Flag with gold stars?

Discussion in 'American Flag History' started by Michael, Nov 8, 2007.

  1. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    If the dimensions were 4x6 or 5x8 that takes the argument that these are "gold-star internment flags" and blows it out of the water. Casket flags have almost unversally been 5 x 9 1/2 feet since WW I as they were made to Gov Spec.

    Nick A
    Columbia MD
  2. coasterville

    coasterville Member

    I won't swear to it, but it didn't *seem* to have the extra long stripes that would signify a burial flag. If I get out that way again soon, I'll see if it's still there.

    The good news is I got a photo of it on my mobile, the bad news is I took a detail shot of the canton and the discoloration of the white stripes below, not an overall length of flag type photo.
  3. stimpy89lx

    stimpy89lx New Member

    I have a "Gold Star" burial flag, from my Great Uncle who died shortly after WWII when a truck overturned into a creek. All 48 stars are gold with crisp white stitching on the display side, with some transfer onto the white strips, other side is crisp white stars. Does anyone know for sure what the gold stars signify? I cant figure out how to post pics on here, but if anyone is interested i can email some to you. Thanks..
  4. csaanv

    csaanv Member

    Here are stimpy89x's flag pics he asked me to post for him:

    Flag_close star.jpg



    Flag_back folded over.jpg

    I think Nick (NAVA) has explained this this phenomena quite well if you read the earlier posts of this thread.
  5. I also have one of these WWII American burial flags with all the documentation incl. a letter from the Pres. thanking us for the service of our relative & all the burial site info. from the U.S. Government stating that our family member has been buried in France & the actual location & the reason for this instead of returning the body home to the family. This flag is wool with all gold stars & the same fading marks from the stars on the white stripes from the folding of the flag, which has been stored in the original box it was mailed to us in from the U.S. Government & this box was kept all these years in a real cedar chest in mom's bedroom. I also have the complete dress uniform (Army) & hat along with a hand written diary & battallian book from the serviceman along with many, many actual photographs from France & of the military post where he was stationed. It is all very interesting, but I feel it should be available for the rest of the world to view as valuable time in history. I am at a loss as to what to do with all of this stuff. Anyone have any suggestions...I also wonder why the U.S.Government could not confirm our theory about the color of the stars & the flags rarity. I feel honored to have these items & to have been fortunate enough to see all of this stuff.
  6. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    Because the US Government contracted with various flagmakers for flags with 48 WHITE stars and 13 red and white stripes. The government doesn't know or care that after 50 years or more some of the stars on some of those flags discolored to golden brown. Flag manufacturing and materials have changed since the 1940's and 50's and you will not likely see any such discoloration on flags made today.

    Check with a local historical society to see if they need a uniform for a WW II display. If not, then there are certainly collectors of militaria who would be interested, some of which may use the uniform and flag in presentations to school children, as I have done with flags from my collection on a number of occasions.

    Nick A
    Columbia Maryland
  7. omidon

    omidon New Member

    We have had one in our family for years. My father's uncle fell during WWII. I could tell you now the stars aren't discolored. They are gold and appear to be hand painted. From what I understand they didn't make many of these and like people said it was only for a short period.
  8. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    Hello omidon,
    Is the flag made of silk? It was not uncommon for painted stars on silk flags to be gold.

    Can you post a photo of the flag and a close up of a star?

    Thank you,
    Columbia Maryland
  9. ruellesmith

    ruellesmith New Member

    I'm no "expert" about these things, but it looks to me that the sewing on the appliqued Stars was professionally done using a machine. The stitches are so even and precise!
  10. Jeroen

    Jeroen New Member

    My dad has a 48 gold star flag stamped with 1945. All stars are embroidered and gold (both sides). Anyone know something about this, I can't find anything about it. The flag was found in the Netherlands.

