Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
Antique Flags > American Flags


Web ID: 37j-825
Available: In Stock
Frame Size (H x L): Approx. 57" x 81"
Flag Size (H x L): 46" x 69"
37 star American national flag with an especially fanciful medallion configuration that incorporates four distinctly different sizes of stars. The basic concept for the pattern consists of what would otherwise be expected in a traditional, double-wreath style medallion. This consists of a center star, surrounded by two concentric circles of stars, with a single star flanking in each corner of the canton. There is nothing traditional about the result, however, due mostly to the flag-maker's decision to not only use a huge center star, but to then dramatically alternate the sizes of stars used in the inner wreath from small to large. The alternating of stars within a single wreath is something that is almost never encountered in early flags.

The same large stars that appear in the inner wreath appear in each corner of the canton, but the ones that appear in the outer-most wreath are of a fourth and even different size than the rest. The result of the combination of sizes and placement is dynamic.

It can confidently be said that this combination of four sizes of stars in a whimsical medallion would be good on any backdrop, but the one chosen here is distinctly different than what is commonly seen on early flags. The powder blue color lends a lot to the visual presence of the flag, which when combined with the star pattern, results in one of the very best medallion style flags that I have ever owned.

The 37th state, Nebraska, joined the Union in 1867, shortly following Lincoln's death and the close of the Civil War. It was the primary flag flown during Reconstruction of the South and was used through approximately half the Indian Wars period, but the lack of major patriotic events during this era and the surplus of Civil War period flags led to much lower production. For this reason, 37 star flags are quite scarce compared with the Civil War period flags that preceded them and flags made for the 1876 centennial.

Despite the fact that the 37 star flag remained official until 1877, flag-makers generally produced 38 star flags and 13 star flags (to commemorate the original 13 colonies) for the Centennial International Exposition and the many other celebrations that occurred during the 100-year anniversary of our nation's independence. This is because it was well-known that another state, Colorado, would soon join the Union. That circumstance caused flag-makers to cease production of flags with 37 stars in favor of 38.

Construction: The stars of the flag are made of cotton and double-appliqued. This means that they were applied to both sides of the canton. The stripes were joined with treadle stitching. The blue and white, twill tape dates to the same period as the flag, but is not original to it.

Mounting: The flag has been hand-stitched to 100% silk organza for support on every seam and throughout the star field. It was then hand-sewn to a background of 100% cotton, black in color, which was washed to reduce excess dye. An acid-free agent was added to the wash to further set the dye, which was heat-treated for the same purpose. The mount was then placed in a hand-gilded and distressed Italian molding with a wide, convex profile. The front is U.V. protective acrylic.

Condition: The sleeve is not original to the flag. It was procured from another flag and affixed to finish the unfinished edge along the hoist. It is similar to what one might expect to find on a flag of this period. There is minor foxing and staining throughout, accompanied by minor fading.
Collector Level: Flags for the truest Patriots. My best offerings
Flag Type: Sewn flag
Star Count: 37
Earliest Date of Origin: 1867
Latest Date of Origin: 1876
State/Affiliation: Nebraska
War Association: 1866-1890 Indian Wars
Price: By phone only, call (717) 676-0545 or (717) 502-1281

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