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13 Star, Centennial Era, Antiques American Parade Flag with Overprinted Date


13 STAR, CENTENNIAL ERA, ANTIQUE AMERICAN PARADE FLAG WITH UNUSUAL OVERPRINTED 1888 DATE AND SCROLL WORK, PROBABLY MADE FOR A BENJAMIN HARRISON RALLY IN THIS PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION YEAR: 13 star American national parade flag, printed on coarse, glazed cotton. Produced in significant quantity for the 100-year anniversary of American independence, ample stock of this particular size and style seems to have existed into the early 20th century. On rare occasion these can be seen with overprinted advertising. In this case, printed in black pigment in large characters, is the date "1888." This was the year that Republican Benjamin Harrison challenged incumbent Grover Cleveland, who had, in 1884, become the first Democrat to ascend to the White House since prior to the Civil War (1861-65). The stars of the flag are arranged in a medallion pattern that consists of a large centre star, surrounded by a wreath of eight stars, with a flanking star in each corner. This was a popular centennial design. The flag is presented in what would become its proper vertical position, with its canton in the upper left. Situated beyond the main body of the flag, in the white area along the hoist, is an even more unusual overprint, in metallic gold, that consists of fanciful scroll work. There may somewhere be another flag with overprints in both black and gold, but I cannot now recall one and I believe that this may be the only known example. Even though it lacks Harrison's name, the sheer number of Harrison textiles in 1888 is suggestive of the association, in addition to the fact that Republicans tended to include the national flag in their Campaign imagery more often than Democrats, who rallied around red bandannas. The latter followed logical suit, because most Union Army vets were Republican and the South was predominantly Democrat. 13 star flags have been used throughout our nation’s history for a variety of purposes. In addition to use at the Centennial, they were hoisted at other patriotic events, including Lafayette’s visit in 1825-26, the celebration of sesquicentennial in 1926 and during 4th of July celebrations. They were displayed during the Civil War, to reference past struggles for American liberty, and were flown by 19th century politicians while campaigning with the same reason. The U.S. Navy used the 13 star count on small boats until 1916, because it was easier to discern fewer stars at a distance on a small flag. Commercial flag-makers mirrored this practice and some private ships flew 13 star flags during the same period as the Navy. The use of yachting ensigns with a wreath of 13 stars surrounding a fouled anchor, which allowed pleasure boats to bypass customs between 1848 and 1980, persists today without an official purpose. Mounting: The fluted mahogany molding dates to the last quarter of the 19th century. The flag was mounted and framed in 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; more than anyone worldwide. The background is 100% hemp fabric. Spacers keep the textile away from the glazing, which is U.V. protective glass. Feel free to contact us for more details. Condition: There is minor loss in both overprints. many of my clients prefer early flags to show their age and history of use. Measures: Frame size (H x L): 7.5" x 6.25" Flag size (H x L): 3.25" x 2".              


  • Period
  • Condition
    Good. See Item Description.
  • Dimensions

    H 7.5 in. x W 6.25 in. x D 2 in.

    H 19.05 cm x W 15.88 cm x D 5.08 cm

  • Seller location
    York County, PA
  • Seller reference number
  • Reference number

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About the Seller

1stdibs seller since 2008
Typical response time: 4 hrs
Located in York County, PA
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