Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
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34 STARS ARRANGED IN A BEAUTIFUL RENDITION OF THE MEDALLION CONFIGURATION WITH OFFSET WREATHS AND A LARGE CENTER STAR, MADE DURING THE OPENING YEARS OF THE CIVIL WAR, 1861-1863, AND ENTIRELY HAND-SEWN, REFLECTS KANSAS STATEHOOD

Web ID: 34j-954
Available: In Stock
Frame Size (H x L):
Flag Size (H x L): 59" x 106"
 
Description:
34 star American national flag, homemade and entirely hand-sewn, with a beautiful medallion configuration. The design consists of a large center star, surrounded by a wreath of 10 stars, set within an outer wreath of 19 stars, flanked by a star in each corner of the blue canton. This is a traditional medallion design, but note how the inner wreath was mistakenly placed too close to the hoist end and is thus offset from the outer wreath. The skewed placement provides a modernistic element and a strong dose of folk quality to the visual presentation.

Approximately sixty to seventy percent of Civil War period flags had treadle, machine-sewn stripes. The fact that this example is entirely hand-sewn is a nice feature. The canton of the flag is made of wool bunting, while the stripes, stars, and binding are all made of lightweight cotton. While a poor fabric for flag-making, because it absorbs water, cotton was nonetheless the fabric of choice for most homemade flags, such as this one, because it was both lightweight and inexpensive. During this era, the makers of homemade cotton flags often substitute another type of fabric for the canton, apparently because solid blue cotton became extremely scarce with the onset of war and the demand for blue fabric in the North. Usually this was merino wool or a blended wool fabric of similar weight. Because wool bunting was a commercial grade fabric, produced specifically for flags and banners and not suitable for clothing, is an uncommon find on homemade flag. By 1876, flags with cotton stripes typically had cotton cantons.

The stars of the flag are hand-sewn and double-appliquéd (applied to both sides of the blue canton). The binding is constructed of the same fabric used in the white stripes. Along it are three, button hole, whip-stitched grommets.

Kansas was admitted into the Union as the 34th state on January 29th, 1861, about 2 ½ months before the Confederate assault on Fort Sumter that marked the beginning of the Civil War. The 34th star was officially added on July 4th of that year, but most flag makers would have added a 34th star with the addition of Kansas in January. The star count remained official through the opening two years of the war, until July 3rd, 1863, and 34 star flags would have generally been produced until the addition of West Virginia in June of that year.

The combination of the visual impact of the star configuration, the hand-sewn constriction, and a Civil War date result in an wonderful example of the period.

Mounting: The flag has not yet been mounted.

Condition: There is some breakdown in both the stripes and the canton with associated loss, accompanied by some foxing and staining throughout. There are period replacements at the top and bottom of the extreme fly end, accompanied by a replacement of the same size near the fly end of the third red stripe. The flag presents beautifully. Further, many of my clients prefer early flags to show their age and history of use.
   
Collector Level: Advanced Collectors and the Person with Everything
Flag Type: Sewn flag
Star Count: 34
Earliest Date of Origin: 1861
Latest Date of Origin: 1863
State/Affiliation: Kansas
War Association: 1861-1865 Civil War
Price: Please call (717) 676-0545 or (717) 502-1281
E-mail: info@jeffbridgman.com


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