13 Star Antique US Flag with a 3-2-3-2-3 Star Pattern and a Wonderful Patina | Circa 1895-1926

13 Star Antique US Flag with a 3-2-3-2-3 Star Pattern
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13 Star Antique US Flag with a 3-2-3-2-3 Star Pattern
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13 Star Antique US Flag with a 3-2-3-2-3 Star Pattern and a Wonderful Patina | Circa 1895-1926

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Frame Size (H x L): 42” x 56.5”
Flag Size (H x L): 31” x 46”

Offered is a thirteen-star antique flag with a 3-2-3-2-3 star pattern.  It was made by a commercial flag maker, who chose thirteen stars to recognize the original thirteen states and perhaps even to simplify the manufacturing process (relative to sewing a star for every state in the Union).   

The 3-2-3-2-3 pattern, which looks like a diamond of stars surrounded by corner stars, is sometimes referred to as the Hopkinson pattern after Francis Hopkinson.  While no one knows for sure, it may have been the star pattern for the first flag (not the Betsy Ross pattern).  While it is clear that Betsy Ross made flags in in Philadelphia in the 1770's, there is no evidence that she made the first flag in the form of letters, articles, journals, or records.  Historians generally do not accept that Ross designed or made the first flag, and instead support that Hopkinson designed it.  Hopkinson was a member of the Continental Congress, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and a lawyer.  The evidence supporting Hopkinson's role includes his claim to Congress, for payment, for having furnished the design of "the flag of the United States of America."  Hopkinson asked to be paid in "a Quarter Cask of public wine" and later asked to be paid in $1,440 in Continental paper.  Both payments, however, were refused by Congress.  Congress agreed that Hopkinson had a role in the design, but refused to pay him based on the argument that he had "consulted" other men.

The stripes and canton of this flag are made of wool bunting, and each individual piece is machine sewn into place.  The hoist strip is made of cotton twill and includes a pair of grommets.  Its stars are made of cotton and sewn to both sides of the canton (i.e., double appliqued), using a zig-zag stitch.  These construction characteristics help us to date this flag to between 1895 and 1926 (the Sesquicentennial of the US). 

The original use of the thirteen-star flag dates to June 14th, 1777, the time at which the Continental Congress adopted a resolution creating the first official flag.  The resolution stated, “Resolved, that the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white, that the union be thirteen stars, white on a blue field, representing a new constellation.”  Thirteen-star flags were official from 1777-1795, and have been in use ever since. 

Thirteen-star flags were also flown at the time of George Washington’s death in 1799 and to celebrate the nation’s 50th anniversary in 1824.  They were also flown in 1824 in honor of General Lafayette’s return to the US for his nationwide tour.  Celebrations for his Revolutionary War service were held in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, along with many locations in the southern and western states. 

Further, thirteen-star flags were also common during the Mexican War in 1846-1848 and the Civil War in 1861-1865.  They were both relatively close in time to the revolution, and were very patriotic times, particularly during the Civil War time period when flag use became much more common than had ever previously been the case.  Thirteen-star flags were also flown during the centennial celebrations, which were held across the country and, most notably, in Philadelphia at the Centennial International Exhibition. 

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.  The distressed black frame is substantial in nature and of the highest quality.     

Condition Report: As shown in the images, this flag exhibits a number of age appropriate stains and tears.  We celebrate these issues, and so do many of our clients.  

Collectability Level: The Great – Perfect for Rising Collectors  
Date of Origin: 1895-1926
Number of Stars: 13
Associated War: Spanish-American War (1898) and World War I (1914-1918)
Associated State: Original 13 Colonies 

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