Q&A with Ben Zaricor, American flag collector

Discussion in 'Flag Identification and Collecting' started by csaanv, Aug 7, 2011.

  1. csaanv

    csaanv Member

    Not many people can say they are guardians of history. Yet one of the select few is Ben Zaricor, whose collection of American and foreign flags is the largest in the world. With the Zaricor Flag Collection — which includes more than 3,000 artifacts —on display at the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Va., through Friday, the dedicated collector spoke to The Hill about how future generations will judge this age of American history, what the U.S. and Afghan flags have in common and picking favorites among all of his “children.â€￾

    More Interview: Q&A with Ben Zaricor, American flag collector - TheHill.com

    Link to collection: ZFC - Home

    13 star flag_1.jpg
  2. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Several of us had the opportunity to meet Mr. Zaricor and see his display at the 24th International Congress of Vexillology last week. He also gave an interesting talk on Thursday about the use of cotton in 18th century American flags.

    Peter Ansoff
  3. AmericaHurrah

    AmericaHurrah Member

    Does Ben think he owns any 18th century cotton flags?
  4. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    The question is whether or not the stars and heading are made of cotton or linen. English-made wool bunting was used for the canton and stripes. And yes, Mr. Zaricor does believe he has 13 star flags from the 18th century. There has been a lot of research on early American fabrics since Grace Rogers Cooper wrote "Thirteen Star Flags - Keys to Identification."

    Nick A
    Columbia MD
  5. Seabees

    Seabees New Member

    I have a 48 star flag(torn and Tatered) that was given to me by a veteran uncle of ww11 with the words "ENSIGN 11 MARE ISLAND 1942".
    How can i find its history, as I would like to have it framed,sealed and displayed.
  6. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    You already have all of the available history, unless your uncle can tell you where he obtained the flag. "Ensign" is the navy term for the National Flag flown at the stern of a warship. The "jack" is flown at the bow, and it only consists of the white stars on the blue canton. "Ensign 11" is the size designation.

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

    The Size 11 ensign would likely fly on a boat used to ferry sailors from a dock to a ship. I don't know of any ships that would routinely fly an ensign that small.

    "Mare Island" is the former shipyard in San Francisco Bay where the flag was made. "1942" is the date of manufacture.

    Nick A

    Columbia MD
  7. ksmith

    ksmith New Member

    My husband has his uncles flag from his burial in 1955. His uncle died a POW in S Korea. It is unique to us because it has 48 stars that are brown on the front and white on the back. We are trying to find out if there is a significance for this or the history behind it.
  8. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    The method to make the 48 stars started with laying down a sheet of white cotton. Then the blue canton was placed on top of that. Then they put 48 stars in their proper place, one by one, on the front. Those stars on the front of the flag were treated with a chemical to make them stiff so that they would be easier to work with and place in their proper location. The next part of the process was to sew the stars onto the canton, but sewing them with that sheet of white cotton behind so the stitching went through that layer, too. Then the "extra" white cotton was cut away from the back side, leaving 48 white stars on the back in the exact same location as the stars on the front. The white cotton on the back did not need to be siffened, so it was not chemically treated. The chemical caused the stars on the front to turn brown over the last half-century, but the untreated cotton on the back stayed white.

    It is not uncommon to find old 48-star flags with tan or "golden" stars on one side that were made this way. The "golden stars" have no significance, they are just discolored.

    Nick A
    Columbia, Maryland
  9. ksmith

    ksmith New Member

    obviously not all flags were made that way. was it a certain flag maker? we had been told they were specifically used for burial flags for POW's. Is there a way to find out how many flags were made using this method?
  10. csaanv

    csaanv Member

    Hello ksmith,
    You are asking some good questions. I have to concur with my friend Nick as to the real cause of the golden stars but I think it would be useful to gather all the data from those flags to get a better picture as to what happen to those flags. We know Valley Forge Flag has been a major supplier of burial flags since WWII but there were other companies that were also contracted to make burial flags too. Does the flag you have in your possession have any markings on the header as to who the maker would be?
  11. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    There's an extensive discussion of the "gold star" question in this thread:


    The story about someone manufacturing gold starred-flags for veterans seems to be a popular legend, but I have yet to see any actual documentation, first-hand account, or anything else that would suggest it's true. It appears to be one of those appealing stories that just won't die.

    Peter Ansoff
  12. csaanv

    csaanv Member

    You are so right Peter. If there was such a special flag made for POWs or MoH veterans it would probably take an executive order to have those flags made. Again, there is no evidence of such an order, no paper trail to follow. I am going to try to keep a log of past and future post that mention the Goldern Star flags in order to gather basic data in hopes of finding common characteristics of these flags.

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