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Confederate flag price skyrocketed on Amazon before it got pulled

Confederate flag price AmazonConfederate flag price Amazon
COLUMBIA, SC - JUNE 23: The Confederate flag is seen flying on the Capitol grounds. The price and popularity of a Confederate flag on Amazon spiked just before Amazon stopped selling all such items in the wake of deadly shootings in Charleston, S.C. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)Photograph by Joe Raedle — Getty Images

A Confederate flag saw a huge spike in popularity and price on Amazon(AMZN) right before the online retailer removed it.

A 3-foot-by-5-foot nylon Confederate flag made by a Pennsylvania company called Valley Forge Flags jumped to 871st on the list of Amazon’s most-popular items on Tuesday. That’s an all-time high. It’s also a mind-blowing leap from its rank of 89,725 last week and the flag’s all-time low of 100,730 in late January, according to data from CamelCamelCamel.

Founded in 2008, CamelCamelCamel tracks the prices and popularity of Amazon inventory. Users can sign up to get alerts when products they want are available at a discount on Amazon.

confed-flag-sales-rank-chart
Courtesy of CamelCamelCamel

Amazon on Tuesday said it would stop selling Confederate-flag merchandise amid public outcry following a shooting at an historic African-American church in Charleston, S.C., that left nine dead. Valley Forge Flags also announced it would stop making Confederate flags.

After pictures of the alleged gunman posing with a Confederate flag surfaced in news coverage, retailers started dropping it from their stores and websites.

On Monday, Walmart (WMT) announced that it would stop selling Confederate flags at all of its retail locations and remove them from its website. Then Etsy (ETSY), eBay (EBAY) and Sears Holding Corporation (SHLD) — the parent company of Sears and Kmart — followed suit in quick succession.

Ben Engebreth, a programmer at CamelCamelCamel, said the company doesn’t have nearly as much data on Confederate flags as it does for other, more commonly tracked Amazon products, like televisions, computers and household appliances.

“Not many users were tracking that kind of thing, thankfully,” he said by email.

Engebreth said the CamelCamelCamel team will follow Amazon’s example by removing the URL to the Confederate flag listing and related charts from its website.

But first he shared the chart above and the one below, which shows that the flag’s price also made some significant gains before it was pulled.

confed-flag-price-chart
Courtesy of CamelCamelCamel

Third-party vendor prices, represented by the blue trend line, more than tripled. The price jumped to $36.99 after spending the past six months falling steadily, from about $24 to $11.30 on June 3.

The prices for flags sold directly by Amazon saw a less-significant bump, going from about $20 in early June to $29.60 yesterday. The retailer did not respond to a request for comment on CamelCamelCamel’s data.