|38 STAR ANTIQUE AMERICAN FLAG WITH SCATTERED STAR POSITIONING MADE DURING THE PERIOD WHEN COLORADO WAS THE MOST RECENT STATE TO JOIN THE UNION, 1876-1889
|Frame Size (H x L):
|Approx. 19" x 16"
|Flag Size (H x L):
|10.25" x 7"
|38 star American national parade flag, printed on coarse cotton. The stars are arranged in justified rows of 7-6-6-6-6-7. This results in a secondary pattern that I commonly call a “box-in-a-box-in-a-box”, because of the way in which the seemingly haphazard arrangement creates three consecutive squares. The sunburst red color is very strong, and creates nice contrast with the blue canton. Note how the stars point in various directions on their vertical axis, which adds a nice element of folk quality to the overall design.
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. In the latter 19th century, it became common to add stars before the respective state(s) had even entered the Union. No one cared what was official, not even the military, where the matter of practicality, with regard to flags, always seems to have outweighed regulations. Commercial flag-making was a competitive venture, and few flag-makers were 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 often seen at the Centennial International Exposition, the six-month long World’s Fair, held in Philadelphia, that served as the nucleus of the national celebration. In fact, some flag-makers 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 on November 2nd, 1889. The 38 star flag generally fell out of production at that time, though it technically remained official until July 3rd, 1890.
President Ulysses S. Grant was in office when the first 38 star flags would have appeared. The list of presidents that served during the period when the 38 star flag was actually official, include Rutherford B. Hayes, James Garfield, Chester Arthur, Grover Cleveland, and Benjamin Harrison.
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. Feel free to contact us for more details.
The flag has been placed in its correct vertical position, with its canton in the upper left. The antique, solid walnut molding has ebonized decoration, dates to the period between 1870 and 1890, and retains its original gilded liner. Spacers keep the textile away from the glazing, which is U.V. protective glass.
Condition: There is modest loss of red-orange pigment at the fly end, and very minimal elsewhere. There is modest to moderate pigment loss in the blue canton. There is minor foxing and staining in limited areas, the most significant of which appears in the first white stripe, and in a vertical area throughout the white stripes, near the fly end. There are three pinprick-sized holes along the hoist end, where the flag was once affixed to its original wooden staff with metal tacks, accompanied by minor, associated rust stains. Many of my clients prefer early flags to show their age and history of use.
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