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Antique American Flags

A website dedicated to the history, restoration, preservation and collecting of antique American flags.

Antique American Flag Experts

Who are the leading experts and dealers in flags?

David Martucci – Ex-President of NAVA (North American Vexillogical Association), ex-student of Whitney Smith (founder of NAVA and the first person to coin the term “Vexillology”). Dave has an expansive website with more information than you can possibly absorb in one visit.

Jeff Bridgman – The owner of Jeff R. Bridgman American Antiques is widely thought of as the leading dealer of early American flags in the country, stocking at least 1,000 examples at any given time. We have found that about 100 of these are usually available for viewing on his website, While a bit pricey, Jeff seems to always have the very best and the most extensive inventory of old American flags available. He has flags in all price ranges and even has nice material for beginners and gift-giving. His web site is a great resource for information on early American Stars & Stripes, and he also stocks antique and vintage Confederate flags, as well as British flags and patriotic American folk art and patriotic quilts. Jeff is known to be a giver of free advice and is a very active and fair buyer. So there is, in fact, sometimes a way to sell a flag quickly and avoid the uncertainty and high commission typically paid if selling at an auction house. Contact information follows:

Jeff R. Bridgman American Antiques
Historic York County, Pennsylvania
No open shop. Exhibits at about 40 antique shows/year.
(717) 502-1281

Grace Rodgers Cooper – Noted flag and textile specialist who worked at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Thought by some to be the nation’s leading expert in early American flags. Wrote three particularly good texts covering both the topic of flags and a separate but closely related issue, the history and development of the sewing machine. Now retired.

Star-Spangled Banner Project Team -- Paula Johnson & Marilyn Zoidis, curators; Suzanne Thomassen-Krauss, chief conservator; Lonn Taylor, historian; Ron Becker, project director. This is part of the administrative team that is responsible for the Star Spangled Banner restoration project at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. Direct your questions to:

Melinda Machado, Public Relations Officer
Office of Public Relations
National Museum of American History
Washington, DC 20560-0623
(202) 633-3129

Howard Madaus – Past chief curator at the Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and a former curator of the Cody Firearms Museum at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming. Madaus is widely accepted as today’s leading American and Confederate flag specialist within the museum world. His particular specialty is in flags of the American Civil War. He is known to posses one of the largest photographic collections of antique American flags and runs a company called Old Glory Flag Consultants, L.L.C., which evaluates and authenticates flags for a fee. Contact information follows:

Old Glory Flag Consultants, L.L.C.
c/o Howard Michael Madaus
2303 Valley Road
Harrisburg, PA 17104-1433

Dr. Harold Langley – Noted early American flag expert who formerly served as Curator of Naval History at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. Also the author of important publications. Now retired.

Whitney Smith, Ph.D. – Author of more than 30 books on flags. A specialist in symbolism and design within flags of all nationalities, and also the history of flags across the timeline of human existence. Dr. Smith was the first person to coin the term “Vexillollogy”, which has become widely accepted as the term for the study of flags. Today he runs a private company in Winchester, Massachusetts called The Flag Research Center. Charges an hourly rate for professional advice. Contact information follows:

The Flag Research Center
c/o Whitney Smith, Ph.D.
P.O. Box 580
Wincester, MA 01890-0880

Fonda Ghiardi Thomsen – Widely thought of as the leading preservationist and conservator of early flags, also doing fabric and flag construction analysis. Fonda owns a company called Textile Preservation Associates, Inc. She formerly worked for the National Park Service in textile conservation. Today she does work for both museums and private organizations. Some view her as costly, but the best in her field. Contact information follows:

Textile Preservation Associates, Inc.
c/o Fonda Ghiardi Thomsen
P.O. Box 60
Keedysville, MD 21756