38-Star American Flag with Unique Canton, Commemorating Colorado Statehood, Circa 1876-1890

This is a striking 38-star American flag. The flag dates to 1876-1890, when Colorado (represented by the large star in the center of the flag’s canton) joined the Union as the 38th state. A wonderful celebration of our nation's early history, this flag is an authentic antique.

This 38-star American flag is printed with a rare and most unusual canton. The star pattern consists of a large, central great star, surrounded by a medallion of stars and a larger square of stars along the perimeter of the canton. The medallion consists of 13 stars; the outer square consists of 24 stars. Very few flags with this medallion-in-square star pattern are known to exist, even less with a great star at center.

In lead up to the nation’s Centennial in 1876, flag makers and individuals looked to the past for designs to produce as part of the country’s celebration. The 38 stars of this flag are printed in a medallion-in-square arrangement. Medallion patterns became popular with Americans who wanted some variation from “row” patterns that prevailed on the previous 36 and 37 star flags.

The 38th star was added for the admission of Colorado, which occurred on August 1, 1876. Per the Third Flag Act of 1818, stars were not officially added until the 4th of July following a state's addition to the Union. For this reason, 37 was the official star count for the American flag in 1876 and the 38 star flag became the official United States flag on July 4th, 1877. The 38 star flag flew for thirteen years, until 1890. Five presidents served under this flag: Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881), James A. Garfield (1881), Chester A. Arthur (1881-1885), Grover Cleveland (1885-1889), and Benjamin Harrison (1889-1893).


The flag has staining and soiling throughout, as expected with past use and age. Red stripes have faded and have bled at center of flag, but the blue color in the canton is still very vibrant. A few dark stains on stars, none obscuring star completely. Rust stains exist where three nails originally held flag at hoist. Flag has sound construction with only small trim reduction of bottom red stripe at left lower quadrant. Flag measures 16” H x 24 ½” W.

Flag is artfully and archivally presented mounted and floating on a brown linen mat. A descriptive gold leafed object plaque is mounted below the flag. The flag is framed in a custom-built black and gold wooden frame. Framed dimensions: 26 ½” H x 34” W x 2” D.

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