|34 STARS IN A "GREAT STAR" PATTERN ON AN ANTIQUE AMERICAN PARADE FLAG WITH A BRILLIANT, ROYAL BLUE CANTON, MADE OF SILK; OPENING TWO YEARS OF THE CIVIL WAR, 1861-63, KANSAS STATEHOOD
|Frame Size (H x L):
|Approx. 10.5" x 13"
|Flag Size (H x L):
|4.25" x 6.5"
|34 star parade flag, printed on silk. The stars are configured in a variation of what is known as the “Great Star” pattern [one large star made out of smaller stars]. Great Stars take on many forms. This particular one is comprised of a star-shaped perimeter, surrounding a wreath of 8 stars, with a single star in the very center. This variety is interesting, not only because of the inner wreath, but because when star-shaped or circular designs appear in printed flags, they are almost always accompanied by additional stars outside the principal pattern. Sometimes simplicity is better. There is something to be said about the strong graphics of the one big star against the rich, royal blue ground, unencumbered by smaller stars around it.
Because there was no official configuration until 1912, the design was left to the liberties of the maker. Among flag enthusiasts, the Great Star is one of the most coveted geometric patterns. It seems to have come about shortly before 1818, when Congressman Peter Wendover of New York requested that Captain Samuel Reid, a War of 1812 Naval hero, help to create a new design that would become the third official format of the Stars & Stripes. The primary concern of ship captains was that the signal be easily recognized on the open seas. Reid’s concept of placing all the stars in a star-shaped pattern would have kept the constellation in roughly the same format as the number of states grew and more stars were added. Such a distinct design could be quickly identified at a distance. Though his proposal was rejected by President Monroe, due to the increased cost of arranging the stars in this manner, the Great Star was produced by anyone willing to make it. Its rarity today, along with its beauty, has driven its desirability among collectors.
This is an extremely rare example and even more extraordinary due to its remarkable color and state of preservation.
Kansas was admitted into the Union as the 34th state on January 29th, 1861, about 2 ½ months before the Confederate assault on Fort Sumter that marked the beginning of the Civil War. The 34th star was officially added on July 4th of that year, but most flag makers would have added a 34th star with the addition of Kansas in January. The star count remained official until July 4th, 1863, and 34 star flags would have generally been produced until the addition of West Virginia in June of that year.
Prior to the Civil War, Americans did not employ the flag in many of the ways we do today. Before that time, private citizens generally did not fly flags off their porches or wave hand-held examples like this one at parades and rallies. Flags were primarily a tool of the military--particularly the U.S. Navy. It wasn't until Confederate forces fired upon Fort Sumter that a surge of patriotism caused a great increase in the making and consumption of the Stars & Stripes by the general public. It was then that flag-makers began to produce them in quantity for the first time. This flag would have been among some of the first made for that purpose.
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 flag has been hand-stitched to 100% silk fabric, black in color, that has been washed and treated for colorfastness. The gilded American molding, with its step-down profile, dates to the periods between 1840 and 1870. The glazing is U.V. protective Plexiglas.
Condition: There is a small nick along the lower edge.
|Advanced Collectors and the Person with Everything
|Earliest Date of Origin:
|Latest Date of Origin:
|1861-1865 Civil War
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