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45 star American military battle flag, made in the era of the Spanish-American War. Because flags made during this period (1896-1907) were generally mass-produced and uninteresting from a visual perspective, it is great to see something of exceptional quality that does not fit the standard, cookie cutter mold. Most 45 star flags were made for general outdoor use were constructed of wool bunting, a coarsely woven fabric practical for inclement weather. This one is constructed of fine, merino wool, tightly woven and with slight, attractive sheen. Stars on 45 star flags with sewn construction are typically made of cotton and appliqu�d with a zigzag machine stitch, but these were finely embroidered from silk floss. Instead of having a white binding along the hoist made of heavy cotton or canvas with brass grommets, there is an open sleeve made of the same red merino wool found in the stripes. A wooden staff would be slipped through this open pocket so that the flag could be carried on foot. Although uncommon, blue sleeves are sometimes seen, but red is even more scarce and it adds a visual feature that sets this flag apart from other flags of all periods. The edge of military battle flags and those carried in formal dress parades generally were fringed the three sides, like this example. During the Civil War, fringes were usually constructed of twisted metal bullion or silk. This one is made of twisted silk cord, trimmed in metallic bullion tape, which is especially attractive as well as unusual. Earlier infantry battle flags, made under military contract, were generally 6 x 6.5 feet. The 45-star era was transitional and rectangular formats emerged. These were generally the same length, but shorter on the hoist. This one measures 5 x 6.5 feet. Civil War (1861-65) examples were usually silk with either painted or embroidered stars. Indian Wars era flags were either silk with painted or embroidered stars or wool bunting with appliqu�d cotton stars. The use of merino wool in this flag is indicative of the transitional era in which it was produced. Although it is probably not the only one that exists, it is however unique in my observation of surviving examples. Utah became the 45th state in 1896. It had been attempting to gain statehood for many years, but remained a territory, primarily due to the fact that the Mormon Church and Utah authorities continued to be openly tolerant of polygamy. In 1890, Mormon Church President Wilford Woodruff published a manifesto that denounced the contract of �any marriages forbidden by the law of the land�. This gave way to Utah�s 1896 acceptance. The 45 star flag was generally used from that year until 1907, when Oklahoma joined the Union. Due to the Spanish-American War (1898) and Teddy Roosevelt�s famous world tour of the �White Fleet� (launched in 1907), this was an extremely patriotic period. Construction: The canton and stripes are made of merino wool, joined with machine stitching. The stars, which are arranged in staggered rows of 8-7-8-7-8-7, are embroidered from silk floss. There is an open sleeve made of merino wool, reinforced with cotton on the interior, affixed with machine stitching. There is a twisted silk fringe bound to the flag with metallic bullion tape on the obverse. 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: 1896-1907
Condition: Exceptional for a wool flag of the period, with only the most minor mothing and very minor staining. There are tiny holes on the hoist where the flag was tacked in place through the sleeve. Many of my clients prefer early flags to show their age and history of use.
Measurements: Flag: 60.25" x 78"
Inventory Other Inventory by this Dealer
Price: SOLD
E-mail: Inquire
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