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44 Star U.S. Navy Jack, 1891 - 1896.

Sub-collection: Mastai - Early American Flags

44 Star U.S. Navy Jack.
This rare 44 star US jack was formerly flag #18 of the acclaimed collection of noted antique dealer Mr. Boleslaw Mastai and his wife Marie-Louise d'Otrange Mastai, formerly of New York City, and later Amagansett, Long Island. Their collection was the result of fifty years of collecting, research and study by the late husband-wife team. Mastai started collecting in the mid 20th century and amassed the greatest private flag collection in the United States, which he detailed in his ground breaking book 'The Stars and The Stripes; The American Flag from Birth of the Republic to the Present' which was published by Alfred Knopf, New York 1973, and was hailed as a revelation in viewing the American Flag as both art and as a social history. Jacks of any type from the 19th century are exceedingly rare, and this may well be the only surviving tug boat jack of the period.

This rare, wool, 44-star United States jack bears the maker's mark "Annin & Co, 99-101 Fulton St. NY", which was the nation's first full time corporate manufacturer of flags and hearkens back to Annin's origins as a supplier of maritime flags. This jack is most likely a contract jack made for the US government.

The size of this jack complies, within allowances, with size #5 for Unions (2.76 x 3.90) given in the 1899, US Navy's 'Flags of Maritime Nations'. Number 5 Unions were specifically authorized for use by US Navy tug boats which were used to push and pull warships to their moorings. Given the proximity of the Mastai Collection to New York, and the Fulton street address in Manhattan on the Annin & Co. makers mark; this jack, no doubt, was made for use in New York Harbor, on one of the many tug boats that plied those waters in the 1890s.

The jack of the United States is a maritime flag representing United States nationality flown on the jackstaff in the bow of its vessels. The size of the jack is always the same as the size of the canton of the ensign at the flagstaff.

• Made by Annin & Co. New York, NY, 1891/95.
• Acquired by General Benjamin F. Butler for use on yacht America until passing 1893.
• By descent to son Paul Butler, until 1897.
• George C. Goeller & F. Ward Jr.
• Mrs. Paul M. Silvernail, Madison, CT, until 1962.
• Acquired by Mr. & Mrs. Boleslaw & Marie-Louise d'Otrange Mastai, New York City, and Amagansett, NY, The Mastai Collection, until 2002.
• Sold via Sotheby's Auction in New York City to the Zaricor Flag Collection, 2002.

ZFC Significant Flag

Hoist & Fly

Width of Hoist 29.5
Length of Fly 48


Comments on Star Measurements Stars are inconsistently shaped, hand-stitched cotton.
Size of Stars 3.5


Size of Hoist 1.25


Is it framed? no


Number of Stars 44
How are the stars embeded? Single Applique
Are there stars on obverse? yes
Are there stars on reverse? yes
Comments on Stars Obverse


Has a Blood Stripe? no


Nation Represented United States


Fabric Wool
Comments on Fabric Bunting


Stitching Hand


Method of Attachment Grommets


Applique Sides Double Faced = Reads correctly on both sides


All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.
All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.
Research Documents

Public Copy & Signs
All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.


Displayable yes