Wonderful old cotton Parade Flag with an unofficial star count... what does this mean? Well, beginning in 1818, the US began to add a star to the Canton or Union (blue field) for each new state admitted to the Union, and although statehood is granted on admission, the flag is changed only once a year when the new count becomes 'official' on the following 4th of July. Consequently, in November of 1889 four states were admitted, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Washington, which would have changed the official count from 38 to 42 on July 4, 1890, but on July 3, 1890, Idaho was admitted to the Union as the 43rd state, making the new official count 43. However, some manufacturers had already produced some 42 star flags like this example, and as a result the date of manufacture of this piece can be very precisely dated between November 11, 1889 and July 3, 1890. So this is not only a beautiful, symmetrical iteration of the flag with six rows of seven stars each... it is a rare flag.
Printed flags became popular after 1840 and were generally used as hand-wavers. Today, they are highly desirable because of their small size since they are easy to display. In fact, many serious collectors specialize in printed parade flags.
CONDITION is as shown. The cotton feels a little stiff as if it was starched at some time long ago, and has darkened. There are expected signs of age appropriate wear with some small splits and creases, and a fold on the hoist where it was likely attached to a piece of wood. Please look at the photographs. Measures 27 1/2" x 17 1/2".
This is a charming example of a rare flag, a fantastic size to frame, and worthy of becoming a treasured family heirloom. Long may she wave!
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