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Earliest Surviving American Revolutionary War Era Flag With 13 Stripes Depicting The 13 Original Colonies To Be Auctioned

The Forster Flag Will Be Sold at Doyle New York on April 9

NEW YORK, March 27, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- A rare and important relic of the American Revolutionary War will be auctioned in New York on April 9th. The circa 1775 Forster Flag is the earliest surviving flag incorporating thirteen stripes representing the thirteen original colonies.

The Forster Flag, circa 1775. The earliest surviving American Revolutionary War flag incorporating 13 stripes representing the 13 original colonies. Estimated at $1-3 million. To be auctioned at Doyle New York on April 9. Image courtesy of Doyle New York.

The Forster Flag will be sold by auctioneers Doyle New York to benefit the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at The University of Texas at Austin. It is estimated to sell for $1-3 million.

Of the approximately 2,000 Revolutionary War era flags believed to have been created, the Forster Flag is one of only about 35 examples known to survive today. It was named after Massachusetts patriot Samuel Forster, who led the brave Minutemen of the Manchester Militia Company as they responded to the Lexington Alarm. This was the first battle of the American Revolution, resulting from Paul Revere's famous ride on April 19, 1775.

Formerly a militia flag of colonial Massachusetts, the Forster Flag likely featured a British Union Jack in its upper left quarter, or "canton." Around the time of the Lexington Alarm, the Union Jack was removed and replaced with thirteen white stripes on its front and back. The thirteen colonies were figuratively stitched by the Manchester patriots into a new national identity.

The Forster Flag predates our national flag's familiar stars and stripes design. In June 1777, the Second Continental Congress resolved, "That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation."

For 200 years, the flag descended in the family of Samuel Forster, until it was purchased in 1975 by the Flag Heritage Foundation. In 2000, it was featured on a commemorative stamp issued by the United States Postal Service.

The collection of the Flag Heritage Foundation was acquired by the Dolph Briscoe Center in 2013, and the sale of the Forster Flag will endow the collection in its new home in Austin, Texas.

The public is invited to view the Forster Flag from April 4th through 7th at Doyle New York, located at 175 East 87th Street in Manhattan. The auction catalogue may be viewed online at

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SOURCE Doyle New York

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