    Kind regards,
    The Netherlands
  11. cbniece

    cbniece New Member

    Hi, I'm new on this site. I have been looking (casually) for years for an explanation for the gold stars. I have my uncle's flag. He was US Air-force. Have there been any conclusions regarding this practice? I have read many threads that attribute this to age/discoloration. As anyone can see from submitted photos (I have a series of photos myself), this is just not possible. I also read that the practice was regarding the returned service members killed overseas. My uncle was active duty based in Nevada (in the 40's), but was killed in an off-based auto accident in Utah. Are there other threads or sites that might have more info? Thanks for any help.
  12. cbniece

    cbniece New Member

    More notes regarding my Uncle's flag. It has heavy metal rings on it for flying. Is this typical of a casket flag? I don't believe I have ever seen them on any in flag folding ceremony. The flag also has a pink ID tag of some sort on it.
  13. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    I have just had a thought regarding the "Gold Star" Flags, and why some of the World War 2 (WW2) interment (burial) Flags have "Gold" Stars, and most others do not.

    From what I've read here, and joined in on a few discussions, there is the opinion that the gold-colored Stars turn Gold due to their material having "sizing" (or starch) applied to the white cotton fabric so that it would be nice and stiff, thus making the job of basting the material onto the blue union (canton), sewing the star shapes, then cutting away all of the "non" star-shaped material away a WHOLE lot easier. Although most of the WW2-era interment Flags have WHITE Stars, why do some have "gold-colored" (buff, tan, cream, off-white, yellowish, khaki, etc.) Stars".

    Maybe the Interment Flags with WHITE Stars were flown from time-to-time (on "special" occasions) then washed during the first few years after the War so that the sizing/starch that was used during the manufacturing process got washed away?

    And Maybe the Interment Flags with the "Gold Stars" were never flown again, so they were never washed, and the sizing/starch was never washed out, but allowed to gracefully "age" into a mellow yellow ("Golden") color?

    Just a thought . . .

    Robin Hickman
    "Your Friendly Neighborhood Flag Man"
    Eugene, Oregon, USA.
  14. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    [ NOTE : This entry was originally composed on March 20th, 2017 (two days ago) as a reply to a private message from CBNiece. It is reproduced here with her permission. Signed, Robin Hickman, 3-22-2017 ]

    Hello, CBNiece, and welcome to the USA-FLAG-SITE forums!

    I have not fully formed my own opinion (maybe 80-90%, or so) on the subject of "gold stars" here in these forums. I am NOT in any way, shape, or form (or by any stretch of the imagination) an "expert" on different Flag fabrics, much less on the subject of gold stars on old 48-Star U.S. Flags. There are other members here who really have a whole LOT more knowledge, experience, and expertise on the subject than I do. I have never actually seen, or held, a gold star Flag so I'm not in a real good position to comment on them one way or the other at this point. The questions I've asked about them on here are out of curiosity about them, and the opinions I've expressed I've come to by thinking about what other people have said, observed, and experienced. And... sometimes... it's just blind intuition!

    Because I do NOT have an extensive knowledge of how Flags were made before, during, and after World War 2, when the use of cut-out & sewn-on Stars was SOP, I can not offer what I would think to be a "definitive" and "reasonable" explanation as to "why" the Stars are gold-colored (buff, tan, off-white, yellow, brown, etc.). BUT... From what I've read in the different threads on the subject, right now the most "plausible" explanation seems to me to be aging ("yellowing") of the "sizing" (or starch) used on the material that the stars were made of.

    I believe that the sizing was used to keep the white cotton material used for the stars stiff while they were being sewn on, both sides at the same time. It is my understanding that two large rectangles of stiffened white cotton material were basted onto each side of the blue wool canton ("union"), and a "template" of the 48 star design was placed on top. The star-shapes were then traced onto the white fabric, and then the template was removed. Then, the edges of star-shapes were sewn from one side, which automatically sewed the stars on the other side at the same time. Then on each side of the blue Union, all of the "non" star-shaped material was cut away, leaved the white stars evenly lined up on both sides. I'm not a sewing kind of guy, but I believe that sizing is sometimes made of corn starch, but I don't know for sure. Most of the close-up pictures I've seen of the gold-colored stars shows that they were sewn on with white thread. The white thread does NOT have sizing/starch on it, so I'd guess that's why the thread didn't "turn" gold with age over the years like the stars did.

