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38 star American national parade flag, press-dyed on wool bunting, with a very unusual type of medallion star configuration. This has 4 large stars in the corners, flanking a triple wreath pattern of smaller stars, with one small star in the very center. Medallion designs, like this one, typically have a large center star. The absence of a large center star makes for a visually unusual flag. Also adding to the presentation is the somewhat crowded arrangement of the wreaths and tall and narrow proportions of the blue canton. These things together allow for a particularly bold, visual design. Many fantastic star patterns were made in the patriotism that accompanied or nation�s 100-year anniversary of independence in 1876 and this is one of the more interesting examples. Because there were no regulations concerning either star configuration or position until 1912, many flag-makers went out of their way to catch the attention of potential buyers. It is very likely that this flag was made for Horstmann Brothers (also call Horstmann & Sons at one time) in Philadelphia, a major military outfitter. Horstmann did not make their own flags, but put their name on many of the things they sold. At least four other flags made by the same manufacturer have been discovered with sewn, cotton sleeves, on which the Horstmann name was printed. Due to the fact that the Centennial International Exposition, a major World�s Fair event, took place in the same Philadelphia, it is logical to assume that Horstmann supplied these flags for the centennial celebration. Press-dyed wool flags are rarer than those printed on cotton and silk. Large printed wool flags are not uncommon in this period, but small parade flags, like this one, are much more scarce. Most parade flags were made of cotton because cotton was inexpensive and such flags were often intended for one day�s use only at a specific parade, political rally, a reunion of soldiers, or some other patriotic event. The Centennial Expo went lasted for six months, requiring decorative flags that would last for a longer period. It is reasonable to assume that press-dyed wool flags were made for just such a purpose, because wool sheds water is more appropriate than cotton for extended outdoor use. The 38th state, Colorado, received its statehood on August 1st, 1876. This was just 28 days after the official centennial celebration, which took place on July 4th. Although 37 was the official star count in 1876, flag-making was a competitive venture, and no one wanted to be making 37 star flags when others were making 38�s. It is for this reason that 38 and 13 (to reference the original 13 colonies) are the two star counts most often seen at the centennial celebration. The 38 star flag was generally used until 1889, when four new states joined the Union. Mounting: The flag has been hand-stitched to a background of 100% cotton twill, black in color. The black fabric was washed to remove excess dye. An acid-free agent was added to the wash to further set the dye and the fabric was heat-treated for the same purpose. Fabric was placed behind the flag during the mounting process to strengthen its color against the black background. The mount was then placed in a black painted, hand gilded and distressed, contemporary Italian molding. The front is U.V. protective acrylic.
Inventory Number:


Jeff R. Bridgman American Antiques, llc
Contact   Jeff Bridgman Phone: (717) 502-1281
Period: 19th Century (1801-1900)
Date: 1876
Origin: US
Condition: There is minor mothing, accompanied by a moderate degree of staining through the last third of the fly end, but this is a rare and beautiful example. Many of my clients prefer early flags to show their age and history of use.
Measurements: frame: 28.75" x 38.75" Flag: 17.5" x 27.75"
Inventory Other Inventory by this Dealer
Price: SOLD
E-mail: Inquire
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