48 star flag, how to determine age?

Discussion in 'Flag Identification and Collecting' started by Nancylee, Sep 6, 2018.

  1. Nancylee

    Nancylee New Member

    Hello!
    I just purchased a 48 star flag at an auction. It was reported to have flown at Camp Lejeune and was from the estate of a Marine Corps Veteran.
    It seems to be a linen type material, the red and white stripes are sewn individually, but the blue and white stars are a seperate print .
    Appears to be sewn with a machine .
    The stars are flat, not embroidered.
    Stars are linear arrangement
    All stars are canted to 1:00 position
    There is enough space between each star to fit another star of the same size ( this seems uncommon to me )
    2 brass grommets.
    Approx 6 ' x 3.5'
    The condition is a bit worn brittle ,but I just love it!
    Stamped 16 A , all that I could find.

    Does anyone know how I can determine the approimate age? Thanks in advance!
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 6, 2018
  2. Dexter Cole

    Dexter Cole Member

    Nancy, it's a very cool and well flown and loved flag. I see many ebay listings that suggest military service. I'm skeptical at most of these claims. I expect USMC flags flown at a base to be Navy made flags and those are readily identifiable as such. Your flag is not one of those. Still, was the Iwo Jima flag a Navy produced flag? I don't think so. I believe many flags of different manufacture found their way overeseas.

    My first impression on your flag was that it is pre WW2 due to the deterioration of the stars. I could be wrong, perhaps it was locally purchased and very proudly flown at the home of a vet after service.
     
  3. Nancylee

    Nancylee New Member

    Hi Dexter,
    Thank you for this thoughtful reply! Great insight!
     
  4. David Wagner

    David Wagner Member

    I agree with Dexter. A couple of other things that stood out to me. 1) Linen seems an unusual choice for a base flag. It just doesn't seem durable enough to withstand many days of outside sunrise-to-sunset service on a military base. 2) The canting of the stars is also unusual. It was by Executive Order in 1912 that standardized the US flag and determined that all stars need to point straight up. I've seen flags made after 1912 that didn't follow the Executive Order, but I bet not many of those non-standard flags flew on a US military base.
     
  5. Nancylee

    Nancylee New Member

    Thanks David , very interesting! I also find the space between the stars is unusually large. I can't really seem to find any other examples like it online.
     
  6. David Wagner

    David Wagner Member

    The same Executive Order that set the shape, pattern, and orientation of the stars also defined the size of each star to the overall size of the flag. The image below is the standard for a 50 as I couldn't currently locate the specs for a 48. Since your flag maker was a little loosey goosey with the star orientation it's not surprising that the star size is also something other than standard. That does make your flag unusual. It is a very nice flag. Because of the wear spots in the union I would't recommend flying it outside. The wind would beat it up pretty quickly. You should probably keep it out of direct sunlight too so that it doesn't fade. You could frame it but at 6' by 3.5' that will be pricey and probably more than you spent to purchase the flag. If you know how to triangle fold a flag I have seen some very nice triangle frames made to store flags. At a minimum it is at least 60 years old and likely another 15 to 20 years older than that. It's a great piece of history and I hope you enjoy it in your home.


    spec.flag.gif
     
  7. Dexter Cole

    Dexter Cole Member

    Regarding my comment about the Iwo Jima flags, the first flag, the smaller one, is a two brass grommet flag that does not look like the typical Navy made flag. Even their smallest flags had three or four grommets. The second flag, known as the Rosenthal flag, looks like it could be a rope edge Navy #7 but the stars look small to me and there is a ring on the top and bottom of the hoist. Both flags are in the Marine Corp Museum in VA. I'd love to see them in person but there are some shots on line.
     
  8. Nancylee

    Nancylee New Member

    David, thank you for these specific details and the graphic! I am learning so much here :) I agree, this flag will not be placed outside . I think the triangle fold frame may be the best idea, that is a great idea. Thanks!




     
  9. Nancylee

    Nancylee New Member

    Hi Dexter, your comments inspired me to go looking online for the flags flown at Iwo Jima. I found a great short video clip of them raising the second flag. Pretty fantastic. Thanks!


     

Share This Page