Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
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  34 STARS, PRINTED ON SILK, WITH "DANCING" OR "TUMBLING" ORIENTATION, CIVIL WAR PERIOD, KANSAS STATEHOOD, 1861-1863

Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): 39.25" x 51.5"
Flag Size (H x L): 28" x 40.5"
Description....:
34 star American national flag, printed on silk, with beautiful colors and interesting visual features. Note how the stars, which are arranged in linear rows of 7-7-6-7-7, are oriented consecutively point-up, point down in their vertical alignment on the cornflower blue canton, resulting in what I call “tumbling” or “dancing” formation. They are, at the same time, inconsistent in shape, due to the nature of the printing. Note also how striations in the silk fabric, running vertically in the warp of the woven fibers, create interesting texture, and how the stripes are far more wavy than what is typically encountered. Together these features lend a nice folk quality to the overall design.

This particular variety of 34 star flag is quite rare. While some styles are seen with greater frequency, I do not typically encounter more than one of these per year, and sometimes every other year.

I believe that this style of flag, in this design, was sometimes sold to the Union Army as flank markers or camp colors. I owned an example of the same exact type, with overprinted text for a Pennsylvania volunteer regiment. The material is very fine and would not have sustained hard use, and this may explain why so few have survived. It is likely that flags in this style were simultaneously sold for whatever purpose the buyer wished. Like many printed silk flags, these probably saw short-term use at parades and political events, as well as in service as props for commercial photographers shooting portraits of Civil War soldiers. This particular example has a hand-sewn sleeve along the hoist end, which tends to suggest the intention of longer term use. It also has a darning repair in the upper, hoist-end corner of the canton, which suggests the same. Whatever the case may be, the size is excellent, being small enough to be easily framed and displayed, yet large enough to make a substantial impact, great for both serious collectors and one-time buyers alike.

Kansas was admitted into the Union as the 34th state on January 29th, 1861, about 2 ½ months before the Confederate assault on Fort Sumter that marked the beginning of the Civil War. The 34th star was officially added on July 4th of that year, but most flag makers would have added a 34th star with the addition of Kansas in January. The star count remained official until July 4th, 1863, and 34 star flags would have generally been produced until the addition of West Virginia in June of that year.

Mounting: This is a pressure-mount between 100% cotton twill, black in color, and U.V. protective plexiglass. The black fabric has been washed to reduce excess dye. An acid-free agent was added to the wash to further set the dye and the fabric was heat-treated for the same purpose. The mount was placed in a black-painted, hand-gilded and distressed Italian molding.

Condition: Overall condition is extraordinary for a silk flag of this period. There is a scattering of tiny holes throughout and there is extremely minor bleeding. There is a period darning repair with silk thread in the extreme upper corner of the hoist end. many of my clients prefer early flags to show their age and history of use.
Collector Level: Advanced Collectors and the Person with Everything
Flag Type: Parade flag
Star Count: 34
Earliest Date of Origin: 1861
Latest Date of Origin: 1863
State/Affiliation: Kansas
War Association: 1861-1865 Civil War
Price: SOLD
E-mail: Inquire
 

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