41-Star Printed Flag Waver, Celebrating Montana Statehood, 1889

Presented is a very rare, 41-star flag waver celebrating Montana statehood. The flag is printed on linen and dates to 1889. The dark blue canton is printed with forty one stars in nine rows of alternating counts of five and four stars. Thirteen red and white stripes complete the flag’s design. 

The history of Montana statehood is a long one. Numerous Native American tribes originally inhabited the Montana Territory. Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and the members of their expedition were the first explorers to document a journey through Montana and the lands of the Louisiana Purchase. Soon, forts were established to facilitate regular fur trading with Native American tribes. Missionaries and trailblazers followed.

The discovery of gold in the early 1860s sped the creation of the Montana Territory. As settlers and gold prospectors entered Montana in the 1860s and 1870s, conflicts with the Native Americans arose. Perhaps the most famous clash between Native Americans and the United States military occurred in Montana on June 25, 1876. On that day, Sioux and Cheyenne defeated Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer‘s 7th United States Cavalry regiment at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. A year later, Nez Percé Chief Joseph surrendered in the Bear Paw Mountains of Montana. Lured by copper in the 1880s, mining brought even more settlers to Montana. Rich grazing lands for cattle and sheep attracted other pioneers. 

Each of the states in America, with the exception of the original thirteen, Texas, and California, was first organized as a territory before achieving admittance to the Union as a state. Originating with the Ordinances of 1785 and 1787, the territorial system provided the expanding U.S. with a method to govern frontier areas until they gained sufficient population and economic maturity to qualify for statehood. Not surprisingly, residents of frontier territories usually demanded quick admission to statehood so they could gain full control of their local governments. Montana was a territory for 25 years – from the creation of Montana Territory in 1864 until the territory was admitted to statehood in 1889.

On November 2, 1889, North and South Dakota were added to the Union as the 39th and 40th states, the first time in history that two states were admitted on the same day. Montana became the 41st state on November 8, predating Washington, the 42nd state, by only three days. Flag makers were not in the business of making out-of-date flags. As a result of these rapid changes in the number of states, only a small number of 41-star flags or commemorative items were ever produced, thereby making any 41-star flag exceedingly rare. 


Good condition. This flag is printed, with a hemmed headband and fly end in a running stitch. Printed with a dark blue canton and 13 red and white alternating stripes. Color is vibrant and rich. Canton 41-star configuration in alternating row pattern, of 5/4/5/4/5/4/5/4/5 stars. Several vertical creases, from past display. One small split along a vertical crease, within the canton. Flag has been stabilized within the frame, to prevent further splitting. Flag measures 4” H x 5” W. 

Flag was framed by past owner. Framed on acid-free white double mats with a custom-built black wooden frame. Frame measures 12”H x 15” W.

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