39 Star Unofficial American Flag, Circa 1889

This is a 39-star unofficial American flag, handmade and printed on cotton. The flag dates to 1889 and has a unique history, thanks to its rare star-count.

The flag’s canton is printed in a deep royal blue, with 39 five-pointed white stars. The stars are arranged in six rows, with a 6/7/7/6/7/6 star configuration. The stars are "whimsically" dyed to the flag's canton, leading us to believe this is a homemade flag. Thirteen red and white alternating stripes, which represent the 13 original colonies, complete the flag’s design.

The 39-star flag was never an official flag of America.  The makers of 39-star flags gambled on the possibility of the Dakota Territory entering the Union without companions in 1877, and lost. Congress divided the Territory and admitted the North and South Dakota, Montana, Washington, and Idaho all together in 1889. As a result, this specific patriotic piece of American folk art is extremely unique.  


Flag is in good condition and flag is structurally stable. The flag has two light stains, on the bottom white stripe. Several creases and light folds remain, mostly in centerfold, as expected with age and past use. Flag does not have a proper hoist, although the canton stars are right aligned to indicate the flag might have once been wrapped around a stick or pole. Last two stripes are missing some fabric on both fly and hoist end. Color is original and beautifully vibrant, especially in the blue canton.

The flag has been archivally presented, mounted floating and framed in a custom-built black frame. Framed dimensions: 21" H x 29" W x 2" D.

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