Info on a 48 Star flag, sewn "U.S. No. 6 MI 44", very large 7'5" x 16'10"

Discussion in 'Flag Identification and Collecting' started by brianwt108, Mar 1, 2014.

  1. brianwt108

    brianwt108 New Member

    Hey everyone,

    Long time reader, first time poster.

    I've been working on a display honoring my grandfathers and their service in WWII - I have their original photos taken before being deployed, their Purple Hearts & other medals, and some personal effects. The final piece I was trying to find was an authentic, vintage 48 star flag. I've been searching estate sales to recycle one from the time period instead of getting a new replica version.

    That's my story, now on to my question. In my search, I came across and had to buy a flag in an unusual scale based on my research. It is 48 stars, made of what I believe to be wool or linen or a heavy linen and 7'5" x 16'10" (89"x202"). This length & width doesn't seem to fit any official size and it's not in typical G-Spec, but yet it is marked "U.S. No. 6 MI 44" on the hoist end. I know (or at least I think I know) that the "MI 44" means it was made at Mare Island Naval Shipyard on San Francisco Bay in 1944, which I would assume would be to the regular spec. All of the stars & stripes are stitched; the stars and stripes are equal width at 7" each.

    Can anyone shed some light on this flag? Is it typical or has it maybe been modified in some way over the past 70 years? Does it have any value?

    Thank you in advance!
  2. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    ... Hello, Brian!

    Welcome to the USA-FLAG-SITE Forum!

    The "No. 6" listed on the header/hoist on your Flag indicates that it is a USN "Size 6" Flag/Ensign.
    Below is a listing of the 12 size classifications used by the U.S. Navy.

    U.S. Navy Flag/EnsignSizes

    FLAG / ENSIGN Size Number = Hoist Length (in feet) X Fly Length (in feet)

    #1 = 20.00 x 38.00
    #2 = 19.00 x 36.10
    #3 = 14.35 x 27.27
    #4 = 12.19 x 23.16
    #5 = 10.00 x 19.00
    #6 = 8.94' x 16.99' (107.28" x 203.88")
    #7 = 5.14 x 9.77
    #8 = 5.00 x 9.50
    #9 = 3.52 x 6.69
    #10 = 2.90 x 5.51
    #11 = 2.37 x 4.50
    #12 = 1.31 x 2.49

    The "fly" length seems to be pretty close to your measurements, but your "hoist" Length seems to be a little "short". I'm not sure why that is. The official "hoist-to-fly" ratio is set at 1::1.9, which is what the Navy (and ALL other official U.S. government departments) use for their U.S. Flags. you might want to consider re-measuring your Flag just in case.

    I hope this helps!

    Robin Hickman
    Eugene, Oregon, USA.
  3. brianwt108

    brianwt108 New Member

    Thanks much for the info! I thought it was a Size 6 as well, but the measurements still seem a bit off.

    Any thoughts on the rarity/value of this version? I know in general, the Mare Island flags generally bump up the price a bit, but I'm also afraid that the size of this might also detract from the collector pool.
  4. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    Hi, Brian!

    I'm sorry, but antique/vintage Flag valuation is NOT in my scope of knowledge! I do not collect nor deal with "antique" or "vintage" Flags, so I am in no position to offer you any advice in that area. There are a number of "expert" members in these Forums who can render a much better "guess" as to the value of your Flag.

    I have managed (some how) to glean a few tidbits of good advice about Flags and some Flag-related materials and information. BUT..... I am NOT an expert!

    With older Flags, as with ALL other vintage/antique items, condition is everything.
    Good, high quality, photos REALLY help when trying to judge the quality from a "remote" location (ie. Over the internet).
    Smaller Flags, as a "general" rule, are more desireable to collectors than larger Flags, since they are much easier to display, store, and take care of.
    The proven "history", or "provenance", of a Flag (or any other vintage/antique item) can greatly increase its value.

    Good Luck & Best Wishes on the completion of your memorial project!!!

    Robin Hickman
    ("Your Friendly Neighborhood Flag Man")
    Eugene, Oregon, USA.
  5. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    Is it possible that the cotton heading has shrunk over time, disproportionate to the wool bunting of the rest of the flag?
    As far as value goes, unless it is in pristine condition, very large flags do not have a very large value as they are difficult to display. Only if your flag is in excellent condition with no stains or moth holes, or any other damage, would there be a market for selling it to a restaurant or bar or some other establishment that wants to display an impressive WW II era relic like that. You can check ebay for 48 star flags and looks at "completed listings" to see what comparable flags have sold for in the recent past, if any.

  6. csaanv

    csaanv Member

    Could you post some photos of you flag?

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