Less is more... US Stars and Stripes flag with just 13 stars brings $10,500

Cowan's militaria and Americana sale concluded on . The sale, which included everything from signers of the Declaration of Independence to a Robert Kennedy letter stating he was running for President, was primarily led by its Civil War section.

The top lot, as expected was Hannibal Hamlin's US Senatorial Chair (one of three), made of made of mahogany and mahogany veneers, with maple. Hamlin served as a Democratic for Maine, but switched parties in disgust at the Democrats' pro-slavery leanings, and became Abraham Lincoln's vice-President.

He was unlucky not to achieve the Presidency himself and historians have often speculated about how different his Presidency would have been given his uncompromising anti-slavery views. The chair sold for $17,625.

Other lots also represented excellent investments however: one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence whose autograph was on offer was John Hancock, whose signature is famously so emphatic on the document that 'John Hancock' has become a byword for signature.

John Hancock signature
John Hancock signature

The exceptionally attractive printed and signed document sold for $3,290, but will no doubt sell for more some day if it is looked after.

One lot which did well in the sale was an original Star and Stripes flag with the same number of stars as stripes, representing the original 13 states which rebelled against Britain.

The hand-sewn wool flag measures 40 x 54 in. with 13 double-appliquéd cotton muslin stars, one of which is a large central star with the remaining twelve positioned along the borders of the canton.

Thirteen stars and stripes
Thirteen-state Stars 'n' Stripes

The canton is composed of three pieces of blue wool with hand-sewn eyelets on the hoist which inscribed C.I. Shaffer. It is stapled with a typewritten card reading "This 13 star flag is believed to have floated over Washington's headquarters at Newburgh. "

Cowan's have distanced themselves from that claim as there is little supporting evidence. Regardless, the flag beat its estimate of $6,000-8,000 to bring $10,575.


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