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   EXTREMELY RARE PARADE FLAG, WITH 35 STARS AND AN EAGLE IN THE CANTON, OVERPRINTED FOR THE 1864 CAMPAIGN OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN & ANDREW JOHNSON, AN IMPORTANT, UNDOCUMENTED EXAMPLE:


 

Description:
35 star American national parade flag, printed on cotton, made for the 1864 campaign of Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. The following text is overprinted in the stripes in black ink:

OUR CHOICE,
LINCOLN & JOHNSON.

Several varieties of Lincoln & Johnson flags are recorded in various text on political campaign flags and other campaign objects, but this style is undocumented.

While a great number of political textiles were made to promote Lincoln and Hamlin�s 1860 campaign, those made for Lincoln and Johnson for the 1864 election are far more scarce. There were two primary reasons why. First, in the early part of 1864, Lincoln felt unlikely to be re-elected, but as the year progressed there were significant Union victories and the future success of the incumbent president was solidified. This meant there was little need to spend large amounts of money campaigning. Second, less time and resources were available during wartime to focus on campaign accessories, so fewer flags were produced. In fact, it is interesting to note that of those Lincoln-Johnson flags that do exist, a significant number were actually recycled from the 1860 campaigns of his opponents by the application of Lincoln�s name over top on a length of cloth or paper. For these reasons, while all Lincoln-related parade flags are highly sought after, and are collectively the most valuable of all printed flags known to exist, those made for the 1864 campaign of Lincoln & Johnson are of particular interest. In other words, assuming all other factors are equal (graphics, text, size, etc.), the presence of the Johnson name is significantly superior to Hamlin.

Political use aside, this is a very rare flag due to the presence of an eagle in the canton. American parade flags that incorporate large eagles as a prominent feature in their design are among the rarest of all printed flags. I have owned only four such examples and know of fewer than ten in total that have survived from the 19th century. Six of these are in this exact style, yet only one other has the Lincoln & Johnson overprint. Three of the remaining four are in the same size, but have no overprinted text, and the last is identical, yet smaller.

The design is also very unusual because of its medallion star configuration. Note how the stars form a single wreath, with 4 stars flanking in each corner. 3 of these flanking stars hug the circle, while the 4th is beyond them, by itself. A typical medallion pattern will have two or three consecutive wreaths of stars, with a single flanking star in each corner. Here the presence of the large eagle leaves room for only a single wreath, which required that more stars be incorporated outside its perimeter to achieve the desired star count.

West Virginia entered the Union as the 35th state on June 20th, 1863, and this flag was used during the closing years of the Civil War. Although 35 was the official star count until July 4th, 1865, most flag making that was not under military contract would have included a 36th star after the addition of Nevada on October 31st, 1864. This means that 35 star flags were realistically produced for less than a year and a half.

Brief Biography of Andrew Johnson:

Andrew Johnson was born in North Carolina in 1808. He led an impoverished childhood and would become one of only eight presidents who never attended college (the others being Washington, Jackson, Van Buren, Taylor, Fillmore, Lincoln, Cleveland, and Truman). Johnson, in fact, was never formally educated and taught himself to read. He was an extremely charismatic speaker, however, and his political aspirations eventually led him all the way to the United States House of Representatives, followed by the Senate.

Having moved to Tennessee, Johnson played the fine line between the North and the South. As a result, he was eventually disliked on both sides of the Mason-Dixon. He often supported slavery, at least in his actions if not his words, yet was the only Senator to not denounce his seat after the secession. This earned him the title of �traitor� in the South and �hero� in the North, at least for a time. Lincoln chose him as a running mate to boost support among Southern sympathizers, as well as to convey his commitment to unification.

After Lincoln�s 1865 assassination, Johnson ascended to the presidency. Radical Republicans hated him due to political clashes regarding reconstruction. Many viewed Johnson�s actions as obstructive and endeavored to undue him, which led to impeachment. The charges were based on questionable technicalities, however, and fueled by political scheming. Johnson was acquitted at trial in 1868 and was not re-nominated.

Mounting: The flag has been hand-stitched to 100% cotton, black in color, which has been washed and treated 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. The mount was then placed in a gilded molding that dates to the period between 1830 and 1860. Spacers keep the textile away from the glass, which is u.v. protective.
Inventory Number:

Dealer  

Jeff R. Bridgman American Antiques, llc
Contact   Jeff Bridgman Phone: (717) 502-1281
Period: 19th Century (1801-1900)
Date: 1864
Origin: American
Condition: Staining in the stripes and canton of the flag was professionally cleaned, then further reduced through color restoration using watercolors and gauche (reversible). The flag presents extremely well and its great rarity warrants any condition.
Measurements: flag: 8.25" x 13" frame: 16.25" x 21.25"
Inventory Other Inventory by this Dealer
Web-site: http://www.jeffbridgman.com
Price: SOLD
E-mail: Inquire
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