13-Star American Centennial Flag, Hand-Cut Medallion Pattern, Signed "J.L. Wakefield Preston Ohio, Nov. 10 1884"

Presented is a bright 13-star hand-cut American Flag, signed by J.L. Wakefield from Preston, Ohio and dated November 10, 1884. This flag's canton features the highly sought-after medallion star pattern, with one large central star, encircled by a ring of eight stars, and one star in each corner. The flag's design is completed with an unusual count of 11 red and white alternating stripes. Three folds in the large flag allow it to fit into the custom-built black and gold archival frame. The hoist has no grommets and instead shows a rope tied around the top corner. 

Few antique flags have a known provenance. This particular flag is reported to have been hand-cut and made by John Lowry Wakefield in the Centennial Era. Born in New Haven, Ohio on May 20, 1852, Wakefield eventually married Mary Eliza Sater in 1874 and moved to her family farm. This massive flag was reportedly made to fit that large farm home and was passed down in the family through several generations. As of 2002, the original Sater property was still standing.

The original use of the thirteen-star flag dates to June 14, 1777, when the Continental Congress adopted a resolution creating the first official flag. The resolution stated, “Resolved, that the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white, that the union be thirteen stars, white on a blue field, representing a new constellation.” Thirteen-star flags were official from 1777-1795, but were still used long after that. Most notably, 13-star flags had a large resurgence in popularity during the late 1800s. In the 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. Popular interpretation of the stars and stripes undoubtedly reached its climax of variety and originality at the time of our Nation’s first Centennial. As the country turned 100 years old, many sought to celebrate to America’s past and the original 13 star flag, just as Wakefield did while constructing this flag.


Overall very good condition. Signature and inscription below the canton are in black ink and clearly legible. Some small losses around the edges and some minor staining, especially underneath the canton. No grommets are present on the hoist, but some rope is tied around the top left corner. Two vertical folds and one horizontal allow the flag to fit into the frame. The flag has been archivally framed with UV filtering plexiglass and acid-free matting. Framed Dimensions: 56"H x 80"W x 2"D. 

Related Items