Assistance needed with 3-Cavalry Lance Pennants


Well-known member

I recently acquired a very nice large Imperial German Flag, along with 3-NCO Cavalry Lance Pennants from a good friend. He recently purchased them from the son of a WW2 veteran who supposedly brought them back to the U.S., along with several other 3rd Reich flags, and an unfinished Imperial Navy Kriegsschiffgosch Flag that was used from 1871 thru 1918, which I did not purchase.

The Pennants in question do not match the dimensions of the listed size in the book "The German Cavalry from 1871 to 1914" by Herr & Nguyen. And the swallow tail portion of each pennant does not have as long of "tails" as the examples shown in the book. They all seem to be a little longer than the listed length in the book.

Two of the pennants appear to be "unfinished" with them not having the 4-reinforced stitched grommet holes for attachment to the lance staff.

All 3-pennants appear to be nicely "silk-screened" printed, or whatever method they used to print the individual state design on each pennant. The color printing goes through the cloth to show on the reverse side of the pennant, although the color printing is somewhat weaker on the reverse side, especially on the Prussian pennant.

I feel foolish asking, but are these replicas, or what explanation is there for them being a bit longer in size, and two of them not having the 4-reinforced grommet holes, as if they were never completely finished?

The photos I will post were not shot directly above each pennant, therefore distorting the visual length of the top "tail" portion on each pennant, making it look shorter than the bottom "tail" of the swallow tail on each pennant.



Remember to "Click" on the Photos to Enlarge them!






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I have a Prussian NCO lance pennant and it measures about 28" from the back edge to the tip of a tail. I have a Saxon trooper pennant and it measures 27" from the back edge to the tip of the tails. The difference could be due to mfg. tolerances and/or shrinkage. After all, they are over 100 years old. My guess would be that if there is no reinforcement around the attachment holes, it would be a replica. That is simply my opinion, don't you see. The tails look short to me, but that might just be the angle of the shot.
Thanks for your reply Neil!

The Bavarian example Does have stitched reinforcement around the 4-holes for attachment to the lance shaft.

The Saxon and Prussian examples Do Not Have the 4-holes. It is as if these two pennants were not completed/finished. Like "new old stock".

The only reason I say this is because my friend whom I purchased these from also acquired the following flag I will post here, which is not finished with a halyard on the left, and the "fly" side of the flag is left unfinished as well.

Could it be possible that the Saxon and Prussian pennants were left unfinished, without the 4-gromment holes with stitched reinforcement as they should have in them when completed, like the Bavarian pennant is?



Imperial Navy Flag 1.jpeg

Imperial Navy Flag 2.jpeg

Imperial Navy Flag 3.jpeg

Imperial Navy Flag 4.jpeg

Imperial Navy Flag 5.jpeg
The Saxon pennant is 27 1/2" long.

The Bavarian pennant is 26 1/4" long.

The Prussian pennant is 26 3/4" long.

Yes, the tails are short on these 3-examples, compared to how the examples look in the book.
I do have a wurttemberg version of these I'll have to see if I can get it posted here
Here are 4 of my pennants - with apologies for the quality of the photo, but its the only one I have to hand. I will try and get some better photos when I have some time. The Prussian NCO and Baden EM are approximately 28 inches long, the Baden NCO is 29 and the Prussian EM 27. All are approximately 13 1/4 to 13 1/2 along the back edge.
Here are two more. Both are approximately 28 inches long and 13 1/2 inches wide. The NCO’s is stamped with BAG 1913 and GKR 1913. The EM’s is stamped 2GDR. The eagle on the NCO’s is similar but not the same as Alan’s above.
Hi Will and Michael,

Thanks for posting these great looking examples you have!

I can see the swallow tails are a bit longer on your examples.

My remaining unanswered questions are:

1.) Why would my Saxon and Prussian pennants not be completed pennants, both of them not having the 4-punched out and stitching reinforced grommet holes for attachment to the lance shaft? The Bavarian pennant has the proper 4-holes with stitched reinforcement around the holes.

2.) Being that they look to be in unused condition, is there any possibility that they could be "new old stock" or sometimes called "dead stock" that were never fully completed? None of the 3-pennants has any issue marks or dates on them as we can see. I say this in light of the unfinished Imperial Naval Jack Flag that I posted that came from the same source.

3.) Is it possible that the WW2 veteran could have picked these up in a flag manufacturer business or flag supply/issuing source in Germany at the end of the war?

4.) And if there is a possibility that the 3-Pennants are not original, why would they have been with the grouping of Third Reich flags that were also brought home by the WW2 vet, and the large Imperial Kreigsflagge I have, The Imperial Navy Jack with the large cross, and some Third Reich car pennants that my friend acquired from the son of the veteran. All the flags had been up in the attic for decades.

Does anyone have any thoughts or answers to these questions I have about the 3-pennants?



Just my opinion here, but I do not think these are original. In example, your Prussian NCO pennant eagle is incorrect style/color/shading (see Michael’s example) yours has the script “FR” but original’s are in block letters and would not be reversed on the opposite side, if memory serves. Also the eagle on the scepter is white on yours and it should be black. I have seen several of these at shows, also explained to me as NOS or not finished because the war ended.
Again, just my opinion.

Alan I assume you have blacklighted them and did a synthetic thread burn test?

