|39 STARS WITH BOTH DANCING AND CANTED POSITIONING, ALTERNATING FROM ROW-TO-ROW, ON AN ANTIQUE AMERICAN FLAG LIKELY MADE FOR THE 1876 CENTENNIAL, NEVER AN OFFICIAL STAR COUNT, REFLECTS THE ANTICIPATED ARRIVAL OF THE DAKOTA TERRITORY
|Frame Size (H x L):||Approx. 36" x 44"|
|Flag Size (H x L):||24.25" x 31.75|
|39 star American parade flag, printed on plain weave cotton, with some interesting visual features. Note how the canton is roughly square in shape, as opposed to rectangular, and how its shade of blue is particularly attractive. Another peculiarity lies in the orientation of the stars on their vertical axis. These are arranged in justified lineal rows of 7-6-7-6-7-6. Note how those in the first, third, and fifth rows are positioned on their vertical axis, so that the first star has one point facing upward, then the next has one point facing downward, alternating consecutively throughout. This is something I refer to as a dancing or tumbling formation. Then note how those in the second, fourth, and sixth rows are all positioned alike, canted at a slight angle, so that one point faces roughly in the 11:00 position. The result of the combination of different numbers of stars in each row and different orientations lends a nice folk quality to the flag's design.
The fly end was turned under and bound with treadle stitching. A length of cloth was hand-stitched along the hoist end for structural integrity when the flag was tacked to a wooden staff. This would have likely been done by the owner.
39 star flags were made at two different times in the late 19th century. The first were made in 1876 in anticipation of the addition of two new states. Only one of these was added (Colorado on August 1st), which brought the star count to 38. This meant that the 39 star flags made in this year were inaccurate. Thirteen years later, 39 star flags were made again with the anticipation of the addition of the Dakota Territory. On November 2nd of 1889, the Dakotas came in as two different states (North & South), which forever rendered 39 star flags both obsolete and unofficial.
In some cases, flag makers may have saved the 1876 print designs and used them again in 1889. It is also possible that some 39 star flags may have remained in the stock rooms of flag-makers and dry goods stores for more than a decade, to be brought out again when the actual addition of the 39th state once again loomed on the horizon. This particular type is extremely scarce in this scale and was probably made in the earlier of the two periods. In any event, the existence of 39 star flags is a classic display of both American capitalism and expansionist ideals for the growth of our nation.
Mounting: The flag has been hand-stitched to a background of 100% cotton, black in color, that was washed and treated to reduce and set the dye. The mount was then placed in a black-painted, hand-gilded and distressed Italian molding. The glazing is U.V. protective acrylic.
Condition: There is minor foxing and staining in limited areas, the most significant of which is located in the center and in the upper fly-end corner. There is modest to moderate fading of the red stripes. Many of my clients prefer early flags to show their age and evidence of use.
|Collector Level:||Intermediate-Level Collectors and Special Gifts|
|Flag Type:||Parade flag|
|Earliest Date of Origin:||1876|
|Latest Date of Origin:||1889|
|War Association:||1866-1890 Indian Wars|