Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
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Available: In Stock
Frame Size (H x L): 30.5" x 40"
Flag Size (H x L): 18" x 27.5"
Early flags are collected for many reasons, but one of the primary factors can be found in the mere fact that they looked so very different in early America than they do today. Because there was no official star configuration for the American national flag until 1912, their design was left to the whims of the flag-maker. Artist’s liberty and creative expression led to a host of various star patterns. Among these are not only rows and columns of stars, but circular formations, star-shaped formations, and all manner of other arrangements that span from the common and benign to the exceptionally rare and whimsical.

One of the earliest concepts in the layout of the stars was to feature a large one in the center of the blue canton amidst an otherwise lineal configuration. Because so few flags survive from the first fifty years following our independence, scant few examples exist with this feature, but it can be seen on the only known 17-star, 17-stripe flag (1803-1812), for example, that has so-far been discovered, as well as a fragment of the another flag that was found alongside it. It can also be seen on a rare, 24-star example (1821-1836), as well as a particular early, 13-star flag that probably pre-dates 1830 and might be 18th century.

In the case of printed parade flags, like this one, I can think of only two examples, each of which survives as the only known flag in its respective style. Neither of these has thus far been documented in any text.

This is one of those two, exceptionally rare flags. 30 of its 34 stars are laid out in justified rows. A peculiarly large star is centered within their midst and the three stars which form a triangle above it were apparently placed to accommodate it.

The flag is printed on finely woven cotton, as opposed to the coarse, glazed variety that is more commonly encountered on parade flags that were made throughout this period (1861-63) and the balance of the 19th century. Parade flags were printed on bolts like most patterned textiles. Since each color was applied separately onto a white background, human error can be witnessed in the way in which the respective elements line up. That is especially true in the case of this flag. In fact, note how the blue canton is actually about one half inch too short for the vertical space it was intended to fill. Also note the large amount of white space along the hoist and the fair amount of white left untrimmed along the other three sides of its perimeter. These sorts of irregularities are cherished by flag collectors, because they evidence early construction and because they are visually interesting. The size is nearly ideal, because it is large enough to command attention, yet small enough to easily be displayed.

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 been produced until the addition of West Virginia in June of that year.

In summary, this is a one-of-a-kind flag, with among the rarest of all known star patterns, the basic style of which can be seen among the earliest of all known flags, yet is present on only two known printed examples. The flag is visually powerful, while the size and its Civil War date are particularly desirable. All-in-all, this is among the best Civil war parade flags that I have ever had the privilege to acquire.

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% cotton twill, black in color, that was washed and treated for color-fastness. The mount was placed in a black-painted, hand-gilded and distressed Italian molding. The glazing is U.V. protective acrylic (plexiglas).

Condition: There is moderate fading throughout, accompanied by minor foxing and staining. Extremely minor color restoration was performed in the upper, hoist-end corner of the canton. Many of my clients prefer early flags to show their age and history of use. The great rarity of this flag, as the only known example warrants practically any condition.
Collector Level: Flags for the truest Patriots. My best offerings
Flag Type: Parade flag
Star Count: 34
Earliest Date of Origin: 1861
Latest Date of Origin: 1863
State/Affiliation: Kansas
War Association: 1861-1865 Civil War
Price: Please call (717) 676-0545 or (717) 502-1281

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