39-Star American Silk Flag

This is a 39-star unofficial American flag, printed on silk. The flag dates between 1877 and 1889 showcasing a “whimsical” star pattern in the canton. An official flag with only 39 stars was never approved by Congress. Printmakers often gambled on how many states would be admitted each year and would print flags with the number of stars they predicted would be approved that session. These flagmakers assumed the Dakota Territory would be the only new state admitted that year and printed a flag with just one more star than the last. Unfortunately for the company, not only was the territory split into North and South Dakota, but three other states were also added to the new design by the time Congress voted on July 4, 1890. As a result, this flag is considered “unofficial,” giving the patriotic piece an interesting and unique history.


The flag is in very good condition for its age. The printed silk flag has some soiling throughout and creases where it has been folded, but the colors are still very vibrant clearly showing off the sought-after whimsical star pattern. The flag has been mounted onto a white canvas backboard for stability and beautifully framed according to archival standards.

Framed dimensions: 24" H x 31.5" W x 1.25" D

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