Scarce 29 Star Antique American Flag with a Medallion Star Pattern | Iowa Statehood | Circa 1846-1848

Scarce 29 Star Antique American Flag with a Medallion Star Pattern
29 Star Antique American Parade Flag Iowa Statehood 2.jpg
29 Star Antique American Parade Flag Iowa Statehood 3.jpg
Scarce 29 Star Antique American Flag with a Medallion Star Pattern
29 Star Antique American Parade Flag Iowa Statehood 2.jpg
29 Star Antique American Parade Flag Iowa Statehood 3.jpg

Scarce 29 Star Antique American Flag with a Medallion Star Pattern | Iowa Statehood | Circa 1846-1848

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Frame Size (H x L): 23.5” x 16”
Flag Size (H x L): 8.5” x 6.5” and Affixed to a 16” Staff  

Offered is a twenty-nine star flag printed on glazed cotton and affixed to its original staff.  Its stars are arranged in a highly desirable medallion pattern.  The large star in the middle is referred to as a “center star,” and it is canted to the 11:00 position.  The center star represents the newest state added to the Union.  In the case of this twenty-nine star flag, it represents Iowa.  Surrounding the center star is a pair of concentric rings of stars, and surrounding the rings are four flanking stars positioned in the corners of the canton.

The stars of this flag are pointy and folksy in their appearance, and are tightly packed onto the canton.  Although the maker of this flag is unknown, these distinctly shaped stars are common to a small family of flags that originated from the same workshop.  The maker of this flag made six star counts in this same style: seven, thirteen, fifteen, twenty-nine, thirty-three, and thirty-five.  The seven star flags were made to celebrate the first seven states to secede from the Union, while the thirteen star flags were made to celebrate the original thirteen states.  The fifteen star flags were made to celebrate Kentucky’s centennial.  And the twenty-nine, thirty-three, and thirty-five star flags were made to celebrate the latest states added to the Union.  The twenty-nine star variation is the oldest flag produced by this maker, and they rarely surface.

As noted above, the twenty-nine star flag represents the inclusion of Iowa to the Union.  Iowa was admitted on December 28th, 1846, and this flag became official on July 4th, 1847.  This particular example was discovered, in Geneseo, Illinois, tucked behind an antique safe in a former menswear store.  Geneseo is positioned along the Illinois/Iowa border, and thus is a logical place for such a flag to surface.  The twenty-nine star flag was official until July 4th, 1848, the time at which the thirty star flag became official and began to represent the inclusion of Wisconsin to the Union.   

Twenty-nine star flags are extremely rare for two reasons.  First, they were only official for one year, so flag makers dedicated a very short manufacturing window to their production.  And second, they are pre-Civil War flags.  Generally speaking, flags predating the Civil War time period (1861-1865) are the rarest and most desirable of all US flags.  Prior to the Civil War, Americans did not typically display flags for patriotic purposes.  And, likewise, the military did not regularly use the flag, as it was not until 1834 that the army field artillery was permitted to carry the traditional US flag, and it was not until 1841 that regiments carried it.  For these reasons, flags made prior to the Civil War account for only around 1-in-100 flags made in the 19th century.

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.  The antique frame has an outer walnut layer and an inner gilded layer.  It dates to between 1860 and 1890. 

Condition Report: This flag is slightly faded.  It does not have any tears and it is still affixed to its original staff.  It is among the best examples that are in circulation.    

Collectability Level: The Best – Perfect for Advanced Collectors  
Date of Origin: 1846-1848  
Number of Stars: 29   
Associated State: Iowa  

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