Early 13 Star Antique Flag | Includes a Medallion Configuration and Large Handsewn Stars | Circa 1870-1880

13 Star Antique Flag
13 Star Antique Flag
3. 13 Star Antique Flag.jpg
4. 13 Star Antique Flag.jpg
5. 13 Star Antique Flag.jpg
6. Large Frames.JPG
7. X-Large Frames.JPG
13 Star Antique Flag
13 Star Antique Flag
3. 13 Star Antique Flag.jpg
4. 13 Star Antique Flag.jpg
5. 13 Star Antique Flag.jpg
6. Large Frames.JPG
7. X-Large Frames.JPG

Early 13 Star Antique Flag | Includes a Medallion Configuration and Large Handsewn Stars | Circa 1870-1880

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Price: Call 618-553-2291, or email info@bonsellamericana.com  
Frame Size (H x L): 48.5” x 70.5”
Flag Size (H x L): 36.5” x 58.5”

Offered is a an early thirteen-star flag with a medallion star pattern.  The thirteen-star medallion pattern is among the most attractive and rare of the thirteen-star patterns.  Of the thirteen-star antique flags that come to market, around 75% are the 3-2-3-2-3 Hopkinson pattern, 20% are the thirteen-star medallion pattern, and the remaining 5% are various different patterns, including the 4-5-4 and Betsy Ross patterns.  The thirteen-star medallion pattern is generally encountered in flags dating to the Centennial and into the early 1900s.  This is an early example and dates to between 1870 and 1880.         

The wool stripes are individually cut and machine sewn together, the wool canton is machine sewn to the stripes, and the cotton twill hoist is machine sewn to both the stripes and canton.  More specifically, the stripes, the canton, and the hoist are joined via treadle stitching.  Treadle stitching was a technical possibility beginning in the 1830s, but not a realistic possibility until the 1850s.  Treadle stitching became relatively common by the 1860s and was used in approximately half of flags made between 1861 and 1865, typically to sew the stripes, the canton, and/or the hoist. 

The stars of this flag are made of cotton, and they are handsewn to both sides of the canton (i.e., double appliqued).  Prior to Singer’s introduction of the electric sewing machine, flag makers using machine stitching had to place each star on the canton, fold its edges under, pump a treadle machine—and while doing all of this—properly move both the star and canton through it.  Because of these difficulties associated with early sewing machines, until 1885, stars were commonly applied by hand—as is the case with this flag.        

This flag is small in size for a piece-and-sewn flag, dating to just after Civil War.  This adds considerably to its appeal, as it can be easily displayed.  It was not until 1861 that small piece-and-sewn flags were made with any frequency at all, and not until the 1890s that they were made with regularity.  During most of the 19th century, flags made with piece-and-sewn construction had a width of at least eight feet, as they were typically used as signaling devices by the military or by sailors.  Even the flags that were used for decorative purposes usually had a width of six feet or more, and versions smaller than this were quite rare. 

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.  Patriotic 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. 

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 a special edition X-Large Frame.  However, it can be reframed and would look great using any one of our standard Large or X-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: This flag exhibits some mothing, some minor staining, and a few small tears.  But overall, this is a beautifully preserved example for this era.   

Collectability Level: The Best – Perfect for Advanced Collectors    
Date of Origin: 1870-1880  
Number of Stars: 13 
Associated War: Spanish-American War (1898)   
Associated State: Original 13 Colonies

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