Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
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34 STARS ON AN ANTIQUE AMERICAN FLAG MADE DURING THE OPENING YEARS OF THE CIVIL WAR, WITH SPLENDID PRESENTATION RESULTING FROM THE ENDEARING CHARACTERISTICS OF LONG-TERM USE, POSSIBLY FIELD-CARRIED BY A UNION REGIMENT, CA 1861-63, KANSAS STATEHOOD

Web ID: 34j-952
Available: In Stock
Frame Size (H x L): Approx. 69.5" x 84.25"
Flag Size (H x L): 57" x 72.25"
 
Description:
Entirely hand-sewn, 34 star American national flag of the Civil War period. Made between 1861 and 1863, the stars are arranged in justified lineal rows of 7-7-6-7-7, which represents the most common configuration of the time. Made of cotton, most of these are oriented so that one point is tipped slightly towards 11:00, though a few are upright. Stretched and worn from extended use, the inconsistency of their shapes and position, along with scattered fabric loss and soiling, lends an artistic quality it would not otherwise possess. These general characteristics extend into the striped field. Tattered and stained, the flag has a wonderful degree of historic presence. The original hemp twine tied to its hand-stitched, button hole grommets, provide evidence that it was tied to a staff. The slight, serpentine curvature of the lower 6 stripes is echoed in the placement of the ties and contributes an element of movement to the overall presentation.

Kansas was admitted into the Union as the 34th state on January 29th, 1861, about 2 ½ months before the Confederate assault on Fort Sumter that marked the beginning of the Civil War. The 34th star was officially added on July 4th of that year, but most flag makers would have added a 34th star with the addition of Kansas in January. The star count remained official until July 4th, 1863, and 34 star flags would have been produced until the addition of West Virginia in June of that year.

The stripes and canton of the flag are made of wool bunting. The binding along the hoist is made of linen, which is consistently the most attractive fabric chosen for this function and the nicest in terms of its antique qualities, having the appearance of early homespun. Because most Civil War flags have at least some machine stitching, the fact that the flag is entirely hand-sewn is a nice feature. While not as important as star configuration, general overall graphics, or size, when all else is equal, entirely hand-sewn examples are more interesting to collectors.

Given the size, the way in which it was affixed to a staff, and the characteristics of its wear, it is quite possible that the flag was field-carried by a Union regiment, perhaps before official, state or federal-issued national colors were received, or to replace on that was lost or damaged. Without any specific history, this cannot be known with certainty, of course, but the scale is what one would expect for a commercially-made wool flag that may have been employed in this function. The squarish proprtions, and the general presentation of its losses are consistent with having been hand-carried.

Mounting: The flag was mounted and framed within our own conservation department, which is led by expert staff. We take great care in the mounting and preservation of flags and have framed thousands of examples.

The background is 100% cotton twill, black in color. The mount was placed in a black-painted, hand-gilded and distressed Italian molding. The glazing is U.V. protective plexiglass. Feel free to inquire for more details.

Condition: There is significant loss at the fly end, which is tattered and frayed. There is fabric loss in the stars, a lateral tear in the canton between the 3rd and 4th rows, near the hoist end, plus moderate tears with associated loss and thinning areas in the 1st, 2nd, 10th and 12th stripes. There are minor holes and losses elsewhere throughout. There is significant soiling in the 4th 6th, 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th stripes, and within the star field, along with more minor soiling and staining elsewhere throughout. Many of my clients prefer early flags to show their age and history of use.
   
Collector Level: Advanced Collectors and the Person with Everything
Flag Type: Sewn flag
Star Count: 34
Earliest Date of Origin: 1861
Latest Date of Origin: 1863
State/Affiliation: Kansas
War Association: 1861-1865 Civil War
Price: Please call (717) 676-0545 or (717) 502-1281
Nautical:
E-mail: info@jeffbridgman.com


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