Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
Sold Flags


Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): 12.5" x 16.5"
Flag Size (H x L): 7" x 10.75"
29 star American national parade flag, printed on coarse, glazed cotton. The stars are arranged in a double wreath pattern with a large center star and a flanking star in each corner of the brilliant blue canton. Note how the arms of the stars have an exaggerated length and thus bear a very interesting folk quality. This is one of my favorite early parade examples because of the great visual impact of its design.

Iowa entered the Union as the 29th state on December 28th, 1846. The 29 star flag became official on July 4th, 1847 and remained so until July 3rd, 1848. This was the period in which the United States went to war with Mexico, in the wake of the annexation of Mexico and during a heightened state of westward expansion. Because very few flags survive that can be accurately dated to the narrow window of the Mexican War (1846-48), this flag is an exceptional rarity and an excellent addition to any collection.

Flags made prior to the Civil War comprise less than one percent of 19th century flags that have survived into the 21st century. Prior to the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter, the Stars & Stripes was simply not used for most of the same purposes we employ it in today. Private individuals did not typically display the flag in their yards and on their porches. Parade flags didn't often fly from carriages and horses. Places of business rarely hung flags in their windows. Private use of the national flag rose swiftly during the patriotism that accompanied the Civil War, then exploded in 1876.

Even the military did not use the flag in a manner that most people might think. The primary purpose before the Civil War was to mark ships on the open seas. While the flag was used to mark some garrisons, the flags of ground troops were often limited to the flag of their own regiment, with a design peculiar unto itself, and perhaps a standard that featured the numeric designation on a painted or embroidered streamer, on a solid buff yellow or blue ground. Most people would be surprised to learn that ground forces were not authorized to carry the Stars & Stripes until it was assigned to artillery regiments in 1834. Infantry was afforded the privilege in 1841, just prior to the Mexican War (1846-1848), while cavalry regiments were not authorized until the second year of the Civil War, in 1862.

The name “C.B. Dean” is inscribed in pencil in the last white stripe, near the hoist. This would be the name of a former owner. It was common to mark flags in this fashion during the 19th and early 20th centuries to indicate ownership.

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 black-painted American frame has a simple, beveled profile, dates to the period between 1830-1850, and retains exceptional early surface. 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 plexiglass. Feel free to contact us for more details.

Condition: There is minor to modest soiling throughout, minor pigment loss in the red stripes, and minor fabric loss along the hoist and top edges. 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
Star Count: 29
Earliest Date of Origin: 1846
Latest Date of Origin: 1848
State/Affiliation: Iowa
War Association: 1777-1860 Pre-Civil War
Price: SOLD

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