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  26 Star American Flag -- Great Star Configuration -- Pre-Civil War (1837-45)

Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): n/a
Flag Size (H x L): 67" x 107"
26 Star American National Flag. Among collectors, the great star configuration is the most coveted of all 19th century geometric patterns. Shortly after the War of 1812, Naval hero, Captain Samuel Reid, suggested to the president that this design should be considered the official star pattern. He did so because of his concern that the flag needed to be more recognizable on the open seas, which was the primary reason for the American ensign in the first place. Reid?s proposal was rejected due to the increased cost of arranging the stars in this manner. Never-the-less, since there was no official star pattern, the great star was produced by anyone willing to make it. Its rarity today, along with its beauty, have driven the desirability of American flags with this configuration. Flags made prior to the Civil War are extremely rare, comprising less than one percent of 19th century flags that exist in the 21st century. This is partly because, prior to the Centennial, our flag was simply not used for most of the same purposes we employ it in today. Private individuals did not typically display the flag in their yards and on their porches. Parade flags did not fly from carriages and horses. Places of business rarely hung flags in their windows. Some of these uses for started to take place during the patriotism that surrounded the Civil War, but civilian use of the flag was not wide spread until 1876. Even the military did not use the flag in a manner that most people might think. The primary purpose before the Civil War was to mark ships on the open seas. While the flag was used to mark some garrisons, the flags of ground troops were often limited to the flag of their own regiment and a Federal standard. Most people would be surprised to learn that the infantry wasn?t authorized to carry the Stars & Stripes until 1837, and even then did not often exercise the right because it was neither required nor customary. It was not until the Civil War took place that most U.S. ground forces carried the National Flag. The 26th state, Michigan, entered the Union on January 26th, 1867. The 36 star flag became official on July 4th of the same year, and was replaced 27 star flag in 1845. Construction: The flag is entirely hand-sewn. The single appliqued cotton muslin stars have oxidized to a golden brown patina. Single applique work almost always lends to stars with stronger folk qualities, and these are no exception. The stars are fat with blunt points and are quite large in respect to the size of the canton. Note how the maker positioned them in such a manner that they fit into one another to take up less space. The canton is pieced from two lengths of bright blue wool bunting, and the stripes are also wool bunting. There is a homespun linen sleeve with two whip-stitched grommets. Mounting: The flag has not yet been mounted. At an additional cost, the flag can be stitched to 100% cotton and mounted on archival material over a wooden stretcher. A u.v. protective acrylic museum display box can also be fabricated, if desired. Condition: The condition is excellent considering its age, size, wool construction, and rarity. There is minor mothing and minor-moderate wind sheer damage with minimal fabric loss. There are several old patches, including two on the first red stripe, one on the third white stripe, and one each on the 6th and 7th red stripes. A couple of modern patches were removed.
Collector Level:
Flag Type: Sewn flag
Star Count: 26
Earliest Date of Origin: 1837
Latest Date of Origin: 1845
State/Affiliation: Michigan
War Association: 1777-1860 Pre-Civil War
Price: No

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