Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
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EXTRAORDINARY WWII LIBERATION FLAG WITH 48 SAWTOOTH STARS, THEIR NUMBER OF POINTS VARYING FROM 11 TO 16, AND A COMPLEMENT OF 10 STRIPES; MADE TO WELCOME U.S. TROOPS IN FRANCE IN 1944, FOLLOWING LIBERATION FROM THE GERMANS; AMONG THE BEST OF ITS KIND KNOWN TO EXIST; FOUND IN A PARIS ATTIC

EXTRAORDINARY WWII LIBERATION FLAG WITH 48 SAWTOOTH STARS, THEIR NUMBER OF POINTS VARYING FROM 11 TO 16, AND A COMPLEMENT OF 10 STRIPES; MADE TO WELCOME U.S. TROOPS IN FRANCE IN 1944, FOLLOWING LIBERATION FROM THE GERMANS; AMONG THE BEST OF ITS KIND KNOWN TO EXIST; FOUND IN A PARIS ATTIC

Web ID: 48j-1056
Available: In Stock
Frame Size (H x L): 54.25" x 57"
Flag Size (H x L): Approx. 43.5" x 46"
 
Description:
French-made variant of the Stars & Stripes with 48 stars, 10 stripes, and extraordinary graphics. Found in an attic in Paris, the flag is indicative of examples produced in make-do fashion, during WWII (American involvement 1941-45) by the private citizens of Europe. Such flags were displayed with great emotion upon the arrival of Allied Forces into one town or city after the next, following the liberation of each community from the Nazi Germany. In France, this took place in 1944. Paris itself was liberated that year between the 19th and the 25th of August.

The stars of the flag are unique in my experience among all early American flags and across all periods. With the number of points varying between 11 and 16—too many to easily count—their sawtooth-like perimeters present like chrysanthemums or illustrations of the sun, a fitting format, actually, for an American flag made to celebrate the end of the horrors of the Second World War. Note how the stars, which overlap the seams of the canton on the top, fly, and bottom edges, were obviously added after the canton and stripes were joined. Both their shape and their placement add a whimsical characteristic to the overall design, the characteristics of which are especially modernistic.

Made entirely of cotton, the stars are double-appliquéd (applied to both sides) with a circle of widely-spaced hand stitches, indicative of the need for both haste in manufacture and the level of difficulty required for formal appliqué work, which is hard for many seamstresses, especially with something like a star, and would require extreme skill for something with this intricate profile.

The count of stripes simply results from the fact that Europeans were un familiar with the appropriate number. Because the number of states, and thus the number of stars on the American flag, were also unlikely to have been general knowledge outside the United States, liberation flags often didn’t display the correct star count either. In this instance, that part happens to be correct. The 48-star, 13-stripe flag became official in 1912, following the addition of New Mexico and Arizona. It remained the official flag throughout WWI (U.S. involvement 1917-1918), WWII, and the Korean War (1950-53), until Alaska gained statehood in 1959 and the 49th star was added.

The stripes of the flag were pieced and joined by machine, probably of the treadle-operated sort, given the probability of the lack of electricity during wartime within the general populous. Due to the scarcity of materials caused by the circumstances of war, the fabric used in the flag’s manufacture was likely ascertained by deconstructing something else, using whatever materials were available. Sometimes evidence of this is more apparent and sometimes less-so. Here it can be seen near the end of the 1st white stripe, where a length of machine stitching was apparently removed from the fabric before the fabric was sewn into the textile.

Note how the canton was inserted into a red stripe. When the placement is on or within a red stripe, some flag historians have referred to this as the “blood stripe” or the “war stripe”, suggesting the flag was constructed in this fashion when the nation was at war. In actuality, the placement probably occurred more often by accident. Not everyone knew where the canton was traditionally positioned, and because there was no official specification until 1912, there was no regulation with regard to this aspect. Certainly there was likely to be no understanding of this in France. Curiously, when the rare circumstance is present, it does tend to appear in flags of the American Civil War, in the homemade flags of WWI, and in European-made Liberation flags. Whatever the reason, the war stripe feature is both scarce and highly coveted by collectors.

Due to the combination of the flag’s exceptionally graphic and unusual features, this is simply one of the best Liberation examples I have ever encountered. I can think of just one other, single flag that I would call its equal, which I also had the great privilege to own and previously placed in a private collection.

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

The background fabric is 100% cotton twill, black in color, that has been washed and treated for color-fastness. The mount was placed in a deep, cove-shaped molding with a very dark brown surface, nearly black, and a rope-style inner lip, to which a flat profile molding, with a finish like old gun metal, was added as a liner. The glazing is U.V. Protective acrylic (Plexiglas). Feel free to contact us for more details.

Condition: The overall condition is extraordinary. There are tack holes, small, associated tears and rust stains along the hoist end of the flag, where it was actually wound around the staff and affixed in two vertical rows. There is a small scattering of black paint in the bottom, hoist-end corner. There is extremely minor oxidation of the white fabric, throughout, and a limited number of very minor stains. Many of my clients prefer early flags to show their age and history of use.
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Collector Level: Flags for the truest Patriots. My best offerings
Flag Type:
Star Count: 48
Earliest Date of Origin: 1944
Latest Date of Origin: 1944
State/Affiliation: Arizona
War Association: WW 2
Price: Please call (717) 676-0545 or (717) 502-1281
E-mail: info@jeffbridgman.com


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