42 Stars, an Unofficial Star Count, on an Antique American Flag For Sale
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42 Stars, an Unofficial Star Count, on an Antique American Flag


42 stars, an unofficial star count, on an antique American flag with scattered star positioning, 1889-1890, Washington Statehood: 42 star parade flag, printed on cotton muslin. The stars are arranged in a rectilinear fashion, but vary in position on their vertical axis. This adds a nice element of folk quality to the flag’s design. The 42 star flag is interesting from a historical perspective, both because 42 was never an official star count, and because 42 star flags were only produced for about 8 months (November, 1889 – July 4th, 1890). The flag represents the addition of the Dakotas, Montana and Washington State, between November 2nd and November 11th, 1889. The 42nd state was officially Washington, but the four states gained their statehood only nine days apart, and flag makers added 4 stars, accordingly, to the count of 38 that was official at the time. After 1818, star counts became official on the 4th of July each year. A new star was therefore officially added on Independence Day for every state that had been added over the preceding “flag year”. Flag makers, however, did not wait for July 4th and official star counts. Flag production was a competitive industry and no one wanted to be making 38 star flags, for example, when their competitors were making 42 star examples and there were 42 states. Idaho joined the Union on July 3rd, 1890, taking the star count to 43 just one day before 42 would have become the official number. This fact makes 42 star flags an interesting part of our heritage and a Classic display of American capitalism. Mounting: The flag was mounted and framed within our own conservation department, which is led by expert staff. We take great care in the mounting and preservation of flags and have framed thousands of examples. The background is 100% cotton twill, black in color. The modern burled wood molding that has a Ralph Lauren sensibility, with a worn surface that is somewhat reminiscent of old leather. 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 water staining and oxidation. Many of my clients prefer early flags to show their age. Frame Size (H x L): 20.75" x 26" Flag Size (H x L): 11.75" x 17".   


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  • Dimensions
    H 20.75 in. x W 26 in. x D 2 in.H 52.71 cm x W 66.04 cm x D 5.08 cm
  • Seller Location
    York County, PA
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About the Seller

5 / 5
1stdibs seller since 2008
Located in York County, PA
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