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Patriotic Collectibles with Kit Hindrichs

Martha Stewart Living Television

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, patriotism was very much a part of American daily life, taught to schoolchildren at an early age and demonstrated throughout adulthood. Some of the symbols of the patriotism practiced back then are highly collectible now, as evidenced by the 3,000 pieces of memorabilia owned by Kit Hinrichs, a partner at Pentagram Design in San Francisco and the author of "Long May She Wave: A Graphic History of the American Flag."

Many of the items Kit has curated over the years were made during World Wars I and II, including a weather vane in the shape of a soldier carrying a flag, soldiers' portraits framed in celluloid, and toy soldiers made from metal or, when metal was scarce, a sawdust composite.

Kit's collection also comprises a variety of toys, such as a stars-and-stripes blocks set and patriotic bike ornaments. Other items were definitely geared toward adults, such as cigar bands featuring portraits of numerous U.S. presidents.

Still other pieces were made by Native Americans. As Kit explains, when many tribes were forced onto reservations, the handiworks they sold to tourists, such as blankets or beaded moccasins, often bore flag motifs.

Resources
For those interested in collecting patriotic memorabilia, Kit says they're widely available from a variety of sources, from garage sales to Sotheby's.