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QUESTION: I found an american flag with 48 stars and the following on it.
" Funeral Ensign no 7 Mare Island 1933"
Can you give me any history that it might have.
My father was in the Pacific in WWII and i think he brought it home from the war.

ANSWER: The Navy made its own flags at Mare Island up to a certain date, the cut-off of which I don't know with certainty, because my focus is on the 19th century through WWI.  Though I venture into WWII some, the value of flags after the 1st quarter or so of the 20th century precludes my focusing on them too heavily.  I am a dealer in early flags.

Mare Island was the headquarters of the Pacific Fleet.  If they stopped making flags, they probably bought them from commercial makers and still marked them.  I have seen black stencils with Mare Island as late as 1944.

I have never seen one marked in this fashion.  Are you certain it says "Funeral"?

In any event, a flag was given for each veteran when he/she passed away.  My dad received one from the Army in 2000 when he passed, even though he had served in the 1950's.  It's arranged through the funeral home actually, which fills out the necessary paperwork with the Veteran's Administration.

That's a peculiar mark, in any event.  Look at the text again to be sure it reads "Funeral".  Did your grandfather perhaps pass away sometime in or after 1933?

Jeff Bridgman
Jeff R. Bridgman American Antiques

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: checking the stenciled marking it reads
My grandfather was in WWI but i don't think this was his.
I was told that many of the Mare Island flags were given to the Marines
for the Marines who died on IWO JIMA.  I have not read this and can not find any imformation on it.
Thanks for the information.

Jim Doner

I have never heard that about Marines being gifted flags, but then again, 20th century military practices and wars are not my first focus.  I doubt this was the case, but it is possible.

Sorry I could not be of further assistance.

Warmest Regards,



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Jeff Bridgman


I am an expert in antique American flags, particularly in Stars & Stripes flag, both printed and sewn varieties. I also have expertise in antique Confederate flags. I am not an expert in flag etiquette and flag laws, so please don't ask me questions concerning where and how to fly modern American flags. My particular focus is on the 19th century, when there basically were no laws or rules of formal etiquette.


I am the world's largest buyer and seller of antique flags. I also have 25 years of experience selling other early American textiles.

Antiques Dealers Association of America (ADA); Antiques Counci; Antiques & Arts Dealer's League of America (AADLA); Cinoa; North American Vexillogical Association (NAVA)

The Magazine Antiques, FOCUS (Journal of the Antiques Council), Antiques and the Arts Weekly, Northeast, New England Antiques Journal, Chubb Collectors [Chubb Insurance Group], Country Home Magazine, Country Living Magazine, etc.

Graduate Degree, 1994

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