Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
Sold Flags


Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): 23.75" x 31.25"
Flag Size (H x L): 14" x 22.75"
38 star American national parade flag, printed on silk, with a variety of unusual and desirable features. The most obvious of these is the elaborately reproduced, five-color rendition of the badge of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.), which serves as the center of this beautiful medallion star configuration. Only one or two other examples of this beautiful flag are known to exist. It was not common for the G.A.R. (the primary Civil War veteran's organization for the Union Army), to use flags with advertising before the 45 star period, which lasted from 1896-1907. Earlier examples are sometimes seen with 44 or 42 stars, but almost none are known with fewer. To someone unfamiliar with parade flags, the five-color image may not seem out of the ordinary, but among printed flags there are almost none that use more than three colors: red, blue and sometimes either black or gold. Some include all four of these colors, but they are much more rare. Flags with 5 or more colors are rarer still. Including the flag in question, only six or fewer in total are known to exist with five colors (two or three in this style and the same number in another), and there is only one known parade flag with six colors. The star configuration of the flag is also interesting. Note how this could have been a traditional triple-wreath style pattern (three wreaths of stars with a star in each corner and usually a star in the very center). But the configuration was opened up to use the vertically oriented badge as its center and its large size allowed for only one complete wreath. It is for this reason that the center badge is bracketed by two crescents of stars, and a mirror image of these crescents brackets the wreath. The flanking corner stars are present, but they are unusually close to the rest of the stars, a fact that lends the overall design the effect of an exploding firework. In this case, the effect is no simple coincidence. The two stars above and below the badge are singular, but the rest can be traced outward in purposeful arcs, each comprised of between 2 and 4 stars. The end result is very dynamic and the strong colors compliment its visual impact. A feature even more peculiar is the fact that the canton rests on a red stripe. This is a very rare trait. Some flag historians refer to this as the "blood stripe" or the "war stripe", suggesting the flag was sometimes constructed in this manner when the nation was at war. Due to the flag's Civil War association, the placement may very well have been purposeful. This flag was formerly part of the collection of Boleslaw and Marie-Louise D-Otrange Mastai, who wrote the book "The Stars and the Stripes" in 1973. Although two other excellent books now exist on flag collecting, the Mastai book was a landmark text and until 2001 it was really the only book on the subject. Through their book and associated exhibits, the Mastai's therefore held the most publicized collection of flags in the nation and were authors of the text long considered the "Bible" of the hobby. Many of the flags and patriotic items they owned were marked with a Mastai identification stamp in red ink and numbered in ball point pen. The stamp appears in the bottom fly end corner, along with their inventory notation "No. 233". I previously owned this flag and viewed it before it left the collection, so I am fully aware of its legitimacy. While most people are disgusted by the way in which the Mastais marked their flags, and with good reason, the fact of the matter is that the stamp adds value to the flag because of the importance of the Mastai's contribution to this long neglected field. Inquire for more details.
Collector Level: Advanced Collectors and the Person with Everything
Flag Type: Parade flag
Star Count: 38
Earliest Date of Origin: 1876
Latest Date of Origin: 1889
State/Affiliation: Colorado
War Association: 1861-1865 Civil War
Price: No

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