    I don't know how many different threads there ARE here regarding the subject of Gold Stars and "where they came from". I don't know how many of those threads you've read. I would like to think that the opinions offered here over the years have covered all the bases, but since I am not a member on any other "Flag Site", I don't know for sure.

    All this is just my opinion, of course. Like I've said, I've never seen nor held a "Gold Starred" Flag in person, and I'm not an expert in the field of "Flag Textiles". You may place whatever value you want on my opinion, and that's OK. If you haven't checked out every thread on this site that discusses the subject, I recommend that you do so. While you might find some of the same members offering their same opinions, you'll also run across some others that you might not have read before.

    As far as other Flag forums where the subject of "Gold Star" Flags might have been, or is being, discussed, all I can recommend is that you might consider running a couple of different Google searches of "Flag Forums", "Flag Discussions", "Gold Star Flags", etc.

    A thought just occurred to me! One of the members here is a recognized and acknowledged expert on antique Flags, their fabrics, construction, and values. His name is Jeff Bridgman, and he has his own website. I don't know what his opinion is on the subject, but since he deals with SO many old Flags, I'm sure he's probably run across at least one or two of the "Gold Star" variety through the years, so there's a good chance he might know a thing or two about where the Gold Stars came from!



    I hope this helps!

    Robin Hickman
    "Your Friendly neighborhood Flag Man"
    Eugene, Oregon, USA.
    cbniece likes this.
  15. cbniece

    cbniece New Member

    Thank you so much for your insight and opinions. I am going to continue my search. I am hoping that others who have these flags continue to offer pictures and their own observations. I have quite a bit of vintage fabrics, and I have never seen any garment or section of fabric discolor to this depth or uniformity of coloration. I plan to continue to contact experts and historians, but I also think I will contact a few folks who deal specifically with vintage fabrics.
    As soon as possible, I will post photos of my own flag. Hoping to hear more from others who have these flags.

    Thanks again
    Robin Hickman likes this.
  16. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    PHOTOS ???

    Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy!
    cbniece likes this.
  17. Walt S

    Walt S New Member

    I live in Virginia and am a church deacon, last year I started a venture to create a Veterans / Historical museum in the church basement. God has blessed and many military and historical items have been donated. The latest is a burial flag from WW2 it came to me in the original cardboard box, the mailing label has the name rank and serial number of the soldier along with the family member’s name and mailing address. The donor believes the flag had never been removed from the box. The box had sustained some water damage and sense I want to display it I opened the box and was surprised to see gold colored stars I unfolded the flag and found gold stars on one side and white on the other. I believe the stars to be of a cloth fabric but they are stiff and have a leather like appearance where the water got in 3 or 4 of the gold stars have leached on to the stripes.
    I do not believe this flag has ever been tampered with in anyway. P.S. there is a typed note on card stock explaining that the soldier was K I A and buried in a
    U S Military Cemetery in Europe. A more detailed letter was to follow - I do not have the letter.
    Just wanted to add my story to the forum. Walt S
  18. Dexter Cole

    Dexter Cole Member

    My "Gold Star" flag, it is interment size (5x9.5), no makers mark seen. Gold stars on just one side, and photos compare the gold stars to white stars on a WW2 Mare Island flag. The only anomaly that I see is that the grommets are small compared to the normally encountered type. Photos taken without flash in a dim room (sorry).

    Attached Files:

    Robin Hickman likes this.
  19. Dexter Cole

    Dexter Cole Member

    That last photo compares the front/gold stars with the reverse.

    Regardless which side of the fence you are on this issue, it is an interesting anomaly and it creates a "type" that I wanted to have for my collection.
  20. Dexter Cole

    Dexter Cole Member

    Another Gold Star Flag...almost identical to my other one. Internment size, gold stars have leached onto the white stripes, no makers mark, small grommets.

    Attached Files:

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