A fascinating category of items with a typically smaller, more tightly-knit group of collectors, is battle flags. Also known as a war flag, military flag or sometimes standard, battle flags are generally a variant of a country’s official flag created for use by its military forces while on land. The use of battle flags is becoming obsolete with most forces choosing to utilize the standard national flag of their country instead. The use of battle flags, for use as field signs, dates back as far as the Bronze Age. History shows that the use of battle flags was particularly prevalent during medieval times. Battle flags can sometimes attract the ire of protestors, as in the case of the Confederate battle flag that flew at South Carolina’s statehouse until it was removed following decades of unrest. Seen as a racist symbol, tension gradually mounted over the years but came to a head following the murder of nine people in a church in Charleston. The flag was retired, with dignity, from the statehouse on July 10, 2015 and presented to the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room & Military Museum in Columbia. South Carolina’s then Republican governor Nikki Haley said on the Today Show after ordering the removal of the controversial flag, “It’s a great day in South Carolina. We honor tradition, we honor history, we honor heritage. But there’s a place for that flag and that flag needs to be in a museum where we can be sure people honor it appropriately.”
A category of collectibles that is rapidly gaining in popularity is challenge coins. Traditionally, a challenge coin is a small token, coin or medallion that denotes an organization and identifies the carrier as an honored member or affiliate of that organization. The coin is traditionally embossed with the insignia or emblem of said organization. Inexpensive to design and manufacture, the coins are available in a wide variety of patinas, from pewter to an elegant 24K gold finish. Challenge coins are often presented and exchanged between members of organizations to commemorate special events, acts of courage and as gestures of respect. The stories revealing the origin of the coins date as far back as the Roman Empire when soldiers were rewarded with coins to celebrate their achievements. A version of challenge coins, called Portrait Medals during the Renaissance, was issued to commemorate events involving nobility and royalty. Another scenario traces the origin of the coins to World War ll. Challenge coins are so named because of the practice of one organization’s member producing his coin and 'challenging' another to do the same to prove he is carrying his own coin. In modern times, challenge coins often bear the insignias of a wide variety of groups including military as well as non-military organizations. President Trump even produced his own version with his “MAGA” slogan appearing on both sides of the coin. FYI: During a presentation, coins are often cleverly transferred during a handshake - the coin passing from the right hand of the giver to the right hand of the receiver!
For those of us who are slightly to extremely confused about the relationship between the Knights Templar and the Freemasons, this blog is for you. The belief that the Freemasons and the Knights Templar are linked or even one and the same, is a myth that has existed since the Freemasons began (organized Freemasonry began in 1717 with the creation of the Grand Lodge of England). Supposedly, as the story goes, the Templars and Freemasons existed at the same time in history in Jerusalem as well as France. Supposedly, he Templars became consumed with their avarice and abandoned their Christian principals in pursuit of great wealth at any cost. Unfortunately, like many flawed theories and conspiracies, this one has no concrete evidence to substantiate it. Truth is, the earliest documentation of the existence of the Freemasons dates to 1445, nearly 150 years after the Knights Templar ceased to exist! The only actual link between the two organizations is in name only; the philanthropic Knights Templar within Freemasons founded in 1743. The organization has no direct association with the original Knights Templar.
DJR Authentication is one of the nation's premier appraisers, authenticators, and consultants of jewelry, coins, collectibles, art, sports memorabilia, and other fine goods, located in Mt Pleasant, South Carolina. Schedule your appointment or learn more today at djrpro.com.