34 Star Antique Parade Flag with Medallion Star Pattern and Haloed Center Star | Kansas Statehood | Circa 1861-1863

34 Star Antique Civil War Flag
Close-up of 34 Star Antique Civil War Flag
34 Star Antique Civil War Flag 3.jpg
34 Star Antique Civil War Flag
Close-up of 34 Star Antique Civil War Flag
34 Star Antique Civil War Flag 3.jpg

34 Star Antique Parade Flag with Medallion Star Pattern and Haloed Center Star | Kansas Statehood | Circa 1861-1863

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Frame Size (H x L): 19.5” x 24.5”
Flag Size (H x L): 8” x 13”

Offered is an incredible thirty-four star flag made of cotton.  It stars are arranged in a gorgeous and highly desirable medallion pattern.  This particular medallion includes a large star in the middle, two rings of stars surrounding the large star, and a flanking star in each corner surrounding the rings.  The majority of medallion pattern flags date to between 1861 and 1876.  Beginning in the 1890s, the beautiful medallion patterns became less common, and linear arrangements became the norm.  Why this occurred is unclear, as flag makers had the freedom to place the stars however they liked until 1912, when President Taft issued Executive Order 1556 establishing the arrangement of the stars into rectilinear rows.        

The large star in the middle is sometimes referred to as a “center star.”  A center star is different than a great star, a term used to describe a star made up of smaller stars.  A center star is almost always positioned in the very middle of the canton.  The rest of the stars are then positioned around the center star, and form various different patterns.  The center star represents the newest state added to the Union (e.g., Kansas in the case of this thirty-four star flag).  

Notice that the large center star includes two parts: a bold center star and a surrounding halo.  Haloed flags are extremely attractive and collectible.  The maker of this flag is unknown, but it is clear that the same company produced most, if not all, haloed flags, including flags with thirty, thirty-four, thirty-five, thirty-six, and forty-two stars.  The very earliest printed flags are twenty-six star flags, examples of which are featured in the Rare Flags collection and in Richard Pierce’s excellent book, the Stars and Stripes.  They were produced between 1837 and 1845, meaning that this thirty-four star flag is only twenty to twenty-five years newer than the very earliest of all printed flags.  

The name Birdie Sargent, likely the original owner, is written along the second white stripe from the top.  Antique flags often include the name of a previous owner, and we consider the inclusion of such information—even when written directly on the flag—to be both positive and interesting. 

The stripes of this particular flag are closer to orange than red.  Such a color is a result of the use of either madder or cochineal to create the red dye, and is common in flags dating between 1850 and 1880.  The orange color of the “red” stripes is very attractive.   

The thirty-four star flag represents the inclusion of Kansas to the Union.  Kansas was admitted on January 29th, 1861, and this flag became official on July 4th, 1861.  President Lincoln served, and the Civil War was fought, under this star count.  Many thirty-four star flags predate the first shots of the Civil War in 1861, as flag makers began producing them upon the admission of the Kansas, instead of the time at which the flag was officially admitted to the Union later in the same year.  The thirty-four star flag was official until July 4th 1863, the time at which the thirty-five star flag became official and began to represent the inclusion of West Virginia in the Union.  Thirty-four and thirty-five star flags were the official flags for the majority of the Civil War, and for this reason, both are extremely collectible.   

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 stunning antique frame dates to between 1860 and 1890.    

Condition Report: This flag is has staining and foxing.  It was a lateral tear across a portion of the bottom white stripe, underneath the canton.  The second white stripe from the bottom has a small hole.  Despite these flaws, this is a stunning piece and is an instant head turner.  Many collectors prefer flags that show their use and age.

Collectability Level: The Best – Perfect for Advanced Collectors  
Date of Origin: 1861-1863
Number of Stars: 34
Associated War: The Civil War (1861-1865)  
Associated State: Kansas
 

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