38-Star Medallion Pattern American Flag with Two Outliers, Circa 1876

This is a striking original 38-star United States flag. A wonderful celebration of our nation's early history, this flag is an authentic antique, dating circa 1877-1890.

In lead up to the nation’s Centennial, flag makers looked to the past for designs to produce as part of the country’s celebration. The 38 stars are printed in a medallion arrangement, a pattern that became popular with Americans who wanted some variation from “row” patterns that prevailed on the previous 36 and 37 star flags. This version features a rare triple medallion, in which all stars are the same size. The center star is surrounded by a wreath of 5 stars, followed by a wreath of 10 stars, and an outer wreath of 20 stars, with a star in both the top right and bottom right corners. A masterpiece of Centennial Era flag making, the flag design is completed with 13 alternating red and white stripes. The flag is printed on course-glazed muslin.

The 38th star was added for the admission of Colorado, which occurred on August 1, 1876. Per the Third Flag Act of 1818, stars were not officially added until the 4th of July following a state's addition. For this reason, 37 was the official star count for the American flag in 1876 and the 38 star flag became the official United States flag on July 4th, 1877. The 38 star flag flew for thirteen years, through 1890. Five presidents served under this flag: Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881), James A. Garfield (1881), Chester A. Arthur (1881-1885), Grover Cleveland (1885-1889), and Benjamin Harrison (1889-1893).


This flag is in very good original condition, with no repairs. Some fading to the original dye colors, as expected with age and past use. Flag measures 24” H x 31” W. The flag is beautifully presented in a custom frame, built to archival and conservation standards.

Framed dimensions: 35" H x 42.5" W x 3" D.

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