MANCHESTER — The historic Forster Flag did not find a new home during an auction at Doyle New York in New York City on Wednesday.
The bright red silk flag — measuring 60-by-63 inches and said to be the earliest surviving flag that incorporates 13 white stripes to represent the 13 unified colonies — has been valued at between $1 million and $3 million, according to Doyle. It was carried by the Manchester Company of the Essex County Militia as they marched to the Lexington Alarm on April 19, 1775, during the very early part of the Revolutionary War.
But the flag did not fetch the minimum reserve bid sought by the auctioneer, according to John Huss, president of the Manchester Historical Society, who was following the auction online.
“There wasn’t a bid that met the auctioneer’s expectations,” he said. Huss did not indicate what would have been considered the minimum bid.
The flag was put up for auction to secure funds for an endowment for the Whitney Smith Flag Research Center Collection, a branch of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at The University of Texas at Austin.
Since it didn’t bring in the bid needed, those at the center will need to figure out what to do next. Representatives from neither Doyle nor the Whitney Smith Flag Research Center could be reached Thursday for comment.
The flag was named after Samuel Forster, a lieutenant with the Manchester Company, and it was passed down among his descendants for two centuries until it was sold in 1975 to the Flag Heritage Foundation, according to documents from Doyle.
Huss said the flag is something the historical society would like to have, but the organization did not place a bid for it.
Arianna MacNeill can be reached at 978-675-2710 or at email@example.com.