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Lot 409: c. 1876 United States 13-Star Great Star Parade Flag With Pole Choice Near Mint
29 October 2016
Rancho Santa Fe, CA, USALive Auction
United States 13-Star "Great Star" Parade Flag With Pole
c. 1876, United States 13-Star "Great Star" Parade Flag, With Pole, Printed Upon Gauze Fabric, Choice Near Mint.
This "Great Star" Design Parade Flag is made of a decorative and original gauze, being a printed flag. It measures about 2" x 3" and is attached to a small 5.5" pole and waved by hand, as made. We know this to be definitely a 19th Century item. It is well printed with good color and light actual use. The usage of a larger Star surrounded by others in the blue field was a practice in common use for Flags made in this era. A Star is in each corner of the blue field with a circular pattern within and a single "Great Star" is a center. Exceptional quality.
There have been many "Great Star" flags over the years. The first most people know about was Peter Wendover/Samuel Reid's proposal to have the U.S. Flag bear the stars in a "Great Star" pattern for use on land and on private ships and in rows for the navy, proposed in 1818. Congress did not accept this idea, in fact Congress purposely did not specify how the stars were to be arranged. Prior to this proposal, however, this pattern can be found. It probably had its origin in the U.S. Crest, which shows 13 Stars in the shape of a six-pointed "Great Star." The pattern can be found often in the 19th Century, particularly prior to 1865 and particularly used on private ships. Thus, perhaps as early as the 1860's and of the Civil War era.