|13 STARS ARRANGED IN 6-POINTED GREAT STAR / STAR OF DAVID PATTERN, AN EXTREMELY SCARCE EXAMPLE, MADE FOR THE 1876 CENTENNIAL OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE
|Frame Size (H x L):||9" x 7"|
|Flag Size (H x L):||4.5" x 3"|
|13 star American national parade flag, printed on coarse, glazed cotton. The stars are arranged in a six-pointed version of what is known as the "Great Star" or "Great Luminary" pattern, which is distinguished by one large star made out of smaller ones. All surviving 19th century flags with this star pattern fall between extremely scarce and extremely rare. This particular variety was made for the 100th anniversary of American independence in 1876.
Though the reason behind the decision to select this particular design is not known, several explanations are plausible. One is that it mimics the arrangement of stars found on the Great Seal of the United States, which appears in the cloud-like shape above the American eagle. This can be most ready viewed on the flag of the President of the United States or the back of the U.S. dollar bill.
In present times, one might identify the design as the Star of David, though this symbol, also known as the Shield of David, was not in widespread use by members of the Jewish faith until the 20th century. It could be that the star configuration draws a connection between this particular flag and a historical example of the Revolutionary War era. No 18th century flags are presently known to have survived with this pattern, however, and I know of none that are illustrated in period paintings or drawings. It may be that the source was simply lost to time, but whatever the case may be, one may note that it does represent the most logical manner by which 13 stars may be arranged in a star-shaped pattern.
13 star flags have been flown throughout our nation’s history for a variety of purposes. In addition to their use at the centennial, they were hoisted at all manner of patriotic events, including Lafayette's visit in 1825-26, celebrations of Independence Day, and the sesquicentennial in 1926. 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 in political campaigning for the same reason. The U.S. Navy used the 13 star count on small boats until 1916, because it was easier to discern fewer stars at a distance on a small flag. Commercial flag-makers mirrored this practice and some private ships flew 13 star flags during the same period as the Navy. The use of yachting ensigns with a wreath of 13 stars, surrounding a fouled anchor, which allowed pleasure boats to bypass customs between 1848 and 1980, persists today without an official purpose.
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.
The gilded, American molding dates to the period between 1850 and the 1870’s. The background is 100% cotton twill, black in color, that has been washed and treated for colorfastness. Spacers keep the textile away from the glazing, which is U.V. protective glass. Feel free to contact us for more details.
Condition: There is a line of very minor, golden brown toning that runs vertically in the center of the flag, accompanied by even more minor of the same elsewhere, and a couple of tiny stains. There is minor pigment loss and minor fading. The flag presents beautifully. 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|
|Earliest Date of Origin:||1876|
|Latest Date of Origin:||1876|
|State/Affiliation:||13 Original Colonies|
|Price:||Please call (717) 676-0545 or (717) 502-1281|