48-star flag-----how to locate manufacturer & flag age

Discussion in 'Flag Identification and Collecting' started by nursewade, Feb 19, 2009.

  1. nursewade

    nursewade New Member

    Good everning. Very new & looking for information. Today I acquired a 48-star flag at an antique store for $40. The store owner stated that this particular booth renter brought in quality & authentic merchandise.

    1. The flag is a valley forge flag, but it want to know how to inspect for history purposes.
    2. The flag is 5x9.5. Is this the only size flag for fallen soldiers?
    3. Is there a way I might be able to identify WHEN the flag was given, if for that purpose?

    Thanks for any input you may be able to contribute. I'm working on a project and wish to display this flag along with awards my deceased father of WWII era received, which I also have.
  2. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    Hello and Welcome, nursewade.
    Interment flags have been 5 x 9.5 feet at least since the WW II era. The only real discriminator between older flags and newer flags is whether they were made of wool bunting or cotton. Wool flags were most common during the 19th century, but cotton started making inroads before WWI. Wool and cotton probably split 50-50 up to WWII with cotton pretty much taking over. In the 1950's nylon and other synthetics got in the act and about the only place you can get cotton bunting flags is through government contracts (like internment flags from the Dept of Veterans Affairs, or thru your congressman.) If the flag is cotton, you really can't tell much more about the age (other than 1912-1959) except by having an expert look at it.
  3. nursewade

    nursewade New Member

    Thank you for your response to my questions. Now just 1 or 2 more.

    Where can I go to have the flag looked at to determine the material? and ----

    Can you recommend ANY experts in the field of flag authentication/appraisal? and ----

    Do you know of a way I can trace who received this flag? I believe it truly is an interment flag. Just want to express my condolances, if that's the case, and thank them for helping me with my project.

    Thanks again for your information. :)
  4. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    Where do you live? I ask that because if you are close to a member of the North American Vexillological Association who is a flag collector we may be able to help. Otherwise a professional textile analysis will cost way more than the flag is worth. A typical antique dealer will have no clue as to the age of flag fabrics. Even militaria dealers often get it wrong.

    Since hundreds of thousands of identical 48 star flags were used at funerals of Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, and Korean War veterans (many of the flags being made by the Valley Forge Flag Co.) there is no way to determine who the flag honored, unless you get the antique mall owner to put you in touch with the dealer who sold the flag, and he happened to remember where he got the flag, and the person he got it from knows whose funeral the flag was used in. Or, if there is a name written on the flag, that could help.
  5. nursewade

    nursewade New Member

    Thank you so much for this valuable information. I live in NW Arkansas and have never heard of the Vexillological Association you mentioned.

    I will get in touch with the antique shop owner to try to gather more information. Thanks again for your help.

    Jo Ellen
  6. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    You might check with Arkansas Flag and Banner in Little Rock at [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Toll Free: 1.800.445.0653. They are members of NAVA. (NAVA - Home) Regards, Nick
  7. frugalelf

    frugalelf New Member

    I have found a 48 star American Flag in an 1850 farmhouse my husband and I purchased. It was stored in an old army trunk and since most of the records were also stored here I have a good idea which family member it may have belonged to. The flag has two very heavy grommets for a flag pole so I am sure it was not covering a casket. It is beautiful and in great shape. I am curious as to it's value. I can not, unfortunately read the stamp on it for the manufacturer, and only part of the date. Any idea as to it's value?
  8. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    Official casket flags measured 4 1/2 by 9 feet. If the flag is not close to that size it is not likely to have been a casket flag. Of course, if it IS that size, still no guarantees, as that was a common size for flying on small poles (when I say "small" I am talking about the military's "small." A homeowner might consider a 3x5 foot flag "big" if putting it on a pole in his/her yard, but the military does things on a grander scale.) If you could take a picture of the info on the heading we might be able to help ID the flagmaker, but in any event a 48 star flag in the size ranges mentioned in this email is worth on the order of $25 to $60 depending upon condition. If there are military markings on the heading (ie QMD for Quartermaster Depot, for example) it may have more value to WWII collectors.)
  9. mcgeedo

    mcgeedo New Member

    I have a WWII era flag that I'd like to find more information on. The value is interesting but not important as I don't intend to sell it. I am more interested on learning when and where it may have been used. It appears to be cotton and is a 48-star US flag. The construction is solid as for flying including large brass grommets and corner reinforcements. The condition looks slightly yellowed from age but it looks like it has never been flown. The fabric shows no stretch and the grommets have no wear marks. Stamped on the border in black ink is the following text. The name of the company is indistinct.

