Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
Sold Flags


Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): 42.25" x 60.75"
Flag Size (H x L): 30.25" x 47.25"
13 star American national flag, made in the era of the 1876 centennial of American independence, with beautifully hand-sewn stars. These are arranged in a medallion pattern that features a wreath of 8 stars, surrounding a single, center star, with a flanking star in each corner of the blue canton. This attractive design emerged during the Civil War and became very popular afterwards, especially on small, hand-held, printed flags, made for the celebration of our nation’s 100th anniversary. It is much more scarce, however, in flags of the centennial era with pieced-and-sewn construction, like this example.

The stars of the flag are made of cotton, hand-sewn, and double-appliquéd (applied to both sides). The canton and stripes of the flag are made of wool bunting that has been pieced and joined with treadle stitching. There is a twill cotton binding along the hoist with two brass grommets, through which blue cotton ties were threaded and knotted, in order that the flag could be affixed to a staff.

At just 2.5 x 4 feet, the small scale of the flag itself is very desirable. Prior to the last decade of the 19th century, most flags made for extended outdoor use were very large. Those with pieced-and-sewn construction were generally eight feet long and larger. This is because flags needed to be seen from a distance to be effective in their purpose as signals. Today their use is more often decorative and the general display of patriotism. Smaller flags exist in the early periods, but they are the exception as opposed to the rule. A six-foot example is small among flags of those that pre-date 1890, and they smaller they are, the more unusual they are.

Why 13 Stars?
13 star flags have been continuously produced throughout our nation’s history for purposes both patriotic and utilitarian. This was the original number of stars on the American flag, representing the original 13 colonies, so it was appropriate for any flag made in conjunction with celebrations of American independence. In addition to use at the 1876 centennial, 13 star flags were hoisted at patriotic events, including Lafayette’s visit in 1824-25, the sesquicentennial in 1926, and celebrations of July 4th. They were displayed during the Civil War, to reference past struggles for American liberty and victory over oppression, and were used by 19th century politicians while campaigning for the same reason.

13 star flags were flown by American ships both private and federal. The U.S. Navy used 13 stars on the ensigns made for small boats, because they wished the stars to be easily discerned at a distance. As the number of stars grew with the addition of new states, it became more and more difficult to fit stars on a small flag so that they may be viewed from afar as individual objects. Because any star count that has previously been official remains so today according to the Congressional flag acts, all 13 star flags in an otherwise appropriate design remain official flags of the United States.

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 a wide, sculptural, shaped profile, is Italian. The background is 100% cotton twill, black in color, that has been washed and treated for colorfastness. The glazing is U.V. protective acrylic (Plexiglas). Feel free to contact us for more details.

Condition: There is an area of moderate loss in the 4th red stripe, approaching the fly end, accompanied by very minor losses elsewhere, in limited areas. There is very minor bleeding along the hoist binding, and in the 3 white stripes below the canton, near the center of the flag, and there is minor bleeding in the white stripes, near the fly end. The flag presents beautifully. 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: Sewn flag
Star Count: 13
Earliest Date of Origin: 1870
Latest Date of Origin: 1880
State/Affiliation: 13 Original Colonies
War Association: 1866-1890 Indian Wars
Price: SOLD

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