34 Star Civil War Flag Cover | Includes an Outstanding Star Pattern and UNION overprint | Circa 1861-1863

34 Star Civil War Flag Cover
34 Star Civil War Flag Cover
34 Star Civil War Flag Cover
34 Star Civil War Flag Cover

34 Star Civil War Flag Cover | Includes an Outstanding Star Pattern and UNION overprint | Circa 1861-1863


Frame Size (H x L): 9.5” x 7”
Flag Size (H x L): 5.5” x 3”

Offered is a thirty-four star flag cover (i.e., envelope) with a large center star, a wreath of stars, and an overprint of UNION on the canton.  As shown on its bottom white stripe, it was manufactured by F. Hedge, a designer and engraver, located on 33 School Street in Boston.  Archibald Roosevelt Jr., the grandson of President Teddy Roosevelt, owned a similar example of this flag, and donated it to the Georgetown University Library where it is currently held.        

The stars of this flag are arranged in a medallion pattern.  The majority of medallion pattern flags date to between 1861 and 1876.  By the 1890s, the medallion pattern was hardly ever used, as linear arrangements took its place.  Why this occurred is unclear, particularly given that flag makers had the freedom to place the stars however they liked until 1912, the time at which President Taft issued Executive Order 1556, establishing the arrangement of the stars into rectilinear rows.

This particular medallion includes four medium flanking stars, a wreath of small stars, and a large center star.  The large center star represents the newest state added to the Union (e.g., Kansas in the case of this thirty-four star flag).  The letters U, N, I, O, and N are positioned between the arms of the large center star.  The inclusion of writing on the canton is rare and desirable, particularly when the writing makes some kind of reference to the Civil War. 

This flag includes only eleven stripes, instead of the standard number of thirteen.  And further, its canton rests on a red stripe, instead of the standard white stripe.  This red stripe may be referred to as a war stripe or a blood stripe, as it was sometimes purposely placed underneath the canton to symbolize that the US is at war.  Alternatively, a blood stripe is sometimes just an accident, as someone not familiar with the details of the flag had a 50-50 chance of placing the canton and stripes correctly. 

The thirty-four star flag represents the inclusion of Kansas to the Union.  Kansas was admitted on January 29th, 1861, and this flag became official on July 4th, 1861.  President Lincoln served, and the Civil War was fought, under this star count.  Many thirty-four star flags predate the first shots of the Civil War in 1861, as flag makers began producing them upon the admission of the Kansas, instead of the time at which the flag was officially admitted to the Union later in the same year.  The thirty-four star flag was official until July 4th 1863, the time at which the thirty-five star flag became official and began to represent the inclusion of West Virginia in the Union.  Thirty-four and thirty-five star flags were the official flags for the majority of the Civil War, and for this reason, both are extremely desirable.   

Conservation Process: This offering is positioned on cotton rag board.  It is positioned behind Conservation Clear Acrylic (standard) or behind Optium Museum Acrylic (per request).   

Frame: The antique frame is includes an outer walnut layer and an inner gilt layer.  It dates to between 1860 and 1890.    

Condition Report: This paper flag exhibits some minor fading.  It presents beautifully, particularly in combination with its antique frame.

Collectability Level: The Great – Perfect for Rising Collectors  

Date of Origin: 1861-1863  
Number of Stars: 34 
Associated War: The Civil War (1861-1865)  
Associated State: Kansas

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