Obverse 2

Obverse 2


U.S. 48 Star Flag - USN Boat Flag MI Size 12.

Sub-collection: U.S. Naval

U.S. 48 Star Flag - USN Boat Flag MI Size 12.
This is a small, machine sewn, double appliquéd, 48 star U.S. flag made in 1919 as a U.S. Navy boat flag. It was intended for use on the small boats that were carried aboard larger warships, which were used to ferry personnel and goods from ship to shore. During the last three decades of the 19th century, and through 1916, the boat flags made by or for the U.S. navy bore 13 stars arranged in a staggered pattern of five horizontal rows of 3-2-3-2-3. Since 1916 they have born the full complement of stars as in this example.

The 1914 Navy regulations provided for four sizes of boat flags. The No. 9 measured 80.28" on the fly, the No. 10 measured 66.12", the No. 11 measured 54", and the No. 12 measured 29.88". the heading of this flag is stenciled with the size marking U.S. Ensign No. 12. In addition the heading indicates that the flag was made at the Mare Island Navy Yard in California in July of 1919. To the great aid of future flag scholars, the manufacturing data was included in the headings of the U.S. Navy boat flags, for the last 25 years of their production.

Mare Island was the first Navy Yard in California, and was established in 1854 by then Commander Glasgow Farragut. Mare Island Naval Ship Yard, or MINSY, established a flag loft very early in its existence, from which at least one Boat Flag from the 1850's and, made at Mare Island is known to exist. Historians believe that MINSY employed Mexican-American War widows to sew flags and ensigns. This employment was an early form of relief for families before the establishment of widow's pensions after the American Civil War.

MINSY continued to make flags until the 1960's when the U.S. Navy closed the Flag Lofts, and changed to a more centrally managed contract system run by the Defense Supply Agency. During WWII MINSY was supported by smaller facilities located in San Diego and Puget Sound. Through these smaller facilities MINSY supplied most of the flags and ensigns used in the Pacific during WWII. This included the No. 11 ensign made at MINSY in 1944, which was the first flag raised by the U.S. Marines on Mt. Suribachi in Iwo Jima in February of 1945.

Small Ship Yard made flags, like this one are rare, and highly prized by collectors.

• Made at Navy Yard Mare Island, CA, July 1919.
• Acquired by unidentified U.S. Marine.
• Acquired by Brian Manifore, Nevada City, CA, until 2008.
• Purchase on Internet Auction by Eniko Varga, Reno, Nevada for Zaricor Flag Collection, 1999.


U.S. Department of the Navy, Bureau of Construction and Repair. Flags of Maritime Nations. Washington: GPO, 1914.

Flag Sizes, Naval History & Heritage Command, 19 June 2013, from: http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq129-1.htm

US Navy "Boat" Flag, 19 June 2013, from:

Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Wikipedia, 19 June 2013, from:

Zaricor Flag Collection (ZFC) Archives, 2013.

Image Credits:
Zaricor Flag Collection

Hoist & Fly

Width of Hoist 18.25
Length of Fly 30


Width of Union/Canton 10
Length of Union/Canton 13.5


Comments on Star Measurements 8-8-8-8-8-8 horizontal rows
Size of Stars 1


Width of 1st Stripe 2
Width of 3rd Stripe 2
Width of 8th Stripe 1.5
Width of Last Stripe 1.675
Size of Hoist 2


Is it framed? yes
Frame Height 24
Frame Length 38


Number of Stars 48
How are the stars embeded? Sewn
Are there stars on obverse? yes
Are there stars on reverse? yes


Number of Stripes 13
Color of Top Stripe Red
Color of Bottom Stripe Red
Has a Blood Stripe? no
Comments on Stripes Shorts & longs are made from different dye lots, discoloring at a different rate.


Description of Crest/Emblem Heading marked:
"No. 12 US E Mare Island July 1919


Nation Represented United States


Fabric Wool


Stitching Machine


Type of Weave Plain


Method of Attachment Headings & Grommets


Applique Sides Single Faced = Mirror Image Reverse


All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.
All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.
Research Documents
All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.
Public Copy & Signs
All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.


Condition Good
Damage Used, worn with light mothing
Displayable yes


Date 1919