    "GOYERSFORD FLAG CO. 5 X 9 1/2 FT."

    In the company name, the initial "G" may be something else. The "Y" may also be a "V." The initial "O" may be a "D." A GOOGLE search for variations on the company name yielded nothing useful.

    I can post or email a picture of the stamping if that would be helpful.
  10. csaanv

    csaanv Member

    Hi Mcgeedo and welcome to the American Flags Forum! From the size you gave it could be a contract government issue flag. See chart below for official government sizes of flags. I am not familiar with that particular flag company but the government contracted work especially during the War to a lot of different companies. Also that size was used for internment flags. Like Nick posted above these flags are pretty common and are easily picked off Ebay for $25-$80 depending on condition. Please post a picture if you can or send it to me and I can prep it and post for you.
    Warmest regards, Mike

    Executive Order 10834
    Part II — Regulations Governing Executive Agencies
    Sec. 21. The following sizes of flags are authorized for executive agencies:

    Size Dimensions of flag
    Hoist (width) Feet Fly (length) Feet
    (1) 20.00 38.00
    (2) 10.00 19.00
    (3) 8.95 17.00
    (4) 7.00 11.00
    (5) 5.00 9.50
    (6) 4.33 5.50
    (7) 3.50 6.65
    (8) 3.00 4.00
    (9) 3.00 5.70
    (10) 2.37 4.50
    (11) 1.32 2.50
  11. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    Is the text you qoted all on one line? What I am getting at is the possiblity that the first word could be "GOVERNMENT" and may be related to the quality of bunting or the contract under which the flag was made. If "FLAG CO." is on a separate line then any name could have preceeded it. Some of the more common flagmakers during WWII include Annin, Dettra, Valley Forge, Collegeville, Chicago Flag Co., American Flag Co, to name a few.

    A photo may be of great value in interpreting this text.

  12. Jakob

    Jakob New Member

    I live in Ohio and received a 48 star flag that was to be retired, my inner history nerd and patriot buff kicked in and I took it home with me. Any way of telling the date, maker, etc..?
  13. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    Hello Jakob, and welcome to the USA Flag Forum! Unless there is a label sewn on the heading, or some info stamped or stenciled onto the heading, it is difficult to identify the maker. The large manufacturers used the same basic materials and techniques. Can you take a few pics with a cellphone and post them here? A close-up of a star, the upper hoist showing a grommet (if present), the joint at the corner of the blue field to the red and white stripes, plus any info on the heading.
  14. Jakob

    Jakob New Member

    The flag feels like burlap and I've never heard of it being done, there are no rings to hoist it nor a sleeve for a pole. There is excess fabric on the two left corners (top of blue, bottom of red) folded over in triangles. I'm in class right now and will upload pictures within the day.
  15. Schiavo

    Schiavo New Member

    I believe a quick way to differentiate between cotton and wool would be to find one loose thread, trim it off and then burn it.

    If you know what burnt cotton smells like (burn part of a cotton sheet to find out), it smells much different than burnt wool. When wool burns it smells like burnt hair. If there are no loose threads hanging to sample, then you're out of luck.
  16. Linda Bruce

    Linda Bruce New Member

    Hello: I have a 48-star American flag from my dad, who was a Navy Seabee in the 1950s stationed in Roosevelt Roads in Puerto Rico. The flag is 5x8 -- that is, "5 x 8" is stamped in a corner. Why does 5x8 not appear on the list above dated Dec 27 2010 ("Sec. 21. The following sizes of flags are authorized for executive agencies"). Is 5x8 unusual? It is in good condition - no holes or tears but a bit yellowed. Thoughts on value?

    Attached Files:

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