Vintage California Flag with a Wonderful Patina | Circa 1940-1960

Vintage California Flag with a Wonderful Patina
Close-up of a Vintage California Flag with a Wonderful Patina
Vintage California Flag with a Wonderful Patina
Close-up of a Vintage California Flag with a Wonderful Patina

Vintage California Flag with a Wonderful Patina | Circa 1940-1960

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Frame Size (H x L): 32” x 47”
Flag Size (H x L): 22.5” x 37.5” 

Offered is a California Republic flag, likely dating to between 1940 and 1960.  The original bear flag was designed in Sonoma, California in 1846 by a small group of ranchers and adventurers, including William L. Todd, a cousin of Mary Todd Lincoln.  In what was then Mexican California, they captured the city of Sonoma from the Mexican Government.  The Republic of California was formed, and the group designed its flag with a star, bear, a red stripe, and "California Republic" printed across its field.  The inspiration for the star was the 1836 California Lone Star flag, and the inspiration for the bear was its image of strength.   

In a letter written by Mr. Todd, he noted that the red stripe was made with a strip of flannel taken from a petticoat worn across the mountains, that the bear and star was painted with linseed oil and venetian red, and that “California Republic” was written in ink.  Shortly after the first bear flag was designed and used, it was replaced with the US flag.  The first bear flag was eventually preserved at the Society's Pioneer Halls in San Francisco until it was destroyed, in 1906, in the fires following the great San Francisco earthquake. 

The Bear Flag became the official state flag in 1911.  Its bear is based on an actual bear named "Monarch," who was displayed at the Golden Gate Park.  Monarch was mounted and is now on display at the California Academy of Sciences.         

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 frame is gold in color, substantial, and beautiful. 

Condition Report: This flag has a great patina and shows obvious signs of use.

Collectability Level: The Good – Perfect for Beginning Collectors and Gifts  
Date of Origin: 1940-1960  
 

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