Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
Antique Flags > American Flags


Web ID: 36j-922
Available: In Stock
Frame Size (H x L): Approx. 36" x 55.5"
Flag Size (H x L): 24" x 43.5"
36 star American parade flag, printed on cotton and bearing a beautiful medallion configuration of stars. This is a great example of folk art in Civil War-era flag-making. Note how the stars are rather large for the size of the canton and that they are tilted in various directions, arms intertwined, so as to fit into tighter circles. Also note that the spacing between the stars is irregular. But perhaps the best design characteristic is the huge haloed center star that measures 6" in diameter. Not only is this one of the boldest, wreath pattern designs, it is also one of the largest, medallion pattern, printed varieties known to exist.

Many parade flags produced in 1876 and prior, like this example, have stripes that are various shades of orange. Note the particularly strong color of the stripes in this flag, which are an unusual shade of tomato red. Although the maker that produced these flags is unknown, parade flags with a haloed center star exist in at least five other star counts including 30, 31, 34, 35, and 42. Three examples also exist, probably from different makers, that bear 13 stars. One dates to 1856 and was made for the presidential campaign of James Buchanan. Another was made for the 1860 presidential campaign of John Bell, who ran against Abraham Lincoln, as an independent, on the Constitutional Union Party ticket. Another style, printed on a wool and cotton blended fabric, dates to the 1876 centennial and all of its 13 stars have halos. Only a small handful are known in the 36 star count; I can think of fewer than 8 examples, almost all of which I have owned or handled.

Nevada entered the Union as the 36th state on October 31st, Halloween, in 1864. Ushered in by Abraham Lincoln just eight days before the presidential election that resulted in his second term, the territory’s wealth in silver was attractive to a nation struggling with the debts of war and so increased support for the Republican ticket. The 36th star was officially added on July 4th, 1865, but since the flag makers generally cared very little about official star counts, the production of 36 star flags began much earlier. The makers of printed flags are known to have begun adding the 36th star as early as July of 1864, several months before the addition of Nevada actually occurred. This was a common practice during the late 19th century and is reflective of both the nation's desire for Westward Expansion and the hope of flag-makers to bring new star counts to market before their competitors. The 36 star flag was officially replaced by the 37 star flag in 1867, following the addition of Nebraska.

Mounting: The flag was mounted and framed within our own conservation department, which is led by masters degree trained staff. We take great care in the mounting and preservation of flags and have framed thousands of examples; more than anyone worldwide.

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 contact us for more details.

Condition: There is moderate to significant foxing and staining, especially along the hoist and fly ends and in the 5th white stripe, below the canton. There are small holes and a few minor tears along the hoist end, with associated rust stains, resulting from where the flag was once affixed to its original wooden staff with metal tacks. There is some bleeding. Professional cleaning was undertaken, along with minor color restoration, to minimize the bleeding and soiling. The latter was done in such as way as to be minimally invasive and retain as much of the original patina as possible. 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: Parade flag
Star Count: 36
Earliest Date of Origin: 1864
Latest Date of Origin: 1867
State/Affiliation: Nevada
War Association: 1861-1865 Civil War
Price: Please call (717) 676-0545 or (717) 502-1281

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