Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
Sold Flags


Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): 13.5" x 11.5"
Flag Size (H x L): 7.75" x 6.5"
The practice of displaying a son-in-service banner became popular during WWI (U.S. involvement 1917-18) and was continued or even increased during WWII (U.S. involvement 1941-45). Families would display them in their front windows to signify the numbers of sons they had serving in the military during the war. There was one star for each child. The flags were traditionally composed of a rectangular white field with a blue star or stars, framed by a rectangular red border. Typically, if a soldier was killed, a gold star was applied over the blue. If other circumstances occurred, such as the soldier became a prisoner of war or missing in action, another color was used, such as purple or white. There was a whole list of colors to signify different statuses.

This particular example dates to WWI, which places it among the earliest of the form. The design is branch-specific, which makes it more unusual than the average pennant. Embroidered with red, white, and blue silk thread, on a felt ground, the words “U.S. Navy” appear along the top, followed by a graphical representation of a son-in-service banner that features a single, blue star, followed by an anchor, on which the abbreviation “U.S.N.” is superimposed. The red silk thread has faded to an attractive salmon. The background, which I have also seen in Navy blue, is, in this case, a drab, olive green. I would expect that this had faded, if it were not for the fact that I know all branches of the service were produced in this color, and if the crimped, metal bars, that bind the top and bottom edges, were not also green. A small metal ring—original to the construction, is affixed to the upper bar for hanging.

Son-In-Service banners that include the branch of the military in which the soldier served are more scarce than those that are non-specific. WWI examples in general, especially in this felt style, with embroidered elements, are especially scarce.

Mounting: The banner 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 mount was placed in a two-part frame that consists of a paint-decorated, antique molding that is circa 1890-1910, to which a modern molding, that is constructed of wood, but has a finish that presents like antique iron with rusted nail heads, was added as a cap. The latter has a deep, shadowbox profile, which gives substance to the object. The banner has been hand-stitched to 100% hemp fabric or a hemp & cotton blend (we use both interchangeably). The glazing is U.V. protective plexiglass.

Condition: Modest fading, as described above.
Collector Level: Beginners and Holiday Gift Giving
Flag Type:
Star Count: Other
Earliest Date of Origin: 1917
Latest Date of Origin: 1918
War Association: WW 1
Price: SOLD

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