13 Star Antique Flag with a Wreath and Center Stars | One of Approximately Fifteen Flags with this Pattern | Circa 1890-1900

1. 13 Star Flag with Wreath and Three Center Stars.jpg
2. 13 Star Flag with Wreath and Three Center Stars.jpg
3. 13 Star Flag with Wreath and Three Center Stars.jpg
4. 13 Star Flag with Wreath and Three Center Stars.jpg
5. 13 Star Flag with Wreath and Three Center Stars.jpg
6. Fuller Regalia and Costume Company.JPG
7. Fuller Patent.JPG
8. Fuller Patent.JPG
9. Fuller Patent.JPG
10. Medium Frames.JPG
11. Large Frames.JPG
12. X-Large Frames.JPG
1. 13 Star Flag with Wreath and Three Center Stars.jpg
2. 13 Star Flag with Wreath and Three Center Stars.jpg
3. 13 Star Flag with Wreath and Three Center Stars.jpg
4. 13 Star Flag with Wreath and Three Center Stars.jpg
5. 13 Star Flag with Wreath and Three Center Stars.jpg
6. Fuller Regalia and Costume Company.JPG
7. Fuller Patent.JPG
8. Fuller Patent.JPG
9. Fuller Patent.JPG
10. Medium Frames.JPG
11. Large Frames.JPG
12. X-Large Frames.JPG

13 Star Antique Flag with a Wreath and Center Stars | One of Approximately Fifteen Flags with this Pattern | Circa 1890-1900

0.00

Price: Call 618-553-2291, or email info@bonsellamericana.com
Frame Size (H x L): 34” x 46”
Flag Size (H x L):
23” x 35”

Offered is a thirteen-star antique flag with a striking wreath surrounding three inner stars.  It is one of approximately fifteen known flags in this pattern.  The wreath includes ten stars that are arranged circularly, similar to the circular patterns used in Betsy Ross and Third Maryland flags.  The three inner stars are arranged in an upside down diamond, and are the same size as the stars in the wreath.  The wreath and inner stars are tightly packed.

As noted, few flags ever used this pattern.  The first and earliest known example is part of the New London County Historical Society’s collection and displayed at the Shaw Mansion.  The Shaw flag is thought to date to the eighteenth century, and thus is one of the only remaining (to the period) thirteen-star flags.  The Historical Society believes that the wreath of stars with three inner stars may have been an attempt to personalize the flag and to correlate it to the Shaw family coat of arms, which included three stars across the center of a shield.  The second known example is part of the Pierce collection and featured on page 25 of the Stars and Stripes, the Fabric of the American Spirit.  It dates to 1876.  Mr. Pierce’s wife purchased this particular flag as a thirtieth wedding anniversary gift for her husband.  This was their first flag and the catalyst for their interest and collection.  The third known example sold in Sotheby’s, as lot number in 10, in their October 10th, 2002 auction.  Sotheby’s and their consultant, Dr. Jeffery Kenneth Kohn, dated this flag to 1876.   

Most other flags using this pattern are similar in size, construction, and style.  These other similar flags were made by C.C. Fuller.  Although this flag is unmarked, a nearly identical counterpart is marked “C.C. Fuller, Worcester, Mass.”  From this, we know the maker of the marked flag, the flag offered here, and other similar flags.  Such knowledge is rare with respect to nineteenth century flags.    

In the 1880’s, Fuller was active in local lodges and societies.  From this, he saw a business opportunity related to selling hoodwinks (see the images), regalias, badges, banners, robes, costumes, and flags.  He started his company at 377 Main Street in Worcester.  But in view of his growing business, he later moved it to 5 Pleasant Street, and again moved it to 654 Main Street.  Upon his death in 1910, his business was incorporated and named the Fuller Regalia & Costume Co.                

The canton of this flag is unusual.  First, as expected with C.C. Fuller flags, its canton is tall in height and narrow in width, as compared to traditionally proportioned cantons.  These unexpected proportions are visually appealing and akin to proportions seen in earlier flags (e.g., military issued Civil War flags).  Second, the canton is made of two pieces of wool bunting.  The first piece is an upper piece that defines the upper 80% of the canton, while the second piece is a lower piece that defines the lower 20% of the flag.  The upper and lower pieces are joined to one another with treadle stitching.  Likewise, the upper and lower pieces are joined to the stripes with treadle stitching.   

