13-Star Naval Ensign with Anchor, Circa 1877

This is a 13-star American Naval Ensign from 1877. The flag has a large fouled anchor at the center of the canton. The anchor is encircled by 13 white stars. The circular arrangement of stars suggests unity and perpetuity, and it was a favorite design style of patriotic painters, currency designers, and flag makers. The design is completed by 13 alternating red and white stripes, in vibrant coloring, with two grommets at the hoist end.

The original use of the 13-star flag dates to June 14th, 1777, each star representing a state in the newly formed Union. Throughout the 1800 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 nineteenth century, the flags appearance was constantly changing as a by-product of the nation’s western expansion. This U.S. Navy custom continued until President Woodrow Wilson discontinued the practice by executive order in 1916. Thereafter, flags were mandated to represent the actual number of states in the Union, with specific guidelines outlining the position of stars in the canton.


Good condition, considering age and past use. Thirteen stars with zig-zag stitching, anchor is hand sewn.  Reinforced double machine stitching to thirteen alternating red and white stripes. White hoist, stained, no stamp on hoist. Two metal grommets on top and bottom of the hoist. Small stains and many holes throughout, from usage and past exposure to salt water spray.

Flag has been archivally framed with a black linen bottom mat, an archival linen and silk netting mount, UV Conservation Clear glass, and a custom built black wooded frame. Framed Size: 34" H x 43 1/2" W x 1 3/8" D.

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