The one sign of an original that I have always seen consistently, are that the sewing of the Lance holes is done by hand, as is the strengthening stiches in the V where the two tails meet in the center. Do these have those characteristics?

Personally, I am not comfortable with them.
I didn’t know that about the hand stitching - every day is a school day! I have checked and all mine do have that characteristic. Here are a couple of close ups of the Baden NCO pennant showing those parts.
If they aren't period to ww1 is it possible they were veterans pieces? Possibly made in the 20s or 30s.
Hi Dennis & Tony,

Thanks very much for your excellent insight, I appreciate it!

To answer Tony:

1.) I did the burn test, and the threads actually burn, and don't melt.
2.) I didn't black light them yet, as I'll have to go over to a friend's house here in town to black light them this weekend.
3.) The lance hole stitching does appear to be hand done on the Bavarian pennant, which surprised me to see. I will post photos of this Saturday.
4.) There is no reinforcement stitching at the "V" point between the swallow tails, on any of the pennants, which greatly concerns me also.

To answer John:

Yes, I see exactly what you pointed out about the Prussian Eagle: the shading on the eagle on the staff, and the "FR" lettering style.

I also don't like the short length of the swallow tails on these 3-examples, when compared to the book, and to the fine examples posted here by members.

After seeing photos of other examples, and reading John & Tony's points, I agree with you guys, and I think these are copies/reproductions. I trust the friend I got these from, he's a straight shooter, and he'll refund my money. But who knows where the vet got these from. My oldest friend who's been collecting for 50 years has seen veterans who have bad stuff that they acquired years after they came home, that are salted in with their bring back items. When pressed as to where they got the bad items, they admitted they didn't bring the bad things home, and that they had purchased things at a "gun show" or a "flea market", etc., many years later. This vet was long since deceased, so there's no telling where he got the pennants from. Years ago there were several 3rd Reich Hunting Association Cutlasses in a veteran's estate auction, and only 1-of them was original, the others all being post-war reproductions that the vet had purchased many years later after the war.

Many thanks for the super information, and the excellent photos from all you guys here, I appreciate it!!!

Best Wishes,

By member Tony without Kaiser:
Alan I assume you have blacklighted them and did a synthetic thread burn test?

The one sign of an original that I have always seen consistently, are that the sewing of the Lance holes is done by hand, as is the strengthening stiches in the V where the two tails meet in the center. Do these have those characteristics?

Personally, I am not comfortable with them.

Hi Tony,

Sorry for my being late in getting the 3-pennants black lighted.

They Do Not glow when black lighted. We had a package of brand new white athletic socks which we tested as well for comparison. The socks glowed/lit up as expected to do so.

And the Threads do burn, and not melt.

The Bavarian example which has the reinforced stitched 4-holes looks to have the stitching done by hand. I'll post photos of the 4-holes.

I black lighted them at my oldest friend's home this afternoon. He's collected 3rd Reich cloth for 50 years, as well as other 3rd Reich items. He acquired the vast majority of his collection directly from veterans, and their families over the years.

He wonders if like what Will is quoted below as saying, could these be made as Veteran's pieces from 1930's era, or possibly from the Weimar era? They certainly were made before ?1946 or 1948 when the ?phosphorescence material was added to white thread and cloth. Sorry, I forget the exact year that things changed in thread and cloth, which makes more modern post-WW2 white items glow when under black light.

By member USN: If they aren't period to ww1 is it possible they were veterans pieces? Possibly made in the 20s or 30s.

It's obvious that two of them were either never meant to be used on a lance shaft, or never finished. And without any reinforcement in the "V" between the two swallow tails, the Bavarian pennant was not meant to be used on a lance shaft as well, just like the other 2-unifinished pennants lacking lance shaft attachment holes.

It's also obvious that these are not WW1 pieces. I agree totally about that.



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I also wanted to add that I don't like the distance of the hole from the top and bottom of the pennant on this Bavarian example I have. I think the top/bottom holes are placed too far into the pennant, when compared to the original WW1 or Earlier Pennants that other members have posted here. The original WW1 or earlier pennants posted here have that top and bottom hand-stitched hole placed closer to the top/bottom edge area of the pennants on those posted by other forum members here, that are known to be original pennants.


I apologize in advance if I am "beating a dead horse" by asking this.

Does anyone have any further thoughts on what these are or when these pennants could have been produced?

I say this in light of them not glowing under black light, and the threads burning and not melting when I checked them.

Could they have been made in the 1930's for some sort of veterans use or remembrance?

I realize the fact that they are not made in the style of known originals from WW1 and Earlier. 1.) the swallow tails are shaped differently on these pennants. 2.) The swallow tail has no reinforcement stitching in the "U" between the two swallow tails. 3.) The "FR" is different on the Prussian Eagle, as well as the small Eagle on the tip of the Staff is not shaded in. 4.) And I believe that the top and bottom holes should be closer to the top/bottom edge of the pennant to be WW1 era style. They obviously were not made for WW1 or earlier use.

And I know that they were brought back from Germany by a U.S. WW2 veteran.

Is there any logical explanation as to what these are? They are most likely "copies" but not modern era made copies since the cloth doesn't glow under black light, and the thread is not synthetic based. Has anyone heard of such a thing being made in 1930's era Germany? I doubt after Poland was invaded in 1939 that anything like this would have been made in Germany after that time period, with the wartime focus for goods and materials.

Thanks for any additional insight that can be provided.

Best Wishes,