Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
Sold Flags


Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): 41.75" x 60.25"
Flag Size (H x L): 30" x 48.75"
45 star American national flag, block-printed on coarse, glazed cotton, with interesting colors and endearing wear. Evidence of the desire for westward expansion is evidenced in the configuration of the stars. These are arranged in what is known as a “notched” pattern, which leaves 3 open spaces for the forthcoming addition of the Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona Territories as states.

Earlier in the 19th century, the complement of territories, their names, borders, and potential for statehood were less certain. After the Dakota Territory entered as two separate states in 1889, the remainder of the path was easier to predict. For this reason, one will find 44 star flags with 4 notches for additional states, and 46 star flags with 2 notches, preceding the future count of 48 that was achieved in 1912. Notched patterns appear in earlier flags, as well, but not with the correct number of spaces to reach a sum of 48 states in the continental union. [Alaska and Hawaii were not added until 47 and 48 years later, in 1959 and 1960, respectively].

According to the Third Flag Act, enacted by Congress on April 4, 1818, stars were to be added on Independence Day following a state's addition. Flag makers didn't generally care what was official, however, so while the 45 star count remained official until July 3rd, 1908, it would have generally fallen out of use when Oklahoma gained statehood on November 16th, 1907.

In addition to the historical interest of the notched design, note the vibrant, royal blue of the canton and the burnt orange color of the faded stripes. Also note the irregularities of the crude weave of the fabric, prominent throughout, with a narrow, vertical eccentricity near the fly end.

The fact that the flag has been heavily used is evidenced in its endearingly attractive wear. Note the interesting loss of pigment throughout the striped field, which increases as it proceeds along the top end and toward the fly end, where there is a pleasant amount of fraying. Slight fading and evidence of stress in the upper, hoist end corner, as well as the various stains and soiling throughout, help translate the story of long term display.

When Utah finally entered the Union, it had been attempting to gain statehood for many years. It remained a territory primarily due to the fact that the Mormon Church and Utah authorities continued to be openly tolerant of polygamy. In 1890, Mormon Church President Wilford Woodruff published a manifesto that denounced the contract of “any marriages forbidden by the law of the land”. This gave way to Utah’s 1896 acceptance. Due to the Spanish-American War (1898) and Teddy Roosevelt’s famous world tour of the “White Fleet” (launched in 1907), the tenure of the 45 star flag occurred within an extremely patriotic period of early American history.

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 mount was placed in a black-painted Italian molding with a sculpted profile and a gilded inner edge. The background is 100% cotton twill, black in color. The glazing is U.V. protective Plexiglas. Feel free to contact us for more details.

Condition: In addition to the significant wear, soiling, and fading described above, there was, at the time of the flag’s use, improper trimming along the lower edge. While this and the other factors may sometimes be expected to deter from the desirability of a flag, in this case the state of preservation actually contributes significantly to its attractive presentation. 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:
Star Count: 45
Earliest Date of Origin: 1896
Latest Date of Origin: 1908
State/Affiliation: Utah
War Association: 1898 Spanish American War
Price: SOLD

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