Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
Sold Flags


Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): Approx. 54.5" x 79"
Flag Size (H x L): 42.5" x 67"
Many states had no official flag until the turn-of-the-20th century. This was true even of some states that entered during the 18th century, such as Tennessee, which joined the Union as the 16th state on June 1st, 1796.

Although a version of the Confederate 1st national flag, with a rendition of the Tennessee state seal in the canton, was proposed to become the state flag in 1861, the opening year of the Civil War, the design was never adopted. In 1897, long after the war and Reconstruction ended, the first of two subsequent designs was selected by the Tennessee General Assembly. This consisted of a tricolor, in red, blue, and white, with the divisions set at a rather odd, upward angle from left to right when viewed on the obverse (front). These were to reflect three distinct geographic regions within the state, east, middle, and west. In the blue center, at yet a different angle, was Tennessee’s slogan: “The Volunteer State,” in yellow, while the number “16” appeared on the white section to reflect its order within the progression of states.

The final design was adopted on April 17th, 1905. Designed by Colonel Le Ry Reeves, a member of the Tennessee National Guard, this has earned the nickname “tri-star” for rather obvious reasons. In the center, in a circular blue window with a white border, are three white stars. Clustered to show unity, this device is set upon a crimson red field. At the extreme fly end are a narrow, vertical, white bar, followed by a wider blue one.

This particular example of the Tennessee state flag was made by the Annin company in New York City in the period between the 1920’s and the 1940’s. The red ground is made of heavy cotton bunting and is pieced in two lateral sections by machine. The stars, blue circle, and surrounding white border are made of lightweight cotton and are double-appliqued (applied to both sides). Both the stars and the border are sewn with a zigzag machine stitch. There is a heavy canvas binding along the hoist with two zinc grommets. Along this, near the top, on the obverse, is an Annin maker’s stamp in blue and red ink with the “Defiance” brand name. This is followed by the given measurements“4x6 FT.” Near the bottom, also on the obverse, are penciled inscriptions with the abbreviated state’s name “TENN,” traced in blue penn, followed by “40,” to notate its position in order. Presumably this was hung with flags for the other 47 states present at the time. Tennessee was the 40th alphabetically.

Brief Information on the Annin Company:
Annin is our nation's eldest flag-maker that is still in business today. The company was founded in the 1830's, incorporated in 1847, and was located in New York until the 1960’s, when it moved to Verona, New Jersey. While some sources that record makers of military goods lack reference to specific military contracts with Annin, their Wikipedia entry might explain why. The narrative states: "…the U.S. Signal Corps requisitioned all its wartime flags from Annin Flagmakers for the Civil War. An undated newspaper article in Annin's 1860's archives states: "Without going through forms of contract, Annin supplied the government direct." "…As the war progressed, orders came pouring in from every state and city that was loyal to the Union, so that by the beginning of 1864, there was not a single battlefield, a brigade or a division that did not use Annin flags."

Mounting: The flag was mounted and framed within our own conservation department, which is led by expert trained staff. We take great care in the mounting and preservation of flags and have framed thousands of examples.

The background is 100% hemp fabric, ivory in color. The black-painted, hand-gilded, and distressed molding is Italian. The glazing is U.V. protective plexiglass. Feel free to contact us for more details.

Condition: There is modest to moderate oxidation and soiling in the white canvas and cotton. There are round nicks at the top and bottom of the binding, which were then stitched for reinforcement. There is a minor, torn area in one of the stars, on the reverse. There is minor to modest soiling in the red field. Many of my clients like vintage flags to show their age and history of use.
Collector Level: Beginners and Holiday Gift Giving
Flag Type: Sewn flag
Star Count:
Earliest Date of Origin: 1920
Latest Date of Origin: 1949
State/Affiliation: Tennessee
War Association: WW 2
Price: SOLD

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