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38 star American national flag; an unusual homemade example, entirely hand-sewn, and with a beautiful rendition of what is known as a medallion configuration. This consists of a large center star, surrounded by a wreath of 10 stars, surrounded by a wreath of 19 stars, flanked by a star in each corner of the blue canton. This is a traditional medallion design, but note how the inner wreath was mistakenly placed too close to the hoist end and is thus offset from the outer wreath. The circumstance is very beautiful and lends a strong dose of folk quality to a flag that would already have had bold visual impact if this circumstance was not present. This is a homemade flag and its construction is a bit unusual. First, it is entirely hand-sewn. More than half of surviving Civil War period (1861-65) flags had treadle, machine-sewn stripes and by 1876 the proportion moved closer to eighty or ninety percent. Second, while this is a homemade flag, the canton is made out of wool bunting, which was generally unavailable in dry goods stores and so is seldom seen in homemade examples. The stripes, stars, and sleeve of the flag are made of lightweight cotton. While a poor fabric for flag-making, because it absorbs water, cotton was nonetheless the fabric of choice for most homemade flags because it was both lightweight and inexpensive. During the Civil War era, homemade cotton flags often substitute another type of fabric for the canton, apparently because solid blue cotton became extremely scarce with the onset of war and the need for blue fabric in the North. This was usually merino wool or a blended wool fabric that was similar in weight. In any event, it would almost never be wool bunting, because that was a commercial grade fabric. By 1876, however, flags with cotton stripes usually had cotton cantons. So it is both unusual to see anything except a cotton canton on a flag with cotton stripes in or after 1876 and very unusual to see a wool bunting canton on a cotton flag in any period. The flag�s cotton stars are hand-sewn and double-appliqu�d, meaning that they are applied to both sides. There is a narrow cotton sleeve along the hoist end, made of the same fabric as the white stripes, with three, whip-stitched button hole grommets. 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. Interesting star patterns, like this one, tend to be seen on 38 star flags that were made specifically for events surrounding the 1876 centennial. Mounting: The flag has not yet been mounted.
Inventory Number:


Jeff R. Bridgman American Antiques, llc
Contact   Jeff Bridgman Phone: (717) 502-1281
Period: 19th Century (1801-1900)
Date: 1876-1889
Origin: US
Condition: There is some breakdown in both the stripes and the canton with associated loss, accompanied by some foxing and staining throughout. There are period replacements at the top and bottom of the extreme fly end, accompanied by a replacement of the same size near the fly end of the third red stripe. The flag presents beautifully. Further, many of my clients prefer early flags to show their age and history of use.
Measurements: Flag: 59" x 106"
Inventory Other Inventory by this Dealer
Price: SOLD
E-mail: Inquire
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