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19 Star Flag Updated to 25 Stars

This American Flag is one of the earliest examples of the American flag known to exist.  There are perhaps a dozen or so stars and stripes that are reasonably attributable to the era of the War of 1812 or earlier, and this is one of them. This 25 star American national flag appears to have begun life with 19 stars, to which groups of 2 stars and 4 stars were subsequently added.  You can see the original stars (with longer pointy arms) were sewn by a different hand than the six stars added later.  Under magnification, it is evident that the linen cloth used for the 19 original stars matches the linen cloth used for the flag's white stripes.

The most striking attribute of the flag is its bold stripes, which seem to have priority over the small canton of stars.  Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, as ambassadors in Paris, in answering European inquiries about the American flag, placed first emphasis on stripes, casually describing the canton as a small square, in the upper angle next to the staff.  The "broad stripes" were a central fixture of early American flags, and even Francis Scott Key gave them priority in the Star Spangled Banner, hailing the "broad stripes and bright stars".  This flag, from the same era as the Star Spangled Banner, is a beautiful example of early flag making and is an outstanding representation of one of the earliest known Stars & Stripes to have survived nearly 200 years.

Learn more about how Americans update flags with more stars. Star Count:  19, Updated to 25

Dates:  1816, 1836

War Era:  War of 1812

Statehood:  Indiana, Arkansas

Construction:  Wool Bunting and Linen, Hand Stitched (later Treadle Machine Reinforced)

Catalog Number:  IAS-00001

Learn more about the fabrics used in flag construction.

13 Star Oval Pattern

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