You might not like to decorate your home for any or all of the holidays, but many people will at least hang an American flag! The 4th of July is one holiday that is the perfect day to display your patriotism. When displayed properly, the flag represents the shared pride, principles and commitment of the American people. The "stars and stripes" is a powerful symbol of what we stand for in the United States. Not only is the flag colorful and eye catching when waving on a flag poll, it's also completely filled with symbolism. For instance, the 50 stars represent the 50 current states of the United States, but did you know that there have been 27 different flags over the course of our history? Each time a new state or states have been added to our Union, the flag had to be redesigned, which resulted in the 27 different American Flags. Continuing that symbolism, the 13 red and white stripes, 7 red and 6 white horizontal stripes, represent the 13 British colonies that rebelled against the British monarchy and became the 13 original states in the Union. Even the colors of our flag have great meaning: red symbolizes hardiness and valor, white stands for purity and innocence, and blue represents the vigilance, perseverance and justice of the American people as a whole.
Even though the United States was officially formed on July 4th 1776 after the second continental congress unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence and ceremoniously separated the colonies from Great Britain, it wasn't until 1777 that the Congress first recognized the flag. There are few objects that are as quintessentially American as the national flag. That is why, in the world of antiques, the American Flag is a sought after collectible. There are many designs that have been adopted over our Nation's history, and the more unique they were, the more collectible the flag now. For instance, today our current flag showcases rows of stars, but prior to 1912 when President Taft created the guidelines for the layout of the flag, there were many flags where the stars were represented in a circular pattern as opposed to the straight rows that you see today. This resulting variety of designs is what has attracted flag collectors. Flags can range from $200 to $500 for the 19th and early 20th century styles but quickly raise into the thousands for the more desirable earlier style flags. The more unusual the star pattern, the higher the cost, but the good news for beginning flag collectors is the mid 1900's flag can yield bargains that will help you start a collection! The post 9/11 era saw a spike in the interest in flag collecting due to the renewed patriotism of Americans, and these textile treasures suddenly had a resurgence in the Americana collectibles market. Interestingly, the damage you can see on vintage American flags doesn't harm their value as much as a typical antique textile. American flags were used and exposed to the elements, so the wear and tear is a significant part of their history!
FUN FACTS ABOUT THE AMERICAN FLAG AND OUR AMERICAN HISTORY:
- You may have learned in American history class that Betsy Ross is the inventor and creator of the flag at George Washington's request, but according to historians, that just isn't so! The Betsy Ross legend really took off in 1870 when her grandson held a press conference claiming her role in sewing the flag, but there is no factual evidence to back up this claim.
- There actually is a question about what day America actually became free and independent from Britain. If John Adams were alive he would tell you July 2, 1776, because that is when the Continental Congress voted and approved a resolution that the colonies were to be free and independent from Britain. The actual Declaration of Independence document was not signed until July 4th however, hence the controversy!
- After Thomas Jefferson wrote his last letter in 1826, reminding the American public to celebrate the annual event of July 4th and remember the rights outlined in the Declaration of Independence, both he and John Adams died just two days later... on the Fourth of July!
Happy 4th of July everyone!