39 Star Antique Flag | A Gorgeous Homemade Example with a Global Star Pattern | Circa 1876-1889

39 Star Antique Flag
39 Star Antique Flag
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39 Star Antique Flag
39 Star Antique Flag
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39 Star Antique Flag | A Gorgeous Homemade Example with a Global Star Pattern | Circa 1876-1889

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Price: Call 618-553-2291, or email info@bonsellamericana.com   
Frame Size (H x L): 33.5” x 50”
Flag Size (H x L): 24” x 42”

Offered is a homemade thirty-nine star flag.  Homemade flags are amongst the most collectible and interesting of all antique flags.  They were typically made with whatever materials were available, and the placement of the canton, stripes, and stars is often times quite whimsical, even in modern examples.  Further, homemade thirty-nine star flags are an extreme rarity, perhaps only 10-20 exist.   

Further, this flag has gorgeous medallion pattern, the most collectible and beautiful stars arrangements hobby.  This particular medallion pattern is sometimes referred to as a global pattern, given its circular nature.  The stars in the globe are packed tightly therein, and the globe is surrounded by two flanking stars in each corner.  Additionally, this flag is unusually long, relative to its height, which adds further to its folksy appearance.  Such a star arrangement and exaggerated length makes for an extraordinary example of a thirty-nine star flag, perhaps one of the best ever.    

Medallion pattern flags date to at least as early as the twenty-six star flag, and at least as late as the forty-eight star flag.  The majority of medallion pattern flags, however, date to between 1861 and 1876.  During this period, many flag makers would include a center star, surround it with one or more wreaths of stars, and then surround the wreaths with flanking stars (i.e., corner stars).  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.     

Thirty-nine star flags are an oddity in that their star count was never official.  They were made at two different times, initially in 1876 and later in 1889.  In 1876, before the admission of Colorado, flag makers speculated that an additional territory would also be admitted therewith.  Because of this, some flag makers went from making thirty-seven star flags to thirty-nine star versions in 1876 (e.g., in patriotic centennial quilts).  Instead, what actually occurred was only Colorado was admitted, and the flag went from thirty-seven stars to thirty-nine in 1876. 

Later, in 1889, Congress considered adding the Dakota Territory as a single state, and based on this, some flag makers made anticipatory thirty-nine star flags.  What happened, however, was that the Dakota Territory was then split it into two states: North Dakota and South Dakota, and they were both admitted on November 2nd, 1889.  This unexpectedly increased the star count, in 1889, from thirty-eight stars to forty stars, not to mention the unexpected increase from forty stars to forty-three stars this same year (i.e., the unexpected inclusion of Montana, Washington, and Idaho).  The Flag Act of 1818 specified that the addition of each star should be on the Fourth of July following a state’s admission to the Union.  Because North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Washington, and Idaho were all admitted in 1889, the official star count of the official US flag increased from thirty-eight to forty-three in just a single year.  Despite this, flag makers made thirty-nine star anticipatory flags based on incorrect assumptions of how and when new states would be admitted to the Union.   

Conservation Process: This flag was hand sewn to silk organza, and both were hand sewn to cotton fabric.  The silk organza provides a strong layer of protection and a professional appearance.  The flag, the silk organza, and the cotton fabric were then 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 Large Gold Frame.  However, it can be reframed and would look great using any one of our 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 has some minor fading, staining, and tears, but presents extraordinarily well.  Many collectors prefer flags that show their use and age.  This is a deluxe statement piece.     

Collectability Level: The Extraordinary – Museum Quality Offerings   
Date of Origin: 1876-1889  
Number of Stars: 39   
Associated War: The Indian Wars (1860-1890)   
Associated State: North Dakota  

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