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New York State Tercentenary Commission flag (U.S.)

Last modified: 2013-07-06 by rick wyatt
Keywords: tercentenary commission flag | new york | united states |
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[New York's tercentenary flag] image by Dave Martucci, 10 May 2012

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About the flag

[New York's tercentenary flag]   [New York's tercentenary flag] images located by Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 6 May 2012

At World War 1 Propaganda Posters, a poster "Welcome comrade-at-arms" is shown, which has Uncle Sam and Father Knickerbocker greet what appears to be an Italian Bersaglieri: Behind the flags of the Italian and Uncle Sam, is the flag of Father Knickerbocker, which the comment describes as: "a flag similar to New York City's ... Possibly the city's tercentenary flag because it has the dates 1614 to1914 on it."

It's a flag, approximately 1:2, blue white yellow/light orange, with the yellow bearing a line drawing of arms consisting of a shield bearing a three-master bark sailing with two sheets unfurled on a smooth sea, the shield topped with a wind-mill and supported by a man in quaint old European attire and one in quaint old American attire, supporters and shield standing on a ribbon that read 1614 under the dexter supporter and 1914 under the sinister supporter.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 6 May 2012

This poster was just featured in NAVA NEWS. It was probably published in 1918 despite the fake NYC flag, likely because of an important visit by the Italian Prime Minister (or whatever he is called in Italy).
Dave Martucci, 6 May 2012

The comment had me perplexed at first, as the founding of NYC is generally considered 1625, not 1614 - see the date on the official NYC flag. A little googling reveals that New York did indeed celebrate a tercentenary in 1914. It commemorated the grant in 1614 from the States General of the United Netherlands for trading rights to the territory which became the colony of New Netherland. So if there was an actual flag, it would be to commemorate that tercentenary, not the city's.
Ned Smith, 6 May 2012

The tercentenary of NYC was probably 1924 according to the date on the present arms (1624); that date is the incorporation of Niew Amsterdam. Manhattan was settled beginning more than fifteen or so years earlier. So the 1914 date makes no sense. At any rate, the present flag of NYC, which this ersatz version is clearly based on, was adopted in 1915. I think the artist of this poster took a large "creative license" with the flag design.
Dave Martucci, 8 May 2012

From "The commercial tercentenary of New York, 1614-1914: reprinted from the First annual report of the New York Commercial Tercentenary Commission to the Legislature of the State of New York: containing a brief history of the beginning of the regularly chartered commerce of New Netherland and the permanent settlement of what is now the state of New York." (, on page 10, it reads [quote]

Official Flag

The official flag of the Commission, adopted January 28, 1914, consists of three vertical bars, Nassau blue, white and Nassau orange, the blue bar at the staff. In the center of the white bar, the coat-of-arms.

Charge: Upon a shield argent a marine view; in base a Dutch merchant vessel under sail on a body of water, all proper; sky argent and azure.

Crest: On a wreath azure and argent a Dutch windmill proper.

Supporters: On a quasi-compartment formed by the extension of the ribbon or scroll: Dexter: A Dutch merchantman proper: Dutch hat proper; vested vert; about the waist a belt gules; hose and shoes sable; buckles on shoes or; in the dexter hand a charter scroll argent; the sinister arm embowed, hand supporting the shield at the dexter chief point. Sinister: A North American Indian proper; hair dressed and decorated with feathers; about the waist, skins proper; feet moccasined proper; in the sinister hand a pelt; the dexter arm embowed, hand supporting the shield at sinister chief point.

Motto: Below the shield on a scroll argent, azure and or 1614-1914.
So the flag in the poster you found is indeed real- my apologies to the no-doubt-long-deceased artist for doubting him. However, it was the flag of the Tercentenary Commission, not an official flag of the City. But this does raise a question about whether this flag influenced the design of the City's flag which was adopted the following year (not to mention the question of why the artist choose this ephemeral flag as his model, rather than an official flag for his 1918 poster).
Ned Smith, 8 May 2012The guns each of the character are brandishing speak in favor of a date after 1917 when the US entered the war.
Dave Martucci, 9 May 2012

The ambiguous use of New York without specifying City or State might lead to confusion about which entity sponsored the Tercentenary Comemoration, the Commission, and the Commission's flag. This coupled with the flag's close resemblance to the current City flag and the fact that it first came to our attention in a context where it was seemingly used as a surrogate for the city flag might cause mistaken identity. The above subtitle makes clear that it was a state initiative.
Ned Smith, 9 May 2012

By my reading of the somewhat confusing blazon, the scroll should be white, and the numerals blue & gold - "Motto: Below the shield on a scroll argent, azure and or 1614-1914" - but perhaps it means the scroll should be white with blue and gold shading. If it does refer to the numerals my guess would be 1614 in blue and 1914 in gold, but that's only my guess. On second thought, maybe it does refer to the shading instead.
Ned Smith, 10 May 2012