13-Star American Flag Silk Banner, circa 1876-1900

Presented is a large 13-star American flag banner, in a striking vertical format. The all-silk constructed banner features a rich blue canton with 13 white stars. The silk stars are machine-sewn, single appliquéd, and arranged in an unusual medallion star pattern. The banner has 13 alternating machine-sewn red and white stripes and is further embellished with a machine sewn fringe of braided gold tassels along both edges the top and bottom of the canton and along the fly end of the banner. 

The use of fringe indicates that this silk flag was most likely used as a ceremonial or parade flag. It is customary to place gold fringes on silken National flags that are carried in parades, used in official ceremonies, and displayed in offices, merely to enhance the beauty of the flag. Like a lot of American traditions, we adopted the use of ceremonial flags from the British. Seen on American flags as early as the 1830s, by 1895 the use of fringe as “honorable enrichment”was adopted for use in the Army.  The U.S. Army Regulation Code even includes a section about the gold fringe.

This banner's canton features the highly sought-after medallion star pattern, with one central star, encircled by a ring of eight stars, and one star in each corner. The medallion pattern emerged around the time of the American Civil War and continued to be used during the period of the American Centennial in 1876, when flag production increased exponentially across the country. This flag banner most likely dates to circa 1876-1900.

The original use of the 13-star flag dates to June 14, 1777, when the Continental Congress adopted a resolution that created the first official United States flag. The resolution stated, “Resolved, that the flag of the United States be made of 13 stripes, alternate red and white, that the union be 13 stars, white on a blue field, representing a new constellation.” 13-star flags were official from 1777-1795, but were still used long after that.

13-star flags and banners 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 in variety and originality at the time of the first Centennial.

CONDITION:

Overall, a beautiful American flag banner. Silk construction. Machine-sewn, single appliquéd white silk stars. Machine-sewn red and white stripes stripes. Machine-sewn fringe of braided gold tassels. The colors are vibrant. One small stain in the stripes and some minor foxing throughout. A few small splits near the corners of the upper part of the canton.  Banner Dimensions: 70 1/2" x 30 1/2" . 

Flag has been mounted in an archival, custom wooden frame with UV Plexiglas and a custom plaque. 

Framed Dimensions: 72"H x 42" W. 




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