|Rare 13 star American parade flag, printed on cotton, with its stars arranged into a 6-pointed variation of what is known as the �Great Star� among flag enthusiasts, which is one large star made up of smaller stars. The reason behind this exact design is not known. It may have been intended to represent the Star of David, it may have had a historical connection to a colonial flag, or perhaps it may simply have been a design that was preferred by the maker. In any event, it does happen to be the most logical way to arrange 13 stars into a star-shaped pattern.
This flag was produced for the celebration of the centennial of American independence in 1876. The star pattern is rare, but when it occurs on 13 star flags, it is most commonly seen during the last quarter of the 19th century. Until recently I was uncertain as to whether this particular variety was made for the U.S. centennial in 1876, or for general patriotism during the Spanish-American War in 1898, or sometime in between these two dates. But recently a group was discovered that were printed alongside other 1876 flags, on the same bolt, which allowed for proper dating.
Note the unusual amount of white below the last red stripe, which creates a 14th white stripe. This was simply extra fabric near the selvedge, intended to be trimmed, but it does add another interesting feature.
13 star flags have been used throughout our Nation�s history for a variety of purposes. Among other uses, 13 star flags were carried by soldiers during the Mexican and Civil Wars and displayed at patriotic events, including Lafayette�s visit in 1825-26, the celebration of the Nation�s Centennial in 1876, and the Sesquicentennial in 1926. The U.S. Navy used the 13 star count on small boats, not only in the 18th century, but throughout much or all of the 19th century, particularly the second half. The practice ended in 1916 following an executive order from President Woodrow Wilson. Some private ships used 13 star flags during the same period as the Navy, and the use of yachting ensigns with a wreath of 13 stars surrounding an anchor, which began in 1848, still persists today.
Mounting: The gilded American molding has a serpentine profile and dates to the period between 1840 and 1870. The flag has been placed in its correct vertical position, with its canton in the upper left. It has been hand-stitched to 100% cotton, black in color, that has been washed to reduce 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. Spacers keep the textile away from the glass, which is U.V. protective. |
Jeff R. Bridgman American Antiques, llc
||Phone: (717) 676-0545 or (717) 502-1281
||19th Century (1801-1900)|
||Frame: 10.75" x 8.5" Flag: 5" x 3"
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