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.
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.