Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
Sold Flags



  38 HAND-SEWN, SINGLE-APPLIQUED STARS ON AN ANTIQUE FLAG IN A SMALL SCALE FOR THE 19TH CENTURY, PROBABLY MADE BY THE ANNIN COMPANY IN NEW YORK CITY, 1876-1889, COLORADO STATEHOOD

Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): 57" x 79.25"
Flag Size (H x L): 46" x 68"
Description....:
38 HAND-SEWN, SINGLE-APPLIQUED STARS ON AN ANTIQUE FLAG IN A SMALL SCALE FOR THE 19TH CENTURY, PROBABLY MADE BY THE ANNIN COMPANY IN NEW YORK CITY, 1876-1889, COLORADO STATEHOOD:

38 star American national flag, probably made by the Annin Company in New York City between the years of 1876 and 1889. Annin is our nation's eldest flag-maker that is still in business today. The company was founded in the 1820's on the New York waterfront, incorporated in 1847, and, though it opened a large manufacturing operation in Verona, New Jersey in 1916, maintained its head office and some production in Manhattan until 1960.

Although the flag is unsigned, it bears certain tell-tale traits of Annin-made flags that were being produced during this period. The stars are made of cotton, hand-sewn, and single-appliqued. This means that they were applied to one side of the canton, then the blue fabric was cut from behind each star, folded over, and under-hemmed, so that one star could be viewed on both sides of the flag. While some flag enthusiasts have pointed to this as a means of conserving fabric, (not having to cut and sew another star to the other side), others suggest that the real purpose was to make the flag lighter in weight. I believe it to have been a byproduct of both of these goals. I always find single-appliqued stars more interesting, not only because they are evidence of a more difficult level of seam-work and stitching, but also because they are more visually intriguing. Both the sewing itself and stretching of the fabrics over time has results in stars that have irregular shapes and interesting visual qualities, which is why flags with single-appliqued stars often appeal to connoisseurs of early American textiles. The two visible rows of hand-stitching emphasize their hand-sewn construction.

Although the single-appliqued method was falling out of fashion by the last quarter of the 19th century, Annin continued to use it, even into the early 20th century, at least on some flags. The stars on these flags tend to be sewn with two colors of thread on signed Annin examples in this period, appliqued with tan thread and under-hemmed with white.

The stars are arranged in lineal rows in counts of 7-8-8-8-7, which is a somewhat unusual format, known to be used by Annin. All of the stars are oriented in an upright position on their vertical axis (i.e., with one point up), which is also a known trait on signed, 6-foot, Annin-made flags with 38 stars.

The stripes and canton of the flag are made of wool bunting that has been pieced with treadle stitching, which is typical of the period and is typical of Annin flags specifically in this period.

The canton is constructed from two lengths of blue fabric, because wool bunting was only available in a maximum width of eighteen inches. There is a twill cotton binding with two brass grommets for hoisting, along which is a black-inked stencil that reads "6" to indicate size, meaning "6 feet".

During the 19th century, flags with pieced and sewn construction (as opposed to printed) were typically eight feet long or larger. This is because they were important in their function as signals, meaning that they needed to be seen and recognized from a great distance. Even flags made for decorative purpose were generally very large by today's standards. A small flag was six feet in length, like this example. Smaller sewn flag were even more unusual. Since the average 19th century sewn flag can be cumbersome to frame and display in an indoor setting, many collectors prefer printed parade flags and smaller sewn flags, like this one, the size of which provides a good balance between visual impact and versatility.

The 38th state, Colorado, received its statehood on August 1st, 1876. This was the year of our nation's 100-year anniversary of independence. Although 37 was the official star count for the American flag in 1876, flag-making was a competitive venture, and no one wanted to be making 37 star flags when others were making 38's. It is for this reason that 38 and 13 stars (to represent the original 13 colonies) are the two star counts most often seen at the Centennial International Exposition, the six-month long, World's Fair, held in Philadelphia in honor of the event. The 38 star flag became official in 1877 and was generally used until the addition of the Dakotas in 1889.

Mounting: The flag was stitched to 100% silk organza on every seam and throughout the star field for support. It was then sewn to a background of 100% cotton twill, black in color, which was washed to remove excess dye. An acid-free agent was added to the wash to further set the dye and the fabric was heat-treated for the same purpose. Fabric of similar coloration was placed behind the flag during the mounting process, both for masking purposes and to strengthen the flag against the dark ground. The mount was then placed in a black-painted, hand-gilded and distressed Italian molding. The glazing is U.V. protective plexiglas.

Condition: There is a tear in the 5th star in the third row. There are a few very tiny holes, accompanied by a moderate hole near the fly end of the 5th white stripe. There are small stains along the hoist, where metal tacks were evidently added to further stabilize the flag on a staff or else hang it vertically. The overall condition is quite exceptional for a wool flag of this period. 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: Sewn flag
Star Count: 38
Earliest Date of Origin: 1876
Latest Date of Origin: 1889
State/Affiliation: Colorado
War Association: 1866-1890 Indian Wars
Price: SOLD
 

Views: 2835