44 Star Antique Flag with an Incredible Medallion Pattern | Wyoming Statehood | Circa 1890-1896

44 Star Antique Flag - BONSELL | AMERICANA
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319. 44 Star Medallion.jpg
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44 Star Antique Flag - BONSELL | AMERICANA
319. 44 Star Medallion - Copy (3).jpg
319. 44 Star Medallion - Copy (2) - Copy.jpg
319. 44 Star Medallion.jpg
319. 44 Star Medallion - Copy (2).jpg
2. 3 Gold Image.jpg
Large Frames.JPG

44 Star Antique Flag with an Incredible Medallion Pattern | Wyoming Statehood | Circa 1890-1896

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Frame Size (H x L): 40.5” x 33.5”
Flag Size (H x L): 31” x 24”

Offered is a forty-four star flag made of cotton.  The stars on this flag are arranged in a medallion pattern, one of the most beautiful and desirable patterns in the hobby.  This particular medallion has a center star that is surrounded by three concentric rings of stars.  The three rings are then surrounded by four flanking corner stars.   

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.        

The forty-four star flag represents the inclusion of Wyoming to the Union.  Wyoming was admitted on July 10th, 1890, and this flag became official on July 4th, 1891.  Presidents Benjamin Harrison and Grover Cleveland served under this flag. 

In 1889, Congress considered adding the Dakota Territory as a single state.  What happened, however, was that the Dakota Territory was split it into two states: North Dakota and South Dakota, and they were both admitted on November 2nd, 1889.  Soon thereafter, on November 8th, 1889, Montana was admitted as the forty-first state, and on November 11th, 1889, Washington was admitted as the forty-second.  When Congress went on break, flag makers began producing anticipatory forty-two star flags for the following July 4th, 1890.

To the surprise of many, on July 3rd, 1890—just one day before the forty-two star flag was going to be official—Congress admitted Idaho as the forty-third state.  As a result, the forty-two star flag never became official, but the forty-three star did.  Just a few days later, on July 10th, 1890, Congress admitted Wyoming as the forty-fourth state.  As a result of this rapid succession of state admissions, flag makers made large quantities of unofficial forty-two star flags and official forty-four star flags, but hardly any forty-three star flags (despite it being an official star count).

The forty-four star flag is relatively rare when compared to, for example, the forty-five star flag, as a result of it being used after the Centennial, but before the Spanish American War.  The forty-four star flag was the official flag for five years up until July 4th, 1896, the time at which the forty-five star flag became official and began to represent the inclusion of Utah 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 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 tears along its hoist end, perhaps as a result of being nailed to a staff.  It also has some small tears and holes in it stripes.  There is staining and foxing throughout, but its colors are particularly bold.  Many collectors prefer flags that show their use and age.  This is a gorgeous, big-time mantle piece.  

Collectability Level: The Best – Perfect for Advanced Collectors  
Date of Origin: 1890-1896
Number of Stars: 44
Associated War: The Indian Wars (1860-1890)  
Associated State: Wyoming  

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