A Rare Flag Oddity

The second flag pictured below is a rare unofficial Forty-seven Star Flag that was converted into an unofficial variant Forty-eight Star flag.  The flag maker produced the flag believing that either Arizona or New Mexico would enter the Union alone which would have created an official Forty-seven Star flag.  Instead, both states entered the Union in the same year.  The stars in the canton of U.S. flags increased from forty-six to forty-eight without an intervening Forty-seven Star Flag.

Forty Seven / 47 Star Flag

Union showing added forty-eighth star in lower left hand corner.

Forty Eight / 48 Star Flag

Union showing the original forty-seven stars without added star.

The manufacturer apparently also believed that the pattern for Forty-seven and perhaps an even later Forty-eight star flags would follow a staggered pattern of stars as seen on the forty-five and forty-six star flags.  Perhaps the maker intended a flag that could be updated when the forty-eighth state would eventually enter the Union.  If this was indeed the logic, the manufacturer was wrong on all counts.

Detail showing added crudely sewn forty-eighth star on the left.

A crudely appliquéd Forty-eighth star was added, but the pattern of stars was still incorrect making the flag a double oddity.  There are few Forty-seven star flags in existence.  This is perhaps the only Forty-seven—Forty-eight star flag.

While this flag’s design has never been official, it gives us insight into how the United States flag has evolved as new states joined the Union.  If a fifty-first state joins the Union in the future, we can expect that flags will be made anticipating a new pattern of stars.  Flag makers that guess wrongly will have unofficial variants that may one day be rare considered flag oddities.

2 Responses to “A Rare Flag Oddity

  • Phyllis
    11 years ago

    I love this country! I loved learning this about these flags. Thank you for the timely information. In spite of our rough times I’m feeling many very patriotic emotions.

    Thank you,
    Phyllis Mangum

  • Thank you for your observations.

    When our nation faces challenges, the flag reminds us of trials overcome in our history as a people. We can draw strength from Old Glory’s symbolism. As we conquer present challenges, we add to the flag’s meaning for future generations. We strive to be worthy of our heritage and thereby find strength to continue the struggle.

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