|35 star American National parade flag, printed on glazed cotton muslin. Among collectors, the great star configuration is the most coveted of all 19th century geometric patterns. Shortly after the War of 1812, Naval hero, Captain Samuel Reid, suggested to the president that this design should be considered the official star pattern. He did so because of his concern that the flag needed to be more recognizable on the open seas, which was the primary reason for the American ensign in the first place. Reid?s proposal was rejected due to the increased cost of arranging the stars in this manner. Never-the-less, since there was no official star pattern, the great star was produced by anyone willing to make it. Its rarity today, along with its beauty, have driven the desirability of American flags with this configuration.
Even among great star patterns, this particular design is unusual for three reasons. Most obvious is the single star that lies along side the lower arm. This was probably done because the maker of the flag had originally designed a 34 star flag. Afterward, when our 35th state was added, it was then decided that re-design of the entire print block was impractical.
The second unusual trait lies in the vertical alignment of the great star, which is inverted. No one knows if this upside-down positioning had any purpose. It is possible that the maker of this flag did not feel that any particular position was right-side-up. The designer may have simply liked the look of the star with two-arms-up instead of one. One may note that even the single outlying star is in the same position. In any event, this was not the norm.
The third unusual trait is that the arms of the star are open. Only 4 stars are used on the great star?s interior. It is this peculiarity that caused some flag collectors to refer to this specific great star arrangement as a Great Flower, noting the 5 petals.
West Virginia was admitted into the Union as the 35th state on June 20th, 1863, and the 35 star flag was used during the closing years of the Civil War. Although 35 was the official star count until July 4th, 1865, most flag makers would have added a 36th star after the addition of Nevada on October 31st, 1864. This means that 35 star flags were realistically produced for less than a year and a half.
Mounting: The price of the flag includes proper mounting. The flag will be stitched to 100% cotton or linen, and mounted over an acid free strainer. It will then be encased in a plexiglas museum box that has a U.V. protective front.
Condition: The flag has many stains, tears, and more than a moderate amount of fabric loss. The size (both large for a Civil War parade flag and very desirable in general), as well as the extreme rarity of the design warrant the condition. In addition, many buyers feel that the current state adds both nostalgic charm and artistic appeal, especially to a flag of this period.