An American Grand Union Flag or Continental Colors

circa 1876

Hand-sewn and pieced wool bunting canton, hand-sewn wool bunting stripes with cotton sleeve hoist retaining rope, mounted and framed.

41 1/2 in. x 75 in. (sight)


The Boleslaw and Marie-Louise d'Otrange Mastai Collection of American Flags and Related Patriotic and Political Memorabilia, Sotheby's, October 10, 2002, lot 102.

Estimate $5,000-7,000

Literature: Kevin Keim & Peter Keim, A Grand Old Flag: A History of the United States Through its Flags (2007), 10 & 11.

Note: This rare Centennial era Grand Union Flag is one of five or six examples known to exist. A similar reproduction Flag was flown over Independence Hall, Philadelphia on July 4th, 1876.
With a canton derived from the British Union Jack and thirteen stripes representing each of the North American colonies, the Grand Union Flag is considered the first, though unofficial, National Flag of the United States. It was used briefly during the War of Independence, 1775 to 1777, as a naval ensign- purportedly first raised on the warship Alfred on the Delaware River at Philadelphia by the legendary John Paul Jones. It has been recorded that the Flag raised by George Washington and the militia on Prospect Hill in Boston on January 1, 1776. The design of the Flag was very similar to that of the long established ensign of the British East India Company.

Descriptions provided in both printed and on-line catalogue formats do not include condition reports. The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot provided by Freeman's. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation because Freeman's is not a professional conservator or restorer but rather the condition report is a statement of opinion genuinely held by Freeman's. For that reason, Freeman's condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. All transactions are governed by Freeman's Conditions of Sale.

Sold for $17,500 (buyer's premium included)