39-Star Patriotic Silk Flag, Circa 1889

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. The flag's canton boasts a 6/7/7/6/7/6 row pattern of white stars printed on a dark blue ground. Thirteen red and white stripes, to represent the 13 original states in the Union, complete the design. 

An official flag with only 39 stars was never approved by Congress. Flagmakers often gambled on how many states would be admitted each year and would produce 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 39-star flag is considered “unofficial,” giving the patriotic piece an interesting and unique history. 


Very good condition. Silk flag, printed, double sided. Scattered small stains, holes and a clean small .75" tear in a fold. Fold creases. Flag Dimensions: 15" H x 24” W. 

The flag has been mounted archivally in a custom-built frame, with UV Conservation Clear glass.

Framed Dimensions:  27 3/4 H x 36 1/2 W x 1 1/2 D

Related Items