March 14, 2014
The owner of four Revolutionary War battle flags will lend them to a Colonial Williamsburg museum, which will display them December 22 through January 9.
The flags were claimed as trophies by the British and were owned by descendants of a British officer for more than two centuries before an anonymous bidder bought them at an auction last year for $17.4 million. The flags include a Connecticut cavalry flag and three that flew over the 3rd Virginia Detachment.
The Virginia detachment's main battle flag, made of gold silk, is the earliest surviving documented American flag bearing 13 stars. It also has a painted emblem of a beaver chewing a palmetto tree and the motto "Perseverando." The two smaller Virginia flags, one blue and one gold, display the word "Regiment."
The Connecticut flag is the most expensive at about $12 million. It's the earliest surviving American flag with 13 red and white stripes.