38-Star Square-in-Square American Flag, Circa 1876-1890

This is an exceptional 38-star American flag with a distinct square-in-square canton design. The flag dates to 1876-1890, when Colorado joined the Union as the 38th state. A wonderful celebration of our nation's early history, this flag is an authentic antique.

This flag boasts a rare canton star configuration that has been noted on less than five other extant examples. Two consecutive squares of stars surround an unusual center grouping of two large stars and four tiny stars, which also make a square. The outer square is composed of 20 stars and the middle square has 12 stars. The design is printed on glazed cotton. This beautiful and atypical square-in-square pattern would prove very difficult to upgrade.

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).


This flag is in very good condition. The colors are still rich and vibrant. Flag has only minor staining and a few small reductions. There is a printer’s error in the canton where the sheet was folded when inked, appearing as a white streak, which does not affect overall aesthetics. Flag dimensions: 20 1/4” H x 27 1/2” W.

The flag has been archivally mounted and framed. Flag floats above a black linen mat with inner gold spandrel and gold-leafed descriptive plaque mounted below the flag. The flag is framed in a custom-built beaded wooden frame. Framed dimensions: 44" H x 37.5" W x 2.5" D.

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