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  44 STAR ANTIQUE AMERICAN PARADE FLAG WITH A TRIPLE WREATH FORM OF THE MEDALLION CONFIGURATION, RARE IN THIS PERIOD WITH A CIRCULAR STAR ARRANGEMENT, 1890-1896, REFLECTS THE ADDITION OF WYOMING TO THE UNION

Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): Approx. 36 x 43"
Flag Size (H x L): 23.75" x 30.5"
Description....:
44 star American parade flag, printed on plain weave cotton. The stars are arranged in a circular medallion configuration that consists of three consecutive wreaths of stars, with a single star in the very center and a flanking star in each corner of the blue canton, outside the primary pattern. Variations of this beautiful and desirable arrangement are seen primarily in flags made between the Civil War (1861-65) and the nation’s centennial (1876). While there remained no official star configuration until 1912, flag makers basically abandoned circular, star-shaped, and other, dynamic, non-linear designs after the 38 star era (1876-1889). Examples with greater than 38 stars are rarely encountered.

Note how this particular, orderly, circular arrangement, in such a large star count is somewhat reminiscent of a clear summer night sky, filled with stars. Also note that the canton is square, as opposed to rectangular, and how the proportions of the flag itself are somewhat more squarish than usual. Together these traits provide additional, visual peculiarities that impact to this great example of 19th century flag-making.

It is interesting to note that I discovered a period image of this particular variety of parade flag, in an early postcard, made to advertise the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia, which had, in 1898, been opened to the public as a museum. A photo of the front of the house shows two of these flags, affixed to staffs, propped at opposite angles in the front window. While perhaps difficult for the casual observer to identify, connoisseurs of printed flags may recognize their scale and iconic design. The postcard is hand-dated 1905.

Wyoming became the 44th state on July 10th, 1890. Even though the 44 star flag was not official until July 4th, 1891, most flag-makers would have begun to add a 44th star to their flags as soon as Wyoming declared statehood, or perhaps even before the state was actually added. Because flag-making was a competitive venture, flag-makers did not want to be producing 43 star flags, for example, when their competitors were selling 44’s. The 44 star flag would have generally seen use until the addition of Utah in 1896.

Mounting: The flag has been placed in its correct vertical position, with the canton in the upper left. It 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 gilded molding of exceptional quality has a tradition, early American profile. To this a molding with a step-down profile, almost black, with reddish undertones and highlights, was added as a cap. 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).

Condition: There is minor soiling and there are very minor stains, in limited areas, in the striped field, but the overall condition is exceptional among known examples. The flag presents beautifully.
Collector Level: Advanced Collectors and the Person with Everything
Flag Type: Parade flag
Star Count: 44
Earliest Date of Origin: 1890
Latest Date of Origin: 1896
State/Affiliation: Wyoming
War Association: 1866-1890 Indian Wars
Price: SOLD
 

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