SOLD! for $2,552.00.
(Note: Prices realized include a buyer's premium.)
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- Low Estimate: $4,000.00
- High Estimate: $6,000.00
- Realized: $2,552.00
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Confederate cotton flag, possibly Secession era or proposal for a Confederate National Flag. Blue, white and red bars, each 18" wide, with thirteen machine stitched single applique stars (sewn through around edges and made from two different materials). Period homemade pewter grommets. Provenance: Estate of A. Welling LaGrone, Jr., Nashville, Tenn. The secession era of Confederate history began in October 1860 when groups of Southerners, afraid that Republican Party candidate Abraham Lincoln would be elected President of the United States in November 1860, began to show resistance by hoisting flags different in style to what was being flown at the time. This could be one of those flags. While a scholarly treatment of secession flags has yet to be done, research has shown that flags like the one being offered are exceedingly few. The flag features an upper blue horizontal bar, a white horizontal center bar and a lower horizontal red bar, which are the typical colors of republican government as represented by the flags of France and the United States. The national flags of the Confederacy followed the same use of colors in the three flags they created as national colors. In the upper corner are thirteen white stars in a unique arrangement, indicative of thirteen slave states that would secede or be recognized by the Confederate States of America (even though there were fifteen slave states). It is also possible that this flag is not a secession banner but, rather, a flag proposed to become or replace one of the Confederate national flags. When the Provisional Confederate Congress was seated in Montgomery, Alabama in February 1861, their first order of business was to create the Committee on Flag and Seal to design a flag for the fledgling Confederate States of America. Dozens of submissions were sent in and debated among the committee members. Eventually, the committee designed its own flag, none of the submissions being suitable, and what became known as the First National flag was first hoisted to the breeze on March 4, 1861. Bearing two red bars with a white bar in the center and a blue canton containing, at the time, seven white stars, the flag, although it would fly as the national flag until May 1863 and as a battle flag throughout the war, did not please everyone. Accordingly, more submissions came in to the new flag committee of the Confederate Congress now based in Richmond, Virginia. A new national flag with a white field and a red canton crossed diagonally by blue bars bearing thirteen white stars, replaced the First National flag in May 1863. This flag flew until March 1865 when it was replaced by the Third National flag. In the interim even more submissions were sent to the Congressional committee. Fortunately, all of the submissions and supporting letters were preserved and repose in the National Archives. After the Civil War, Phillip Thian, an employee of the U.S. War Department, created a limited edition book that offers all documents as well as color illustrations of the submissions. Only one submission, sent by the Richmond Dispatch newspaper in April 1862, comes close to this flag in style. That flag has a blue field and is bordered in red. Twelve white stars adorned the upper corner of the field. Only two other existing flags, similar to this banner, have been located. One example, bearing a very close resemblance and constructed in the exact same manner as this flag (upper blue bar, middle white bar, lower red bar with thirteen white stars in the same configuration), once belonged to noted flag collector Boleslaw Mastai. After his death, his collection was sold at auction and the flag went to a new owner. The banner is depicted in the book The Stars and The Stripes: The American Flag as Art and as History from the Birth of the Republic to the Present, written by Mastai and his wife. The second flag, also bearing an upper blue bar, middle white bar and lower red bar but having only six white stars in the upper hoist corner, is the physically smallest of the three examples. Sold by a noted flag dealer, that flag had Louisiana connections. This flag measures 55 inches on the hoist by 93 ½ inches on the fly. The stars measure 2 ½ inches across the points. The white hoist edge features metal grommets at the upper and lower ends. While metal grommets are rare in Confederate flags of the Secession and Civil War era, they were used but only sparingly due to lack of supply and ability to manufacture them. The flag has been inspected by noted flag conservator Fonda Thomsen who reported, "the materials used in the construction were all available during the Civil War period." A copy of her report will accompany the flag to the successful bidder. This is a wonderful example of a very rare Southern secession flag or Confederate flag proposal. Catalog entry by Greg Biggs. Condition: Flag has been sewn to a later backing. Minor tears, minor insect damage, staining, and toning.