13 Star Antique American Flag with Square Proportions | Circa 1895-1926

13 Star Antique American Flag
13 Star Antique American Flag
3. 13 Star Antique Flag.JPG
4. 13 Star Antique Flag.JPG
5. 13 Star Antique Flag.JPG
6. 13 Star Antique Flag.JPG
7. Large Distressed Gold.JPG
8. Medium Frames.JPG
9. Large Frames.JPG
13 Star Antique American Flag
13 Star Antique American Flag
3. 13 Star Antique Flag.JPG
4. 13 Star Antique Flag.JPG
5. 13 Star Antique Flag.JPG
6. 13 Star Antique Flag.JPG
7. Large Distressed Gold.JPG
8. Medium Frames.JPG
9. Large Frames.JPG

13 Star Antique American Flag with Square Proportions | Circa 1895-1926

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Frame Size (H x L): 36” x 44”
Flag Size (H x L): 25” x 34”

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 canton is unusual, in that it is two separate pieces of wool sewn together.  The hoist strip is made of cotton twill and overlaps the left column of stars.  The stars are made of cotton and sewn to both sides of the canton (i.e., double appliqued), using a zig-zag stitch that was patented in 1892.  This flag is square in its form.  The First Flag Act of 1777 was silent as to the proportions of the flag, and no formal proportions were adopted until President Taft issued Executive Order 1556 in 1912.  These construction characteristics help us to date this flag conservatively to between 1895 and 1926 (the Sesquicentennial of the US), and perhaps to an even earlier window between 1895 and 1912.     

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 Conservation Clear Acrylic (standard) or behind Optium Museum Acrylic (per request).   

Frame: This offering is in our Large Distressed Gold Frame.  However, it can be reframed and would look great using any one of our Medium or Large Frames, which are shown in the final two images.  The pricing associated with the different framing options may vary.  Reframing of an offering may delay shipment by up to two weeks.  

Condition Report: As shown in the images, this flag exhibits staining across its stars, stripes, and canton.  It also exhibits many small holes and tears, particularly were the hoist strip meets the stripes.  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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