Unusual 14 Star Antique Parade Flag | Possibly Made to Commemorate Vermont Statehood or Possibly Made by Mistake | Circa 1876

14 Star Antique Flag
14 Star Antique Parade Flag 2.jpg
37 Star Antique Flag
14 Star Antique Flag
14 Star Antique Parade Flag 2.jpg
37 Star Antique Flag

Unusual 14 Star Antique Parade Flag | Possibly Made to Commemorate Vermont Statehood or Possibly Made by Mistake | Circa 1876

1,250.00

Frame Size (H x L): 11” x 14.5”
Flag Size (H x L): 4.75” x 8.25”   

Offered is a fourteen star antique flag printed on cotton.  Its stars are arranged in a medallion pattern, in which there is a center star, a ring of nine stars surrounding the center star, and four flanking stars surrounding the ring.  This unusual star count can be explained via one of the following two theories. 

Under the first theory, this star count may have been used to commemorate Vermont’s statehood.  Vermont was admitted to the Union on March 4th, 1791 as the fourteenth state.  Commemorating earlier admitted states in this fashion occurred with some frequency in the nineteenth century.  As an example, fifteen star parade flags were made to commemorate the admission of Kentucky.     

Under the second theory, this star count may have been accidental in nature.  To illustrate, this flag may have been intended to be a thirteen star flag, but somehow an extra star slipped into place during the manufacturing of the flag.  This second theory is the more likely of the two, given the circumstances that these flags have been discovered.  The fourteen star flags that have surfaced have done so via centennial quilts (which would typically pay homage to the original thirteen states via thirteen star flags).  In one instance, these fourteen star flags were used in a piecework design of a centennial quilt.  And in a second instance, they were used and, fortunately, discovered as filler inside of a centennial quilt. 

In this second instance, the fourteen star flags were found with thirty-seven star flags, both of which were identical in construction and size.  For comparison, shown in the images is an example of one of the thirty-seven star flags.  The official star count for US flags in 1876 was the thirty-seven star flag.  However, it was common for flag makers to produce anticipatory flags in advance of their official date, making the thirty-eight star flag—and for historical reasons, the thirteen star flag—the most common flags flown during the centennial celebrations of 1876.       

The nation’s centennial in 1876 inspired patriotism across the county and reunited its citizens.  Cities of all sizes hosted parades and celebrations, and buildings and homes were canvased in red, white, and blue with flags being the primary symbol of national pride.  The most notable celebration was the Centennial International Exposition in Philadelphia.  In just six months, the Exhibition hosted nearly 10 million visitors, and included many extraordinary exhibits, such as the introduction of the Corliss Steam Engine and Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone. 

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).

Frame: The antique frame is made of walnut and dates to between 1860 and 1880.  The outer rim of the frame is brown and the inner rim is gold.   

Condition Report: This flag is in excellent condition.   

Collectability Level: The Great – Perfect for Rising Collectors  
Date of Origin: 1876  
Number of Stars: 14   

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