|36 star American national parade flag, printed on coarse, glazed cotton. Overprinted in black ink in the stripes are large, sculpted letters that advertise the 1868 presidential campaign of one of America�s most beloved figures, General Ulysses S. Grant, with running mate Schuyler Colfax. Among known parade flags, those made for political campaigns with text or pictorial advertising are the most valuable. Within this group, the flags made for the most memorable historical figures, such as Lincoln and Grant, are highly sought after by collectors.
Also important to a flag�s value are its visual presentation and any peculiar elements within the design. In this regard, two things are worth noting on this example. One is the amount of space that the attractive text commands with respect to the overall size of the flag. Because the lettering is quite large, it makes a bold statement. Two is the configuration of the stars, which appear in one of the most rare and unusual forms of a wreath configuration that is known in flag collecting. The design starts with a typical outer wreath, flanked by a star in each corner. But instead of having one or two concentric circles inside it, followed by a large center star, the stars inside the outermost wreath seem to have no apparent pattern. What it actually is, however, on very careful observation, is what�s known to flag enthusiasts as a �Great Star-in-a-Wreath�.
In flag collecting, the �Great Star� is a term for a large star made out of smaller stars. Both rare and highly desired, it serves as the �Rolls Royce� of geometric patterns. When a Great Star is married to a wreath design, it sometimes shares stars with the wreath. That is the case here; in fact, the pattern could also be viewed as a Great Star with two stars between each arm, plus a star in each corner of the canton. Because the Great Star pattern is very difficult to discern, what jumps out at the viewer is simply a whimsical, circular medallion with no apparent pattern in the middle. And because it�s a design on which the eye can�t easily rest, it draws you in with an almost hypnotic movement.
The 36th state, Nevada, gained statehood during the civil war in 1864. Makers of parade flags would have added a star to their flags at this time, but the 36 star flag did not become official until July 4th, 1865, after the war�s end. It was replaced by the 37 star flag in 1867. Note that a count of 36 therefore falls one star short of what was official in 1868. This is sometimes the case with political campaign flags, many of which often have a number of stars that is one or more behind what was official during the election year. Sometimes campaigning may have started before the election year, and at other times the star count probably wasn�t that important to the person ordering these small, printed flags. The purchaser may have sometimes been a campaign manager, but at other times have simply been a friend or political supporter who wished to make a classy display at his/her home or business, or along the campaign route.
Mounting: The flag has been hand-stitched to 100% cotton, black in color, which was washed to reduce excess dye. And acid-free agent was added to the wash to further set the dye and the fabric was heat-treated for same purpose. The mount was then placed in a paint-decorated and gilded molding that dates to the period between 1840 and 1870. Spacers keep the textile away from the glass, which is u.v. protective. |
Jeff R. Bridgman American Antiques, llc
||Phone: (717) 502-1281
||19th Century (1801-1900)|
||There is very minor foxing and staining, but there are no significant condition issues and this is an excellent state of preservation, especially for a rare and desirable flag of this period.|
||frame: 18.25" x 15.25" flag: 5.5" x 8" on 11" stick
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