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35 star American National parade flag of the Civil War period, printed on silk, with an extremely rare and desirable version of the Great Star pattern, a star made out of stars. This has a large center star, surrounded by a wreath of stars, outside which are 5 additional stars. The remainder trace the perimeter in a fat, star-shaped design with arms so blunt that the silhouette nearly forms a pentagon. For this reason I have termed this variety a �Pentagon Great Star�. While I have seen this style of 35 star flag before, the most peculiar feature of this particular example is the presence of a fine silk fringe, gold in color, that is hand-sewn along three sides. Parade flags with silk fringes are very rare and often quite attractive, a fact substantiated by this flag, which has a striking presentation.

Among flag collectors, the Great Star configuration is the Rolls Royce of all 19th century geometric patterns. It probably came about shortly before 1818, when Congressman Peter Wendover of New York requested that Captain Samuel Reid, a War of 1812 Naval hero, help to create a new design that would become the third official format of the Stars & Stripes. The primary concern of ship captains was that the signal remained easily recognized on the open seas. Reid�s concept of placing all the stars in a star-shaped pattern would have kept the constellation in roughly the same format as the number of states grew and more stars were added, in a distinct design that could be quickly identified through a spyglass. Though his proposal was rejected by President Monroe, due to the increased cost of arranging the stars in this manner, the Great Star was produced by anyone willing to make it. Its rarity today, along with its beauty, has driven its desirability among collectors.

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.

Mounting: The flag has been press-mounted between 100% cotton velvet and u.v. protective acrylic. It was then placed in a paint-decorated and gilded frame that dates

to the period between 1840 and 1870.
Inventory Number:


Jeff R. Bridgman American Antiques, llc
Contact   Jeff Bridgman Phone: (717) 502-1281
Period: 19th Century (1801-1900)
Date: 1863-1865
Condition: There is significant fabric breakdown in the stripes with associated loss, but the colors are strong and the rarity and desirability of great star designs warrants almost any condition. A length of silk was placed behind the flag during the mounting process and painted for masking purposes. Many of my clients prefer early flags to show their age and history of use.
Measurements: flag: 11.5" x 15" frame: 21" x 24.25"
Inventory Other Inventory by this Dealer
Price: Sold
E-mail: Inquire
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