Quality Pirate Flags for Sale
Decorate your home or party in a pirate theme with these pirate flags. Choose from the classic Jolly Roger flag for sale or pick from our selection of famous 3x5 pirate flag designs for authenticity. All our stock pirate flags are available in two sizes and are made from durable, outdoor-tested material for display indoors and outdoors. The outdoor pirate flag is made from a Polyester material, which is long-lasting due to its tear-resistance and knitted fabric. The pirate design is printed onto the material through dye-sublimation, where the ink is infused into the fabric for vibrant colors that will not scratch or peel off, even in different climates. The graphic is printed on one side and the reverse-image bleeds through to the other-side because of the polyester’s thru-print. This allows the design to be visible from both sides. In addition to the flag, you can also add hardware to your order for setting up the flag. Choose from hand-held or mounted pole sets to display the flag from a wall, a street pole, or on a large-scale flagpole. Get the design of your favorite pirate's flag for your home or as a party decoration with these pirate flags for sale.
Check out our blog post on history’s most famous pirate flags.
Some quick pirate flag facts:
- White skull-and-crossbones design traces all the way back to the 18th century.
- First referred to as a Jolly Roger in Charles Johnson’s “A General History of Pyrates,” published in 1724.
- Standard design of a white skull and crossed bones over a black flag, but many historical variations exist.
The Origins of the Pirate Flag
The first Jolly Roger pirate flags that were actually called “Jolly Rogers” were flown by Bartholomew Roberts in 1721 and Francis Spriggs in 1723. Both of their designs were different from what we consider the traditional pirate flag to be.
Much like all flags used throughout history, the purpose of the Jolly Roger was to send a message to other ships. In this case, the flag announced that the people flying the flag were pirates and that if the other ship surrendered, the crew would shown mercy and allowed to live.
Historical records show that most pirate ships had two versions of the Jolly Roger – one on a black background and the other on a red background. The black flag was raised as both an announcement that the ship’s crew was pirates and a request for surrender. If the opposing crew did not surrender, the black flag would be lowered. The red flag would be raised in its place – this time, to indicate that no mercy would be given.
The earliest use of a black flag with a white skull, crossbones and an hourglass is credited to the French pirate captain Emanuel Wynn in 1700. The hourglass image was then picked up by other pirates. It is used in several famous pirate flags, including those of Walter Kennedy, Bartholomew Roberts, and Jean Thomas Dulaien.
The skull-and-crossbones design of the Jolly Roger flag has been used in many different styles and variations. Many different pirates have used it, including “Black Sam” Bellamy, Christopher Condent and Edward England. At least one possible variation with a pair of crossed swords was flown by Calico Jack Rackham.
Other pirates chose different designs entirely.
Edward Low flew either a red skeleton on a black background or a white skeleton with an hourglass in one hand and a dart in the other. John Quelch flew a flag that is much the same as Low’s second design.
Bartholomew Roberts’ most-known flag got rid of the skeleton entirely -- it was Roberts, sword in hand, standing on two skulls labeled with the letters “ABH” and “AMH,” respectively.
Why Are Pirate Flags Called Jolly Rogers?
While several pirates have called their specific flags “Jolly Roger,” there are still several theories as to how the name arose as a catch-all term for pirate flags of all kinds.
One theory says that the name came from the French term “jolie rouge,” meaning “pretty red”. This referred to the red flag pirates flew as a way to tell their victims that no mercy would be given.
Another theory states that the term is simply a corruption of the phrase “Ali Raja,” meaning “King of the Sea.”
However, the most widely accepted theory is that “Jolly Roger” is simply a combination of the English term “roger,” meaning “wandering vagabond,” and the fact that Devil was referred to as “Old Roger” around the time the flags were flown – putting a picture of the Devil on a pirate flag was quite common.
Some pirate facts:
- The Golden Age of Piracy lasted from 1685 to 1730.
- The earliest pirates date back to the time of the Greeks and Romans.
- One of the most successful pirates was a Chinese woman named Ching Shih, who commanded over 300 ships.
- The most successful Western pirate was Henry Every, who, along with Thomas Tew, captured an Ottoman prize ship worth £600,000, equivalent to £52 million in 2010.
- The Ultimate Pirate Branding Symbol - The Origin of the Jolly Roger: https://www.ancient-origins.net/history/ultimate-pirate-branding-symbol-origin-jolly-roger-002696
- Origins of the Jolly Roger: https://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2011/09/origins-of-the-jolly-roger/
- Why Did Pirates Fly the Jolly Roger: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/anthropology-in-practice/why-did-pirates-fly-the-jolly-roger/
- The Jolly Roger - The History of Pirate Flags: https://sites.google.com/a/uconn.edu/djc14012/the-jolly-roger
- Henry Every’s Bloody Pirate Raid, 320 Years Ago: https://www.history.com/news/henry-everys-bloody-pirate-raid-320-years-ago