Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
Antique Flags > American Flags


Web ID: pat-590
Available: In Stock
Frame Size (H x L): 37.25" x 49.5"
Flag Size (H x L): 22.5" x 36" (just banner)
Made during the First World War, this extraordinary banner of the American Red Cross is the only example of any kind that I have ever encountered with graphics beyond the generic scarlet symbol on a white ground. Decorative letters read as follows:

"The Red Cross Needs You; Join Now; Be Patriotic--Be Humane."

Made of cotton, the textile is an exceptional piece of American folk art. Even though it wasn't exactly produced as such, it falls soundly into this category, with its whimsical, varied lettering, blue, hand-sewn binding, and the graphic impact of its large red ties. The style looks way more like mid-late 19th century printed advertising than an early 20th century banner, and would fit beautifully into an early American setting.

The small pin-back, affixed in the lower right-hand corner, was issued in 1918 to members of the War Savings Service. Founded to promote patriotism and participation on the home front, members pledged to save money where possible, buy war savings stamps, and recruit other members to make the same pledge.

The black lettering and red cross are printed on a white, plain weave, cotton ground. Below the horizontal dash, in the bottom center, is the Union Bee. This denotes that the banner was printed with union labor. Although the text within the bee cannot be read, that along the top arch and the center would almost certainly read "Allied Printing Trades Council; Union Label." Below this would be the location. A numeric designation next to the mark appears to read "184" or "164." Unfortunately, this was not enough information to make an attribution.

Mounting: The banner has been hand-stitched to 100% cotton, black in color, which was washed to reduce excess dye. An acid-free agent was added to the wash to further set the dye, which was heat-treated for the same purpose. The mount was placed in a black-painted, hand-gilded and distressed Italian molding. The glazing is U.V. protective acrylic.

Condition: There is modest foxing and staining throughout. There is a closed, L-shaped tear beneath the dash in the slogan, that runs through the Union Bee. This was easily stabilized during the mounting process. Many of my clients prefer early flags to show their age and history of use. The rarity of this example, accompanied by its early date, well-warrants the condition.
Collector Level: Advanced Collectors and the Person with Everything
Flag Type:
Star Count:
Earliest Date of Origin: 1917
Latest Date of Origin: 1918
War Association: WW 1
Price: Please call (717) 676-0545 or (717) 502-1281

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