HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — This morning, we are Cruisin’ Connecticut to the Hartford Armory, home of the 44th Annual Connecticut Spring Antiques Show.
The event kicks off this weekend, and is home to over 50 antique dealer exhibits. One of the most intriguing is Jeff Bridgman’s display. He is the largest antique flag dealer in the U.S.
My 8th-generation aunt is Betsy Ross – the woman who is said to have made the first U.S. flag design, with 13 stars. In elementary school, I used to stand up in front of the class on flag day and read a report that I wrote about Ol’ Betsy. I think that was my first nerve-raking attempt at public speaking. But there is some controversy around whether or not she actually made it or not. Bridgman explains:
She probably didn’t design it, but she may have made it. But here I have a flag made by Betsy’s granddaughter, Rachel Albright. This is really the first time you see the Betsy Ross pattern on an actual flag. This flag is worth This is $22,000.
Bridgman showed us an 1821 copy of the Declaration of Independence on cloth – this was likely the first copy on cloth. Lastly, he shared a piece worth $48,000:
Many people don’t know you could print on the flag legally, for the purposes of advertising until 1905. So this is made in 1886 for Lincoln’s first campaign, when he ran with Hamlin from Maine.
Bridgman says the most expensive piece he’s sold, was a $500,000 Abraham Lincoln campaign flag. I think I’m in the wrong business.
You can see Bridgeman’s collection of over 200 items and 50 other dealers at the Connecticut Spring Antiques Show. The event is Saturday and Sunday at the Hartford Armory.