The stripes of this flag are made of wool bunting and are joined with treadle stitching.  The stars are made of cotton and sewn to both sides of the canton (i.e., double appliqued), using a zig-zag stitch.  A patent application was filed in 1889 to cover the zig-zag stitch, and the patent issued three years later in 1892.  Such materials and techniques typically date to between 1890 and 1926, while flags with exotic star patterns typically date to the initial third of this period.  For at least these reasons, this flag likely dates to between 1890 and 1900.   

Some C.C. Fuller flags include a cotton twill hoist, while other include an alternative means.  In the case of this example, it includes a plurality of metal rings that are handsewn directly to the canton and stripes.  The metal rings, and darning repairs to the upper left of the canton, add to the appeal of this flag, both in terms of its unusual construction and its visual appeal.   

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, and have been in use ever since. 

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. 

For more details related to C.C. Fuller and the Fuller Regalia & Costume Co., please see the following excerpt from the 1910 issue of the Worcester Magazine:

The Fuller Regalia & Costume Co., 654 Main Street, is the name of a new corporation which has taken over the long-established business conducted by the late C.C. Fuller.  The new company expects to greatly develop the manufacturing end of the business.

Early in the 80's, Mr. Fuller, who was active in several lodges and societies, conceived of the idea of providing something better than the old-fashioned bondage used for blindfolds in the initiation work.  He developed his idea, and in 1885 invented the Fuller hoodwink, which was duly patented, and now in general use in initiation work all over the country.

Realizing that lodges and societies not only needed hoodwinks, but required regalias, badges, banners, robes, and other accessories, he started in the manufacturing of these specialties at what is now 377 Main Street.

From this humble beginning Mr. Fuller, who did business under the name of the Fuller Regalia & Costume Co., built up a big business and soon saw the need of adding costumes such as are used at masquerades, minstrel shows, plays, fancy dress balls, and lodge ritual work, to his stock.  There is hardly a character in ancient or modern history but what this firm can costume correctly in every detail.  With something like a thousand costumes of various characters in stock, practically all of which are the products of the firm's workroom, the wants of the trade can be well taken care of. 

Fifteen years ago the company moved from 377 Main Street to 5 Pleasant Street, occupying a large portion of the second and third floors.  The business of the firm, however, grew to such an extent that new and more commodious quarters had to be secured, and in 1903 the firm moved into its present handsome store at 654 Main Street.  The large workroom connected with the store is equipped with the latest power machines, operated by experienced help, and enables the company to take care of its ever increasing patronage, which comes, not only from New England, but also from western states.

Up to the time of Mr. Fuller's death in July of this year, the business was carried on by him as an individual.  In October the business was incorporated under the name of the Fuller Regalia & Costume Co., thus perpetuating the name with the following officers: Irwin P. Dorward, for the last seven years advertising manager of the Graton & Knight Manufacturing Company, president; John A. Sherman, treasurer and manager of the Sherman Envelope Company, treasurer; and J. Edward Sherman, of the Sherman Envelope Company, vice-president and clerk. 

Mr.  Irwin P. Dorward assumes the active management, and with the assistance of all the former employees, the business will be carried along the same liens as before the incorporation.  The company is doing a good business, and has orders booked which will keep the workroom busy for months to come.

A Boston office in charge of Mr. Austin S. Esty, who is a Past Grand Master of Odd Fellows, is a large factor in catering to the lodges and societies in Boston and vicinity.

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 our X-Large Distressed Black with Silver Liner Frame.  However, it can be reframed and would look great using any one of our Medium, Large, or X-Large Frames, which are shown in the final three 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: As shown in the images, this flag exhibits some stain across its canton and stars.  It also exhibits a few minor holes and tears.  However, generally speaking, it is in great condition and is striking in its appearance.  

Collectability Level: The Best – Perfect for Advanced Collectors  
Date of Origin: 1890-1900
Number of Stars: 13 
Associated War: Spanish-American War (1898) and World War I (1914-1918)
Associated State:
Original 13 Colonies

Add To Cart