Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
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42 UPSIDEDOWN STARS IN A WAVE CONFIGURATION ON A BRILLIANT BLUE CANTON, 1889-1890, WASHINGTON STATEHOOD, AN UNOFFICIAL STAR COUNT

Web ID: 42j-900
Available: In Stock
Frame Size (H x L): Approx. 29" x 35"
Flag Size (H x L): 18" x 25"
 
Description:
42 star American national parade flag, printed on plain weave cotton. The stars, that are especially large in respect to other flags of this size, are arranged in columns, which are offset at alternating heights. This interesting layout is called a “wave” configuration and is peculiar to several varieties of 42 star flags.

The upside-down vertical alignment of the stars throughout the entire field is a particularly scarce trait. No one knows if this positioning had any purpose, but there were no regulations concerning either star configuration or position until 1912 and it is entirely possible that the designer of the flag did not feel that any star position was “right-side-up”. Whatever the case may be, the circumstance is more interesting to collectors, because the resulting graphics are more unusual to the eye.

Also unusual is the striking, cobalt blue color of the canton, which, when combined with its scarlet red stripes and the wave configuration of its large stars, results in strong visual impact.

The 42 star flag is interesting from a historical perspective, both because 42 was never an official star count, and because 42 star flags were only produced for about 8 months (November, 1889 – July 4th, 1890). The flag represents the addition of the Dakotas, Montana and Washington State, between November 2nd and November 11th, 1889. The 42nd state was officially Washington, but the four states gained their statehood only nine days apart, and flag makers added 4 stars, accordingly, to the count of 38 that was official at the time.

After 1818, star counts became official on the 4th of July each year. A new star was therefore officially added on Independence Day for every state that had been added over the preceding “flag year”. Flag makers, however, did not wait for July 4th and official star counts. Flag making was a competitive industry and no one wanted to be making 38 star flags, for example, when their competitors were making 42 star flags and there were 42 states. Idaho received statehood on July 3rd, 1890, taking the star count to 43 just one day before 42 would have become the official number. This fact makes 42 star flags an interesting part of our heritage and a classic display of American capitalism.

Mounting: The flag was mounted and framed within our own conservation department, which is led by masters degree trained staff. We take great care in the mounting and preservation of flags and have framed thousands of examples; more than anyone worldwide.

The background is 100% cotton twill, black in color. The black-painted, hand-gilded and distressed molding is Italian. Spacers keep the textile away from the glazing, which is U.V. protective glass. Feel free to contact us for more details.

Condition: There is very minor water staining and soiling and very minor bleeding. Many of my clients prefer early flags to show their age and history of use.
   
Collector Level: Intermediate-Level Collectors and Special Gifts
Flag Type: Parade flag
Star Count: 42
Earliest Date of Origin: 1889
Latest Date of Origin: 1890
State/Affiliation: Washington
War Association: 1866-1890 Indian Wars
Price: $2,850
E-mail: info@jeffbridgman.com


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