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  48 STAR AMERICAN PARADE FLAG WITH A RARE, TWO-COLOR OVERPRINT, MADE TO COMMEMORATE THE 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG

Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): 12.75" x 16.25"
Flag Size (H x L): 6" x 10"
Description....:
48 Star American Parade flag, printed on an oilcloth-type cotton. This flag bears a very rare and unusual overprint in the stripe area that celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, which took place in 1938. I currently know of fewer than 15 examples of this flag to exist, almost all of which I have had the privilege to have owned.

The first significant point to note is that this is the only circumstance I have ever seen where an image of the Confederate battle flag or navy jack has been printed on a Stars & Stripes flag.

Another point of interest is that the date is extraordinarily late for Stars & Stripes flag with overprinted advertising. Printing of this nature technically became illegal in 1905, yet continued on veteran’s reunion flags until later, generally disappearing after the 19-teens. The practice of overprinting or writing on parade flags seems to have become more unfavorable after WWI. It is seldom ever seen in the 1920’s, is even more rare in the 1930’s, and by WWII had virtually ceased.

Also rare is the 2-color overprint. A handful of parade flags are known with gold or gold and black, 2-color overprinting, but most lettering is simply black in color. Some advertising was printed contemporaneously with the flag itself and appears in the same color of blue used in the canton. But I have never seen the red overprinting present in this 1938 example.

This is the only style of parade flag that I am aware of that was produced for this landmark event, the final of its kind. By the time of Gettysburg’s centennial in 1963, there were, to no great surprise, no surviving veterans of the war. But at the 1938 Blue & Grey reunion, the number of surviving veterans nationwide was estimated at between eight and ten thousand, and of these, two thousand—a surprisingly large percentage given the age and health of the population—were in attendance. Their average age was 94. According to author Bob Janiskee, writing for the National Park Service, “A sense of closure or finality pervaded the 1938 reunion. Everyone realized that the advanced age and frailty of the veterans would make further reunions of any decent size impractical, and that most of the old vets would soon be dead.”*

  The 48 star flag became official in 1912 following the addition of New Mexico and Arizona. It remained the official flag throughout WWI, WWII, and the Korean War (1950-53), until Alaska gained statehood in 1959 and the 49th star was added.

Some Notes On The Last Surviving Civil War Soldiers:
The last surviving Union veteran is considered to be Albert Woolson of New York, who died in 1956 at the claimed age of 108. Census records showed he was actually 106. The next-to-the last was James Albert Hard, also of New York, who passed in 1953 at the claimed age of 111. Census research indicates that he was probably a year or two younger, as well, and may have inflated his age to gain service. The last surviving Union Army General was Union Brevet-Brigadier General Aaron S. Daggett of Maine, who died in 1938, the year of the 75th reunion.

The last surviving from the long Grey line was Pleasant Riggs Crump, who passed in 1951 at the age of 104. Crump enlisted in 1864 and mustered into the 10th Alabama Infantry, Company A. He was present at Appomattox Courthouse for Robert E. Lee's surrender.

* (February, 2009, http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2009/02/rare-motion-pictures-show-civil-war-veterans-75th-gettysburg-battle-anniversary)

  Mounting: The flag has been hand-stitched to 100% silk organza for support throughout. It was then hand-stitched to 100% cotton, black in color, which 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 then placed in a black-painted, hand-gilded and distressed Italian molding. The front is U.V. protective acrylic.

Mounting: The flag has been hand-stitched to 100% cotton rag mat and placed in a solid walnut frame with a gilded liner that dates to the period between 1870 and 1890. Spacers keep the textile away from the glazing, which is U.V. protective glass.

Condition: The overprint is off center on the obverse, but the flag presents well and the rarity of this example well-warrants the misplacement.
Collector Level: Advanced Collectors and the Person with Everything
Flag Type: Parade flag
Star Count: 48
Earliest Date of Origin: 1938
Latest Date of Origin: 1938
State/Affiliation: Pennsylvania
War Association: 1861-1865 Civil War
Price: SOLD
 

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