Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
Sold Flags


Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): Approx. 41" x 66"
Flag Size (H x L): 28.75" x 54.25"
45 star American national flag, made entirely of cotton and exhibiting wonderful folk qualities. Note in particular how the stars, with their fat, starfish-like profiles, have arms bent this way and that, displaying the interesting attributes often associated with homemade, 19th century textiles. Also note how the stars are relatively large given the available space on the small, square canton, which required that their arms be intertwined, with points oriented this way and that, which lends another endearing visual quality. The canton is a pleasant, denim blue as opposed to the darker Navy one might expect on a later flag. Because there was no official star pattern for the American national flag until 1912, and because there were no official proportions or shades of red and blue, examples made prior to this time can have especially interesting attributes that set them firmly apart from modern flags.

In the 1890-1912 era, most flags with pieced-and-sewn construction measured between 6 and 8 feet. Those measuring 5 feet and less on the fly, like this example, were produced in scarce quantity. Most flags were likewise commercially made during this period, instead of homemade. Collectors and one-time-buyers alike often prefer flags with handmade traits and in more manageable sizes, due to greater ease of display.

The stars of the flag are made of cotton, hand-sewn, and are appliquéd to one side only, which is common to many homemade flags of this general era. The red and white stripes were pieced with treadle stitching. These were joined to the blue canton by hand on the fly end and by treadle stitching along the lower edge. The hoist end of the stripe field is bound with hand-stitching, as-is the hoist.

Utah became the 45th state in 1896. It had been attempting to gain statehood for many years, but remained a territory, primarily due to the fact that the Mormon Church and Utah authorities continued to be openly tolerant of polygamy. In 1890, Mormon Church President Wilford Woodruff published a manifesto that denounced the contract of “any marriages forbidden by the law of the land”. This gave way to Utah’s 1896 acceptance. The 45 star flag was generally used from that year until 1907, when Oklahoma joined the Union. Due to the Spanish-American War (1898) and Teddy Roosevelt’s famous world tour of the “White Fleet” (launched in 1907), this was an extremely patriotic period. Officially the 45 star count was replaced by 46 on July 4th, 1908.

In summary, this is a wonderful, homemade example of a period when flags were mostly commercially produced, with especially attractive and endearing folk attributes, and in an great, small scale among its counterparts.

Mounting: The flag has been hand-stitched to 100% silk organza on every seam and throughout the star field for support. It was then hand-stitched to 100% cotton twill, black in color, that was 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 then placed in a black-painted, hand-gilded and distressed Italian molding. The glazing is U.V. protective plexiglass.

Condition: There is a series of tiny holes, some pin-prick sized, along the top and bottom edges, where the flag was at one time, probably tacked to a wall, and also along the hoist, where it was no doubt tacked to a staff. Some of these have minor, associated loss. There is minor to modes oxidation and staining throughout, as well as minor fading. 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: Sewn flag
Star Count: 45
Earliest Date of Origin: 1896
Latest Date of Origin: 1908
State/Affiliation: Utah
War Association: 1898 Spanish American War
Price: SOLD

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