Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
Sold Flags


Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): 40.75" x 57"
Flag Size (H x L): 28.25" x 45"
Many fantastic star patterns were made in the patriotism that accompanied the celebration of the Nation’s Centennial in 1876, and this is among the best of all examples. Furthermore, flags with stars that spell out numeric or alphabetical characters are among the rarest of all designs. Only three other designs are currently known to exist.

In the canton of this flag, 38 stars are arranged to form “1776”. The count of 38 reflects Colorado’s pending statehood. The stars have 10 points, 5 of which are narrow and fall between the larger arms. 42 stars make up the numerals 1876. This may reflect speculation that two more states would soon join the Union, as other flags of this period are known that clearly support the same assumption. Or it may be that the number of stars used to spell 1876 may simply have been a matter of convenience.

The 38th state, Colorado, gained its statehood on August 1st, 1876. The flag was official from July 4th, 1877 – July 3rd, 1889. Because flag-making was a competitive venture, no one wanted to be making 37 star flags when others were making 38’s. Flag makers paid little heed to official star counts, and would have begun producing 38 star flags for the Nation’s centennial sometime in 1875 or the early part of 1876.

These particular flags with the 1776-1876 formation would certainly have been displayed at the 1876 Centennial International Exposition in Philadelphia, an important World’s Fair that served as the official celebration of our nation’s 100-year anniversary of independence. More likely than not, they were made specifically for that event and they bear the unusual trait of being printed on a thin fabric made from blended wool and cotton. The reason for the inclusion of wool was that it sheds water, making it an obvious choice for flags that were to be used outdoors over an extended period. Most parade flags were printed on 100% cotton, because cotton was less expensive and most parades, political rallies, or reunions lasted only one day. Flags made for these events were thus disposable, meant for short-term use. The Centennial Expo lasted for six months and this is the reason that some makers used wool or wool blends for smaller, decorative flags. This particular variety is constructed of three pieces of fabric, which are treadle-sewn. There is a narrow, treadle-sewn binding made of twill weave cotton tape.

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.

The background is 100% cotton twill, black in color. The mount was placed in a solid mahogany molding with a black-painted surface, to which a rippled profile molding, black with gold highlights, was added as a liner. The glazing is U.V. protective plexiglass.

Condition: There are minor, scattered, holes and losses in limited areas, accompanied by modest losses in the top, fly-end corner of the canton, the top 2 stripes near the center and at the fly end, and in the last stripe near the center and at the fly end. Period fabric of the same variety was placed behind the flag in limited areas for masking purposes. There is minor oxidation and soiling throughout. many of my clients prefer early flags to show their age and history of use.
Collector Level: Flags for the truest Patriots. My best offerings
Flag Type:
Star Count: 38
Earliest Date of Origin: 1876
Latest Date of Origin: 1876
State/Affiliation: Colorado
War Association: 1866-1890 Indian Wars
Price: SOLD

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