38-Star American Parade Flag, Printed on Silk, Commemorating Colorado Statehood, 1876-1889

This is an exceptional 38-star printed silk American flag. The flag dates to 1876-1890, when Colorado joined the Union as the 38th state. A wonderful celebration of the nation's early history, this flag is an authentic antique.

This printed flag boasts a dynamic star pattern. While the stars sit in a rather uniform set of rows, the star count varies from row to row.  The stars are arranged in a 8/7/8/7/8 configuration, aligned along the right side of the canton. Additionally, the canton uniquely rests on a red stripe, sometimes referred to as “the blood stripe,” which by tradition often denotes America being at war. This flag dates to the Indian Wars, a protracted series of conflicts between Native American Indians and white settlers over land and natural resources in the West. 

The 38th star was added to the flag with the admission of Colorado to the Union 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.

While the flag was not officially changed to carry 38 stars until 1877, the star count was widely used on flags a year earlier in commemoration of the centennial celebration. The occasion of the nation's 100th birthday celebration was an event that sparked patriotism across the country. Following the devastation of the Civil War, the centennial celebration was a time to come together as a nation to celebrate the progression and bright future of the United States. For this reason, many flags produced in the centennial year incorporated 38 stars, for the newly admitted Colorado, in light of the growth and progression of the nation.

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 next flag variant to be named official came in 1890 with the addition of 5 new states.


Overall very good condition. Printed flag on silk. Color still vibrant and bright. No bleeding of colors. Small tears in the silk throughout. Loss to the 13th stripe, along the left side. Flag measures 16”H x 22 ½”W (by sight). 

Previously framed by the past owner in an archival, custom black wooden frame with light gold spandrel. Flag is mounted, floating in the frame. Framed dimensions: 17” H x 24”W. 

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