38 Star Antique US Flag with Four Tiny Stars | One of Roughly Five Known Examples Representing Either (1) Kansas and the Western Territories or (2) Colorado | Circa 1861-1863 or 1876-1889

38 Star Antique US Flag with Linear Rows and Four Tiny Stars
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38 Star Antique Flag with a Beehive and Tiny Stars
38 Star Antique Flag with a Medallion of Tiny Stars
National Political Chart & Map of the United States 1861 1.jpg
National Political Chart & Map of the United States 1861 2.jpg
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38 Star Antique US Flag with Linear Rows and Four Tiny Stars
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38 Star Antique American Flag with a Linear Star Arrangement Having Four Tiny Stars 7.JPG
38 Star Antique American Flag with a Linear Star Arrangement Having Four Tiny Stars 8.JPG
38 Star Antique Flag with a Beehive and Tiny Stars
38 Star Antique Flag with a Medallion of Tiny Stars
National Political Chart & Map of the United States 1861 1.jpg
National Political Chart & Map of the United States 1861 2.jpg
8. 3 Medium Brown with Gold Accents.jpg
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Large Frames.JPG

38 Star Antique US Flag with Four Tiny Stars | One of Roughly Five Known Examples Representing Either (1) Kansas and the Western Territories or (2) Colorado | Circa 1861-1863 or 1876-1889

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Price: Call 618-553-2291, or email info@bonsellamericana.com  
Frame Size (H x L): 30” x 37.5”
Flag Size (H x L): 20” x 27.5”  

Offered is an extremely rare thirty-eight star antique flag printed on coarse, glazed cotton.  This flag is one of approximately five known survivors of its kind.  Its most unusual star pattern includes inner and outer rectangles of stars, all of which are canted to the 11:00 position.  Such a pattern is sometimes referred to as a rectangular medallion.  Inside of the inner rectangle, there is a center grouping of stars that comprises two vertically aligned large stars and four vertically aligned tiny stars, two of which are to the left of the large stars and two of which are to the right.  The stars in the inner and outer rectangles are the same size as the two large stars in the center grouping. 

The upper large star points downwards, while the lower one faces upwards.  And similarly, the two upper tiny stars face downwards, while the two lower ones face generally upwards.  The vertical spacing between the two rows in the center grouping is exaggerated, as compared to the vertical spacing in the inner and outer rectangles.  When viewed carefully, the center grouping in combination with the laterally outwards stars in the inner rectangle defines an oval of stars.

Dating this flag with certainty may be impossible, as there are two recognized theories behind its age.  The first theory is that this is a thirty-four star era flag, dating to 1861-1863.  Under this theory, the thirty-four regular sized stars represent states in the Union (including the most recently admitted state, Kansas), and the four tiny stars represent the four remaining territories in 1861: the Washington Territory, the Nebraska Territory, the Utah Territory, and the New Mexico Territory.  This scarcity of this flag is consistent with this first theory. 

The second theory behind this flag is that it is thirty-eight star era flag, dating to 1876-1889.  This theory is consistent with other flags that include tiny stars, most of which include thirty-eight total stars and some of which are verifiable to this period.  Thirty-eight star flags that include tiny stars are in three main varieties.  The first variety includes five lineal rows with tiny stars above and below the third row.  An excellent example of this flag is referenced in the Stars and Stripes, written by J. Richard Pierce.  The second and third varieties are shown in the images, both of which have been handled by BONSELL | AMERICANA.   

The construction of this flag is consistent with both the first and second theories and their respective date ranges.  This assertion is based on the blue tone of the canton, the slightly orange tone of the stripes, and the consistency of the glazed cotton.  These traits are commonly seen on flags dating 1860s, 1870s, and 1880s.  Regardless of whether the flag can be explained by the first or second theory, it is a tremendous example of 19th century patriotism worthy of even the best collections.       

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 Medium Brown with Gold Accents Frame.  However, it can be reframed and would look great using any one of our Medium or Large Frames, which are shown in the final two images.  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 staining and fading, but both are consistent with its age and period.  The canton includes some minor printing errors, most notably the white line that extends upwards and towards the right of the canton.  It appears that the flag may not have been perfect flat along this line during the printing process.  We do not believe that this detracts from the piece, but rather that it is an interesting illustration of a crude 19th century printing technique.  The most notable condition issue is a small piece of fabric became detached along the bottom left corner of the flag.  It has been sewn back into position and is now barely noticeable.    

Collectability Level: The Best – Perfect for Advanced Collectors
Date of Origin: 1861-1863 or 1876-1889  
Number of Stars: 38   
Associated War: The Civil War (1861-1865) or The Indian Wars (1860-1890)
Associated State: Kansas or Colorado   

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