21-Star Exclusionary American Flag, circa 1861

Presented is an impressive 21-star flag circa 1860-1865. This is a southern-exclusionary 21-star flag constructed during the period of the American Civil War. The number of stars on this flag represent the number of states that remained loyal to the Union during the war.

The original 21 star count on flags would have dated back to 1819, when James Monroe was president and Illinois was admitted as the 21st state. However, this unique flag dates to the 1860s, just at the beginning of the Civil War. Contrary to President Abraham Lincoln's wishes, this flag was produced by anti-southern patriots to emphasize the importance of the states that remained with the Union during war. Lincoln encouraged Americans not to produce southern-exclusionary flags, as he saw great value in remaining a unified nation under one flag. This flag varies from the official flag variant of the time, which would have had 34 stars in the first two years of the war.

The star configuration on this flag is quite unique as well. 21 single-appliqued stars appear on a medium-blue canton in an almost random pattern. The appliqued stars vary in shapes and sizes, as they are all hand-cut and hand-sewn. Not only is the star pattern rare, but the canton is resting on the war stripe, or blood stripe. This rarity is often seen on flags sewn during war and conflicts. Usually the canton rests on the eighth stripe which is white, while here it rests on the ninth stripe which is red.

CONDITION:

Handmade flag with vibrant coloring and 21 appliqued stars on the front of the flag. This flag features various cut and patched strips of fabric, as the flag creator must have been working with pieces of  fabric varying in length and shape to produce such a large flag. Hand-cut stars vary in size and shape. The stripes are made up of a few strips of fabric that have been sewn together. Verso features 19 appliqued stars in the canton, also hand appliqued. Hand-stitched repairs across the field with minor losses and some significant staining at fly end. Unframed flag dimensions: 48" H x 120" W.

The entire flag has been expertly preserved in a custom black frame with gold accents. The flag has been framed according to the highest conservation standards. Flag’s strips have been folded under in flag in order to reduce the overall framed size for presentation. Framed dimensions: 80” H x 105" W.




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