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  34 STARS, WITH SCATTERED POSITIONING, ON AN ANTIQUE AMERICAN PARADE FLAG MADE DURING THE OPENING TWO YEARS OF THE CIVIL WAR, 1861-63, KANSAS STATEHOOD

Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): 17" x 20.25"
Flag Size (H x L): 8" x 11.25"
Description....:
34 star American national flag, printed on glazed cotton. 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 until July 4th, 1863, and 34 star flags would have generally been produced until the addition of West Virginia in June of that year.

34 star parade flags are scarce. Prior to the Civil War, Americans did not employ the flag in many of the ways we do today. Before that time private citizens generally did not fly flags off their porches or wave hand-held examples like this one at parades and rallies. Flags were primarily a tool of the military--particularly the U.S. Navy. It wasn't until Confederate forces fired upon Fort Sumter that a surge of patriotism caused a great increase in the making and consumption of the Stars & Stripes by the general public. It was then that flag-makers began to produce them in quantity for the first time. This flag would have been among some of the first made for that purpose.

Note the square shape of the soldier blue canton and how it contrasts with the burnt orange hue of the red stripes. The stars are arranged in justified lineal rows of 5-6-6-6-6-5. Note how the stars point in various directions on their vertical axis, which adds a nice degree of folk quality to the presentation. Upon close inspection, there is actually some order to what seems at first to be chaos. When viewed on the obverse (front), one will note that the top row and the bottom row are mirror images of one-another except for the star in the center, which is flipped vertically. The stars in the outermost column, along the hoist end, all point upward, while those along the fly end, all point downward. If the top and bottom rows are excluded, one will also note that the remaining stars are what I call "dancing" or "tumbling," alternating point-up, point-down, throughout each of the 4 center rows.

A penciled inscription near the end of the 1st white stripe reads “1 ½ Y.,” followed by what appears to be “1.e.c.” The first portion of this is presumably a notation of length in yards, meaning that the buyer probably bought 5 flags at a measurement of approximately 11.25 inches each. The meaning of the second part of the inscription is unknown. Perhaps this translated into “1 extra, via credit” or simply “1 extra.” In other words, if one purchased 5 flags, they received a half dozen.

All-in-all, a wonderful example of the period with especially attractive colors and nice graphics.

Mounting: The flag was mounted and framed within our own conservation department, which is led by expert staff. We take great care in the mounting and preservation of flags and have framed thousands of examples.

The solid walnut frame, with its original gilded liner, dates to the 1850’s -70’s era and has excellent, early, black surface. Spacers keep the textile away from the glazing, which is U.V. protective glass.

Condition: There is significant breakdown and loss all along the white area of the hoist end, where the flag was once attached to a wooden staff and continuing inward slightly in the three white stripes below the canton. Period parade flag fabric of similar coloration was placed behind this area during the mounting process. There is minor to modest soiling, including repeating, irregular circular patterns across the 1st and 5th white stripes. There is minor misprinting, which actually adds to the presentation rather than detracts. 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: 34
Earliest Date of Origin: 1861
Latest Date of Origin: 1863
State/Affiliation: Kansas
War Association: 1861-1865 Civil War
Price: SOLD
 

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