Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
Sold Flags


Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): 6.5" x 7.75"
Flag Size (H x L): 2.25" x 3.5"
13 star American national flag, printed on glazed cotton, with a very rare configuration of stars that I call a “snowflake medallion”. This consists of two consecutive wreaths of stars, the outer-most of which is more widely spaced as a matter of necessity. When you place 13 stars in this fashion, the extra space in the outer ring makes the pattern look like there was an explosion in the center that created this starburst effect. This creates a much more dramatic impact than that which appears in almost all types of 19th century, 13 star designs. For this reason it is one of my most favorite star patterns in all of flag collecting.

While the flag may have been produced during the Civil War (1861-65), it might have instead been made during the latter part of the Antebellum, between the late 1840's and 1860. This particular style bears some of the characteristics shared by other pre-war examples.

Prior to the Confederate attack on Ft. Sumter, use of the Stars & Stripes by private individuals was extremely limited. In the beginning, its primary function was to mark ships on the open seas. It was also flown on military garrisons and government buildings. Many people are surprised to learn that American ground forces were not actually authorized to carry the flag until the late 1830's and the first war in which the flag was carried was the Mexican War (1846-48).

The first printed flags appeared sometime between 1837 and 1840. The earliest datable examples that survive today were made in 1840; these advertise the presidential campaign of William Henry Harrison with overprinted names, slogans, and images. Most pre-1861 parade flags have political advertising. Those without were likely employed in the same function, waved at political rallies, debates, parades and inaugurations.

13 star flags have been flown throughout our nation’s history for a variety of purposes. They were hoisted at patriotic events, including Lafayette’s visit in 1825-26, the celebration of the nation’s centennial in 1876, and the sesquicentennial in 1926. They were displayed during the Civil War, to reference past struggles for American liberty and victory over oppression, and were used by 19th century politicians in political campaigning for the same reason. The U.S. Navy used the 13 star count on small boats until 1916, because it was easier to discern fewer stars at a distance on a small flag. Commercial flag-makers mirrored this practice and some private ships flew 13 star flags during the same period as the Navy. The use of yachting ensigns with a wreath of 13 stars surrounding a fouled anchor, which allowed pleasure boats to bypass customs between 1848 and 1980, persists today without an official purpose.

Mounting: The flag was mounted and framed in 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.

The gilded American molding dates to the period between 1820 and 1860. The glazing is U.V. protective glass. Feel free to contact us for more details.

Condition: Excellent.
Collector Level: Advanced Collectors and the Person with Everything
Flag Type: Parade flag
Star Count: 13
Earliest Date of Origin: 1840
Latest Date of Origin: 1860
State/Affiliation: 13 Original Colonies
War Association: 1777-1860 Pre-Civil War
Price: SOLD

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