Unusual Antique 13 Star Parade Flag with 7th Reunion Overprint | Circa 1892

Unusual Antique 13 Star Parade Flag with 7th Reunion Overprint
Close-up of Unusual Antique 13 Star Parade Flag with 7th Reunion Overprint
Unusual Antique 13 Star Parade Flag with 7th Reunion Overprint
Close-up of Unusual Antique 13 Star Parade Flag with 7th Reunion Overprint

Unusual Antique 13 Star Parade Flag with 7th Reunion Overprint | Circa 1892

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Frame Size (H x L): 10” x 8”
Flag Size (H x L): 5” x 3”

Offered is a small thirteen-star antique parade flag, dating to 1892.  The flag is made of silk, and the stars are sewn onto a rich-blue canton.  This flag includes an overprint.  Overprints cover a variety of topics, including political campaigns, political organizations, commercial advertisements, and historic events, just to name a few examples.  In the case of this flag, its overprint states the following:

7th REUNION
WATSEKA, IL
OCT. 11-12-1892  

This flag’s stars are arranged in a 3-2-3-2-3 pattern.  This 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 because he "consulted" other men.

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, but have been in use ever since. 

Small US Navy boats used it as the ensign from 1795 until 1916.  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 cotton rag board.  The flag is positioned behind a UV resistant acrylic, and spaced apart therefrom using spacers.  The frame is an antique frame with a gold liner, and dates to between 1860 and 1890.   

Condition Report: This flag has mothing throughout its canton and stripes.  Many collectors prefer flags that show their use and age.

Collectability Level: The Good – Perfect for Beginning Collectors and Gifts   
Date of Origin: 1892
Number of Stars: 13
Associated State: Original 13 Colonies

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