|35 STAR ANTIQUE AMERICAN PARADE FLAG WITH DOUBLE WREATH STYLE MEDALLION STAR CONFIGURATION, 1863-1865, WEST VIRGINIA STATEHOOD:
34 star American parade flag, printed on coarse, glazed cotton. The stars are arranged in what is known as a medallion configuration. This consists of a single center star, surrounded by two wreaths of stars, with a flanking star in each corner of the blue canton. The stars appear in several sizes. The center and corner stars are supposed to be larger than the rest, but the crude qualities of the block printing make them unequal and uneven. It also appears that the stars in the inner ring were supposed to be slightly larger than those in the outer one, but it is difficult to be certain of this fact. Whatever the case may be, visual characteristics such as these, often seen in early flags, are a large part what give them their interesting charm. The flag is very rare; I have never owned this exact style of 35 star parade flag in this size.
Note how the cornflower blue canton contrasts with the vibrant, sun fire orange stripes. These were printed with a pigment colored with madder, which has a red-orange hue. It is for this reason that many cotton parade flags produced between 1850 and 1876 have shades of red that lean strongly toward orange.
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.
Mounting: The gilded American molding has a raised, convex center and dates to the period between 1830 and 1860. The flag has been hand-stitched to 100% cotton, black in color, which has been washed to reduce excess dye. And acid-free agent was added to the wash to further set the dye and the fabric was heat-treated for the same purpose. Spacers keep the textile away from the glazing, which is U.V. protective glass.
Condition: There is misprinting in the canton. There is very minor foxing and staining and there are a couple of pinprick-sized holes. Many of my clients prefer early flags to show their age and history of use.