|33 STARS IN A DOUBLE-WREATH CONFIGURATION, ON AN ANTIQUE AMERICAN FLAG DATING IMMEDIATELY PRE-CIVIL WAR THROUGH THE WAR'S OPENING YEAR, REFLECTS THE ADDITION OF OREGON TO THE UNION, 1859-1861
|Frame Size (H x L):
|15.75" x 12.75"
|Flag Size (H x L):
|9" x 6"
|33 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 4 flanking corner stars. 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 in its design.
Oregon entered the Union as the 33rd state on February 14th (Valentines Day), 1859. The 33 star flag was official from 1859-1861, and was thus still the official flag when Ft. Sumter was fired upon on April 12th of that year. This event marked the beginning of the Civil War, and a 33 star flag was flying at Ft. Sumter during the attack. Because the 34th state, Kansas, had already acquired statehood on January 29th, 1861, the 34 star flag was to become official on July 4th. For this reason, 33 star flags were not generally not produced for the war, which would last until 1865, and 33 star flags were generally made pre-war. It is for this reason that 33 star examples are far-and-away more scarce than their 34, 35, and 36-star counterparts.
Flags made prior to the Civil War are extremely rare, comprising less than one percent of 19th century flags that exist in the 21st century. Prior to the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in 1861, 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. The only consistent private use prior to 1861 seems to have accompanied political campaigning. Private use of the national flag rose swiftly during the patriotism that accompanied the Civil War, then exploded in 1876 during the centennial of American independence.
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 flags were used to mark garrisons and government buildings, those of ground troops were often limited to the flag of their own regiment, with a design peculiar unto itself, plus flank markers bearing the unit’s numeric / alphabetic designations (usually on a buff yellow or blue ground), and perhaps a federal standard (also blue or buff yellow) bearing the arms of the United States.
Most people are 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 issued their iconic, swallowtail, Stars & Stripes format guidons until the second year of the Civil War, in 1862, and even then were not formally authorized to carry the national flag until long afterward, in the 1890’s. The first actual war in which the Stars & Stripes was officially carried was thus the Mexican War (1846-48). In more than 20 years of aggressive buying and research, I have encountered almost no American national flags produced in an obvious, land-use, military style that are of the Mexican War period.
Mounting: The flag 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 mount was placed in a paint-decorated molding, with a gilded inner lip, that dates to the period between 1840 and 1870. The background is 100% hemp fabric. Spacers keep the textile away from the glazing, which is U.V. protective glass.
Condition: There is minor fading of the red stripes and there are a few tiny stains, but there are no serious condition issues.
|Intermediate-Level Collectors and Special Gifts
|Earliest Date of Origin:
|Latest Date of Origin:
|1777-1860 Pre-Civil War
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