13 Star Antique US Flag with Overprinted Menu that Includes Smoked Tongue and Cigars | Likely Associated with the Grant Colfax Campaign | Circa 1868

13 Star Antique US Flag with Overprinted Menu that Includes Smoked Tongue and Cigars | Likely Associated with the Grant Colfax Campaign
13 Star Antique US Flag with Menu that Includes Halibut, Ices, Cake, and Fruit 2.jpg
13 Star Antique US Flag with Menu that Includes Halibut, Ices, Cake, and Fruit 3.jpg
Republican Campaign Banner for the Uylsses S. Grant-Schuyler Colfax Ticket 1868.jpg
13 Star Antique US Flag with Overprinted Menu that Includes Smoked Tongue and Cigars | Likely Associated with the Grant Colfax Campaign
13 Star Antique US Flag with Menu that Includes Halibut, Ices, Cake, and Fruit 2.jpg
13 Star Antique US Flag with Menu that Includes Halibut, Ices, Cake, and Fruit 3.jpg
Republican Campaign Banner for the Uylsses S. Grant-Schuyler Colfax Ticket 1868.jpg

13 Star Antique US Flag with Overprinted Menu that Includes Smoked Tongue and Cigars | Likely Associated with the Grant Colfax Campaign | Circa 1868

1,950.00

Frame Size (H x L): 10” x 13”  
Flag Size (H x L): 4” x 7”  

Offered is a thirteen-star antique flag printed on glazed cotton, and dating to 1868.  Its stars are arranged in a medallion pattern.  The medallion includes a large canted center star, a wreath of eight stars surrounding the center star, and four flanking stars surrounding the wreath.  This flag measures 4” x 7”.  This is a relatively large size for a parade style thirteen-star flag, as most examples measure only 2” x 3” or, alternatively, 2.5” x 4”. 

This flag includes an overprint of an eagle holding a banner, which reads, “IN UNION IS STRENGTH.”  “IN UNION IS STRENGTH” was a motto associated with the Ulysses S. Grant-Schuyler Colfax ticket of 1868, and was intended to help bring the country back together following the Civil War.  This flag further includes an overprint of shaking hands, one of which symbolizes the North, and the other of which symbolizes the South.  The stripes of this flag are orange in color, as a result of either madder or cochineal being used as the red dye.  This was common in flags made between 1850 and 1870, and further supports that this flag was made, in 1868, for the Grant-Colfax campaign.                

This flag further includes an overprint of a dinner menu.  The main dishes included baked halibut, cold ham, smoked tongue, roast chicken, cold turkey, relished, rolls, and butter.  The “Ices” included chocolate, vanilla and strawberry cream; frozen pudding; and orange sherbet.  And the menu further included almond cake, frosted cake, currant cake, melons, peaches, pears, coffee, and cigars.  Given the “IN UNION IS STRENGTH” motto and the extensive dinner offerings, we suspect that the dinner may have included Grant and Colfax as guests, or at the very least, that the dinner was a campaign event in support of them.

The eagle, the “IN UNION IS STRENGTH”, and the menu combine to form one of the most spectacular overprinted flags that we have ever encountered.  In fact, this is only such example that we are aware of, and one of our favorite offerings to date.     

The original use of the thirteen-star flag dates to June 14th, 1777, the time at which the Continental Congress adopted a resolution creating the first official flag.  The resolution stated, “Resolved, that the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white, that the union be thirteen stars, white on a blue field, representing a new constellation.”  Thirteen-star flags were official from 1777-1795, but have been in use ever since. 

Small US Navy boats used it as the ensign from 1795 until 1916.  Thirteen-star flags were also flown at the time of George Washington’s death in 1799 and to celebrate the nation’s 50th anniversary in 1824.  They were also flown in 1824 in honor of General Lafayette’s return to the US for his nationwide tour.  Celebrations for his Revolutionary War service were held in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, along with many locations in the southern and western states. 

Further, thirteen-star flags were also common during the Mexican War in 1846-1848 and the Civil War in 1861-1865.  They were both relatively close in time to the revolution, and were very patriotic times, particularly during the Civil War time period when flag use became much more common than had ever previously been the case.  Thirteen-star flags were also flown during the centennial celebrations, which were held across the country and, most notably, in Philadelphia at the Centennial International Exhibition. 

Conservation Process: This flag was hand sewn to cotton fabric, and both were hand sewn to a mounting board.  To prevent the black dye in the cotton fabric from seeping into the flag, it was first washed in a standard wash and then in a dye setting wash.  The flag is positioned behind a UV resistant acrylic, and spaced apart therefrom using spacers. 

Frame: The antique frame includes a walnut outer layer and a decorated gold inner layer.  It dates to between 1860 and 1890     

Condition Report: The flag exhibits a printing error along its hoist, in that the white hoist strip includes a splotch of red dye.  Likewise, the bottom red stripe includes a similar printing error.  Many flag collectors appreciate such “errors,” as they are indicative of the crude nature of early flag making.  In other respects, this flag is in wonderful condition.                 

Collectability Level: The Best – Perfect for Advanced Collectors  
Date of Origin: 1868  
Number of Stars: 13
Associated War: The Civil War (1861-1865)    
Associated State: Original 13 Colonies 

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