36 Star Antique Flag | Includes a Cleveland Inauguration Overprint | Nevada Statehood | Circa 1864-1867

36 Star Antique Flag
36 Star Antique Flag
36 Star Antique Flag
36 Star Antique Flag

36 Star Antique Flag | Includes a Cleveland Inauguration Overprint | Nevada Statehood | Circa 1864-1867


Price: Call 618-553-2291, or email info@bonsellamericana.com 
Frame Size (H x L): 12.25” x 16”
Flag Size (H x L): 5.75” x 9.25”

Offered is a thirty-six star Civil War era American flag printed on glazed cotton.  The stars are arranged in a 6-6-6-6-6-6 pattern, and are canted in various directions.  The stars are haphazardly shaped, in that some are skinny while others are starfish shaped.  Such folksy inconsistencies are the result of the stamp, which would have been carved so as to apply only the blue portions of the canton.  Accurately shaping the stars into the stamp was a difficult task, as is clearly illustrated in this example.

This flag includes a cursive-pencil overprint, stating “Cleveland Inauguration”.  In the 19th century, writing on a flag was relatively common, particularly for documenting how and where a given flag was used.  Cleveland was the presidential nominee for the Democratic Party in 1884, and he ran against James G. Blaine, who was the nominee for the Republican Party.  Cleveland defeated Blaine.  Cleveland won 219 electoral votes and 48.9% of the popular vote, while Blaine won only 182 electoral votes and 48.3% of the popular vote.  Cleveland was inaugurated, on March 4th, 1885, at the eastern portico of the US Capitol in Washington, D.C.   

This flag includes thirty-six stars, instead of thirty-eight stars, which would have been the official star count in 1885 for Cleveland’s inauguration.  The surge in small US flags for patriotic purposes began with onset of the Civil War.  This flag was likely made during this surge.  But because so many were made, Civil War era flags were distributed at patriotic events well into the 1880s.       

Current flag ethics state that the canton should always be positioned in the upper-left corner.  However, for two reasons, this flag is framed in a reverse mount position (i.e., with the canton positioned in the upper-right corner).  First, in the 19th century, there was no requirement to position the canton in the upper-left corner.  Because of this lack of specificity, this flag was printed in what we now consider the reverse direction, as was often the case with antique flags.  Second, displaying this flag in the reverse mount position showcases the “Cleveland Inauguration” overprint.  

The thirty-six star flag represents the inclusion of Nevada to the Union.  Nevada was admitted on October 31st, 1864, and this flag became official on July 4th, 1865.  Nevada was originally part of the Utah Territory beginning in 1850, became its own territory in 1861, and became its own state in 1864.  The timing of Nevada's inclusion was politically and economically based.  For political reasons, Nevada was admitted to the Union just eight days prior to President Lincoln's re-election bid against General George McClellan.  Such timing was meant to benefit Lincoln and his fellow Republicans.  For economic reasons, Nevada was included as part of the Union to help it pay off the country’s war debts.  Economically, Nevada was particularly attractive at the time, because of its significant silver mining industry.  Nevada expanded its borders in 1866 when the western Utah Territory was added to its eastern side, and further expanded in 1867 when a portion Pah-Ute County in the Arizona Territory was added to its southern side.  

The thirty-six star flag was the official flag for the last six months of the Civil War, and was used by the military during that time.  It was also the official flag during a portion of the Reconstruction era.  Ultimately, the thirty-six star flag was official until July 4th, 1867, the time at which the thirty-seven star flag became official and began to represent the inclusion of Nebraska 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 Conservation Clear Acrylic (standard) or behind Optium Museum Acrylic (per request).

The antique frame includes an outer walnut layer and a decorated inner gold layer. It dates to between 1860 and 1890.  

Condition Report: This flag exhibits some light staining.  In other respects, this flag is in excellent condition.

Collectability Level: The Great – Perfect for Rising Collectors
Date of Origin: 
Number of Stars: 
Associated War: 
Civil War (1861-1865) 
Associated State: 

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