Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
Sold Flags


Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): Approx. 42" x 62"
Flag Size (H x L): 29.5" x 49.5"
44 star American national flag, printed on coarse, glazed cotton, with its stars arranged in what has been termed a "notched" configuration.

Wyoming joined the Union as the 44th state on July 10th, 1890. Although the 44 star count would not become official until July 4th of the following year, many flag makers would have begun to add a 44th star to their flags at the time that the state was added. Some may have even done this beforehand, in hopeful anticipation. This was common practice among flag-makers both commercial in the latter 19th century.

According to the Third Flag Act, enacted by Congress on April 4, 1818, stars were to be added on Independence Day following a state's addition. Flag makers didn't generally care what was official, however, so while the 44 star count remained official until July 3rd, 1896, it would have generally fallen out of use at the beginning of that year, when Utah gained statehood on January 4th.

Evidence of the eagerness for new states is particular notable on this flag, which leaves 4 open spaces along the hoist end for the addition of Utah, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona. Earlier in the 19th century, the complement of territories, their names, borders, and potential for statehood were less certain. After the Dakota Territory entered as two separate states in 1889, the remainder of the path was easier to predict. For this reason one will find 45 star flags with 3 notches for additional states, and 46 star flags with 2 notches, preceding the future count of 48 that was achieved in 1912. Notched patterns appear in earlier flags, as well, but not with the correct number of spaces to reach a sum of 48 states in the continental union. [Alaska and Hawaii were not added until 47 and 48 years later, in 1959 and 1960, respectively].

In addition to the historical interest of the notched design, note how the graphic aspects of the star pattern are intriguing to the eye. These are strongly complemented by the striking shade of cornflower blue, that contrasts beautifully with the washed out salmon red. The crude nature of the hand, block printing can be seen below the canton, where two separate blocks were aligned to create the balance of the striped field, as well as in the canton itself, where the fabric was slightly folded when the block was applied. All of this is firmly augmented by the oxidation, fading, and wear, which contribute to an especially endearing example among early American flags. The result is as much art as it is flag, simultaneously modernistic and historic. This is a prime example of what makes antique flags so interesting.

Mounting: 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 black-painted, hand-gilded and distressed molding is Italian. The background is 100% cotton twill, black in color. The glazing is U.V. protective plexiglass. Feel free to contact us for more details.

Condition: There is moderate to significant pigment loss, fading, staining and soiling. There are minor losses in the canton and in the striped field, accompanied by some lateral splits along the hoist end. There is minor fraying along the top, fly, and bottom. There is modest fabric loss along the hoist. Fabric of similar coloration was placed behind this area during the mounting process for masking purposes. Many of my clients prefer early flags to show their age and history of use. Sometimes this can actually add to the value of a flag, rather than detract. That is the case with this particular example.
Collector Level: Advanced Collectors and the Person with Everything
Flag Type: Parade flag
Star Count: 44
Earliest Date of Origin: 1890
Latest Date of Origin: 1896
State/Affiliation: Wyoming
War Association: 1866-1890 Indian Wars
Price: SOLD

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