48 Star Antique Homemade Flag | Made by Nina Williams of Madison, Indiana | Circa 1912

48 Star Antique American Flag
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48 Star Antique American Flag
270. 48 Star Handmade (Framed) (Photo Corrected) - Copy (3).jpg
270. 48 Star Handmade (Framed) (Photo Corrected) - Copy.jpg
270. 48 Star Handmade (Framed) (Photo Corrected).jpg
IMG_1999.jpg
IMG_2002-2.jpg
1. 3 Black and Gold Image.jpg
Large Frames.JPG

48 Star Antique Homemade Flag | Made by Nina Williams of Madison, Indiana | Circa 1912

from 650.00

Frame Size (H x L): 23” x 27”
Flag Size (H x L): 14” x 18” 

Offered is a superb, handmade forty-eight 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.  This flag originated in Madison, Indiana, a small and historic river town on the border of Louisville, Kentucky.  It was made by Nina Williams.  According to her granddaughter, who was managing her mother's estate, her grandmother (Nina) made it in 1912, the year that the forty-eight star flag became official.  Nina is shown in a postcard photo when she was a little girl.  This flag originated from an estate sale, and the postcard came therewith. 

The stars are randomly positioned, and rather than having fabric stars, it has tiny plastic stars that are individually sewn to a bright blue canton.  (Please notice that a few stars have been lost over the 100+ years of its life.)  Each piece of this flag is brightly colored with an interesting sheen.  The stitching is rather crude, adding to the interesting appearance of this flag. 

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.  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 bleeding of red into the white stripes.  Some of its original stars are missing.  Still, it presents very well.  Many collectors prefer flags that show their use and age.

Collectability Level: The Great – Perfect for Rising Collectors  
Date of Origin: 1912  
Number of Stars: 48
Associated War: WWI
Associated State: Arizona  

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