13 Star Antique Parade Flag with Medallion Pattern | A Rare Large Example | Circa 1876

13 Star Antique Parade Flag with Medallion Pattern
13 Star Antique Parade Flag with Medallion Pattern
13 Star Antique Parade Flag with Medallion Pattern
13 Star Antique Parade Flag with Medallion Pattern

13 Star Antique Parade Flag with Medallion Pattern | A Rare Large Example | Circa 1876


Frame Size (H x L): 23.5” x 17”
Flag Size (H x L): 5” x 9” and Affixed to a 16” Staff

Offered is a thirteen-star parade flag made for the centennial.  While the size of this flag may initially appear to be small, it is actually an unusually large and rare size for the era.  Most parade flags made for the centennial were between three and four inches wide.  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, including the introduction of the Corliss Steam Engine and Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone. 

President Grant signed a proclamation admitting Colorado to the Union as the 38th state and it became known as the “Centennial State,” a result of becoming an official state just twenty-eight days after the centennial.  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 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.  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 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 includes an outer walnut layer and an inner golden layer.  

Condition Report: The canton and stripes of this flag are slightly faded.  In all other respects is a beautifully preserved example.   

Collectability Level: The Good – Perfect Beginning Collectors and Gifts  
Date of Origin: 1876
Number of Stars: 13
Associated War: The Indian Wars (1860-1890)   
Associated State: Original 13 Colonies

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