Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
Sold Flags


Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): Approx. 44" x 69"
Flag Size (H x L): 32" x 57"
48 star American national flag, made by the Annin Company, likely during World War II (U.S. involvement 1941-1945). Constructed of cotton, the stars are double-appliquéd (applied to both sides) with a zigzag machine stitch. The stripes are pieced and joined with lineal, machine stitching. There is a sailcloth, canvas binding along the hoist with two white metal grommets, one each at the top and bottom. An applied tag, near the top, on the obverse of the binding, is largely illegible, but enough of the text remains to identify it. This tag is known to have been in use between at least 1935 and 1943. The text (some absent) read as follows: “The Name Annin Guarantees Quality; Defiance; Reg U.S. Pat. Off.; Two Ply – Moth Proof; Guaranteed Defiance Fast Colors.” Defiance was an brand name within the Annin line. Other brand names used included "High Grade," "Sterling," "Republic," etc..

Annin is our nation's eldest flag-maker that is still in business today. Annin is our nation's eldest flag-maker that is still in business today. The company was founded in the 1820's on the New York waterfront, incorporated in 1847, and, though it opened a large manufacturing operation in Verona, New Jersey in 1916, maintained its head office and some production in Manhattan until 1960. 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." The company itself reports that it provided the flag that was laid over the casket of Abraham Lincoln and that it supplied the flags hung at every presidential inauguration from 1849 onward, until at least the 1980’s.

With the massive need for flags throughout WWII, Annin supplied thousands to the U.S. military. The grommets show evidence of probable use around saltwater, and the degradation of the fabric in the stars suggests the same. Those flown on land seldom experience loss of this nature. Likely this was a small boat flag and, while it has no known specific history, I think it likely that it saw maritime use in some function on a Navy craft of some nature.

Whatever the case may be, the flag displays legitimate wear, clear evidence of extensive use, and is beautiful because of it.

The 48 star flag became official in 1912 following the addition of New Mexico and Arizona. It remained the official flag throughout WWI (U.S. involvement 1917-18), WWII (U.S. involvement 1941-45), and the Korean War (1950-53), until Alaska gained statehood in 1959 and the 49th star was added.

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 black-painted, hand-gilded, and distressed molding is Italian. The background is 100% cotton twill, black in color, that was washed and treated for colorfastness. The glazing is U.V. protective acrylic.

Condition: There is modest to moderate loss in a large number of the stars, and significant loss in some. There are moderate to significant losses in the striped field, below the canton. There are moderate losses at or near the fly end of the 1st, 3rd, 8th, and 11th stripes, modest of the same in the 12th stripe, and significant in the last. There are minor to modest holes elsewhere in the stripes. There is moderate to significant water staining below the canton, some water staining along the hoist, and there is moderate to significant, golden brown oxidation throughout the white stripes. There is minor to modest fading of the red and blue pigments. The grommets have significant calcium deposits. Many of my clients prefer early flags to show their age and history of use.
Collector Level: Intermediate-Level Collectors and Special Gifts
Flag Type: Sewn flag
Star Count: 48
Earliest Date of Origin: 1940
Latest Date of Origin: 1945
State/Affiliation: Arizona
War Association: WW 2
Price: SOLD

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