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  30 STARS, PRE-CIVIL WAR, RARE AND BEAUTIFUL WITH A MEDALLION CONFIGURATION THAT FEATURES A HALOED CENTER STAR, WISCONSIN STATEHOOD, 1848-1850

Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): Approx. 26.5" x 34"
Flag Size (H x L): 14.5" x 21.75"
Description....:
30 STARS, PRE-CIVIL WAR, RARE AND BEAUTIFUL WITH A MEDALLION CONFIGURATION THAT FEATURES A HALOED CENTER STAR, WISCONSIN STATEHOOD, 1848-1850:

30 star American national parade flag, printed on coarse cotton, with a beautiful form of the medallion configuration that features a very large center star with a pinstriped halo around its perimeter and large flanking stars in each corner of the blue canton. Between these are two consecutive wreaths of stars in a third, considerably smaller size. Note attractive, sun fire red stripes that lend bold color to the whimsical design.

The 30th state, Wisconsin, joined the Union on May 29th, 1848. The 30 star flag was official until July 3rd, 1851, but 30 star flags would not likely have been made following the addition of California in 1850. Flag-makers paid little heed to official star counts unless required by the person(s) requesting that flags be produced to some particular design. While the Flag Act of 1818 dictated that the star count would officially change on the 4th of July following the date of a state's acceptance, stars were generally added by the makers of flags when the state was added (sometimes even beforehand). This means that the 30 star flag had a realistic window of production of just over two years.

Flags made prior to the Civil War are rare, comprising less than one percent of 19th century flags that survive in the 21st century. This is partly because our flag wasn't used in the same purposes in early America. Private individuals did not generally display the flag. Use of the Stars & Stripes for functions of general patriotism rose swiftly following the 1861 attack on Fort Sumter that spurred the Civil War (1861-65). This was the beginning of widespread civilian use, which then exploded in 1876 during the centennial of American independence.

Even the military did not use the flag in a manner that most people might think. The primary purpose before the Civil War was to mark ships on the open seas. While the flag was used to mark some garrisons, the flags of ground troops were often limited to the flag of their own regiment and a Federal standard. Most people would be surprised to learn that the infantry wasn’t authorized to carry the Stars & Stripes until 1837. Even then it was neither required nor customary. It was not until the Civil War took place that most U.S. ground forces carried the national flag.

The most likely use of this flag was at a political rally, probably in 1848 when Zachary Taylor ran against Lewis Cass and Martin Van Buren to win the White House. Use of parade flags appears to have largely for this purpose until 1861. Although the maker that produced the flag is unknown, examples with this unusual center star exist in at least six other star counts including 31, 34, 35, 36, and 42. Two varieties also exist with 13 stars. One dates to 1856 and was made for the presidential campaign of James Buchanan. Another style dates to the 1876 centennial era and all of its 13 stars have halos.

30 is the lowest count seen on printed parade flags with a haloed center star. Because the parade flags first appeared in the 26 star period (1837-1845), this 30 star example is among the earliest of all known printed flags. In addition, unlike some other pre-Civil War star counts, very few varieties of 30 star printed flags have been discovered. I am aware of only three styles. In two of these varieties, only a single example is known for each. I bought and sold one of these flags, which is pictured in "The Stars & The Stripes: Fabric of the American Spirit" by J. Richard Pierce (2005), p. 15. I know of fewer than ten flags to exist with 30 stars in this haloed medallion style. So the total number of 30 star printed flags currently known may be fewer than ten and is certainly fewer than fifteen.

Mounting: The solid walnut molding dates to the period between 1850 and 1870 and has a gilded liner. The flag has been hand-stitched to 100% cotton, black in color, which was washed to reduce excess dye. An acid-free agent was added to the wash to further set the dye, which was heat-treated for the same purpose. The glazing is U.V. protective acrylic.

Condition: The flag exhibits obvious signs of extended use. There are significant splits in the fabric, accompanied by moderate loss at the top, fly end corner. There are more minor areas of fabric loss throughout, accompanied by minor to moderate foxing and staining. Many of my clients prefer early flags to show their age and history of use. The great rarity of this example, accompanied by its early date, well-warrants the condition, particularly because its presentation is beautiful and endearing.
Collector Level: Advanced Collectors and the Person with Everything
Flag Type: Parade flag
Star Count: 30
Earliest Date of Origin: 1858
Latest Date of Origin: 1859
State/Affiliation: Wisconsin
War Association: 1777-1860 Pre-Civil War
Price: SOLD
E-mail: Inquire
 

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