Antique Remember the Maine 13 Star Parade Flag | Circa 1898

Antique Remember the Maine 13 Star Parade Flag
Close-up of Antique Remember the Maine 13 Star Parade Flag
Antique Remember the Maine 13 Star Parade Flag
Close-up of Antique Remember the Maine 13 Star Parade Flag

Antique Remember the Maine 13 Star Parade Flag | Circa 1898


Frame Size (H x L): 7.5” x 9”
Flag Size (H x L): 2.5” x 3”

Offered is a small thirteen-star antique parade flag, dating to 1898.  The flag is made of silk, and the stars are arranged in 3-2-3-2-3 pattern.  The stars are canted to the 1:00 position and are sewn onto a rich-blue canton.  The white stripe under the canton includes an overprint.  Overprints cover a variety of topics, including political campaigns, political organizations, commercial advertisements, and historic events, just to name a few examples.  In the case of this flag, its overprint states “REMEMBER THE MAINE”

The USS Maine was commissioned in 1895, and was the first ship classified as an armored cruiser.  The Maine was sent to protect US interests during the Cuban revolt against Spain, but exploded without warning in 1898 and quickly sank.  Even though the cause and responsibility for her sinking was unclear, popular opinion in the US blamed Spain.  The phrase “Remember the Maine” was a cry for action, and such action came with the beginning of the Spanish-American War later that year.  The Spanish-American War was a one-sided affair in the US’s favor, as Spain was unprepared to fight a distant war, particularly against the US’s naval fleet.  The War ended with the Treaty of Paris, in which Spain renounced all claim to Cuba.  The Spanish-American War was a turning point for both countries, as it caused Spain to turn its attention inward to its domestic needs, and resulted in the US’s emergence as a world power.      

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 frame is an antique wooden frame.

Condition Report: This flag has fraying on its fly end and some minor staining, but is otherwise in wonderful condition.   

Collectability Level: The Good – Perfect for Beginning Collectors and Gifts
Date of Origin: 1898
Number of Stars: 13
Associated War: The Spanish-American War  
Associated State: Original 13 Colonies  

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