Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
Sold Flags


Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): Approx. 36.5" x 48"
Flag Size (H x L): 24" x 35.5"
38 star American parade flag, block-printed by hand on coarse, glazed cotton. The stars are arranged in a triple-wreath form of the medallion configuration, with a single center star and two stars flanking outside the basic pattern toward the fly end. Most circular medallion patterns exhibit four flanking stars beyond the consecutive wreaths, one in each corner. The inclusion of only two was intentional, allowing for the easy addition of two more stars. Flag-makers knew that more Western Territories were soon to be added and eagerly anticipated their arrival. Use of fewer than four outliers was popular in 38 star parade flags, but is rarely encountered in other star counts.

Note how the square profile of the canton contributes to its interesting presentation. Most parade flags in this star count have red stripes that lean heavily toward orange, with a vibrant, chromatic luster, as-is the case here. This was common across printed flags produced between the 1850's and the 38 star period, phasing out in the last decade of the 19th century.

Also known as hand-wavers, most parade flags measured three feet long or less. Larger examples, such as this one, make a bold statement, especially those with dynamic star patterns.

Although no specific history is known, The initials "W.E.B." are inscribed on the reverse in a white stripe. This would indicate the name of a former owner. It was common in the 19th and early 20th centuries to mark flags in this manner to indicate ownership.

Colorado became the 38th state on August 1st, 1876. This was the year of our nation’s 100-year anniversary of independence. Per the Third Flag Act of 1818, stars were not officially added until the 4th of July following a state's addition. For this reason, 37 was the official star count for the American flag in 1876. Flag-making was a competitive venture, however, and few flag-makers would have been continuing to produce 37 star flags when their competitors were making 38’s. It is for this reason that 38 and 13 stars (to represent the original 13 colonies) are more often seen at the Centennial International Exposition, the six-month long World’s Fair held in Philadelphia in honor of the event. Some flag-makers would have been adding a star for the 38th state even before it entered the Union, in the early part of 1876 or even prior. In fact, many makers of parade flags were actually producing 39 star flags, in hopeful anticipation of the addition of two more Western Territories instead of one. But the 39th state would not join the Union for another 13 years, when the Dakota Territory entered as two states on the same day. The 38 star flag became official on July 4th, 1877 and was generally used until the addition of the Dakotas in 1889.

President Ulysses S. Grant was in office when the first 38 star flags would have appeared. The list of presidents serving during the period when the 38 star flag was actually official include Rutherford B. Hayes, James Garfield, Chester Arthur, Grover Cleveland, and Benjamin Harrison.

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; more than anyone worldwide.

The black-painted, hand-gilded and distressed molding is Italian. The glazing is U.V. protective acrylic. Feel free to contact us for more details.

Condition: There is some pigment loss and misprinting in the canton and there is minor foxing and soiling, accompanied by modest oxidation on the upper three white stripes, as well as in limited areas elsewhere. There is modest pigment loss in red stripes. There are very minor holes and tears along the hoist end, at the points where the flag was once affixed to a wooden staff. There are pinprick-sized holes at the end of the first white stripe. There is a vertical imperfection in the fabric that spans between the 11th and 12th stripes, near the center of the flag, accompanied by some modest soiling that extends into the 13th stripe. Many of my clients prefer early flags to show their age and history of use.

The orange dots at the end of the 5th white stripe are small clumps of excess red/orange pigment. This is highly unusual and academically interesting. Across thousands of parade flags I have almost never seen this occur. We removed small samples for future study.
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: 1889
State/Affiliation: Colorado
War Association: 1866-1890 Indian Wars
Price: SOLD

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