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  35 STARS IN A MEDALLION CONFIGURATION, ON AN ANTIQUE AMERICAN FLAG OF THE CIVIL WAR PERIOD, WITH A LARGE, HALOED CENTER STAR, 1863-1865, WEST VIRGINIA STATEHOOD

Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): Approx. 31.5" x 40"
Flag Size (H x L): 20" x 28.5"
Description....:
35 star American national parade flag, printed on cotton. The stars are arranged in what is known as a medallion configuration. This consists of two wreaths of stars, with a star in the very center and a star in each corner. Perhaps the best design characteristic of this particular flag is the large center star that features what flag collectors have termed a “halo” (the outline around the perimeter).

Although the maker that produced these flags is unknown, parade flags with a haloed center star exist in at least five other star counts including 30, 31, 34, 36, and 42. Four examples also exist, probably from different makers, that bear 13 stars. One of these dates to 1856, made for the presidential campaign of James Buchanan. Another was made for the 1860 campaign of Abraham Lincoln, and another for that of John Bell, who ran against Lincoln on an independent ticket. Another style, printed on a wool and cotton blended fabric, dates to the 1876 centennial and all of its 13 stars have halos.

Note the color of the stripes, which are a rich, tomato red. Another important attribute of this particular flag is its size. Very little exists from the 1861-1865 time frame in such a desirable scale, large enough to make a bold statement, but small enough for a collector to display in many settings.

After the Third Flag Act of 1818, passed during the Monroe administration, stars were to be officially added on Independence Day following a state’s addition. This information was either not widely disseminated, or largely ignored, and from a practical standpoint made little sense.

West Virginia broke off from Virginia and was admitted into the Union as the 35th state (a Free State) on June 20th, 1863. This took place in the midst of the Civil War, eleven days before the battle of Gettysburg, which occurred from July 1st-3rd. The 35th star was thus officially added on the following day, and the 35 star flag remained official until the July 4th, 1865, after the war’s close.

In the meantime, Nevada joined the Union as the 36th state on October 31st, 1864, a few days before Lincoln’s second election. Not wanting to produce flags that would soon be out-of-date, most flag-makers would have included a 36th star upon Nevada’s admission. This meant that 35 star flags were realistically produced for less than a year-and-a-half. Scarcity is one reason why 35 star flags are so interesting. Far fewer flags are known in this count than in the 34-star count that proceeded it. 34 star flags had been produced in surplus, with ramped up production upon the outbreak of war. Because the January, 1861 – June, 1863 term of the 34 star flag was so short, there was marginal need of replacement with a 35 star flag between mid-1863 and the fall of 1864. So demand for 35 star flags was rather low to begin with.

The combination of size, scarcity, strong color, a beautiful star pattern, and the large haloed center star, result in a exceptional Civil War flag.

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 black-painted and hand-gilded molding, with its broad, early American profile, is Italian. The background is 100% cotton twill, black in color. The glazing is U.V. protective plexiglass.

Condition: There are minor tack holes along the hoist, with minor loss at the top, where the flag was once tacked to a wooden staff. There is a modest fracture with associated loss at the end of the first white stripe and there are tiny holes in the last white stripe. There is a minor stain on the first white stripe, overall age toning throughout, and foxing along the hoist where the staff was in close contact with the cotton fabric. 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: Parade flag
Star Count: 35
Earliest Date of Origin: 1863
Latest Date of Origin: 1865
State/Affiliation: West Virginia
War Association: 1861-1865 Civil War
Price: SOLD
 

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