars, single ply wool with machine stitched double applique stars, rope hoist, approximately 15' x 9'. Circa 1908. 2ND ITEM: 45 Star American national flag, cotton, inscribed J.W. Uncopher or Uncapher, metal grommets. Approximate size 5' x 8'. Early 20th century. 3RD ITEM: 45 star single ply wool American national flag, stenciled mark for Horstmann Philadelphia "12 ft long" with inscription "Geo. __ or George Binney or Birney". 12' L. Early 20th century. Provenance: Estate of A. Welling LaGrone, Jr., Nashville, Tenn. About the Hortsmann flag: The Horstmann family, creators of the largest private manufacturer of military goods and regalia in the United States, had their roots in the German state of Hesse-Cassel. William H. Hortsmann followed in the family weaving business before becoming a soldier in the Napoleonic Wars after moving to France in 1805. With the final defeat of Napoleon in 1815, the German states that had been allied to France reverted to a more controlled economy and political system, hardly conducive to keeping Horstmann in Europe. Thus, in 1815, he sailed to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. With its booming textiles industry and large German population (the mis-named Pennsylvania Dutch, which was actually a derivative of Deutsch or German), Horstmann found fertile ground to establish a new enterprise. Initially being employed by a leading lace weaver, Horstmann, in 1817, was soon out on his own but cemented his relationship to his former employer, and the skilled German textiles workers in the city, by marrying his daughter. He listed his business as a military store, which offered items for the militia units of the city and state. As the business grew, other militia units from other states turned to Horstmann for their uniforms, caps, accouterments, swords, flags and much more. As the business continued to grow, Horstmann returned to Europe for machinery and textiles taking one of his sons, his eventual successors, with him. By 1845, Hortsmann retired turning his firm over to sons William J. and Sigmund. Philadelphia was crucial to the U.S. Army as it was the home of a major quartermaster depot as well as commissary depot. Accordingly, Horstmann Brothers, as the firm became known, went after military contracts to expand their militaria trade, winning a large number of them which would carry the firm from the Civil War through World War 2 (although by then their business with the military was waning). With the secession crisis of 1860-1861, Horstmann Brothers was still making much of its money selling to militia units in the North and South. The Southern end of the trade was dropped with the firing on Fort Sumter in April 1861, but Horstmanns picked up more business by contracting with the Union Army for all types of military equipment. Within this they became one of the major flag makers of the era hiring hundreds of women to make thousands of flags. The firm made unit colors (National and regimental), cavalry standards and guidons, hospital flags and the large storm and garrison flags and a record of their U.S. government contracts can be found in the National Archives. This side of the business also continued into the late 19th and early 20th Century. The firm filed for bankruptcy in May 1947. They were followed in receivership by other private militaria makers, replaced as the U.S. military turned to itself to supply much of what it needed. Thus ended an important era in the history of American military equipage. This large flag, made of wool bunting, bears the marking, Horstmann Philadelphia 12 ft long." The blue canton has 45 stars, which places the flag as being made after the admission of Utah (January 4, 1896 star added on July 4, 1896) and before July 4, 1908 when another star was added for Oklahoma. The 12 foot length possibly makes this flag a post flag for the Spanish-American War, fought in 1898 in Cuba and the Philippines. The flag is also marked, Geo Binney or Birney", likely a previous owners name. While the flag may not be in the finest condition, the Hortsmann marking, the symbol of the largest private militaria maker in American history, makes the banner a very attractive investment. Catalog Entry by Greg Biggs. Condition: 1ST ITEM: Scattered holes and some fraying, 2ND ITEM: Reinforcements with repaired area, fraying and losses. 3RD ITEM: Scattered Holes.