Outstanding Civil War Era Flag with 25 Stars on the Reverse and 35 Stars on the Obverse | A Southern Exclusionary Flag | Circa 1861-1865

Civil War Era Flag with 25 Stars on the Reverse and 35 Stars on the Obverse
Civil War Era Flag with 25 Stars on the Reverse and 35 Stars on the Obverse
3. Extremely Rare 25 Star Exclusionary Antique Flag with 35 Stars on the Reverse.JPG
4. Extremely Rare 25 Star Exclusionary Antique Flag with 35 Stars on the Reverse.JPG
5. Extremely Rare 25 Star Exclusionary Antique Flag with 35 Stars on the Reverse (2).JPG
6. Extremely Rare 25 Star Exclusionary Antique Flag with 35 Stars on the Reverse.JPG
7. Extremely Rare 25 Star Exclusionary Antique Flag with 35 Stars on the Reverse.JPG
8. Extremely Rare 25 Star Exclusionary Antique Flag with 35 Stars on the Reverse.JPG
9. Extremely Rare 25 Star Exclusionary Antique Flag with 35 Stars on the Reverse.JPG
10. Extremely Rare 25 Star Exclusionary Antique Flag with 35 Stars on the Reverse.JPG
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Civil War Era Flag with 25 Stars on the Reverse and 35 Stars on the Obverse
Civil War Era Flag with 25 Stars on the Reverse and 35 Stars on the Obverse
3. Extremely Rare 25 Star Exclusionary Antique Flag with 35 Stars on the Reverse.JPG
4. Extremely Rare 25 Star Exclusionary Antique Flag with 35 Stars on the Reverse.JPG
5. Extremely Rare 25 Star Exclusionary Antique Flag with 35 Stars on the Reverse (2).JPG
6. Extremely Rare 25 Star Exclusionary Antique Flag with 35 Stars on the Reverse.JPG
7. Extremely Rare 25 Star Exclusionary Antique Flag with 35 Stars on the Reverse.JPG
8. Extremely Rare 25 Star Exclusionary Antique Flag with 35 Stars on the Reverse.JPG
9. Extremely Rare 25 Star Exclusionary Antique Flag with 35 Stars on the Reverse.JPG
10. Extremely Rare 25 Star Exclusionary Antique Flag with 35 Stars on the Reverse.JPG
11. X-Large Distressed Black.jpg
12. Large Frames.JPG
13. X-Large Frames.JPG

Outstanding Civil War Era Flag with 25 Stars on the Reverse and 35 Stars on the Obverse | A Southern Exclusionary Flag | Circa 1861-1865

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Price: Call 618-553-2291, or email info@bonsellamericana.com 
Frame Size (H x L): 34.5” x 52”
Flag Size (H x L): 22” x 39”

Offered is a homemade Civil War exclusionary flag with twenty-five stars on the reverse and thirty-five stars on the obverse.  An exclusionary flag is one that is meant to exclude a portion of the United States, and includes fewer the official number of stars for a given time period.  Despite President Lincoln’s pleas to avoid such a practice during the Civil War, there were Southern flags that excluded stars representing the Northern states (i.e., Northern exclusionary flags), and alternatively there were Northern flags that excluded the stars representing the Southern states (i.e., Southern exclusionary flags).  In the case of this “Northern flag,” the twenty-five stars represent the Northern states, and in contrast, the thirty-five stars represent the entire country.  Exclusionary flags rarely surface.  And in the case of this flag—having a side that represents the North and a side that represents the entire country—we know of no other example, making it one of the best flags that we have ever handled.

During the Civil War, certain states were clearly part of the North, while others were clearly part of the South.  However, there were a number of states that were split in their allegiance, both from internal and external viewpoints (e.g., the maker of this flag).  Further, during the Civil War, Kansas, West Virginia, and Nevada became states.  And still further, flag makers tended to add anticipatory stars. 

In light of these complexities, knowing with certainty which states the maker represented by the twenty-five stars is not possible.  However, there are at least two reasonable explanations, given that this flag includes twenty-five stars on one side and thirty-five on the other. 

The first explanation is that this flag was made in 1861 following the secession of the tenth state, North Carolina in 1861.  Under this theory, the difference in the star counts between the obverse and reverse, ten stars, was based on the maker excluding the ten states that had seceded, while the thirty-five stars were anticipatory in view of Kansas and West Virginia becoming states. 

The second explanation is that the flag was made following the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.  Under this theory, the difference in the star counts between the obverse and reverse, ten stars, was based on the maker excluding the ten states explicitly recited in the Emancipation Proclamation (i.e., Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia), while the thirty five-stars were anticipatory in view of West Virginia becoming a state.  While these are two theories, others are certainly possible in view of the preceding paragraph.         

Regarding the construction of the flag, the stars on its reverse are in a 5-5-5-5-5 lineal pattern on a relatively small cotton canton, while the stars on the obverse are in a 7-7-7-7-7 lineal pattern on a relatively large cotton canton.  As expected for the period, the stars are handsewn.  The small cotton canton and the large cotton canton are treadle sewn to striped cotton (i.e., the striped cotton is rectangular in shape).  The cotton hoist strip is treadle sewn to the striped cotton and hand sewn to the canton.  A rectangular cotton patch is handsewn to the striped cotton, near the bottom of the flag and the hoist strip.  As indicated by this patch and the damage to the fly end, the flag was used—something that many of our clients appreciate.    

Homemade flags, like this one, are amongst the most interesting of all antique flags.  They were typically made with whatever materials were available, and the placement of the canton, stripes, and stars is often times quite whimsical.  In the case of this flag, it has an unusually small canton and is unusually long.  However, its most unusual feature is its forty-one stripes—the most that we have ever encountered—rather than the standard thirteen.  In some cases, the number of stripes has a symbolic meaning.  However, the forty-one stripes of this flag are probably a function of it being made with scraps from other projects, a theory bolstered by the difficulty of accessing goods during the Civil War.          

The red stripes of this flag are ruby red in appearance, while the canton is cornflower blue.  The First Flag Act of 1777 specified the number of stripes and the colors of the flag, but did not specify the exact shades of each color, which is why some flags—like this one—have unusual colors.  The exact shades were not officially specified until 1934.    

With respect to the obverse of this flag, thirty-five star flags typically represent the inclusion of West Virginia to the Union.  West Virginia was admitted on June 20th, 1863, and its corresponding flag became official on July 4th 1863.  The thirty-five star flag is the only flag that (1) represents a state admitted during the Civil War time period, and that also (2) became official during the Civil War.  Because it was official for a short time period—around 18 months—and because so many flags were produced in 1861 and 1862, thirty-five star flags are scarce and the most desirable of the traditional Civil War counts. 

The thirty-five star flag was official until July 4th, 1865, the time at which the thirty-six star flag official and began to represent the inclusion of Nevada in the Union. 

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: 
This offering is in our X-Large Distressed Black and Gold Frame.  However, it can be reframed and would look great using any one of our 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.  Please also note that we can reframe this flag to show the obverse of this flag, and/or we can also reframe this flag such that it hangs vertically.   

Condition Report: This flag has some minor stains, holes, and tears.  The most significant tears are along the ends, indicating that this flag was used and suffered wind damage.          

Collectability Level: The Extraordinary – Museum Quality Offerings   
Date of Origin: 1861-1865  
Number of Stars: 25 on the Reverse and 35 on the Obverse    
Associated War: Civil War (1861-1865)
Associated State: West Virginia  

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