beautiful flag of 35 stars, in what is known as the
"Great Star" or "Grand Luminary" pattern, is an
important and majestic example of the type. The
flag falls squarely into the period of the Civil War,
with the introduction of West Virginia as the 35th state
after voting to secede from Confederate Virginia.
Sewn at the height of the Great Star form, the star is
well proportioned and symmetrical. Often, great star
are oriented such that the star stands
vertically when the flag is hung vertically, resulting
in a canted star when displayed horizontally. When this
flag is displayed horizontally, its Great
Star stands straight and proud on its deep blue canton.
When considering a flag
such as this, it's important to remember the
circumstances of the nation at the time when it was
produced. The flag was produced at the absolute
height of the Civil War, with the Union torn asunder and
hundreds of thousands of soldiers on both sides of the
conflict dying in horrific and escalating battles.
President Lincoln urged the north to keep the national
flag intact, and to not remove stars for the seceded
states. Therefore the 35 stars in this flag,
arranged at the height of conflict into one united great
star representing all of the American states, is extraordinarily symbolic and profound.
The stars of the flag are hand sewn cotton and are
double-appliqué, meaning that they are sewn
back-to-back on both sides of the flag. The
grommets of the flag are whip-stitched, which is
expected for the period. Overall, the flag is in
an extraordinary state of preservation, being nearly
intact, with only minor mothing and very little loss for
a flag nearly 150 years old. Period Great Star
flags such as this are the height of desirability in
flag collecting and this rare example is a treasured
survivor, representing the principles of Union in a time
of great strife.