Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
Sold Flags


Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): 17.75" x 22.5"
Flag Size (H x L): 9" x 14"
38 star American national parade flag, printed on coarse, glazed cotton. The stars are arranged rows of 7-6-6-6-6-7. Their especially folky appearance is a result of both the crude nature of their block printing and the fact that they point in a variety of directions on their vertical axis. Note the significant variation in the length and shape of their arms. Also note how the vertical orientation and spacing of the stars along each row is unpredictable. I have not before encountered this particular layout on any other flag design. While I have seen examples that I believe to have produced made by the same unidentified flag maker, I have not before encountered this particular print block. Note how the rows of stars are distinctly different from one-another. The first row has 7 stars that point in various directions and are fairly equally spaced. The last row also has 7 stars, similarly spaced, but all have one point directed in the 11:00 position. The 4 rows inbetween have 6 stars each, but these are peculiarly unaligned, so that they bulge to the right in sort of a “D” shape. These have stars with a directed. The result is a flag with extraordinarily attractive graphics, made all the better by strong colors and a crudely woven fabric, the weave of which has interesting serpentine form. Note the brilliant shade of blue and how it contrasts with the sunfire red-orange of the stripes.

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.

Mounting: The solid walnut frame has early, black-painted surface with great craquelure and a gold liner, and dates to the period between 1860 and the 1880’s. It has been hand-sewn to a background of 100% cotton twill, black in color, which was washed to reduce excess dye. An acid-free agent was added to the wash to further set the dye and the fabric was heat-treated for the same purpose. Spacers keep the textile away from the glazing, which is U.V. protective glass.

Condition: There are minor holes along the hoist end, and a small tear, where the flag was affixed to its original wooden staff, and there are a few minor holes elsewhere in the body of the flag. There are minor to moderate stains, the most significant of which are located along the hoist end and in the lower, hoist end quadrant. There is significant misprinting, which actually results in positive visual characteristics, and there is minor dye loss. Many of my clients prefer early flags to show their age and history of use.
Collector Level: Intermediate-Level Collectors and Special Gifts
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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