American Patriotic Needlework Purse w/ Eagle & 42 Star US Flag c. 1890

A fascinating American Patriotic Needlework Purse with a spread-wing eagle and a 42-Star American Flag, dating c. 1890. The purse has been flattened and is framed in an early empire frame. The purse, itself, measures 7" x 10" and the overall frame size is 12 ¼" x 15 ½". The eagle has a stylized US shield on its chest and is carrying olive branches in its claws.

I am dating the purse c. 1890, based on the practice of adding a star to the American flag each time a state was admitted to the Union. The 42nd State was Washington, admitted in November, 1889. However, there never was an official 42 star flag because Washington's star was incorporated into a new 43-star flag on July 4, 1890, when Idaho, Montana and the Dakotas were all admitted to the Union. One can surmise, therefore, that this purse was made sometime between the Fall of 1889 and the Summer of 1890 (alternatively, the stitcher ran out of room and could only fit 42 stars in the design!).

The purse is in very good condition: there are no rips or tears and the stitch-work is tight and complete. Colors, especially the red and blue on the flag, probably have faded a bit, and there are round stains from what appear to be tacks around the periphery of the piece (my assumption is that it had previously been tacked to a board or wall or something). These `stains' have minimal impact on the design. I have not had it out of the frame to see what is on the underside. A nice piece of American needlework.

Item ID: WPA 336

$475 USD

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West Pelham Antiques

Michael Weinberg, Pelham, MA   

Member since 2006

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