|38 HAND-SEWN STARS IN A "NOTCHED" PATTERN, ON AN ANTIQUE AMERICAN FLAG WITH BEAUTIFUL WEAR FROM HAVING BEEN EXTENSIVELY FLOWN, MADE AT THE TIME WHEN COLORADO WAS THE MOST RECENT STATE TO JOIN THE UNION, 1876-1889
|Frame Size (H x L):
|61.75" x 106"
|Flag Size (H x L):
|49.75" x 94"
|38 star Antique American flag, made during the period when Colorado was the most recent state to join the Union. The stars are arranged in what is known as a "notched" pattern, in which two spaces were left open along the hoist end, in the first and last rows, in anticipation that two more Western Territories would soon join the Union. The latter 19th century was a time of when much of the land in and about the Continental Divide was formalized into states, and there was continual speculation about which ones would be accepted next, and with what boundaries.
The stars of the flag are made of cotton and are double-appliquéd (applied to both sides) with a lineal, treadle stitch. The canton and stripes of the flag are made of wool bunting that has been pieced with treadle stitching. The canton was constructed from five separate lengths of fabric, which is an unusual feature, though hardly unknown. To each of these a row of stars was sewn. This manner of construction is sometimes encountered and tends to be an early trait, at least when it occurs in flags of this scale and smaller. When encountered, it also seems to have been preferred in flags meant for maritime use. While the feature does not by any means guarantee this fact, it is a reasonable, educated guess, based upon my examination of many other examples. A flag with a 5-piece canton, such as this, would have been less likelihood to stretch, with increased structural integrity. The alternative is that this was simply an example made when there were at least five pieces of leftover fabric, of a reasonable size to made individual rows, and that what it actually demonstrates is the careful conservation of scarce resources. There is a sailcloth canvas binding along the hoist, with 3 brass grommets, evenly spaced.
Perhaps the best feature of the flag is the evidence it displays of having been extensively flown, with the fly end whipped out from wind exposure. While many flags display damage from a combination of having been flown, exposure to the elements, various mishaps, and improper storage, very few exhibit wear such as this, which is both endearingly and visually attractive. This one shows its age beautifully, whipped out along the fly end, with losses that convey an element of movement, that most flags don’t capture in the state in which they survive.
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 frequently encountered 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 (numbers 39 and 40) on the same day, on November 2nd, 1889.
Mounting: The flag was mounted and framed within our own conservation department, which is led by expert trained staff. We take great care in the mounting and preservation of flags and have framed thousands of examples. Extensive time and care were undertaken in the conservation stitching of the losses along the fly end.
The background is 100% cotton twill, black in color, that has been washed and treated for colorfastness. The black-painted, hand-gilded and distressed molding is Italian. The glazing is U.V. protective plexiglass. Feel free to contact us for more details.
Condition: There are extremely minor losses and weak areas in the canton, including two tiny holes in the first strip of blue wool bunting, a modest hole in the 2nd length, a minor hole in the 3rd, and two small holes/splits in the 5th. In addition to the obvious, significant loss along the fly end, minor tears with associated loss in the first and third red stripes, accompanied by even more minor occurrences elsewhere, throughout, in limited areas. There is minor to modest soiling toward the fly end, in the striped field. The flag displays beautifully. Many of my clients prefer early flags to show their age and history of use.
|Advanced Collectors and the Person with Everything
|Earliest Date of Origin:
|Latest Date of Origin:
|1866-1890 Indian Wars
|Please call (717) 676-0545 or (717) 502-1281