Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1171: Confederate Nine-Star First National Flag

Auction Date: May 15, 2021

Historic Civil War Confederate "Stars and Bars" Nine-Star First National Flag

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $25,000 - $50,000

Historic Civil War Confederate "Stars and Bars" Nine-Star First National Flag

Manufacturer: None
Model: None
Type: Other
Item Views: 1487
Item Interest: Very Active
Catalog Page: 133
Class: Other

An October 1, 2020, authentication report from John Sexton is included. In it, he states "In summary, the subject 9-star Confederate First National Flag appears authentic and contemporary to manufacture during the Civil War, most likely made between April-May 1861, commemorative Arkansas's secession May 6, 1861." He also writes, "This flag is made from material all common to the Civil War era and construction techniques are also consistent with the era. Other documented Confederate FNs have similar characteristics." The hand-sewn flag is constructed of single ply wool bunting with cotton stars and a cotton leading edge, "S" twist 2-ply cotton or linen thread, and measures 51 inches (fly) by 31 inches (hoist). Sexton notes there is at least five other extant Nine-Star First National Flags. The Confederacy grew to nine states on May 6, 1861, with the secession of Arkansas and then ten with the addition of North Carolina on May 20 and eleven with the confirmation of Tennessee's secession on June 8th. Late in 1861, the Confederacy claimed Kentucky and Missouri as members and added two additional stars although these states were heavily contested and considered to have remained in the Union. The Nine-Star First National Flag was officially in use in May 21 – July 2, 1861. This leaves a short window in which Nine-Star Confederate First National Flags were appropriate and has thus made them especially rare. This flag is a scarce survivor and is also in very high condition compared to other Confederate flags broadly. While this flag would have been official, there were essentially no sizable battles, and it may have been safely put away not long after being flown for the first time. However, like many early Confederate flags, it certainly may have remained in use for some time, and the First Battle of Manassas, the first major battle and a significant Confederate victory, occurred later that July on the 21st. This significant battle and the outcome disproved the belief and hope of many in both the North and South that the war would be won quickly and decisively. In that battle, the similarity of the Confederate "Stars and Bars" and the Union "Stars and Stripes" led to confusion and ultimately to the adoption of the Confederate Battle Flag which has since become synonymous with the Confederacy and thus also the adoption of the Second National Flag which included the Battle Flag in the flag's canton.

Rating Definition:

Very good overall with strong colors, some broken stitching, some holes and tears, and remnants of modern thread along the edges of the flag, apparently from mounting the flag for display. This is an incredibly rare flag and historic artifact from the American Civil War. Original Civil War Confederate flags in all of their varieties are very rare, and short lived variants like this Nine-Star First National Flag are especially hard to find.

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