Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
Sold Flags


Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): 46.75" x 30"
Flag Size (H x L): 37" x 19.75"
Like the men that they represent, antique Marine Corps textiles and are both few in number and highly revered. Across the 4 major branches of the service that existed until following WWII (U.S. involvement 1941-45), examples relating to the Marine Corps are by far the scarcest.

Most of what is seen in patriotic cloth, meaning pennants, banners, flags, pillow covers, etc., is, in fact, non-branch specific. Most were made to honor soldiers, to raise money for the war drive, to welcome men and women home after a tour of duty, or to decorate halls and parade routes. When branch-specific objects are encountered, they are typically found in the form of pennants with generic reference, i.e, text that simply reads "U.S. Army," or that commemorates the respective military academy, or some other location, such as a fort or ship. Then there are son-in-service banners, hung in the window of a family, a business, or an organization, when family members, friends or employees went off to war. These sometimes list the branch, and are sometimes specific to a role within it, such as "U.S. Army Air Corps," or "Medical," or "Serving in the Waves."

This United States Marine Corps banner is unique in my experience. Made of golden yellow cotton sateen and vertical in its orientation, the large, scarlet red letters form "USMC" on a left-to right diagonal. Note their attractive style with fanciful serifs. Produced in the WWI era (U.S. involvement 1917-18), or shortly thereafter there is an open sleeve along the top edge, through which a rod could be inserted for display, and a long gold fringe at along the bottom, made of twisted silk floss with decorative trim. Due to the lustrous sheen of the fabric, the saturated colors, and the interesting font, the presentation is especially fine.

Not only is this the first example that I have encountered in this style, it also happens to be the only generic Marine Corps banner of this scale, of any kind, that I ever recall seeing from this era, despite long experience with early flags and textiles. Banners for all branches of the service are unusual until the end of WWII and after, and those made for the USMC are scarce in any period.

It is of interest to note that the colors of scarlet and gold were not officially adopted until April 18th, 1925, and were not reflected in the official flag of the Marine Corps until January 18th, 1939. Prior to WWII, adherence to official guidelines with regard to just about anything related to flags, banners, and their associated seals, was loosely followed at the best of times. Variation was practically the rule, rather than the exception, with regard to all manner of heraldry in American, patriotic, governmental, and military flags. Because so little Marine Corps-related material surfaces in the private marketplace, it is difficult to make sweeping statements about what color something should or should not be, or what manner of images should appear, on any particular device, in any particular year. Due to the fabric employed, the lettering, and the basic elements of the banner’s construction, as well as the fact that many things had to become tradition before any sort of official adoption, production prior to 1925 is a significant possibility.

Construction: Made of cotton sateen with machine-sewn binding, printed lettering, and a twisted silk fringe along the lower edge.

Mounting: The banner was mounted and framed in our own conservation department, which is led by masters degree trained staff. We take great care in the mounting and preservation of flags and have framed thousands of examples. Feel free to contact us for more details.

The black-painted, hand-gilded, and distressed molding is Italian. The glazing is U.V. protective acrylic (Plexiglas).

Condition: There is extremely minor foxing and staining, but the over condition is excellent.
Collector Level: Intermediate-Level Collectors and Special Gifts
Flag Type: Sewn flag
Star Count:
Earliest Date of Origin: 1910
Latest Date of Origin: 1930
War Association: WW 1
Price: SOLD

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