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  VINTAGE FLORIDA STATE FLAG, IN A VARIANT OF THE VERSION ADOPTED IN NOVEMBER OF 1900, IN USE UNTIL MAY 21ST, 1985, MADE AND SIGNED BY THE VALLEY FORGE FLAG COMPANY IN PENNSYLVANIA, circa 1963-1970

Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): Approx. 43.5" x 70"
Flag Size (H x L): 34.5" x 59.75"
Description....:
Florida state flag, made entirely of cotton, with pieced-and-sewn, red bars to form the saltire, and a printed representation of the Florida State seal, appliqued in the center. Joined entirely by machine stitching and two-sided, there is a white binding along the hoist, with two brass grommets, along which, near the top, on the obverse (front) a white maker’s tag reads as follows: “Best”; 3 ft. x 5 ft. 100% Cotton; Valley Forge Flag Company, Inc.; Spring City, PA. 19475.” This is one of the nation’s largest flag-makers, headquartered in Pennsylvania, that began business as a burlap bag-maker in the 1880’s, ventured into flag-making during the Great Depression, and produced flags heavily, under contract with the U.S. military, during WWII and after. Still in business today, the firm still does all of its manufacturing within the U.S., at locations in South Carolina.

History of the Florida State Seal and Flag:
Florida became the 27th state on March 3rd, 1845. On March 3, 1845, Florida became the twenty-seventh state. Upon the inauguration of its first governor under statehood, William D. Moseley, on June 25th, 1845, the citizens of Tallahassee presented the newly elected official with a flag, which was hoisted that day. According to verbal description, which is all that remains, the flag consisted of a series of 5 stripes or bars, in blue, cheddar yellow, red, white, and Kelly green, with a 27 star version of the entire American national flag serving as the canton, and a scrolling banner in the yellow/orange stripe, with blue text that read “Leave Us Alone.” Due to controversy over the motto, the flag was not adopted as an official symbol.

The first seal of Florida as a U.S. Territory was adopted around 1838, remaining in use until 1847. This consisted of an eagle with outstretched wings, perched on a bed of clouds, surrounded by the words: “The Territory of Florida.” The form of the eagle varied in depictions of the 1850’s, sometimes taking form of the federal arms, gripping arrows and olive branches, and sometimes with the clouds replaced by a bed of cactus.

On January 7th, 1861, Florida left the Union, when it became the 3rd state to vote for secession. The decision became official with the signing of an ordinance on January 10th., and the state was accepted into the Confederate States of America (CSA) on February 8th of that year, when the provisional constitution of the CSA was adopted. Sometime in the early part of the year, Florida’s Confederate legislature passed an act that directed Governor Madison S. Perry to adopt a new device for a state flag. On September 13, 1861, he reported that the flag had been delivered to his office. Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin recorded a description of what became Florida's first official state flag, but whether or not it was flown is unclear. The flag was an adaptation of the 1st Confederate national flag. Instead of having a blue canton, there was a wide, blue, vertical bar along the hoist, like the present flag of Texas, upon which the new state seal was emblazoned, followed by three horizontal bars in red, white, red. The seal featured a stand of flags, with a Confederate 1st National flag and this same, new Florida flag, behind a cannon, crossed rifles with bayonets, a drum, and cannonballs, on the bank of a body of water, with a large tree along the bank, ships on the water, and mountains in the background. Whether or not this design ever reached the battlefield or was ever actually flown remains unknown. Florida was by far the smallest state in terms of population, save Oregon (entered 1859) and near the end of the war, Nevada (entered 1864). With about 140,000 total residents, approximately 62,000 of which were slaves, Florida largely served as a source to supply Confederate forces. Isolated and near impossible for Union troops to traverse, only one major battle was fought there.

Following the war, in 1865, a new state seal was adopted that included a native American maiden spreading flowers on the shore, a steamboat, a cocoa tree, and the sun with outspread rays. Words around the round perimeter reads: “Great Seal of the State of Florida: In God We Trust." The latter became the state motto. On May 6th, 1868, just before Florida re-entered the Union, on June 25th of that year, a new flag was adopted that consisted of the 1865 seal on a white field.

In 1900, the design was again altered, by adding a red saltire to the white ground, with the seal now superimposed at the apex. Though unrecorded, the purpose of the symbol was probably two-fold. One, to represent the jagged, diagonal Cross of Burgundy, which appeared on the military flag of Spain—red upon a white ground—in the 16th century, when the Spanish arrived and settled there. Two, now smooth instead of jagged, it took on the shape of the Southern Cross, prominent in the minds of Confederate veterans, who had just begun to organize, in the late 1880’s, and actively participate in reunions. Civil War Veterans represented the bulk of the voting population in America, both North and South.

At one point the headdress of the Native American was removed, added in error by the original artist, as Native American women didn’t wear headdresses. In 1970, this imagery was again changed from that of a Plains Indian to that of a female member of the Seminole Tribe, rectifying another major blunder. Verbiage in the official description, that identified the “cocoa tree” was changed to read “the Sabal Palmetto Palm," that had been officially designated as the official State Tree in 1953. The state motto, present since 1865, was officially adopted in 2006.

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

The background fabric is 100% cotton twill, black in color, that has been washed and treated for colorfastness. The mount was placed in a black-painted frame of significant quality, with a deep, rectangular, shadowbox profile and a slight, beveled, inner edge. The glazing is U.V. Protective acrylic (Plexiglas). Feel free to contact us for more details.

Condition: There is minor, golden brown oxidation, but there are no serious condition issues.
Collector Level: Beginners and Holiday Gift Giving
Flag Type: Sewn flag
Star Count:
Earliest Date of Origin: 1963
Latest Date of Origin: 1970
State/Affiliation: Florida
War Association: Vietnam
Price: SOLD
 

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