Wednesday, September 9, 2009


FlagsQ: My parents found this handkerchief in a trunk in the 1970s. It is silk and has the flags of six countries in the corners. There seems to be the word "Depose" in the lower right near the scales. We would love to know the meaning of it and its worth.

A: The flags (clockwise from the top) represent Great Britain, Belgium, France, Russia, Serbia, and Italy, countries involved in the outbreak of World War I. In 1914 Germany declared war on Belgium, France, and Russia; then Great Britain and Serbia declared war on Germany. Italy declared war on Germany in 1915. The flag pictured was the official flag of Italy from 1914 until 1917. The men pictured are the leaders of those countries, King Peter of Serbia, King George V of Great Britain, King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, Czar Nicholas II of Russia, King Albert of Belgium, and President Raymond Poincare of France. The woman in the center of the handkerchief holds the scales of justice and has one arm over two girls. The big black bow worn by one of the girls shows that she is from Alsace-Lorraine, part of Germany from 1871 to 1918. Women and girls in Alsace-Lorraine wore bows that were sometimes over a yard wide. Protestants wore black bows, and Catholic girls wore colored bows. "Depose" is French and means that the design is registered. Your handkerchief may have been made to commemorate an event or alliance, or may just have been a patriotic souvenir. It's an interesting handkerchief and a graphic history lesson. It could be worth $50 to someone interested in World War I history.

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