Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
Sold Flags


Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): 44.5" x 66.75"
Flag Size (H x L): 34.75" x 56.5"
Early state flags are few and far between. While I am asked for them constantly, most states did not actually have official flags until the 20th century.

On May 6th, 1911, Colorado became among the last to adopt a design. The project of doing so was spearheaded by the Denver Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The bill was introduced by Senator W.H. Sharply and adopted by the Eighteenth General Assembly. The artwork was the product of A.C. [Andrew Carlisle] Carson, President of the Ohio Society of Colorado.

The meanings behind the elements in the design are as follows: The large letter "C" stands for Colorado and simultaneously for the Centennial State (Colorado entered the Union in 1876, the year in which our nation celebrated its 100th anniversary of independence), as well as the Columbine State (reflecting the state flower). The red color is included due to the fact that the word Colorado translates to scarlet or red in Spanish. The circle represents the sun, while the gold color symbolizes all-the-year sunshine, Colorado’s status as the greatest gold state, and one Columbine color. It was also included so that the Colorado state flag would have one more color than the U.S. flag. The color white reflects Colorado’s status as the greatest silver state, its eternal mountain snow, and one Columbine color. Lastly, the shade of Yale blue symbolizes all-the-year blue sky and one Columbine Color. Members of the D.A.R. were proud to note that this was also their color.

The reasons why early and/or vintage state flags are so scarce are several. After many new flags were adopted as official symbols, very few seem to have been produced. Demand would have largely been limited to World's Fair pavilions and certain government locations. States didn't spend money in a fashion like they might today, when there are budgets for everything under the sun. To put things in clearer perspective, consider the fact that there was no Federal income tax until 1913, and most states didn't have income tax prior to the 1930's. Others didn't until the 1960's and 70's (and a tiny handful still don't). While states had other sources of revenue, suffice to say that things were very different at the point in time when most states were adopting flags.

Unlike the Stars & Stripes, Americans were probably unlikely to save a state flag that was as-of-yet unfamiliar to them. So when the few flags that were produced were worn out, it is reasonable to assume that they were discarded. There would be no personal attachment to the various designs and thus no nostalgic tug to retain a weathered example.

The first quarter of the 20th century was followed by the Great Depression and then by WWII (U.S. involvement 1917-18). Neither of these periods was one where scarce resources were generally squandered on anything but necessities. Post-WWII America was full of patriotism and greater wealth, and some state flags begin to appear in the 1950's/60's in greater quantity, but it was not until the 1970's and 80's that they were made in far greater quantities. Those made in the latter period and after are what appears most frequently today.

This particular Colorado flag was made by the Annin Company between approximately 1935 and 1944. This encompassed the period just prior to WWII or during the war itself (U.S. involvement 1941-45). The “C” and the circle within were dyed on a single length of cotton bunting. This, the white bar, and the blue bars were joined with machine stitching. There is a heavy canvas binding along the hoist with two brass grommets, along which “3 x 5 FT” was stamped, near the top, on the obverse (front) to indicate size. An Annin tag is stitched immediately below the stamp. This reads: “48 star American national flag, made by the Annin Company in New York City. Below the tag, the word “Colorado” is stamped in black. Hand-written notations, inscribed partially on top of the state’s name, read as follows: “5 Col. AP.” The first portion of this is a quick notation of the flag’s length and identification. The latter abbreviation is not known with certainty, but there is a fair chance that it may simply stand for “all purpose.”

Defiance was a name brand of the Annin Company. Annin is our nation's eldest flag-maker that is still in business today. The company was founded in the 1820's on the New York waterfront, incorporated in 1847, and, though it opened a large manufacturing operation in Verona, New Jersey in 1916, maintained its head office and some production in Manhattan until 1960.

Provenance: The flag was formerly in the collection of Whitney Smith (b. 1940, d. 2016), the leading expert in flags at one time, and who coined the term Vexillology, thus giving a name to the study of flags, in the late 1950's. I acquired it at a sale of his collection following his death.

Mounting: The flag was mounted and framed within our own conservation department, which is led by expert trained staff. We take great care in the mounting and preservation of flags and have framed thousands of examples.

The background is 100% cotton twill, black in color. The outer molding is a deep shadowbox with a step-down profile, with a finish that is very dark brown in color, almost black, with reddish undertones and highlights. To this an Italian molding with a scooped profile, black-painted, gilded and distressed, was added as a liner. Feel free to contact us for more details.

Condition: There is a bit of loss from obvious use in the upper, fly end corner. There is minor to moderate soiling and staining along the hoist binding, accompanied by minor to modest soiling and staining in the white bar. The red and gold appear to have experienced some fading. The overall condition is extremely good for a flag of this period that was actually flown and was obviously well-cared-for.
Collector Level: Intermediate-Level Collectors and Special Gifts
Flag Type: Sewn flag
Star Count:
Earliest Date of Origin: 1935
Latest Date of Origin: 1944
State/Affiliation: Colorado
War Association: WW 2
Price: SOLD

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