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38 star American National parade flag, printed on cotton. The stars are arranged in an extraordinarily rare variation of what I call a �Beehive� configuration, based on not only its visual appearance, but also its relationship to at least two other flags with different star counts but a similar appearance. This particular pattern consists of 6 rows of stars, all pointing upward, that form a basic beehive shape. There are 4 additional smaller stars in each corner, each tilted at forty-five degrees. The bottom 2 may be helping to form the base of the hive, while the above 2 may represent worker bees.

The above analysis would require a greater leap of faith if it were not for the existence of other, similar examples (which are close to or equally rare). One of these, in 42 stars, which adds 4 more stars to the exact design on this flag, looks even more like a beehive. In addition, the beehive is not such an unexpected element to incorporate into a flag design, because it is a universal icon for hard work and industry. This was at the very forefront of American politics during this time period, when rapid improvements were made in the manufacturing sector and railroads stretched ever further throughout the Louisiana purchase. It was not the first use of a beehive in American flags, either, as several revolutionary period flags exist that contain its representation.

Four of the beehive flags are known that contain 42 stars. None of these is documented in any text. There is a single known example in approximately the same size with 34 stars, also undocumented, that could either be called a shield or a beehive and may have come from a different maker. On that flag, the design is rotated 90 degrees. It is probably meant to be a shield, but the possibility does remain that a beehive was the actual intention. In any case, the 38 star flag in question survives as the only known example of its kind.

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. 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: 1876-1889
Condition: The stripes of the flag have faded to an interesting persimmon color and there is some fading of the blue canton. Many collectors prefer early flags to show their age and history of use. In addition, the fact that this flag is the only known example means that almost any condition is acceptable, especially when the flag presents as well as this one does.
Measurements: flag: 20" x 28" frame: 31.25" x 39.5"
Inventory Other Inventory by this Dealer
Price: SOLD
E-mail: Inquire
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