Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
Sold Flags


Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): 26" x 33"
Flag Size (H x L): 16" x 25"
38 star American parade flag, printed on cotton bunting, made for the Centennial International Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876.

This is a very unusual & desirable flag for several reasons. First is the presence of the text in the stripe area that reads "1876 Centennial". Second, most flags of this type with advertising were overprinted with black ink & special-ordered for reunions, store advertising, political rallies and other events. The lettering on this example, was printed in blue, contemporaneously with the canton, which makes it more unusual. Third, the gold color of the stars is unique among varieties of known, 19th century parade flags. No other styles are currently known to exist with gold stars.

Note also how the stars are arranged in columns, rather than rows. They point in various directions on their vertical axis, which adds a nice element of folk quality to the design and compliments its other attractive features.

It is safe to assume that these "1876 Centennial" parade flags with gold stars were made specifically for the Centennial International Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876, a major world's fair and our nations official celebration of the event. I have found a handful of these flags in the Philadelphia area, including an example that is documented in "The Stars and Stripes" by Pierce (published by Richard Pierce, 2005, p. 23). The Pierce flag is signed "Philadelphia, Sept. 1876, G.N.M." along the hoist end. Very few parade flags exist in this particular style. I know of fewer than 15 examples.

Like the Pierce flag, this particular flag is also signed. Written in a dip pen under the canton is the name of a former owner:

"A.W. Stiles"

Even though the identity of the man is unknown, the presence of the signature is desirable.

Don't be fooled by the seemingly backwards orientation. In the 19th century, the same flag ethics that exist today (which developed around the turn-of-the-century), did not exist. So in the mid-19th century, this was every bit as correct as what we now think of as a "forwards" and ethical manner of display. All known flags in this style are backwards-facing.

The 38th state, Colorado, joined the Union in August of 1876. The 38 star flag was official from 1877 to 1889, but production of 38 star flags began in 1876 or prior. Flag-makers did not wait for star counts to become official, and would, in fact, add stars simply on speculation that a new state or states were soon to be added. The flag was generally used until the addition of four more states in 1889.

Mounting: The flag has been stitched to 100% cotton rag mat, and framed in a black painted molding of the 1890-1910 period with great early surface. Spacers were used to keep the textile away from the glass, which is u.v. protective, conservation clear.

Condition: There is minor bleeding and foxing, as well as several tiny holes.
Collector Level: Advanced Collectors and the Person with Everything
Flag Type: Parade flag
Star Count: 38
Earliest Date of Origin: 1876
Latest Date of Origin: 1876
State/Affiliation: Colorado
War Association:
Price: SOLD

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