‘Pawn Stars’: Rick Harrison’s Crew Once Paid Wild Amount for 1872 American Flag Press

by Matthew Memrick

“Pawn Stars” star Rick Harrison knew when to jump on an 1872 American Flag Press. When a seller came calling, Harrison took it for a cool $2,200.

The flag press, seen in Season 15, came with its original “D.C. Farringon Apps for Press Dyeing Stripes for Flags” patent tag. The tag’s date had March 12, 1872, with a 124,427 patent number on it.

Remarkably, Americans were likely producing the country’s Centennial Flag and a flag with only 38 stars at the time. Colorado joined the Union on Aug. 1, 1876. Also, government officials came up with a 39-star flag idea for one Dakota state. However, it was never an official flag.

“I love it because it revolutionized the flag-making process,” seller Joe said on the “Pawn Stars” show.

Joe proceeds to show how the clamps would compress the wool. The clamped part of the flag would not be dyed in the process.

According to flag expert Jeff Bridgeman, the flag resist-dye process was never popular in the United States. After an 1848 patent, Bridgeman said the technique’s abandonment came soon after 1876. Surprisingly, he says that flag makers in Great Britain kept it going there for much longer.

Harrison’s Crew Goes Wild Over 1872 American Flag Press Final Payment

Harrison relates his knowledge of the patent model, telling Joe that they were expensive to make and required a craftsman capable of casting each piece.

“The great thing about these old patent models is they actually worked,” he said on the show.

Harrison knows his seller’s desire to unload the press. After passing on a $3,800 offer, he counters with $2,000. Joe haggles for a little more but settles on a $2,200 deal.

Harrison turned it around and sold it for an undisclosed amount on July 18, 2018. Flag presses are unique, invented, and used after original flags were hand-sewn.

Some printed or press-dyed flags were wool. Others were a mix of yarn and cotton-blended fabric. Several larger versions of the press-dying process and printed wool flags involved working on individual pieces.

Was Harrison’s press a steal after all? Looper.com compiled a list of the “Pawn Stars” best buys over 18 seasons. The Las Vegas pawn shop had its roots in North Carolina before heading to the west coast. Rick Harrison moved the shop to Las Vegas after ended his real estate business.

Harrison and crew have scored a Dutch East India Trading Company bell, a 1715 Spanish fleet gold coin, and a set of Edward Curtis photogravures. A few other rare deals involved Joe Greene’s Olympic medals, an Order of the White Eagle medallion, 1554 Spanish shipwreck gold bar, and a Book of Mormon.

Most of the finds have been cars, jewelry, and coins. The crew has also landed 200 pounds of silver, John F. Kennedy’s cigar box, rocker Stephen Stills’s guitar, and other guitars.