31-Star Printed American Flag, Celebrating California Statehood, Circa 1850

This is a rare 31-star medallion printed American flag, celebrating the addition of California to the Union. The flag is printed on silk and has a spectacular “Great Star” canton pattern. The dark blue canton has 26 white stars, arranged into the pattern of one big star, tilted slightly on its axis. In between the arms of the “Great Star” are five additional outlier stars. This flag design is completed by thirteen alternating red and white stripes, which represent the 13 original colonies. 

With 31 printed stars, this flag celebrates the monumental day when California became a state on September 9, 1850. Not even two years prior, Mexico had ceded California and much of its northern territory to the United States in the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. After gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill in 1949, California experienced a monumental boom in both wealth and population. In fact, California bypassed the sometimes-lengthy formal territorial stage and was instead granted full statehood by Congress under the Compromise of 1850. 

California was admitted as a free-labor state under the Compromise of 1850. The 31-star flag became official on July 4, 1851, and remained the star count until 1858, when Minnesota joined the Union.


Good overall condition. Silk printed flag. Moderate scattered wear and discoloration, heavier along the fly. Small losses to edges, heavier losses to applied borders, all of which have been stabilized.  Color is still vibrant, especially in the canton. Flag dimensions: 27" H x 34" W. 

The flag has been archivally presented, mounted floating in a custom-built black and gold wooden frame with gold spandrels, UV Plexiglas, and custom plaque. 

Framed Dimensions: 43" H x 50 1/2" W x 2 1/2" D.

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