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Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags and Painted Furniture - 48 STAR U.S. NAVY JACK, MADE AT MARE ISLAND, CALIFORNIA, HEADQUARTERS OF THE PACIFIC FLEET, DURING WWII, DATED 1943
Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
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48 STAR U.S. NAVY JACK, MADE AT MARE ISLAND, CALIFORNIA, HEADQUARTERS OF THE PACIFIC FLEET, DURING WWII, DATED 1943

Web ID: 48j-1024
Available: In Stock
Frame Size (H x L): 46" x 61.5"
Flag Size (H x L): 34.5" x 49.75"
 
Description:
United States Navy jack with 48 stars, made during WWII (U.S. involvement 1941-45) at Mare Island, California, Headquarters of the Pacific Fleet. A black stencil along the hoist on the reverse side reads as follows: "Union Jack No 7 Mare Island Aug 1943." Located on the western edge of the City of Vallejo, about 23 miles northeast of San Francisco, Mare Island (actually a peninsula) served as a principal seat of U.S. Navy defense, beginning in the mid-19th century. The site was originally chosen following an expedition that set forth in 1850, when Commodore John Drake Sloat was ordered to lead a survey party in quest of a logical site for the nation's first Pacific naval installation. Sloat recommended the island across the Napa River from the settlement of Vallejo; it being "free from ocean gales and from floods and freshets." On November 6th of that year, two months after California was admitted to statehood, President Fillmore reserved Mare Island for government use. The U.S. Navy Department acted favorably on Commodore Sloat's recommendations and Mare Island was purchased in July, 1852, for the sum of $83,410 for the use as a naval shipyard. Two years later, on September 16th of 1854, Mare Island became the first permanent U.S. naval installation on the West Coast, with Commodore David G. Farragut serving as Mare Island's first base commander.

The base became home to what was known as the Pacific Fleet, and remained so until the threat of Japanese expansionism caused the shift to a more advanced position at Pearl Harbor. It was very active in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, but would eventually close in 1993 after Congress approved the findings of the Base Realignment and Closure Report.

Like the British Royal Navy, American vessels flew three flags. When at anchor or moored, the jack is flown at the bow (front), the national flag or "ensign" is flown at the stern (back), and the commission pennant is flown from the main mast. When under way, the Jack is furled and the ensign may be kept in place or shifted to a gaff if the ship is so equipped.

The American Navy jack is a blue flag with a field of white stars. The design is the mirror image of the canton of an American national flag. In scale, the jack was meant to be the same size as the canton of the corresponding Stars & Stripes ensign with which it was flown.

This particular example is made of wool bunting that has been bound with machine stitching. The rectangular patches of wool at the top and bottom of the hoist are called gussets. These are original to the flag's construction and were added for reinforcement at the points where it was subject to the most wear. The stars are made of cotton and are double-appliqu├ęd (applied to both sides) with a zigzag machine stitch. There is a heavy canvas binding along the hoist with four white metal grommets.

At 4 feet in length on the fly, this flag is slightly larger than the average example I encounter. While still extremely small for a Naval flag, and very manageable to frame and display, it has a significantly bolder impact than its 3-foot-long counterparts.

While the technical name for this type of flag was a "union jack," the confusing verbiage, being the same as the nickname of the most recognizable British flag, has resulted in a common shortening of the term to simply "the jack". Interestingly enough, the British Union Jack is not the proper name for that signal either. The design commonly called the "Union Jack" is actually the "Union Flag," though practically no one uses or is even familiar with the term. The only time that it can be properly called the "Union Jack" is when it is, in fact, flown as the jack on a British Navy ship. Because the British fly various national flags: the white ensign (Royal Navy), blue ensign (non-navy ships in public service), and red ensign (merchant ships), each of which is composed of a wide field the corresponding color, with the Union Flag design as its canton, the use of the Union Flag as the jack on Royal Navy ships employs the same logic as using the blue field with stars, without the red and white striped field, as the American jack.

The 48 star flag became official in 1912 following the addition of New Mexico and Arizona. 48 remained the official star count throughout WWI (U.S. involvement 1917-18), WWII, 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 background fabric is 100% hemp. Fabric of similar coloration was placed behind the flag during the mounting process. The black-painted, hand-gilded and distressed molding is Italian. The glazing is U.V. protective plexiglass.

Condition: There is minor foxing and staining in the blue cotton stars and hoist, accompanied by very minor mothing in the blue wool. Many of my clients prefer early flags to show their age.
   
Collector Level: Intermediate-Level Collectors and Special Gifts
Flag Type: Sewn flag
Star Count: 48
Earliest Date of Origin: 1943
Latest Date of Origin: 1943
State/Affiliation: California
War Association: WW 2
Price: Please call (717) 676-0545 or (717) 502-1281
Nautical: Yes
E-mail: info@jeffbridgman.com

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