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i have aquired a  valley  forge  flag   ensign number 7  it was  from a cousin  who drowned  while in nthe navy in 1948  it is  embroiders  stars??   can you tell  me  anything  abt  it  it is  more sentimentel  than  monitary  value  but  would like to know if i  should insure it?  thnak you

Answer
Hi.

The 48 star flag became official on July 4th, 1912 and remained so until July 3rd, 1859.  It was therefore our national flag during 3 major wars:  WWI (U.S. involvement 1917-18), WWI (U.S. involvement 1941-45) and the Korean War (1950-53).  We were highly industrialized by this period of course and commercial flag production was done entirely by machine.  The quantity made throughout this 47-year time frame was massive.

Before 1912 there was no official star pattern for the American national flag.  In 1912 President Howard Taft passed an executive order that created, for the first time, an official star configuration.  This consisted of 6 justified rows of 8 stars.  Taft's order also dictated such things as the shape of the stars (5-pointed), the shades of red and blue, and the flag's proportions.  Flag collectors prefer unusual star patterns and interesting graphics that are not typically seen on 48 stars flags, most all of which conform to Taft's order, are plain and ordinary.

It is for this reason that most 48 star flags are common and thus lack significant value as antiques.

That having been said, there are some 48 star flags that are valuable.  These include, for example, flags that have interesting specific history that can be widely appreciated and flags that are highly unusual with interesting graphics, such as circular star patterns, flags with 8-pointed stars, etc.

Valley Forge Flag Company evolved from a firm that opened its doors in 1882, but the company didn't make flags until almost 40 years later.  The Valley Forge brand name began use during the Depression, but most all of the Valley Forge flags I see are WWII or after--usually after.  They are very common, so whenever I see their tags I instinctively move on to the next flag because more often than not their label is usually synonymous with the words "relatively new" and "not an antique".

Warm Regards,

Jeff  

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Jeff Bridgman

Expertise

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.

Experience

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

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

Publications
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.

Education/Credentials
Graduate Degree, 1994

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