13-Star Medallion Pattern American Flag

This is a cotton, machine-sewn flag with 13 double-appliqued stars. The canton of this flag has stars arranged in a highly desirable medallion pattern, with a single circle of eight stars surrounding a central star. There are also four stars in the corners of the canton. The flag is completed with 13 red and white machine-sewn stripes.

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 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 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.

13-star flags were also commonly produced for use on U.S. Navy ships up until 1916, when the practice was discontinued by President Woodrow Wilson. Throughout the 1800s and early 1900s, the U.S. Navy enjoyed the privilege of placing only 13-stars rather than the full complement of the day. During the 19th century, the flag's appearance was constantly changing as a by-product of the nation’s western expansion. After the mandate discontinued this practice, flags were designed to represent the actual number of states in the Union, with specific guidelines outlining the position of stars in the canton.


Overall good condition. Some scattered foxing. Fraying to fly edge. Three tabs were sewn along the hoist end for mounting. Verso of canton is faded more than the other. Flag is unframed, sold as-is. Unframed Dimensions: 44" H x 65"W.

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