Skip to main content

A Father's Fame, a Son's Obsession and the Mystery of Flag No. 98

·1 min

It arrived without fanfare, marked Lot No. 313 at an auction house in Plymouth, Mass. A simple flag, bearing an ‘E’ and a ‘C’ alongside a compass star, against a red, white and blue background. Few would care, but in New York City, alerts sounded on phones and computer screens. Could it be? This flag had served its purpose once, more than 70 years ago at the bottom of the world, where it had been carried by a famous explorer. To anyone in America in the 1930s and beyond, the explorer’s name was associated with Antarctic exploration. His expeditions were covered in newspapers: ‘Explorer, in Isolation, Reports Blizzard.’ New York City threw ticker-tape parades to honor him.