As you prep for the Fourth of July, it’s a good time to reflect on the flag.
Not the TV-anchor lapel pins. Not the magnets affixed to car doors (‘member those?). Hell, not even the cover of a Springsteen album.
Talking the real deal here. And for that, you need to have words with Jeff Bridgman, the world’s largest collector and peddler of antique American flags.
There was no set flag design before 1912, so most antique flags in Bridgman’s collection feature an astounding array of star patterns, hidden messages and wackadoodle proportions. Each piece has its own story.
- A 34-foot, hand-sewn pennant commissioned by the Navy during the Civil War.
- A 31-star silk configuration celebrating California's statehood, as found in the home of a Gettysburg soldier.
- A parade flag made for the Lincoln/Johnson presidential ticket of 1864 featuring a rare “wreath of stars” pattern.
These flags aren’t cheap (you have to call for each model's price). The focus here is on authenticity and history, not bargain-hunting.
But hey, what price freedom?