curious back mark on 38 star 12' x 20' flag

Discussion in 'Flag Identification and Collecting' started by Khrystyne, Jul 3, 2009.

  1. Khrystyne

    Khrystyne New Member

    I stumbled across your site while trying to identify a mark from the back of a massive 12' x 20' 38 star flag. I do not own the flag - it is going up for sale at an auction I am attending this fall and I was trying to learn more about it. It seems to be of a compass or leaf or star?
    Have you ever seen this mark on the back of a flag? I included the original pic as well as one I darkened and rotated.

    Just wondering; I am not planning on bidding on this particular item but it piqued my curiousity and I wanted to learn more!
    flag marking-A small.jpg

    flag marking-B small.jpg
  2. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    Hi, Khrystyne !!! :D

    Welcome to the USA-Flag-Site Forums !

    You might want to check out the information in the following thread here on the USA-Flag-Site forums. It was (apparently) made by the guys that currently own the Flag you're talking about !!! :eek:

    I don't know what the marks might actually be, but I suspect (based on NO solid information) that they might just be "wrinkles" in the fabric. :rolleyes:

    Thank You for bringing your Flag-related question to our Forums !!!

    Robin "OMG! I'm Collecting Wrinkles!" Hickman :D
  3. Khrystyne

    Khrystyne New Member

    Very funny! I have been talking to this auction house and their authentication group about a piece I purchased from them last week and about attending their October auction in Charleston. While on their site today I saw the 'mark' and got intrigued! How funny that they contacted you so recently as well! So you believe this is the result of a 'tie-dye' style wrinkle during the dyeing of the fabric? Wouldn't it show through on both sides and not just the back?

    Thanks so much for your reply! I will 'stay tuned' to their link as well to see if anyone comes up with other ideas!:)

    Chris (Khrystyne)
  4. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    I initially thought the mark was the logo of J.A.Joel, flagmaker from New York City. Here are photos of a Joel trade card showing the logo on one side, and the $12.25 that he charged for a 12 foot by 20 foot flag when it was new. Since the mark on the flag is relatively indistinct it is difficult to make a positive I.D. but based on the general outline the mark on the flag seems to be a 6 pointed emblem whereas the Joel emblem is a 5 armed medal with two points on each end. I don't know if better photos of the mark would help clarify this or not.


    Nick Artimovich
    Columbia, Maryland
  5. Khrystyne

    Khrystyne New Member

    Closer but I think the points on 'compass' of the unidentified mark are different and there is definite shading to half of each 'arm'. I see you posted to the actual auction house post which is good since now I know they are on here! :eek:) Chris
  6. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    I'm STILL having some difficulty "reading" it as a "mark". It just seems so "odd", somehow.

    Does anybody know "where" on the Flag the mark is ?

    In the back of my head I've had the thought that maybe it's some kind of "organizational" mark, such as the Masons, GAR, IOOF, VFW, etc. :cool:

    Robin Hickman
  7. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    Robin brings up a good point. And IF the "mark" is something that was intentionally placed on the flag, who placed it there? The owner? The flagmaker? The mill that made the wool bunting? In my experience it is impossible to tell where antique flags were used except in very unusual circumstances. And without period documentation, the "story" that comes with a flag is just that - a story. You buy the artifact, not the fable that comes with it. I own two very large USA flags, a 34-star flag (15x23 ft) and a 38-star flag (somewhat smaller) that were said to have flown from the yacht of an Exeter, New Hampshire millionaire by the name of Merrill. It was said that the yacht was also used during the Spanish American War by a New York City newspaper for their correspondents. That "story" is interesting, and may very well be true as there weren't many buildings in that part of New Hampshire large enough to fly a 23-foot long flag. However, the supposed provenance did not influence my decision to pay $12.00 for the Civil War era flag and later pay $20 for the 1880's ensign. (I bought these flags back in the early 1970's, mind you.)
  8. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    As I mentioned in the other thread, NAVA will be holding its annual convention in Charleston on 9-11 October, just a couple of weeks before the auction. We'll have a number of experts there who might be able to help identify the flag. If there's any interest we could probably set up a "splinter meeting" of some sort.

    Peter Ansoff

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