Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
Sold Flags


Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): 12.25" x 9.5"
Flag Size (H x L): 6.75" x 4"
13 star American national parade flag, printed on coarse cotton. Dating to the Civil War period (1861-65) its stars are configured in what is known as a medallion pattern. Typically this consists of a wreath of 8 stars, with a single star in the center and a flanking star in each corner of the blue canton. Here the formation is more of an octagon than circular, though crudely rendered and with crudely printed stars that have an especially endearing appeal. Varying widely in size and shape, the center star is much larger, with pointy arms of inconsistent length, and three of the stars along the hoist end are inaccurately positioned. With wonderful blue color and burnt orange stripes that fade in and out with graduating intensity, the overall result has especially strong folk qualities of the sort that attract collectors of early Americana.

Because the bulk of 13 star parade flags that survive were made to celebrate our nation's 100-year anniversary of independence in 1876, this flag is not only war period--a desirable trait--but pre-dates most examples. Prior to the Civil War, private individuals and businesses seldom displayed the Stars & Stripes. Only after the attack on Ft. Sumter and the patriotic events that followed did private flag use begin to spread, and only with the emergence of veteran's groups and the arrival of the centennial did it become widely popular in American culture. For these reasons, this flag can be counted among the earlier examples made for private use.

13 star flags have been flown throughout our nation’s history for a variety of purposes, both utilitarian and patriotic. In addition to their use at the centennial, 13 star flag were hoisted at other patriotic events, including Lafayette’s visit in 1824-25, the sesquicentennial in 1926, and celebrations of Independence Day. 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 while 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 black-painted molding dates to the late 18th century and has tremendous, bubbled and crazed surface of the sort that appeals to collectors of American folk art. The flag was mounted and framed within our own conservation department, which is led by expert staff. We take great care in the mounting and preservation of flags and have framed thousands of examples. The background is 100% cotton twill, black in color. Spacers keep the textile away from the glazing, which is U.V. protective glass.

Condition: The printing is crude and inconsistent (actually a positive trait in this instance, but not always). There is some pigment loss, fading, and minor pigment transfer from another flag. There is minor to modest foxing and staining. The flag has a beautiful presentation, in spite of the above. 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: Parade flag
Star Count: 13
Earliest Date of Origin: 1861
Latest Date of Origin: 1865
State/Affiliation: 13 Original Colonies
War Association: 1861-1865 Civil War
Price: SOLD

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