36 Star Antique Handsewn American Flag | A Civil War Era Example with an Assessment from David Martucci | Circa 1864-1867

36 Star Antique Handsewn American Flag | Circa 1864-1867
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36 Star Antique Handsewn American Flag | Circa 1864-1867
36 Star Antique Handsewn American Flag 2.jpg
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5. 4 Distressed Gold Image.jpg
X-Large Frames.JPG

36 Star Antique Handsewn American Flag | A Civil War Era Example with an Assessment from David Martucci | Circa 1864-1867

11,500.00

Frame Size (H x L): 44” x 63”
Flag Size (H x L): 33” x 52”

Offered is an entirely handsewn thirty-six star flag.  Its stars are haphazardly arranged by columns in an unusual 5-5-5-5-5-5-6 pattern, when viewed starting from the hoist end.  The stars are handsewn to both sides of the canton (i.e., double appliqued), and they are canted in various different directions.  Within the star pattern is a series of leftward facing “U-patterns,” two of which are highlighted with dotted lines in the third image.  The inclusion of U-patterns may be a subtle reference to the Union of the United States. 

The stripes and canton are made of English wool bunting, and each individual piece is handsewn into place.  Nearly every stripe is pieced together, using two or more individual pieces.  And likewise, the canton is pieced together, using six individual pieces.  This flag is a “make-do flag,” in that its maker used whatever materials were available.  Such crudeness is commonly encountered in Civil War era flags, as the War impacted the availability of cotton, wool, and linen.  This is because such materials were used in such vast quantities by the military, and also because of the flow of goods was so severely impacted by the War.  Make-do flags are among the most desirable of all antique flags, as a result of their folksy construction and whimsical features.   

The canton of this flag is an unusual unique indigo blue.  The First Flag Act of 1777 specified the number of stripes and the colors of the flag, but did not specify the exact shades of each color, which is why some flags—like this one—have unusual colors.  The exact shades were not officially specified until 1934.          

This flag is small in size for a piece-and-sewn flag, dating to the Civil War.  This adds considerably to its appeal, as it can be easily displayed in a home or office.  It was not until the Civil War that small piece-and-sewn flags were made with any frequency at all, and not until the 1890s that they were made with regularity.  During most of the 19th century, flags made with piece-and-sewn construction had a width of at least eight feet, as they were typically used as signaling devices for the military or by sailors.  Even the flags that were used for decorative purposes usually had a width of six feet or more, and versions smaller than this were quite rare. 

Included with this flag is an assessment and appraisal written by Dave Martucci, portions of which are shown in the images.  Mr. Martucci is a highly respected vexillologist, author, and appraiser.         

The thirty-six star flag represents the inclusion of Nevada to the Union.  Thirty-six star flags like this one were typically made to celebrate the end of the Civil War.  Nevada was admitted on October 31st, 1864, and this flag became official on July 4th, 1865.  Nevada was originally part of the Utah Territory beginning in 1850, became its own territory in 1861, and became its own state in 1864.

The timing of Nevada's inclusion was politically and economically based.  For political reasons, Nevada was admitted to the Union just eight days prior to President Lincoln's re-election bid against General George McClellan.  Such timing was meant to benefit Lincoln and his fellow Republicans.  For economic reasons, Nevada was included as part of the Union to help it pay off the country’s war debts.  Economically, Nevada was particularly attractive at the time, because of its significant silver mining industry.  Nevada expanded its borders in 1866 when the western Utah Territory was added to its eastern side, and further expanded in 1867 when a portion Pah-Ute County in the Arizona Territory was added to its southern side.  

The thirty-six star flag was the official flag for the last six months of the Civil War, and was used by the military during that time.  It was also the official flag during a portion of the Reconstruction era.  The thirty-six star flag was official until July 4th, 1867, the time at which the thirty-seven star flag became official and began to represent the inclusion of Nebraska in the Union. 

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: This offering is in our X-Large Distressed Gold Frame.  However, it can be reframed and would look great using any one of our X-Large Frames, which are shown in the final image.  The pricing associated with the different framing options may vary.  Reframing of an offering may delay shipment by up to two weeks.   

Condition Report: This flag exhibits some yellowing and discoloration, particularly to the white stripes.  Is includes several small tears and holes.  These condition issues are age appropriate and are what gives this flag its desirable, folksy appearance.         

Collectability Level: The Extraordinary – Museum Quality Offerings   
Date of Origin: 1864-1867  
Number of Stars: 36   
Associated War: Civil War (1861-1865)
Associated State: Nevada 

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