Journal

Your Pre-Fourth of July Primer on Vintage Flags and Why We Love Them

Your Pre-Fourth of July Primer on Vintage Flags and Why We Love Them

Sustainability isn't just fashionable, it is fashion. We love making new things out of old things--like our kilim loafers repurposed from vintage kilim rugs or our Res Ipsa x Levi's 501's collection.

We love with vintage American flags. What better way to honor a flag than to give it new life? The more tattered and discolored, the more beautiful. We recommend using vintage flags as framed art for your home, to decorate the mantle above a fireplace, or lovingly draped in a corner of the room you'd like to highlight.

Res Ipsa Flagship Store, Aspen, CO
Res Ipsa Flagship store in Aspen, CO

In our Nantucket and Aspen stores, we've built a collection of vintage American flags for sale, including some rarities like a 45-star flag, as well as 48, 49 and 50-star flags. Here is a primer on everything you need to know about the history of the these different American flags.

Res Ipsa Nantucket Flagship Store, Nantucket, MA
Res Ipsa Flagship store in Nantucket, MA

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45-star American Flag

The 45 star flag became the official flag of the United States on July 4th, 1896. The 45th star was added for the admission of the state of Utah on January 4th, 1896. The flag lasted for 12 years. Three Presidents served under this flag, including Grover Cleveland (1893-1897), William McKinley (1897-1901), and Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909). 

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48-star American Flag

The 48 star flag became the official flag of the United States on July 4th, 1912. The U.S. flag grew to 48 stars with the addition of two southwestern states: New Mexico (January 6th, 1912) and Arizona (February 14, 1912). President Taft dated the Executive Order on June 24, 1912, and it established the new proportions of the flag. The flag now arranged for the stars in six horizontal rows of eight each, with a single point of each star to be upward. For 47 years, the 48-star American flag flew longer than any other American flag. It lasted through two World Wars. A total of eight Presidents served under this flag; William H. Taft (1909-1913), Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921), Warren Harding (1921-1923), Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929), Herbert Hoover (1929-1933), Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945), Harry S.Truman (1945-1953), Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961).

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49-star American Flag

On January 3rd, 1959, the 49 star flag became the official flag of the United States. Alaska was the 49th state formally granted statehood under an Executive order by President Eisenhower (January 3rd, 1959). The additional star provided for the arrangement of the stars in seven rows of seven stars each, staggered horizontally and vertically. The 49-flag flew for only one year, and it was flown only under President Eisenhower. 

"The first 49-star flag was made in the Army Quartermaster Depot at Philadelphia, and was used in the White House ceremony when President Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961) signed the proclamation admitting Alaska to the Union. Subsequently, this flag was carried to Philadelphia by Senator Hugh Scott of Pennsylvania, who gave it to the mayor of Philadelphia to raise over Independence Hall on July 4th, 1959. After these ceremonies Scott gave the flag to his colleague, Senator Earnest Gruening of Alaska, who, in turn, delivered it to Governor William A. Eagan to be flown over the state capitol at Juneau. This flag was later given to the Alaskan State Mueseum for preservation." -- US flag.org

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50-star American Flag

The 50 star flag was ordered to become the official flag of the United States on August 21st, 1959, though it began flying on July 4, 1960. With the formal addition of the state of Hawaii ( August 21st, 1959), the 50-star flag  provided for the arrangement of the stars in nine rows of stars staggered horizon tally and eleven rows of stars staggered vertically. The 50-star flag has flown in the U.S. ever since...it is the longest-used version of the U.S. flag and has been in use for approaching on 60 years. According to Reader's Digest , the 50-star flag was began as a high school project for which the student Bob Heft only received a B- on his project. The flag was later chosen by President Eisenhower as the design for new flag out of 1000+ designs, and Heft's grade was bumped up to an A. Over 10 presidents have served under this flag, from Eisenhower through to the present.
 
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Res Ipsa Flagship Store, Aspen, CO
Res Ipsa Flagship store in Aspen, CO

If you're interested in finding out more information about purchasing any of the Res Ipsa vintage U.S. flags listed above, please email us for details & to be placed on our waiting list: info@resipsausa.com. 

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Inspired by our travels to the great cities of the world, Res Ipsa is the destination for premium handmade travel and leisure goods. Our products are made carefully and responsibly with love. So whether you're far from home or returning there, travel with us!

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