Flying Tigers Flag, ca. 1941
When you pulled this flag out of the box, I was stunned. It's got to be one of the finest World War II-vintage flags I've ever seen. Why don't you tell me a little bit about whose flag it was and how you came to receive it?
The flag was the property of Bill Reed, who was a pilot with the Flying Tigers during World War II. He was with the original American Volunteer Group, better known as the AVG, who went to China in 1941. During his Flying Tiger days at the American Volunteer Group, Bill had ten-and-a-half planes destroyed.
And then he went on to score more victories with the 14th Air Force.
And then he went on in the 14th Air Force and scored eight kills.
And then you indicated that he was tragically killed in an air mishap in 1944.
Yes, he was on a mission in December of 1944, and returning from the mission, the airfield was under alert. There was no lights for the planes to land, and they ran out of gas, and when he bailed out, the rear of the plane struck him.
And he did achieve the rank of lieutenant colonel, I think you said-- okay.
Well, let me tell you about your flag. What this is, is a flag of the headquarters of the First American Volunteer Group, otherwise known as the AVG, or the Flying Tigers. It's Chinese-made, it's made out of silk, completely hand-embroidered, and at the bottom, as you can see, it says "First American Volunteer Group." And then it has the Chinese characters on the side, as well. I've never seen one of these in person. You've never had this appraised or had any idea what it's worth, have you?
No, I haven't.
Well, this flag would probably bring between $20,000 and $40,000. It's a very unique item, it's a very colorful unit, it's highly collected. World War II American aviation is one of the most sought-after areas of World War II collectibles, and especially the AVG. What I would suggest you do with this flag, though, is have it professionally conserved, because you are getting some foxing spots on it and some stains. Silk flags are very brittle. They deteriorate quite rapidly, although this one's in beautiful condition. But I would talk to somebody about having it properly conserved. Because this is a true treasure, and it should be preserved for generations to come, and it was a pleasure seeing it. Thank you.
Thank you very much.
Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.
Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."
Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.
Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.
Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.
Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts' opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.
Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser's picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.
Summer Night Concerts
Relax with four amazing concerts from the Vienna Philharmonic and special guests.