Q: I have a framed 34-by-42-inch embroidered picture that has been hanging in my mother's home for years. It says "Von. Felz. Zum. Meer" across the top. The picture is of a ship with the words "S.M.S. Thetis" written under it. Beneath that there’s a ribbon that says "China 1900-1903 (Japan)." The cloth behind the eagle is in poor shape.
A: You own a patriotic German textile. The words at the top are German for "from rock to sea." The flag the eagle is holding is the German war ensign used from 1892 to 1903. (An "ensign" is a naval flag indicating nationality.) The SMS Thetis was a ship in the Imperial German Navy. It was a gazelle light cruiser built in 1899 and launched in 1900. The ship was deployed until 1903 in eastern Asia, sailing in waters off China and Japan. Your textile was probably a souvenir made in China or Japan for German sailors. Embroidery textiles like yours sell for $500 to $700 if they're in perfect condition.