48 Star Antique Flag with GAR Post 606 Overprint | Circa 1896-1918

48 Star Antique Flag with GAR Post 606 Overprint
48 Star Antique GAR Flag 2.jpg
1. Large Black and Gold.jpg
Large Frames.JPG
48 Star Antique Flag with GAR Post 606 Overprint
48 Star Antique GAR Flag 2.jpg
1. Large Black and Gold.jpg
Large Frames.JPG

48 Star Antique Flag with GAR Post 606 Overprint | Circa 1896-1918

from 650.00

Frame Size (H x L): 20” x 27”
Flag Size (H x L): 10” x 17”

 Offered is a forty-eight star parade flag made of glazed cotton.  Parade flags are small scale flags that were meant to be used for a short time, typically at parades and rallies.  A subset of parade flags are overprinted and include some kind of printing, this example being a Grand Army of the Republic (“GAR”) parade flag.  The GAR was a fraternal organization for the veterans of the Union Army, Union Navy, and Marines who served in the Civil War.  GAR members provided support to one another and also remembered those who had fallen in battle.  It was founded in 1866, peaked in 1890 with almost 500,000 members, and dissolved in 1956 when its last member died.  This particular flag was made for the GAR Post 606.

In June of 1777, the Continental Congress passed the First Flag Act.  The Act specified the general colors of the flag—red, white, and blue—but not the exact hues.  For this reason, antique flags often take on slightly unusual colors, particularly in the canton.  Notice that this flag’s canton, for example, is a cornflower blue.  The official hues of red, white, and blue were not specified until 1934. 

The forty-eight star flag represents the inclusion of New Mexico and Arizona to the Union.  New Mexico was admitted on January 6th, 1912, and Arizona was admitted on February 14th, 1912.  The forty-eight star flag became official on July 4th, 1912.  Presidents Taft, Wilson, Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower all served under this flag.  World Wars I and II, and the Korean War were all fought under it. 

Until 1912, flag makers were free to arrange the stars on a flag’s canton in any manner they liked.  For example, this flag has a staggered star pattern, in that the rows are laterally offset relative to one another.  However, on June 24th, 1912, President Taft issued Executive Order 1556, specifying that the star arrangement on forty-eight star flags should be a rectilinear 8-8-8-8-8-8 pattern.  It also specified the proportions of forty-eight star flags.  

Because flag makers had a great deal of freedom in how they made flags prior to this Executive Order, many forty-eight star flags do not have a linear and horizontal arrangement, particularly those made in the late 19th century and into the teens (i.e., up to WWI).  We note the 19th century, because many antique flags are anticipatory in nature.  Flag makers would regularly anticipate how many states would be added, and when they would be added.  By the late 1890s, flag makers began anticipating and offering a forty-eight star flag.  To support this notion, many antique flags have been shown in early photographs dating to the 1890s, or include 1890s dates printed directly thereon.       

The forty-eight star flag was official for forty-seven years up until July 4th, 1959, the time at which the forty-nine star flag became official and began to represent the inclusion of Alaska 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 Large Black and 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 foxing and staining.  It further has some small holes and a portion of the hoist end is torn away.  Many collectors prefer flags that show their use and age.

Collectability Level: The Good – Perfect for Beginning Collectors and Gifts  
Date of Origin: 1896-1918
Number of Stars: 48
Associated War: WWI
Associated State: Arizona  

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