The Captain's Log

The Student News Site of Christopher Newport University

The Captain's Log

The Captain's Log

The Joys of Flag Collecting

Staff Writer shares his passion of collecting flags

Flags. At a glance they are giant pieces of fabric hung on the occasional flagpole, wall, ship, and decal. But they’re important to a lot of people. Yet they can also represent nations, ideologies, unions, or sports teams. Flags are covered in symbols that can tell a rich history, sometimes just as well as if you were reading a history textbook. Most people who are interested in flags converge online in the Vexillology [the study of flags] community. Members of the Vexillology community do a variety of things; study, discuss, design, and collect the millions of flags that exist in the world. I’m of the collector variety and I find a lot of fun in this hobby. 

How does one get into flag collecting? Well it depends on what flags you want to have in your collection. A good place to start is online. Amazon and eBay have an abundance of flags, and some online flag retailers will also produce a sought-out piece. Outside of the internet there is memorabilia, retail surplus, and pawn shops are also a great place to find flags, especially historical flags. All of my flags relating to the British Isles came from a small Celtic shop in Virginia Beach. As well, there are even some dedicated flag shops throughout the United States, and there’s a good chance they have what you are looking for.


For my particular lines of interest; fictional flags, separatist flags, and flags from the Warsaw Pact era, it’s a difficult journey.  When searching, I consider how rare the flag might be, what size I want, and any societal taboos around those flags when I go looking for them.  There’s lots of scouring on the internet in order to find ethical sources. Sometimes you’ll find a person who reproduces the flags at a reasonable price. I’ve been lucky on Amazon more than a few times. I also make sure those flags come from ethical sources and that I’m not contributing to any shady groups when purchasing a flag.

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Some of the flags I have, such as my British Isles ones, are on display. The others I keep in a collection box, and I’ll study them when I get the chance. I’m always intrigued by the color schemes and use of symbols in the flags. The Cascadia flag has always intrigued me by its use of trees and how they all come together to make a statement for the region’s independence. 

One of the most interesting ways to get flags is described by a flag collector, Spaghetti Road. He reached out to consulates and embassies within his home country for a flag from their country, and documented his experience on YouTube. Some countries were receptive and sent flags to him for his collections. While I cannot guarantee that this will work, it’s worth a shot if you’re having trouble getting a flag. Even if you aren’t successful, in reaching out to these consulates you create friendly correspondence and can learn more about a country. Plus, if you’re successful this could mean that your collection will grow fast.


Overall, flag collecting is a fun hobby for history nerds, artists, and people who wish to learn more about the world and the importance of symbols in telling the story of the world. Whatever people’s reasons are for flag collecting, these collectors pursue the hobby with genuine interest.

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