In general, antique American flags are fairly commonly found in almost all communities of the country. Second-hand stores, antiques stores, and in auctions of all types one often finds such items. However, obviously some are rarer than others and therefore more valuable.
13 Star Flags
Surprisingly to most people, the 13 star flag is possibly the most common. Having been made continuously since 1777, indeed, still available today commercially and, in keeping with the design aspects of the first flag, in several different specifications, the 13 star flag is by far the most popular of all US Flag designs. Keep in mind that it is also a design favored by crafters and finding a completely hand-sewn 13 star flag that dates from the middle of the 20th century is not uncommon. Add to that the fact that the US Navy officially used the 13 star flag until 1916 (see US Navy Small Boat Flags). The greatest numbers of these flags were made during the Centennial, Bicentennial and Civil War. Few, if any, survive from the Revolutionary War era. Value varies greatly depending on age, design, size and condition.
45, 46, and 48 Star Flags
After the 13 star flag, the 48 star flag is probably the most common, followed by the 45 and 46 star variations. The 48 star version is so common that unless a flag can be demonstrated to have been closely associated with a famous event or person, it is unlikely to have much value. The 45 star flag is probably the next most common and then the 46, each with a slightly higher respective value.
49 and 50 Star Flags
Although only official for one year, the 49 star flag was made in large numbers and so is still fairly easy to find on the market. Unless you find a US Navy made flag, their value is fairly low. The 50 star flag is the current design and so is not considered an antique.
38, 39, 42, and 44 Star Flags also the 43
These first four patterns are fairly common and have only a moderate value. Note the 39 and 42 star flags were never official. By law (since 1818) the star representing a new state is added to the flag on the 4th of July following admission. However, the 39 and 42 star flags are more common than the 43 star flag that became official on July 4th, 1890. This is because of the uncertainty of what Congress would do at the time and a desire of manufacturers to be the "first" with the new flag. Also, Congress pulled a "fast one" by admitting Idaho on July 3rd! By contrast, the 43 star flag is very rare and has a high value.
34, 35 and 36 Star Flags
The US Civil War spawned an explosion of US Flags in the North and so they are not as rare as one might think. For the most part, non-military flags have a moderate to high value depending on size, condition and star pattern. Military flags usually have a very high value to collectors.
Other American Flags
Most of the other patterns are pretty rare and have a higher value.
Dave's Antique Flags Index
13 Star US Flags
34 Star US Flags (Civil War)
Unusual and Rare US Flags
Pre-48 Star US Flags
New York World's Fair Flags
13 Star US Flag
45 Star US Flags
46 Star US Flags
48 Star US Flags
49 Star US Flag
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