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42 UPSIDE-DOWN STARS IN A WAVE CONFIGURATION ON A BRILLIANT BLUE CANTON, 1889-1890, WASHINGTON STATEHOOD, AN UNOFFICIAL STAR COUNT: 42 star American National parade flag, printed on cotton. The upside-down vertical alignment of all the stars is a particularly rare trait. No one knows if this positioning had any purpose. There were no regulations concerning either star configuration or position until 1912 and it is entirely possible that the designer of the flag did not feel that any star position was �right-side-up�. The maker may have simply liked the look of the stars with two-arms-up instead of one. In any event, this was not the norm. Note how the stars are arranged in columns, and the columns are offset at alternating heights. This interesting star layout is called a �wave� configuration and is peculiar to several varieties of 42 star parade flags. Also unusual is the striking, cobalt blue color of the canton, which, when combined with its scarlet red stripes and its configuration of large stars, has strong visual impact. The 42 star flag is interesting from a historical perspective, both because 42 was never an official star count, and because 42 star flags were only produced for about 8 months (November, 1889 � July 4th, 1890). The flag represents the addition of the Dakotas, Montana and Washington, between November 2nd and November 11th, 1889. The 42nd state was officially Washington, but the four states gained their statehood only nine days apart, and flag makers added four stars, accordingly, to the 38 star flag that was previously official. After 1818, star counts became official on the 4th of July each year. A new star was therefore officially added on Independence Day for every state that had been added over the preceding �flag year�. Flag makers, however, did not wait for Independence Day and �official� star counts. Flag making was a competitive industry, and no one wanted to be making 38 star flags, for example, when their competitors were making 42 star flags and there were 42 states. On many occasions, particularly in the last quarter of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th century, flag-makers would speculate the number of states that were going to be added and add the stars before they were official. It was for this precise reason that 42 was never an official star count. Idaho received statehood on July 3rd, 1890, taking the star count to 43 just one day before 42 would have become the official number. This fact makes 42 star flags an interesting part of our heritage and a classic display of American capitalism. Mounting: The flag has been hand-stitched to 100% cotton, black in color, which has been 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. The mount was then placed in a black-painted, hand-gilded and distressed Italian molding. Spacers keep the textile away from the glass, which is u.v. protective. Condition: There is a small tear at the hoist end of the canton, about half way up, accompanied by minor staining.
Inventory Number:


Jeff R. Bridgman American Antiques, llc
Contact   Jeff Bridgman Phone: (717) 502-1281
Period: 19th Century (1801-1900)
Date: 1889-1890
Origin: American
Condition: see description
Measurements: flag: 17.75" x 25.25", frame: 28.5" x 36.25"
Inventory Other Inventory by this Dealer
Price: SOLD
E-mail: Inquire
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