Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
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  38 STARS AND A VERY UNUSUAL COMPLEMENT OF 31 STRIPES, ON AN ANTIQUE AMERICAN FLAG MADE DURING THE PERIOD WHEN COLORADO WAS THE MOST RECENT STATE TO JOIN THE UNION, 1876-1889, WITH STUNNING GRAPHICS AND COLORS, ONE-OF-A-KIND AMONG KNOWN EXAMPLES

Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L):
Flag Size (H x L): 42.5" x 59.5"
Description....:
This extraordinarily unusual American flag was made in the patriotism of the 1876 Centennial era. One-of-a-kind among known examples, it features a brilliant, royal blue canton, on which 38 stars appear in rows of 8-7-8-7-8. Note how each star is oriented consecutively point-up, point down in their vertical alignment throughout, resulting in what I call “tumbling” or “dancing” formation. While the star field is beautiful, the most striking characteristic, as well as the most unique, can be found in the striped field. Printed on three separate panels and joined to the canton with pump-treadle stitching, this features 16 red and 15 white, for a total of 31. While the count is probably irrelevant and simply decorative, the candy-stripe presentation is stunning and draws the eye in a way like no other flag I have ever seen.

From an academic standpoint, this is an interesting textile. Having owned more 19th century printed examples than perhaps anyone, I am intimately familiar with known varieties from common to extremely rare. The panels used in the stripe field were printed on a bolt so that the stripes run vertical to the bolt and appear to be continuous. I have never before encountered this fabric, or the 38 star canton, which must have also been printed on a bolt with the pattern repeating itself. One would suspect that many examples of this flag may once have existed, but this is the only one that I have ever seen, so it is not only beautiful but unique in my experience.

Colorado became the 38th state on August 1st, 1876. This was the year of our nation’s 100-year anniversary of independence. Per the Third Flag Act of 1818, stars were not officially added until the 4th of July following a state's addition. For this reason, 37 was the official star count for the American flag in 1876. Flag-making was a competitive venture, however, and few flag-makers would have been continuing to produce 37 star flags when their competitors were making 38’s. It is for this reason that 38 and 13 stars (to represent the original 13 colonies) are more often seen at the Centennial International Exposition, the six-month long World’s Fair held in Philadelphia in honor of the event. Some flag-makers would have been adding a star for the 38th state even before it entered the Union, in the early part of 1876 or even prior. In fact, many makers of parade flags were actually producing 39 star flags, in hopeful anticipation of the addition of two more Western Territories instead of one. But the 39th state would not join the Union for another 13 years, when the Dakota Territory entered as two states on the same day. The 38 star flag became official on July 4th, 1877 and was generally used until the addition of the Dakotas in 1889.

  Mounting: The flag was mounted and framed within our own conservation department, which is led by masters degree trained staff. We take great care in the mounting and preservation of flags and have framed thousands of examples. Feel free to contact us for more details.

The black-painted, hand-gilded and distressed molding is Italian. The glazing is U.V. protective acrylic.

Condition: There is minor damage in all 4 corners from light use. In the upper, hoist-end corner there is a small hole and a lateral tear with associated loss. There is a small tear at the bottom corner at the hoist end, in the last stripe. There is a tiny bit of loss in the upper, fly end corner, and a vertical tear with associated loss and surrounding wear in the bottom corner of the fly end. There are limited areas of light foxing and staining throughout, but the overall condition is excellent.
Collector Level: Advanced Collectors and the Person with Everything
Flag Type: Sewn flag
Star Count: 38
Earliest Date of Origin: 1876
Latest Date of Origin: 1889
State/Affiliation: Colorado
War Association: 1866-1890 Indian Wars
Price: SOLD
 

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